The top 25 nail polishes that are 5-free

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tattoo_nails_5freeChemicals plastered to our nails for a week? Um, no thanks.

Until fairly recently, our digits were often subjected to five sketchy—and outright toxic—ingredients every time we got a mani-pedi. We’re talking formaldehyde (yes, the stuff they use to preserve dead bodies), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, formaldehyde resin, and camphor, which can do a bunch of nasty things to your body, from triggering allergies to disrupting your endocrine system.

But a group of trailblazing, wellness-savvy lines like Priti and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics came along and helped change the nail game big time. Now, even more manicure companies are jumping on the 5-free bandwagon—and they don’t skimp on quality, color, or creativity, either.

With so many healthier mani options on the market, does that mean chemical-heavy formulas will soon be a thing of the past? We have our (well-polished) fingers crossed. —Larkin Clark

(Photo: Stocksnap.io)

5free_nails_smith_and_cultSmith & Cult

Known for: Super-shiny, edgy polishes created by Dineh Mohajer, the beauty mastermind who launched Hard Candy.

Shade to try: Bitter Buddhist, $18, a zen moss color that goes from office to yoga mat in a single breath.

(Photo: Instagram/smithandcult)

5free_nails_kure_bazaarKure Bazaar

Known for: Its 85 percent natural formulation (it's based on wood pulp, wheat, cotton, potatoes, and corn), and cool concepts like the Jeans color collection, influenced by its founder, Brazilian-model Kartika Luyet.

Shade to try: Stiletto, $16, "represents the ideal red to me," Luyet says. We agree!

(Photo: Instagram/kurebazaar)


Known for: Chip-resistant lacquers in shades inspired by each season’s fashion trends.

Shade to try: Cirque, $16, a sophisticated ballet pink that’s ready for barre class.

(Photo: Instagram/shoplvx)


Known for: Fresh, high-pigment hues that span the rainbow—plus, they’re vegan, gluten-free, and developed by a doctor (true story).

Shade to try: The New Black, $17, which is—you guessed it—orange.

(Photo: Facebook/ailacosmetics)


Known for: Super fun sparkles, metallics, opaques, and holographics—if you can dream it, NCLA has probably made it.

Shade to try: Peppermint Crush, $18. It lives up to its name, so don’t go nibbling your fingertips.

(Photo: Facebook/shopncla)

5free_nails_rms2RMS Beauty

Known for: New to market, simple, wear-anywhere hues with minimal streakage, from the cult-fave natural beauty brand.

Shade to try: Beloved, $15, the lush red that will be your anytime go-to.

(Photo: Instagram/rmsbeauty)

5free_nails_spa_ritualSpa Ritual

Known for: Super affordable vegan lacquers (just $5 to $8 a pop) in almost every shade imaginable, and one-handed grippable handles.

Shade to try: Firefly, $8, a bright neon that complements your nighttime running gear.

(Photo: Facebook/sparitual)

5free_nails_deborah_lippmanDeborah Lippman

Known for: Inventive, professional-grade polishes made for literally every occasion—including red carpet affairs (Lippman is a celeb and fashion editor favorite).

Shade to try: Across the Universe, $20. Because if you can’t actually be a mermaid, at least you can have nails that look like one.

(Photo: Instagram/deborahlippman)

5free_nails_occObsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

Known for: Being one of the first 5-free polish brands to offer bold, creative colors.

Shade to try: Tarred, $10. Consider it a fashionable shout-out to your dark side.

(Photo: Facebook/occmakeup)

5free_nails_treat_collectionTreat Collection

Known for: An impressive lineup of more than 54 non-toxic colors. We’re fans of the Berlin-based company’s soy polish remover, too-—it gets the job done sans toxins or weird smell.

Shade to try: Dream Vacation, $18, because, well, it reminds us of vacation.

(Photo: Instagram/TreatCollection)


Known for: Super-rich (yet wallet-friendly) vegan lacquers in tons of solid shades, metallics, and shimmers.

Shade to try: Unbothered, $12, a surprisingly wearable bright purple.

(Photo: Instagram/gingerandliz)


Known for: Chic vegan lacquers that are high-shine and have a UV inhibitor.

Shade to try: #1977, $12.99, a blast of minty freshness without the added sugar.

(Photo: Instagram/laccbeauty)


Known for: Show-stopping nail wraps. But you should also know about the brand’s creamy, 5-free lacquers for when you want to keep things clean and simple.

Shade to try: Ash, $15, the minimalist’s answer to a fail-proof nail job.

(Photo: Instagram/jamberry)

5free_nails_pritinyc2Priti NYC

Known for: Being a backstage go-to at New York Fashion Week (most recently spotted on model hands at The Row, Coach, H&M, and Acne Studios).

Shade to try: Envy, $15, the polish version of a sun salutation.

(Photo: Instagram/pritiplease)


Known for: That pretty, sustainable wood bottle top (ciao, plastic!) and a super affordable price point.

Shade to try: Nice, $10, the nearly-nude nail that rarely needs changing because chips, if they happen, are barely noticeable.

(Photo: Instagram/sheswai)


Known for: A constantly rotating roster of polish colors available a la carte or as part of a monthly subscription Maven box.

Shade to try: Randi, $14, for days when you just want to wear hot pink.

(Photo: Instagram/julepmaven)

5free_nails_pacificaPacifica Beauty

Known for: Going the distance with 7-free formulas and a wide, 100 percent vegan paint brush.

Shade to try: Rainbow Gloss Top Coat, $14, to make any mani opalescent.

(Photo: Instagram/ilovepacifica)

5free_nails_butter3Butter London

Known for: Chip-proof, salon-quality paints that last up to ten days, and Fashion Week cred galore.

Shade to try: Rather Red, $18, which is not so much red as a luxurious, deep wine you’ll want to wear all winter.

(Photo: Instagram/butterlondon)

5free_nails_ella_mila2Ella Mia

Known for: Gel-caliber staying power and a new color collections launched every few months.

Shade to try: Black Tie Affair, $10.50. It’s a starry night at your fingertips (literally).

(Photo: Instagram/ellamilapolish)


Known for: Its Los Angeles-based, toxin-free nail art salon and more than 100 hand-poured polish colors.

Shade to try: No. 71, $18. Even on the grayist days, this sky blue pulls through.

(Photo: Instagram/coteshop)

5free_nails_jenna_hippJenna Hipp Nails

Known for: Mini polish sets created by Hipp, who is known as the “Celebrity Green Nail Stylist.”

Shades to try: What’s Hot Now Nail Collection, $32, twelve mini nail polishes in Hipp’s most popular pastels, jewel tones, and metallics.

(Photo: Instagram/jennahipp)


Known for: A mind-blowing array of color options (seriously, there are so many, we can’t keep track) and a new Naked Manicure nail correction system that makes roughed-up tips look like new.

Shade to try: Iris MatteVelvet, $10, a moody purple with a cool matte finish.

(Photo: Instagram/zoyanailpolish)

5free_nails_jinsoonJin Soon

Known for: Runway-ready manicures (Jin Soon is a New York Fashion Week staple) in the chicest-of-chic hues.

Shade to try: Enflammée, $18, a sexy orange-red that transports you to summers by the Mediterranean Sea.

(Photo: Instagram/jinsoon)



Known for: Going beyond 5-free with an 8-free, vegan polish line, available online and at Tenoverten salons.

Shade to try: 034 White, $18, the purest way to make a statement.

(Photo: Instagram/tenoverten_nyc)

5free_nails_rgbRGB Cosmetics

Known for: Modern, pro-quality lacquers that fashion girls (and regular girls) love.

Shade to try: Periwinkle, $18. Springtime for your hands? This is it.

(Photo: Facebook/rgbcosmetics)

Whew! That's a lot of #nailspo. But for the obsessed, we do have more ... here



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25 Comments | ADD YOURS

  1. October 17th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Since always I stay with everythibg which original and naturale….now finally I found Kure Bazaar for my nails… oufff. very seldom I use the nail polish,… but this time I go with Kure Bazaar ….

  2. October 21st, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Missing Zoya here!!

  3. October 22nd, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    I love it! Who knew Chanel was 5 free?

  4. AC
    July 3rd, 2013 at 1:49 am

    Authority Cosmetics is an up and coming brand that’s 5-Free, vegan friendly, cruelty free, and made in the U.S.A! Check them out at Authority Cosmetics on Facebook!

  5. November 12th, 2013 at 8:41 pm
  6. December 2nd, 2013 at 11:40 am

    It looks like Mineral Fusion has a website for those who don’t actually live near a Whole Foods (we do exist).


  7. March 19th, 2014 at 5:24 am

    I live in SA. Have any idea if these nail products are here?

  8. April 24th, 2014 at 11:36 am

    I would definitely add these to the list — Jamberry Professional Nail Lacquers – they go on smooth and come in gorgeous colors, like my current fave, Hint of Mint!

  9. May 1st, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Seriously? I’ve only ever heard of one of these brands. Gee, thanks for the tip.

  10. May 7th, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    also check out indie brands like indie polish and philly loves lacques

  11. May 10th, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Julep is now making 5-free polishes. Their older ones were 4-free.

  12. May 14th, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Jamberry has beautiful 5-free lacquer! It lasts a very long time and you can even put their nail wraps OVER the lacquer if you want to add a different touch!

  13. June 17th, 2014 at 4:03 am

    How about ZOYA? and Picture Polish from Australia. Those are the best!!!

  14. July 13th, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Ever think that when we have nails painted, what kind of chemicals our body is absorbing. I plan to purchase my on before going back to salon

  15. August 2nd, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Does anyone know which of these goes on the smoothest? Any of the bottles of Julep I’ve ever gotten are SO goopy. I’ve even tried adding nail polish remover to help thin it out and it just doesn’t work.

  16. October 19th, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    vegan 5 free hand mixed polish

  17. October 26th, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    I’m so shocked that Deborah Lippmann has been overlooked, especially since it is widely available. I am very chemically sensitive and I have had no problem with this brand. If I try 3 free I have a terrible reaction. Thanks for the additional suggestions!

  18. non-toxic nail polish
    March 3rd, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    Luna Star Naturals manufactures KLEE Girls all-natural mineral makeup,Pinki Naturali kids’
    water-based nail polish,Sparkli Naturali role play
    makeup and Pretendi Naturali face paint.
    Handcrafted in USA and Canada.

  19. May 10th, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Many nail polishes these days don’t have the 3 most toxic ingredients, including most drugstore brands. 5 free ones are a little rarer, but not hard to find either, nor do they need to be expensive. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri, L’Oreal, Revlon, Butter of London, NYC In a New York Color Minute, Nubar, Pacifica, RGB / PITT / LVX / Sheswai (all have the same ingredient list), LA Colors Color Craze, Zoya, and No Miss are all 5 free. LA Colors Color Craze and Zoya have very similar ingredient lists, and are about as minimal as solvent-based polishes go. LA Colors is also really cheap, so that’s what I use. All solvent-based polishes are smelly though, so I only apply them outside.

    For my daughter, I use a no-odor, water-based polish. My favorite is Piggy Paint; but Suncoat, Play Laugh Love, Acquarella, Honeybee Gardens, Scotch Naturals, Eco Princess, Keeki, Hopscotch Kids, Go Natural, Karma Naturals, Sula, and AQmore are all water based and without solvents. Suncoat and Play Laugh Love are also peelable, though you can also use Elmer’s Glue as a base coat for any polish to make it peelable. Allykats and Bo-Po are also water-based and peelable but they do contain a solvent so are not as non-toxic.

  20. January 16th, 2016 at 4:32 am

    I love Cheeky Monkey Cosmetics 5 free polish. Over 60 shades and the names and concept are pure fun!! It’s my go to polish! The colours are rich and some sheer shades you can just use one coat and they don’t streak. ‘Hangover’ is the best nude ever! ‘Filthy Madame’ is a metallic charcoal. ‘Pour Me One’ is a beautiful bordeaux red and the ‘Wet Dream’ sticky base coat is great!

  21. January 16th, 2016 at 5:23 am

    Also, check out SUGARLOOM Cosmetics (sugarloomcosmetics.com) – five-free, non-toxic and made in the USA!

  22. January 18th, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    5 free is great, but several contain wheat which is not good for us celiac sufferers.

  23. January 18th, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Nicole- Aila is gluten-free! #5 above.

  24. January 18th, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Notably missing is indie brand Habit Cosmetics – they are amazing!!! http://www.habitcosmetics.com

  25. January 22nd, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Kure Bazaar are SO great.. non toxic of course but such amazing colors… and available at the Nail Kitchen in Le BHV Marais in Paris.
    You can visit our shop on line at
    Free Delivery !

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