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New, Natural Nail Care

The search for the perfect pink polish is over!

Each bottle of nail polish in your cabinet has a secret: the beautiful liquid that we are so excited to apply is actually filled to the brim with chemicals. Likely up to 30 different chemicals color those little bottles, and all of them can harm the environment, produce harsh fumes, trigger allergies, disrupt your endocrine system, and make your nails brittle.

This might not seem like great news, but it’s not as dismal as it sounds. In fact, this information has inspired many entrepreneurs to create better – even prettier – alternatives.

Although no nail polish is completely natural, many brands have become significantly more natural. For example, a “3-free” brand does not use toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), or formaldehyde, all known carcinogens. We have discovered brands that have raised the bar even higher to become 8-free and 10-free.

Whether you’re already a natural cosmetics junkie, or you’re just starting to turn your shelves green, we have gathered our three favorite brands dedicated to natural nail care, and they don’t skimp on quality, color, or creativity, either.

Look forward to your next manicure headache and toxin-free.


Kure Bazaar

Kure Bazaar was conceptualized by a mother who sought a polish healthy enough to put on her body while she was pregnant. It amazed her that there wasn’t already safe option that also boasted longevity and quality. So Kartika and her co-founder worked to create an alternative. They made no compromises while formulating what became a 85% natural polish that is long lasting, fast-drying, and super shiny.


Sundays Salon has developed a luxury line of 10-free nail polish that comes with a lavish pink-tinted spa experience. Their formula excludes the most harmful ingredients, including one derived from animals (so it’s vegan, too!). When we stopped into the salon, we were welcomed into a sophisticated but relaxed atmosphere and given unparalleled treatment. We were very impressed with how beautifully their polish went on and stayed on. Plus, there is a whole range of elegant colors to choose from.


Tenoverten was founded by Nadine Abramcyk and Adair Ilyinsky, who were interested in seeing more nail salons in their Tribeca neighborhood. They wanted to open a proper salon with a social environment that also allowed people to relax. Stepping into any one of their locations feels like coming home to a beautiful apartment. They have also made it their mission to put the nail first, and in 2011 launched their beautiful 8-free line that ensures the manicure experience is as healthy as it is gorgeous for you and your body. Even better, each color they feature is in response to their customer demands. We were eager to learn more, and had the opportunity to speak with Nadine about their holistic brand philosophy.

Tell us more about the challenges involved in creating natural nail polishes that are long lasting and chic?

The difficulty doesn’t come in creating a formula that strips unnecessary chemicals from our polish formulation, but from convincing consumers that the formula will last as long as chemical laden polish. It is all about educating people on what can be harmful in those chemicals and how their absence does not sacrifice the polish’s quality.

How did you develop your brand – your nail polish and the experience you offer in your salons?

We developed our brand from a sheer desire to create something that was different than what you could find in the existing salon experience. It came from a true passion to make a safer salon experience that one could truly enjoy and share with others. We were improving on the traditional neighborhood salon experience with a non-toxic angle, which naturally parlayed into our polish brand extension.

Can you tell our readers about the important difference between 3-free, 5-free, and 8-free?

There is no regulation on what the chemicals are that make up the marketing terms 3, 5, or 8-free. We strip what we believe can be truly harmful and accept there is no such thing as 100% natural nail polish.

While of course we love a shiny new manicure, we really care that what’s underneath is strong and healthy and that the manicure experience itself is a safe one.

It’s important to know that some polish companies will throw an ingredient such as parabens in their free-of list even though historically parabens never even had a place in polish formulation. They are hitting on a hot buzzword to give themselves more credit.

At tenoverten we are nail loyalists from bottom to top. While of course we love a shiny new manicure, we really care that what’s underneath is strong and healthy and that the manicure experience itself is a safe one.

All of our products are 8-free.

To that end, we are committed to making products that are as non-toxic as possible without sacrificing performance. All of our products are 8-free, meaning they are free of the following eight ingredients typically found in nail polish that have been linked to toxicity: formaldehyde, camphor, xylene, formaldehyde resin, triphenyl phosphate (tphp), dibutyl phthalate (dbp), ethyl tosylamide, and toluene.

What are the key things to know about the nail polish industry?

• There is no such thing as an 100% natural nail polish formula

• You don’t need to have chemicals in order to have a good quality manicure

• Gels really do affect the overall health of your nails if done too frequently and not with care

• The most important product in the manicure experience is the base coat, because that is the first coat touching your nails and nail bed. A lot of base coats contain formaldehyde, so pay special attention to the ingredient list of your base coat (even over your color).

This is a special “give back” month at BWB, what are some of the things tenoverten does to give back?

Tenoverten has a special relationship with Safe Horizon where women can come into one of our salons prior to going out on a job interview to have their nails painted – hands and feet – as a feel good measure to build confidence when faced with an important day in their lives.

These women otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a nail service so we really enjoy this partnership, which goes on year round. Our employees are active participants in giving back as well since they are the ones giving the service.


The clean beauty movement has grown, and we hope these three brands will have you feeling healthier and more confident into the New Year. Maybe, with many healthier manicure options on the market, chemical-heavy formulas will soon be a thing of the past.

We have our (well-polished) fingers crossed.

Lani Allen

Lani Allen is a graduate of Columbia University’s Non-fiction Creative Writing program. After serving as Vice President of her class for two years, she contributed written pieces and illustrations to many on-campus publications. As a writer with a passion for beauty, Lani enjoys capturing the stories of innovative thinkers and risk-takers shaping the industry as we know it.

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