Doing my nails at home is my form of self-care. But removing said polish is a personal hell with no one to blame but myself.
Nail polish remover basically smells like poison — even the ones that don't use acetone — and they always dry out my nails. But somehow the team at Ella+Mila have developed a soy-based remover that works well, smells great, and moisturizes my nails.
Founder and mother Narineh Bedrossian created Ella + Mila (named after her twin daughters) in 2014 out of necessity — she wasn't finding nail-care products that her daughters could safely use; everything was made with unpronounceable and harmful chemicals. Five years later, the brand has expanded into makeup and body care made without parabens, phthalates, lanolin, or gluten, and even accessories.
Soy Nail Polish Remover uses lavender essential oil for a pleasant smell, and vitamins A, C, and E to help nourish nail beds and cuticles. It's free of seven harmful chemicals normally found in traditional polishes like acetone, formaldehyde, toluene, and more. The polishes are also vegan and animal cruelty-free.
Even though I knew the formula didn't use acetone, I hesitated to take a whiff in case I was going to get hit with some other type of noxious smell. But to my surprise, it just smelled like soap and lavender. The formula is a bit oily, so be careful when holding the bottle if your nails and fingers are wet.
There's a bit of a learning curve with the polish. According to the brand, instead of rubbing remover over each nail until the polish is gone and then moving onto the next finger, go over all 10 of your nails first and let the formula sit and absorb for around 20 seconds before rubbing off the rest of the polish.
I find that I'm not scrubbing my nail beds this way and removing polish is a whole lot easier and faster. The oils in the formula also moisturizes my nail beds and cuticles, though it's not a substitute for hand or cuticle cream.
If you're looking for a nail polish remover that won't make you pass out from the fumes, I'd suggest giving the Ella+Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover a try. It's more expensive than the generic drugstore one I'd used to buy for 99 cents, but at least it won't make me pass out from the smell of acetone or dry out my hands and nails.