• Jessica

10 Shades of Non-Toxic Nude Nail Polish

Updated: Nov 21, 2019

Neutral manicures reign supreme — and these are the cleanest nude nail polishes around.

Photo via Wix

All the blush hues of Spring call for versatile nude manicures to match. Trend-conscious, neutral manis have been my go-to lately. They take extra-long to grow out, chips in the polish only show minimally, and their subtlety lends a certain sophistication to your digits — even coated in sparkles. Depending on your skin tone, you can select shades to make your nails POP, or to elongate the fingers — the same way nude-colored heels make legs look longer.

I used to get gel manicures but eventually gave up on them. My once-strong nails became brittle, broken, and weak, common symptoms of post-gel manicure wreckage. That's when I began seeking out clean, cruelty-free, and chip-resistant varnishes instead. (BTW, if you chip your still-wet nails, Lakur by Londontown Smudge Fix ($18) can help with that.)

Smith & Cult makes some of my favorite non-toxic nail polish because it lasts so long. PS Thanks for the tip, Sam Shorey!

Without harsher regulations on the use of toxins in our beauty products, it's important to learn how to vet non-toxic products ourselves. Shopping at clean retailers like Credo Beauty and Follain greatly simplifies the process, but learning the industry's clean verbiage will help, too. When it comes to clean nail polish, you can look for certain labels that signal the absence of controversial, health-harming ingredients. However, you have to read up on brands to find out which toxins they exclude.

Nail polish that is labeled, "3-Free," "5-Free," "7-Free," "9-Free," and even "10-Free," should ideally omit the toxic ingredients below. However, be warned that a lack of federal regulations results in label ambiguity. In other words, there is no guarantee that bottles of "#-free" polishes omit the same toxins. Below you will find some of the most harmful ingredients to avoid in our polishes.

  • Toxic Trio: At the bare minimum, formulas should omit the so-called "toxic trio," AKA DBP (dibutyl phthalate), toluene, formaldehyde. These were the first to be banned in the EU.

  • Formaldehyde resin and camphor are two additional ingredients to steer clear of.

  • TPHP, or triphenyl phosphate, which was used as a replacement for DBP, has since been found to be an endocrine-disrupter. Avoid it!

  • If you see ethyl tosylamide and xylene on your ingredients list, look again.

  • To be even safer, find brands that are free of tert-butyl hydroperoxide

  • Of course, carcinogenic parabens — which are used as preservatives — are health-harming and should be avoided.

If you're curious about the toxins in our beauty products, you can check out my article on TheThirty or do some ingredient- and product-checking on the EWG website. But if it's non-toxic, cruelty-free nail polish you seek, the ten beauty brands below are worth checking out.

As for your nude manicures, here are 10 shades of cruelty-free polish to try next, from khaki to camel. All the formulas below are 7-free and safer. It might surprise you to learn that the well-known brand Orly — particularly their water-based, breathable line — are 13-free, making them among the safest picks on the market.



Sundays No. 6 ($18)

This line is vegan, cruelty-free, and an indie favorite hailing from NYC. No. 6 is a "cool" buttery nude with a lilac undertone. For more warmth, No. 7 is a nice rosy-beige.


100% Pure Pinkerton ($14)


Mischo Beauty Worthy ($18)

This is sold out but you can check out Fait Accompli ($18) for more of a khaki look.


Trust Fund Beauty Tactful Denial ($15)

Really fun branding with this line as well as vegan, 10-free formulas. Tactful Denial is more of a beige-meets-pink, but Virgin? ($15) has a peachier hue if you're into warmth.



Lakur by Londontown Full Monty ($18)

The vegan polish comes in an extended range of shades, but you don't want to miss their Gel Genius Top Coat ($20) for serious gloss. There's also an Accelerating Drying Oil ($18).



Aila Cosmetics Shush Me Again ($14)

The Nashville-based line was developed by a podiatrist, Dr. Cary Gannon. It is also vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free. The shade above drops March 25.


Smith & Cult Doe My Dear ($18)

This is a great, long-lasting nail polish brand. I use it whenever possible because it lasts so incredibly long! It's also vegan and cruelty-free, in addition to being 8-free. This is the shade I'm wearing right now!


Butter London Tea With the Queen ($18)

Butter has some other great shades of neutral lacquer to check out, too.



Côte Nude Traveler 6 Piece Travel Set ($42)

Each beige will complement your skin tone differently, so having a travel size set to sample is the ideal way to find your favorite.


Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Beachin' ($20)

It's a 7-free gel-like treatment that goes on like a regular polish — no UV-rays necessary.

What are your favorite nail polishes? Tell me on Instagram!

This post contains affiliate links and I might receive a small commission from purchases. Emphasis on small.



© 2023 by Salt & Pepper. Proudly created with Wix.com