Select Page

Chemical Free Nail Polish & Formaldehyde Free Nail Polish Reviews

Did you know your favorite nail polish probably contains formaldehyde?? Nail polish manufacturers use many dangerous chemicals in your nail polish.   I’ve tested two of the top chemical free nail polish brands (including being formaldehyde free nail polish) – Zoya and Julep.

It sounded crazy to me when I first heard all the chemicals that were in nail polish. I don’t know about you but I thought formaldehyde was used to embalm dead bodies, not put on the nails of my myself and my little girls.  I knew there had to be safer option.

Here are the results from our in home test.

JulepChemical Free Nail Polish

Julep is free from formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, DBP, camphor, and animal ingredients or byproducts.

Julep went on well and dried in about the same time as regular polish.  It smelled like normal nail polish to me, I was expecting less odor but really I did not notice any difference.

The durability of Julep was probably slightly under what I would expect from regular polish. I was disappointed that it lost that glossy look after a week or so though.

They have a good selection of colors. Color selection seems a little disorganized on their website. I wish it was arranged by shades, instead it seems to jump around from color to color, making it more challenging to pick out your color. Not a big deal, but it would be helpful to categorize colors like they do in the store.

The standard bottle size is .27 oz. so it is smaller than your standard size nail polish. It is priced at $14 per bottle. While the bottle is on the small size, it is still suitable for most people. Think about the last time you used up a bottle of nail polish?


Zoya is free from toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and DBP.  Zoya smelled a little less strong than Julep but it still has a nail polish smell to it. Again I was expecting less odor.Chemical Free Nail Polish

This polish works amazingly well. It holds up better than most mainstream polish I have worn. I used a dark color on my toes and it covered on in just one coat – usually I need to do two coats.

With my purchase I got a free bottle of Zoya Nail polish remover. This worked amazingly well and was less pungent that normal nail polish remover, but again still had a smell to it.

They have a great selection of colors in almost any shade. Plus they come out with seasonal colors to give you even more options. I was very happy with the wide selection so I could get just the right shade of polish. Zoya’s colors were arranged by shade on the website which was great. I did get into a little analysis paralysis trying to pick out the right shade- there were so many options.Chemical Free Nail Polish Remover

Zoya costs $9 per .5 oz bottle. Zoya has gift sets that contain .25 oz bottles instead of .5 oz bottles. I don’t think I’ve ever finished a nail polish bottle before it dried out so these were the perfect size for me and they worked out to be about $5 a bottle for the .25oz bottle. The limit with the gift set was you don’t get to pick all your colors, the sets colors are predetermined.

I think Zoya was the overall best value and best performing.

Piggy Paint

This is next on my list to try for my little girls. I am excited to hear that it is almost odor free and water based. Plus it just peels off thus nail polish remover is not needed. I have heard it does not stay on their nail long, I can’t say regular polish stays on my girls hands long anyway.

What nontoxic polish have you tried and liked? I’d love to hear from you!

This post may contain affiliate links to help me pay my bills and keep this site up and running 🙂


  1. Sammi

    This is a really good review.

    I had no idea what formaldehyde is, let alone know what it’s used for – although I have heard of the name. If someone has been able to make nail varnish at a reasonable price without it, you would have thought everyone would.. I love the Zoya varnishes. I think I might have to invest in some.

    Would normal nail varnish remover take the Zoya polish off or would you have to use their special remover?


    • Shannon

      Absolutely any polish remover should take off Zoya. I liked Zoya’s because it was less strong then regular polish remover. No need to invest in a special nail polish remover though.

  2. NemiraB

    Hello, thanks for offering heathy solutions for our nails. I never thought about it, but now I think that it is a great idea. A price is not so different from OPI, I can tell that it is less compare with this popular brand.
    We got in our lives so many chemicals with our food, air and all stuff what we use in our household.
    Think that is a time to start thinking in a different way: to choose what is good for us.
    Thanks for providing this information, all the best, Nemira.

    • Shannon

      Nemira it really is not that much of a price difference. I agree we need a different way with less chemicals period.

  3. Holly

    I did not know that most nail varnishes contain formaldehyde! Gosh – I do not know how I feel about that as like you I thought it was used to embalm bodies… creepy. It just shows we really do not know what we are using on a daily basis. Based on your reviews I really like the sound of Zoya simply because of the price and longevity you talked about. I usually shop at The Body Shop for my beauty products which only sells 100% organic products and are strictly against animal testing etc. Extremely green brand – have you heard of it?

    • Shannon

      Holly it sounds like you are already on the right path to natural living. I have not heard of Extremely Green brand but it sounds like a good one. I will have to see if there is a body shop in my area.

  4. aishahomemadecupcakerecipes

    This sort of thing is becoming more and more relevant as of late since more and more people are educating themselves about the everyday things we use that are harmful to us. The challenge for me has always been that I’m not sure of what the alternatives are and I think your blog is perfect for overcoming these challenges and move towards a healthier, more natural life. Thank you, keep it up!

  5. Denise

    Formaldehyde is oncogenic (can cause the development of tumors) and shouldn’t be included in anything that people use on their body routinely (my opinion). I can’t believe they are found in nail polish. I work in a lab and if you get pregnant, you are not allowed in certain areas because they have formaldehyde fumes.
    You’re right, formaldehyde is used as a preservative for specimens including corps.
    Good job letting people know because I bet you a dime that many people are ignorant about what is in their nail polish.

    • Shannon

      Denise – You taught me something – I’ll have to use that term – oncogenic. Formaldehyde is bad stuff!

      Thanks for stopping by and for your valuable insight 🙂



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *