In the world of beauty, the word toxins has lost most of its meaning. Same with nontoxic, because the two words don't have concrete, universal definitions. With nail polish, however, ingredients are becoming slightly more transparent. Brands have started to take note about the use of potentially harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate (the "big three"), along with others like formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, and xylene. When a formula is free of those additives, that's when you'll see three-, five-, seven-, eight-, or nine-free written on the label. And while being cognizant of using safe(r) products is important, the trade-off shouldn't be a disappointing nail polish experience. Happily, it no longer is. Glamour's staff got down to testing a spate of chic, thoughtful formulas, and came away impressed with the ones below.
"I brought this amazing wine-colored nail polish to my neighborhood nail salon, since I'm incredibly bad at painting my own nails and wanted to #treatmyself to a manicure. The application went on very smooth, and only needed two coats of the seven-free formula to look opaque. I noticed a few chips on day four of my manicure, but I have a feeling I'll continue to grab this color and bring it to the salon again." —Tess Kornfeld, editorial assistant