Polish up on the best eco-friendly and natural nail polish removers for healthy nails and planet – from acetone-free to plastic-free.
I’ve covered lots of topics in my eco-friendly health and beauty section, yet never nails. I’ve never been a big nail polish wearer, to be honest. It just isn’t my thing. But then I had two daughters. One of whom is very into painting her nails. Suddenly I had to consider things like not only the nail polish itself but also nail polish remover.
As I’ve been in prime research mode, let me share with you the best natural nail polish removers I’ve come across.
Why Isn’t Regular Nail Polish Remover Natural?
Regular nail polish remover is made from acetone and/or ethyl acetate. These chemicals are cheap to produce and do the job effectively.
Acetone is a chemical that’s often produced in nature – for example by trees. Acetone is also produced and disposed of in the human body, as part of our metabolic processes. As such, acetone is normally present in blood and urine.
What this means is the ingredients themselves aren’t toxic. However, we shouldn’t get complacent. Both acetone and ethyl acetate are dangerous when ingested.
Exposure to acetone can also dehydrate the nail plate, cuticles, and surrounding skin. As such, nails can become dry and brittle, and cuticles can become dry, flaky, red, and irritated. It’s not what you want when you want your nails to look their best.
Breathing in large amounts of acetone or ethyl acetate can also cause health problems. These include nose, throat, eye, and lung irritation, dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting, and more.
Guide To The Best Natural Nail Polish Removers
The good news is that there are now lots of eco-friendly alternatives available that avoid these harsh ingredients. Many also come in glass bottles, allowing you to ditch the plastic associated with your nail care routine.
Benecos Eco-Friendly Nail Polish Remover
Benecos Natural’s certified organic natural nail polish remover is acetone-free. Instead, it uses natural organic orange peel oil and organic lavender oil to naturally and gently remove natural nail polish from your nails.
As it is made without acetone, this remover won’t leave your skin and nails feeling dry. What’s more, it is vegan-friendly too.
On the downside, it does come in a recyclable plastic bottle rather than glass. However, this is the cheapest eco-friendly nail polish remover I have found. If you are on a budget then this might have to be a trade-off that you make. It also works best on natural nail polish brands. For conventional brands of nail polish then it may not be strong enough to take on the task.
Buy Benecos Natural Nail Polish Remover from Ethical Superstore for £5.95 for 125 ml.
Manucurist Green Flash
Manucurist is a new French vegan and cruelty-free brand. They pride themselves on swapping harsh ingredients for natural, eco-friendly alternatives that promote glossy, long-lasting manicures and healthy nails.
Manucurist Green Flash nail polish remover is acetone-free, making it much less damaging to your nails. It’s also packed with 97% bio-sourced ingredients, making it hydrating and gentle on your nails. What’s more, it has a delicate floral scent that’s nothing like its acetone-based counterparts. And it comes in a glass bottle, rather than a plastic one.
Do note that it is formulated especially to remove Manucurist plant-based gel polishes with ease, so might struggle with removing conventional nail polish.
Buy Manucurist Green Flash Nail Polish Remover from Cult Beauty for £19 for 100 ml.
Zao Natural Nail Polish Remover
Zao’s vegan-friendly and water-based nail polish remover gently and easily removes polish without drying out or harming your skin or nails. This is because it’s formulated without acetone and ethyl acetate. Instead, it is made with much milder, and certified organic, ethyl lactate, and organic bamboo water. These help to strengthen and fortify your nails whilst gently removing your nail polish.
This nail polish remover is free from parabens, triclosan, phthalates, mineral oils, animal testing, genetically modified ingredients, artificial colours, and fragrances. What’s more, it is made in Europe and comes in a recyclable glass bottle topped with a bamboo lid. No plastic here!
On the downside, it does contain palm oil. However, Zao says that this has been sustainably sourced. It also contains mica. I’m not big on mica. It’s a common ingredient in beauty products, yet is linked to forced child labour. However, again, Zao says that they only use certified ethically sourced mica.
Buy Zao Natural Nail Polish Remover from Thought for £19.50 for 100 ml.
Kure Bazaar nail polish remover is free from acetone and ethyl acetate. Instead, it’s made in France from solvents such as wheat, corn and cane sugar. Containing rose, rosehip oil and patchouli, its scent is also light years away from traditional stinky nail polish removers.
Its oil-like texture is a little different to using traditional acetone nail polish removers. However, it will remove nail polish and nourish your nails rather than stripping them of their natural oils and leaving them brittle. It doesn’t whiten or dry your nails or hands either, instead leaving nails feeling hydrated and soft.
This vegan-friendly product has not been tested on animals, and it is cruelty-free. It is also packaged in a recyclable glass bottle and cardboard box, making it a good plastic-free alternative.
The downside is that is the most expensive natural nail polish remover in this roundup. However, it does come in a much larger bottle than the others. This means it does work out comparable – if not cheaper – in price to the other products featured.
Buy Kure Bazaar Natural Nail Polish Remover from Naturisimo for £35 for 250 ml.
Dear Sundays soy-based nail polish remover gently removes your polish while nourishing your nails with vitamins A, C, and E as well as natural grapefruit essential oils.
It has a thicker consistency compared to conventional nail polish remover. It is more like olive oil. And it does take a little more scrubbing to remove polish. However, my top tip for any soy-based nail polish remover is to let it sit on your nails for at least 30 seconds before rubbing it off. This helps it to penetrate the nail polish, for easier removal.
What’s to love is that this vegan and cruelty-free product also comes packaged in a stylish glass bottle. You won’t want to hide it away, unlike those blue bottles of nail polish remover!
Buy Dear Sundays Natural Nail Polish Remover from Sephora UK for £24.95 for 100 ml.
Karma Organic natural nail polish remover has almost 3,500 4.5-star reviews on Amazon. And for good reason. It is acetone-free, vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and free of any petroleum-based ingredients. It’s also free from common allergens, such as formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and camphor.
This effective nail polish remover effectively removes all nail polishes, not just the Karma Organic brand. However, do note that it doesn’t work on gel nail polish or acrylic-treated nails.
It comes packaged in a glass bottle for a plastic-free beauty routine. The downside is that I have only been able to find this product on Amazon.
Found any more natural nail polish removers? Do let me know and I will update this list.