Splurge or Save: Nail Polish

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Splurge or save? Verdict: Both!

Doing your own manicure and pedicure isn't the easiest task, but after a few applications, you can become a nail polishing pro. You'll notice that having the most expensive nail polish won't actually make your nails look any better or worse. As long as your nails have a good base to start with, any decent nail polish will glide on easily. Follow up with a good top coat for a shiny finish and longer-lasting color.

If you've ever noticed nail polish sites advertising that their formula is free of the Big 3, that means three infamous toxic ingredients: Toluene, Formaldehyde and Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP). Many nail polish brands have made a big push in the past few years to remove these harmful ingredients from their formulations. If you have allergies or sensitivities to any nail polish ingredients like formaldehyde resisn, camphor or ethyl acetate, always be sure to double check the ingredient list on the packaging. The formulations of some brands have changed over the years and certain collections are not always made with the same exact ingredients, so be safe and check labels before purchasing. Pregnant women are sometimes advised not to use nail polish due to the harmful chemicals, but that is a personal decision.

Department store brand nail polishes may have more color choices, but chances are there is a drugstore dupe or if you wait, an inexpensive brand will launch a similar shade. We have noticed that the less toxic chemicals you want in your polish, the more money you may need to spend per bottle. Overall, both drugstore and mid to higher-end nail polish brands have an array of colors with "safer" formulations but the final decision is yours to make. We're not ones to use nail polish every day since the upkeep is a bit too much for us to handle on a daily basis and we think bare and well manicured nails are tres chic.

Drugstore Recommendations

  1. NYC In a New York Color Minute Quick Dry Nail Polish : Just $2 per bottle and free of the Big 3, these nail polishes come in 24 delicious colors that dry instantly. A bit on the sheer side, you may need to use two or more coats of color to get a true shade match on your nails.

  2. Hard Candy Nail Polish: I remember these polishes and their oversized rings back in my younger years and to this day, they still have a range of funky and fun colors. At only $5 a bottle at Wal-Mart, these are definitley a steal. Plus, these polishes are free of the Big 3!

  3. Sinful Colors Nail Enamel: Here is another bargain brand that is super inexpensive and free of the Big 3. With 60 beautiful shades to choose from, you'll find your perfect color in the selection. Some colors may need more than one coat though.

Mid-Price to Higher-End Recommendations

  1. Piggy Paint: The formula for these polishes to paint your piggies are non-toxic, odorless, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free and water-based. They come in a range of vibrant colors and are only $9 a bottle.

  2. Zoya Nail Polish: Zoya is a firm believer in healthy nails and their polishes are not only free of the Big 3, but also camphor free and vegan friendly. With nearly 400 different fabulous shades and textures to choose from, you can color your nails a new color every day of the year, and then some!****

  3. Butter London 3 Free Lacquer: Exactly like its title, Butter London 3 Free Lacquer is free of formaldehyde, toluene and DBP. The colors are rich (like "buttah") and fully pigmented for a flawless application. Butter's motto? "We believe in Colour, not Carcinogens."

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