Best Non-Toxic Safe Nail Polish for Pregnant Women

Pregnancy brings with it a heightened sense of caution as expectant mothers take a closer look at the beauty products they use in order to keep their growing baby safe. Nail polish and nail paints may seem like an insignificant detail. It is worth noting that not all nail polishes are created equal. In this post, we will look at safe nail polish for pregnant women.  We will explore the best pregnancy-safe nail polish brands that prioritize the health of both mother and baby. This will still enable you to indulge in a bit of well-deserved pampering.

In general, pregnant women may be told to avoid certain beauty treatments. The treatments to avoid can include certain facials, skincare treatments, and hair dye, especially during the first trimester.  However, nail color is generally considered safe to use during pregnancy. This is because the amount of chemicals that can be absorbed through the nails and nail bed are minimal and pose little risk to the baby. Nevertheless, it is important to choose nail polishes that are free from potentially harmful ingredients.

In the United States, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) regulates cosmetic products, including nail polishes, to an extent. However, it is important to note that the FDA does not have the authority to approve cosmetic products before they go on the market. This means that companies are responsible for ensuring their products are safe for consumers. When making products, not all companies have the best interests of pregnant women and their unborn babies in mind.  As such, it is essential for pregnant women to do their own research. Be mindful of what ingredients may potentially have negative health effects on your baby.  

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A woman is painting the nails of an outstretched hand in a salon.

Are There Chemicals in Nail Polish to Avoid While Pregnant?

We often do not think of all of the chemicals and potentially harmful ingredients that are in the brands we use every day before pregnancy.  However, pregnant women are advised to avoid or reduce exposure to certain harsh chemicals due to the risk they pose to the developing baby. Some ingredients in traditional nail polishes that should be avoided during pregnancy include formaldehyde, phthalates, and toluene. 

These ingredients can sometimes have side effects such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and skin irritations. They can also be harmful to the respiratory system, nervous system, and in some cases may even cause birth defects. Fortunately, there are many safe nail polish options for pregnant women that do not contain these ingredients.

To be on the safe side, it is important to look for products labeled “3-free formula” or “5-free formula”. These terms indicate that the product is free of formaldehyde and other potentially harmful substances such as dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, formaldehyde resin, and camphor.


Formaldehyde resin is a preservative commonly found in nail polish. It has show a direct link to birth defects and other developmental issues. It is used to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in the polish, but can have harmful effects on pregnant women and their babies.  Long-term exposure to formaldehyde has been linked to respiratory issues. This substance may also cause irritation or allergic reactions when exposed to the skin.

This chemical has also been classified as a known human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Pregnant women should avoid nail polishes that contain formaldehyde or opt for brands that offer formaldehyde-free non-toxic formulas.


Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and are commonly found in nail polish. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), in particular, has been linked to reproductive harm and developmental issues in babies. While the use of DBP has been banned in some countries, it is still allowed in nail polish products in others. It is best to avoid any nail polishes that contain this chemical during pregnancy.  While there is limited research on the effects of phthalates on pregnant women, it is best for expectant mothers to avoid them altogether.


Toluene is a solvent that helps nail polish adhere to the nail and gives it a smooth finish. However, this chemical can also cause headaches, dizziness, and skin irritation in pregnant women. It has also been linked to developmental issues and even impaired brain function in babies and should be avoided during pregnancy.

Triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) is another chemical often used as a substitute for toluene in nail polish. While it is not harmful on its own, it can break down into other potentially dangerous compounds. It is best to choose nail polishes that are free from both toluene and TPHP.

Ethyl Tosylamide 

Ethyl Tosylamide is another chemical that has been brought to light for its potential risks to your unborn baby during pregnancy. It is used as a plasticizer in some nail polishes and has been linked to developmental issues in some animal studies.


Camphor is a waxy substance found in some nail polishes that gives it a glossy finish. It can cause skin irritation, headaches, and nausea when inhaled, making it important to avoid during pregnancy.

Overall, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid nail polishes that contain these potentially harmful ingredients during pregnancy. Instead, look for brands that offer safer alternatives or opt for natural nail polish options made with non-toxic ingredients. You are only pregnant for a short time, but the health of your baby is a lifetime commitment. So make sure to prioritize their well-being and choose safe nail polishes that still allow you to enjoy some self-care during this special time. Remember, every little effort counts when it comes to protecting your growing baby’s health.  

Best Pregnancy Safe Nail Polish

The good news is there are several brands that offer safe and non-toxic nail polish that pregnant women can use. Some of these brands include:

Ella+Mila: This brand offers a wide range of cruelty-free and vegan nail polish that is also free from formaldehyde, phthalates, toluene, and other harmful chemicals.

ella+mila Nail Polish, BonBon Collection - Dulce Amor - Long-Lasting & Chip Resistant Formula (0.45 fl oz each)

Butter London: Their line of “Pregnancy Safe” nail polishes is free from formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP. They also offer a range of different shades and finishes for expecting mothers.

butter LONDON Patent Shine 10X Nail Lacquer, Gel-Like Finish, Chip-Resistant Formula, 10-Free Formula, Cruelty-Free, Polymer Technology

Zoya: The Zoya nail polish brand offers an extensive collection of pregnancy-safe nail polishes that are “Big 10-Free Formula”, meaning they are free from not only the toxic trio (formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP) but also other harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde resin, camphor, and more.

ZOYA Nail Polish

Piggy Paint: This brand specializes in non-toxic nail polishes for children and pregnant women. Their formula is free from harsh chemicals and safe for even the tiniest of nails.

Piggy Paint Nail Polish – Sea Ya Later 0.5 oz.

Sally Hansen: Sally Hansen nail polish offers a line of “Safe and Healthy” polishes that are free from formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP. They also offer a range of different colors and finishes.

Sally Hansen - Good. Kind. Pure Vegan Nail Polish, Cherry amore, Packaging May Vary

Karma Organic: This brand offers a wide variety of non-toxic and pregnancy safe nail polishes that are free from the top ten nasty chemicals commonly found in traditional nail polish brands.

karma organic Natural Non toxic Nail polish - Vegan and Cruelty Free Nail Paint for Nail Art - Fast Drying Nail Polish for Women - Long Lasting Nail Polish (Boss Debbie)

Pregnant women can also opt for water-based polishes, which use water as a base instead of solvents. These polishes typically have fewer harsh chemicals and are easier to remove, making them a safer option for expecting mothers.

It is important to note that just because certain nail products are marketed as “natural” or “organic”, it does not necessarily mean that it is safe for use during pregnancy. It is always a good idea to check the ingredients list! Opt for brands that are transparent about their formulations.

Safe Practices When Using Nail Polish During Pregnancy

In addition to using safe nail polish brands, there are also some general precautions pregnant people should take when indulging in a manicure:

  • Let your nail technician know you are pregnant, so they can take any extra precautions.  
  • Make sure the nail salon is a well-ventilated area to reduce exposure to harsh fumes.  You may be more sensitive to smells during the first trimester due to all of your pregnancy hormones rising.
  • Take breaks from using nail polish and allow your natural nail to breathe.
  • If you must use regular nail polish, try to limit your exposure and be careful not to inhale the fumes. You can also use a face mask or make sure you have plenty of open windows.
  • Always read the ingredients list before purchasing a new nail polish and avoid any known harmful chemicals. 
  • Consider using water-based nail polishes instead of solvent-based ones, as they tend to contain fewer toxic ingredients.
  • Acrylic nails and gel polishes may also contain toxic chemicals, so it is best to avoid them during pregnancy. Ultraviolet light (UV light) used for gel manicures can also be harmful.
  • Use nail polish remover that is acetone-free to minimize exposure to harsh ingredients.
  • Stick with polish that comes in a glass bottle, as some plastic bottles can contain harmful chemicals and toxins.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after using nail polish and avoid touching your face or mouth until the polish has fully dried. 

Can I Use Other Nail Products During Pregnancy?

Other common nail products that are used on a regular basis can include nail polish remover, artificial nails, and cuticle oils. While these may not necessarily contain the same harmful chemicals as traditional nail polish, it is still important to use caution and opt for safer alternatives whenever possible.

  • Nail Polish Remover: As mentioned earlier, choosing an acetone-free nail polish remover can reduce exposure to harsh chemicals. You can also look for natural options such as soy-based or plant-based removers.  Gentle alternatives like vinegar or lemon juice are another excellent choice for removing nail polish.
  • Artificial Nails: Acrylic nails and gel nails can be harmful during pregnancy due to their use of harsh chemicals and UV lights. It is best to go the extra mile and avoid these types of nail enhancements until after giving birth.  It is always better to be over-cautious than under-cautious.
  • Cuticle Oils: While not necessarily harmful, it is still important to check the ingredients list of cuticle oils and opt for ones that are free from harsh chemicals or fragrances.  Try using homemade non-toxic options for cuticle oil.  You can make them with natural ingredients like coconut or olive oil. 
  • Hand Cream: Use a natural, fragrance-free hand cream instead of those containing large amounts of harsh chemicals. 

By being mindful of the products we use during pregnancy, we can reduce our exposure to harmful toxins and keep both ourselves and our growing babies safe. So be sure to prioritize your health and make informed decisions when it comes to nail care during this period of your life.

A person wears a blue and white striped sweater.  There is a close up of their fingers interlaced with their nails painted different colors.

Just because you are pregnant does not mean you have to give up all beauty treatments and forms of pampering. With the right knowledge and precautions, pregnant women can still enjoy a manicure without worrying about hazardous chemicals affecting their baby. In fact, taking the time out of your day to do something nice for yourself is a great way to promote relaxation and reduce stress!  Choosing a safe nail polish brand and following these precautions can help expectant mothers enjoy some well-deserved pampering without compromising the health of their developing fetus. Remember, your health and the well-being of your baby should always come first.  Be cautious and make informed choices when it comes to beauty products during pregnancy. Your nails may not be perfect, but the health of your baby is priceless! 

You may also be interested in reading:

Best Prenatal Iron Gummies for Pregnancy

Drinks for Pregnant Women (Healthy Drink Guide)

Can Pregnant Women Eat Ranch Dressing? (Safe Dressings)

Can I Eat Goat Cheese While Pregnant? (What To Avoid)

Best Pregnancy Lollipops For Nausea Relief

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