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Whether we apply nail polish ourselves or hit the salon to have it done, one thing is for sure: At that moment in time, all we're wishing is for the polish to take its sweet time chipping or peeling away. Yet, as soon as that baby blue hue is no longer in style or we're simply ready for a fresh coat, we're all about having that polish removed by whatever means necessary.

This could mean taking another trip to the nail salon or removing it ourselves at home with a handy bottle of nail polish remover. The problem is that nail polish remover has been found to be harsh—toxic, even—on our skin and nails. What used to be a first choice for removing nail polish might actually be better saved as a last resort, especially when there are natural ways to create your own nontoxic remover right at home.

Are nail polish and nail polish remover dangerous?

First, it's important to determine if there are any dangers to the toxins found in both nail polish and nail polish remover. That answer is yes, but—and this is a pretty big but—it does depend on the levels of exposure to it. Nail workers, for example, are unfortunately put more at risk for health issues down the line such as respiratory issues, skin ailments, and more because they may spend a whole day around these products for months or years at a time.

As for those who never skip their mani/pedi appointments every couple of weeks, you can rest easy that there is little risk involved. However, it's important to note that there are claims that we can become exposed to a dangerous compound called diphenyl phosphate 10 hours after polish is applied. Scientists say that this compound metabolizes the chemical triphenyl phosphate and could disrupt hormones in humans and animals.

While the risks are low, it's still a good idea to switch things up whenever you can by choosing natural, nontoxic methods of removing nail polish. It all starts with this homemade DIY recipe that can be easily made at home.

Mix together lemon and apple cider vinegar

  1. To begin, round up these four ingredients: the juice of one lemon, 3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, a small bowl, and cotton rounds or balls.

  2. Start by mixing together the lemon and apple cider vinegar in equal parts. If you want, you can help soften the nail polish by placing your nails in warm water.

  3. Next, dip your fingers into the lemon and apple cider vinegar mixture. Hopefully, you don't have any cuts on your fingers, or the lemon might really sting. Keep your nails in there for 20-30 seconds.

  4. Using the cotton pad or ball, wipe off the nail polish as you would with any remover. If the polish is still really stuck on there, then repeat the process two or three times until it's all completely removed.  

Quick note: An alternative to this recipe is to use white vinegar with these citrus fruits: orange, lime, lemon, and grapefruit.

Easy peasy. It's a nontoxic nail polish remover made in minutes that you can feel good about given the possible dangers. Your glittery pink nails will thank you.

About the Author

Sarah Kester

Sarah is a writer, editor and cat mom. Lover of wine, rom-coms, and all things self-care, she’s inspired by mindfulness and helping others feel balanced in their lives through meditation, self-love and self-care. After all, what's balance without Saturday morning yoga and green juice and a glass of rosé later that evening? She has written for The Greatest, Elite Daily, YourTango, Vital Proteins, among others. To learn more, you can find her at her website sarahkester.com.