The Best Three Free Nail Polish Brands

While buying polishes, you must have read that so and so brand is three free or five free. Although it may sound very nice and good for you, but do you actually know about these chemicals? Here I have curated a list of best nail polish brands that are "3 Free" along with a little information about those chemicals. 

What are Big-3 Chemicals?

Also known as the “Toxic Trio”, big-3 are the following three chemicals:
  • Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) – Common plasticizer, which increases the flexibility and fluidity of a product.
    • Uses – Makes nail polish last longer by making it more flexible and is used in cosmetics and the manufacture of soft plastics.
    • Safety – Linked to cancer. Health concerns include problems in the endocrine system, increased risk of diabetes in women, nausea, it’s an irritant, causes reproductive issues and has been linked to birth defects.
  • **Formaldehyde – Naturally occurring organic compound that is a gas at room temperature.
    • Uses – Embalmer, nail hardener, preservative, sterilizer, wood component (although its use in wood is now minimized and legislated).
    • Safety – Known carcinogen – meaning causes cancer. Health concerns include allergic reactions, breathing issues (coughing, asthma-like symptoms, wheezing, etc.), it’s an irritant, linked to lung and nasal cancers.
    • Additional Concerns – “In view of its widespread use, toxicity and volatility, exposure to formaldehyde is a significant consideration for human health.” (US Department of Health and Human Services)
  • **Methylene Glycol/Formalin – An organic compound of a solution in water of formaldehyde.
    • Uses – Embalmer, disinfectant, nail hardener, production of plastic and resins, and wart treatment.
    • Safety – Known carcinogen. Highly flammable. Health concerns include allergic reactions, breathing issues (coughing, asthma-like symptoms, wheezing, etc.),  it’s an irritant, and can cause vomiting. At higher levels it can cause bronchitis and fluid in the lungs, but not at the levels found in nail polish.
  • Toluene – Derived from petroleum and commonly used as a solvent to dissolve or combine other chemicals.
    • Uses – Fuel, makes nail polish smooth and even and controls it’s evaporation, and used as a solvent (such as in paint thinner).
    • Safety – Health concerns include dizziness, dry skin, it’s an irritant, causes headaches, liver and kidney damage, nausea, numbness, and has been linked to birth defects.

According to NAILS Magazine:
The concern over formaldehyde started because the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI), which is a dictionary that instructs the cosmetic industry on how to name chemicals, misnamed a chemical called methylene glycol (also known as formalin) and incorrectly required manufacturers to call it formaldehyde. Though methylene glycol is made from formaldehyde, they are not similar at all…So in effect, the concern over formaldehyde was non-existent because formaldehyde was never used in polishes; it was methylene glycol all along.
However, one does NOT seem to be any better than the other.
According to Wikipedia:
Commercial solutions of formaldehyde in water, commonly called formol or formalin…is commonly used in nail hardeners and/or nail varnish.
Additional Information: Many sites claim that these chemicals have been banned in Europe but this does not appear to be true (International Bans on Formaldehyde).

Big-3 free, also known as 3 Free nail polish brands

No Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, and Formaldehyde

  • A beautiful life
  • Adoree
  • a-england
  • American Apparel
  • Anise Cosmetics
  • Aura-Soma
  • Acquarella (Free of: formadehyde, pthalates, and chemical solvents)
  • Bari Cosmetics
  • Butter LONDON (Free of: formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate)
  • BB CoutureBeauty Without Cruelty
  • China Glaze
  • Color Club
  • CND
  • Deborah Lippmann,
  • Del Sol
  • Dr’s Remedy
  • Essie
  • Estee Lauder (+ no formaldehyde resin)
  • e.l.f.
  • Finger Paints
  • Hard Candy
  • Jessica Cosmetics
  • Jordana
  • Karma Organic Spa
  • L.A. Girl
  • Lancome (+ no formaldehyde resin)
  • Le Metier
  • M.A.C. (+ no formaldehyde resin)
  • M2M Jon Natural Nail
  • Manglaze
  • Milani
  • Misa Cosmetics
  • Mineral Fusion (Free of: formaldehyde, toluene, camphor and dibutyl phthalate.)
  • My Earth
  • Niyot
  • Nykaa
  • Nars (+ no formaldehyde resin)
  • Nicole
  • OPI
  • Priti NYC (Free of: toluene, dibutyl pthalate, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor)
  • RJMineral Cosmetics
  • Savina
  • SolarActive
  • Soulstice Spa
  • SpaGlo
  • SpaRitual (Free of: dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin)
  • Wet N Wild
  • Zoya (Free of: toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate)

Some of you must be astonished and surprised seeing this, but it is true. So, did your polish made the cut?

Also, brands keep changing their formulations to make the polish better, so it is possible that some of these may enter the 5 Free band or 4 Free band or simply walk out of the 3 free band. 

If you know any other brand that comes under this category, do share it with me in comments!

Lots of Love!!!