Toxin Free No Polish Manicure

Natural no polish manicure

I have officially adopted the all natural manicure.

For years I envied friends, family, and colleagues who were great at maintaining beautifully manicured nails (how on earth did they find the time or energy?!). Sure, there were short spurts where I tried committing to weekly manicures but I always grew irritated by the amount of time and money I was spending on something that only lasted a week (…if I was lucky).

I became inspired to embrace the no polish manicure when I met a coworker who was SUPER chic. She had a great haircut, awesome style, and always looked put together. This was the type of girl who you would expect to sport perfectly polished nails, but no! She never wore polish. But she was able to pull it off and still appear professional because her bare nails were so naturally well kept (nicely shaped, buffed, and clean cuticles).

Benefits of a Natural Nail Manicure

Recent studies show that many mainstream nail polish brands contain dangerous chemicals that seep into our bodies via polish application. For instance, triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) might cause negative impacts on our reproductive and developmental health (source: EWG) and formaldehyde has been classified as a probable human carcinogen (source: As a mother (who hopes to have more babies in the future) with a desire to live a long, healthy, and cancer-free life, this information makes me nervous!

A natural nail manicure eliminates all of these health risks by avoiding nail polish altogether. 

DIY Natural Manicure Tools and Products

Mastering the no polish manicure at home is easy to do if you have the right tools and ingredients.

Essential Tools for a Natural Nail Manicure

  1. Olive Oil
  2. Nail Clipper
  3. File
  4. Sugar
  5. Small Towel
  6. Orange Stick
  7. Cuticle Trimmer (optional)
  8. Buffer

5 Steps to a No Polish Manicure

So you have all of your essential polish-free manicure tools. Now it’s time to light a candle, turn on your oil diffuser, play some relaxing music, and get started. 

Step 1: Olive Oil

Before doing anything else, remove your jewelry and place in a safe and secure location!

Natural manicure olive oil for cuticles

Soak nails and cuticles in olive oil for 10 minutes then rub the excess oil into your hands and forearms. I store olive oil in a small glass dropper with the rest of my nail tools so I don’t have to go to my kitchen each time I want to moisturize my cuticles.

If you’re interested in a store-bought cuticle moisturizer, I have used Burt’s Bees Cuticle Creme for years and highly recommend keeping one in your purse for moisturizing between treatments.

Step 2: Clip and File

Natural manicure nail filing

I prefer a slightly rounded shape that follows the shape of my nail bed, but get as creative as you like! Some folks prefer more square or even long, pointy shapes (a la Khloe Kardashian if that’s what you’re into). 

Step 3: Sugar Scrub

Natural manicure sugar scrub for cuticles

Scrub your nail beds and cuticles with a mix of 1 part sugar and 1 part olive oil. I like to take my time while I complete this step and really scrub off any dead skin, hangnails, and soften the cuticles for the next step.

Step 4: Cuticle Care

Wrap sugared hands in a warm, damp towel for a minute to loosen your cuticle skin, then wipe off the excess scrub.

Natural manicure warm towel

Use an orange stick to push back your cuticles and use your damp towel to wipe away excess skin off the face of the nail.

Natural manicure orange stick for cuticles

If stubborn hangnails remain, use a cuticle trimmer to clip them away.

Step 5: Buff

Natural manicure nail buffing

This is my favorite step! Buff the face of each nail until they’re shiny and smooth, then put your jewelry back on. Now go out and show off your pretty hands!

Safer Nail Polish Options

If you still want to keep a bottle or two of nail polish on hand for special occasions, Wellness Mama put together a comprehensive nail polish guide. Her guide includes a number of “better-for-you” nail polish brands that might be worth trying. 

I keep only 3 colors in my collection, a coral/red, a neutral/nude, and an inky black. I find that those three classic colors are appropriate for just about any work environment or special occasion and tend to match with most outfits.

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  1. Stumbled upon this while looking at your other posts! I stopped using nail polish a few months ago and my nails are SO much stronger now. No splitting, no accidental breakage, it’s pretty incredible!

    I’d add: I use a glass file, which I read can be kinder to nails but is still zero waste 🙂 It also doubles as a buffer for me. And (especially on my toes), I’ll use a reusable makeup removal pad soaked in hydrogen peroxide to brighten the nails a little. Makes ’em look like they’re still *done* even sans polish.

    1. Marian! Coming in with the good stuff – I have had the same metal nail file for YEARS but have always been curious about glass (they’re prettier too…). Also need to try your hydrogen peroxide tip! <3

  2. Love this post!
    I’ve never been one to wear nail polish. I just keep my nails trimmed and clean and moisturize nightly with a shea balm that I make myself. It gives me an excuse to give myself a little hand massage.

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