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Zao Nail Polish Collection

Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Vegan Nail Polish 9

It might surprise you to know that conventional nail polish can actually be considered as hazardous waste. It contains a number of not-so-healthy ingredients that can be flammable, toxic, and harmful in a number of ways, even if used correctly. Furthermore, when we are done with the polish and throw it out, releasing such chemicals into the environment and landfill has potentially harmful implications as well. But for those of you that love having your nails painted pretty colours, there are eco, vegan solutions at hand (excuse the pun).

Some of the most harmful ingredients in conventional, commercial nail polish are toluene, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde resin, paraben, xylene, camphor, rosin, styrene and benzophenone. These ingredients all have the potential of causing respiratory problems, headaches, eye irritations, skin complaints, and even dizziness and vomiting. 

Thankfully there is another eco friendly, ethical, vegan option. 

Nowadays there are a number of eco-friendly, sustainable brands out there, offering natural, ethical, environmentally friendly, chemical free and vegan nail polishes without this list of ingredients. Instead of using these toxic ingredients, they have leveraged nature to use things like bamboo oil to create silica and potatoes, wheat, and corn to create agro-solvents instead of using harmful petrochemical solvents. For example, bamboo based silica, otherwise known as bamboo rhizome macerate is great for strengthening the nails and making them more resistant to wear and tear. Organic silica can also cure brittle nails, keeping you nails protected throughout the day!

When it comes to removing vegan nail polish, commercial removers can be just as harmful. Full of acetone and alcohol, these mixtures not only strip the polish from your nails but they also remove the natural oils that your nails need to be healthy. This dries them out, leading to discolouration, breaking, and splitting. By switching out your commercial nail polish remover for a eco nail polish remover that is an acetone free version, you can significantly improve the health of your nails and the surrounding skin.

Of course, no eco-friendly, sustainable, natural nail routine would be complete without the use of eco-friendly nail polish remover and bamboo, reusable nail polish remover pads. Many of us are guilty of using disposable cotton pads or wipes that end up in the rubbish and ultimately landfill. Instead you should consider using sustainable, reusable bamboo felt or reusable, natural cotton versions  that lift the vegan nail polish from your nails and can then be washed and reused again and again.

These are just some of the steps you can take to make your vegan nail polish routine more eco-friendly, sustainable and environmentally friendly as well as more healthy for you and your nails.


  1. Are your nail polishes suitable for children?

    Catherine Barnett
    1. Hi Catherine,

      Yes they are safe for children to use!

      Parental supervision advised 🙂

  2. Thank you! That’s great 🙂

    Catherine Barnett
  3. Aren’t they polimer which is plastic? How they can be environmental friendly if contain plastic?

    1. Hi Beyza,

      Some of the nail polishes to contain a co-polymer. this is to prevent chipping as water based polishes are not very durable. the polishes are still considered environmentally friendly because of the great care taken to ensure there are no toxic ingredients used in manufacturing. there is an in-depth explanation in the product description of the benefits of these nail polishes.

      I hope this helps !

  4. Hi. I’ve just been reading about the nail polish you sell. I understand the bottles are glass. Do Zao provide a circular scheme whereby the bottles can be sent back to them to be cleaned and reused? I’ve avoided wearing nail polish for years because I’ve got lots of old bottles that I just don’t know what to do with (not zao).but would like to glam up occasionally without the guilt of more waste. Thank you. Lucy

    1. Hi Lucy,

      Unfortunately Zao do not offer refills on their nail polish, however many of their other products can be refilled !

      the glass bottle should be fine to pop in the recycling!

      i hope this helps

      Kind regards


  5. So, they have plastic in, and you’re doing to
    use reusable pads, that are then put in the washing machine, thus making sure we put micro plastics in to the water table…. How is that eco friendly?

    1. Hi Jazz,

      Thank you for your comment.

      The nail polish on our website contains no plastic, the only polish we stock that does contain plastic is Zao’s 665 top coat which contains polyethylene terephthalate.

      We try and offer the widest range possible, sometimes it’s very hard to avoid plastics, so we offer the most eco-friendly option available. This way you can enjoy the luxuries of life without causing as much damage as the synthetic products.

      I hope this helps!

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