Nail Polish, not Poison.

Glue. Embalming Fluid. Nail Polish.

One of these things is not like the others. Or is it?

Actually, all three substances typically contain formaldehyde, a colorless gas compound that is also a carcinogen, meaning that it causes cancerous cell growth.   And while it’s no secret that we place a premium on looking pretty, good health is a building block of great looks.  So, to skip the carcinogens but keep the manicures, we’ve rounded up a bevy of lacquers that are long lasting, lovely and formaldehyde-free.



Not only is Zoya Nail Polish formaldehyde-free, the collection offers over 300 colors that go well beyond basics, like “Casey” a deep eggplant and “Austine” a metallic gold.  The collection was created in 1984 when then-pregnant esthetician Zoya Reyzis foresaw the need for a nail polish free of harmful chemicals and carcinogens.  More than two decades later, the Zoya collection offers up high fashion hues with a healthy sensibility.
We’re fans of Zoya’s Color Lock System, available in a five-step kit that promises to protect nail color while preventing flaking and chipping.  The kit includes Remove, Anchor Basecoat, Armor Topcoat and Hurry Up Speed Dry Drops ($36 at and promises “50% longer polish wear guaranteed.”



Nubar's long-lasting, fast-drying nail polish collection is free of formaldehyde.  Those looking for carcinogen-free nail color will love Nubar’s hip hues such as “Geisha Blaze,” a striking hot pink; “Autumn Sunset,” a shimmering russet; and “Blackberry” a must have berry-black for fall. Nubar nail lacquers are available online for $6.99 at
Another of our favorite Nubar products is Nail Clear ($12.99), a nail mask for whitening nails and erasing stains sometimes left behind by harsher polishes. No need to soak nails, just brush on the mask and peel away. The key ingredient is grapefruit extract, an organic whitener that is also an effective antifungal.


Nail Tek

Citra Formaldehyde Free by Nail Tek ($15 at is an effective nail strengthener with a natural citrus-based alternative to formaldehyde. Citra is available in three formulas, one for healthy nails, one for soft, peeling nails and another for dry, brittle nails. We like to think of the collection as the cure for whatever ails your nails, all formaldehyde-free, of course.


Bargain Beauty

No need to break the bank to stay pretty and healthy. We found a few formaldehyde-free polishes that are so affordable you have no excuse not to kick that nasty carcinogenic color habit:

  • Beauty Department Store Ulta boasts their own formaldehyde-free, private-label polish called Shimmer Finish Salon Formula Nail Laquer ($5 at Keep an eye out for special offers such as buy one get one free or complimentary shipping for online purchases.
  • L'Oreal Pro Manicure Nail Polish ($3.49 at comes in a variety of shades, all formaldehyde-free of course.  We like “Trust Fund Baby,” a classic pink.


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