The Mood-Boosting Nontoxic Nail Polishes You Need To Try Right Now

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Photo: Twenty20

Nail polish in general is a lot safer these days, with most brands removing carcinogens and toxic phthalates from their formulas to make them safer for both us (the consumer) and manicurists alike. Bright sunny days call for bold and beautiful nails, and so I've chosen seven shades for your digits' seasonal debut. To aid in the decision-making process, I thought about the literal mood-boosting effects of color, and consulted with feng shui expert, Anjie Cho.

Let these tiny bottles of kaleidoscopic lacquers take center stage in your springtime beauty rituals, and while you get your paint on, rest assured that the formulations you're playing with are the current gold standard in green beauty. Oh, and they shine pretty magically in summer evening light too. Now, I've just got to find that porch to sit on...

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Butter London is the OG brand that went from being the original 3-free nail polish, to the first to ring in the age of 7-free options. As well as a reformulation of all their other lacquers (free of DBP, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, and xylene) it’s also the answer to romance. According to feng shui expert Anjie Cho, "pink can attract love and friendship into your life, and support a feminine, girly energy." Butter London Piece Of Cake Patent Shine 10X Nail Lacquer ($18)

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Coming in on 5-free is Deborah Lippmann, who aside from the Big Three (formaldehyde, toluene, or dibutyl phthalate) removes formaldehyde resin and camphor from her ingredients too. A good pastel chalky mint green feels elevated and edgier than normal, plus I don't know if it's just me, but the hue always reminds me of mint chocolate chip cones, and what's not to love about that. "The vibrant tones of greens mirror verdant plants," says Cho, "so it's no surprise that green hues are healing and therapeutic. In fact, studies show that the colors blue and green fall in the middle of the color spectrum, which is literally relaxing for our eyes." And our hands. Deborah Lippmann Crème Nail Polish in Flowers In Her Hair ($4.50)

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Far from gloomy, spring's iteration on purple comes in a surprising hue that's as enchanting as the light-filled sunsets we currently have the pleasure of gasping at each evening in the Northern Hemisphere. This bewitching hue also does double-duty: The formula is 5-free and an auspicious color to boot. "In feng shui, purple is related to wealth and abundance, as well as spirituality. Purple is also the color of the crown chakra, which is where we connect with wisdom and the universal," says Cho. "Paint your nails with this chroma spectrum to invite prosperity and nobility into your life." Jamberry Nail Lacquer in Juke Box ($16)

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A fucshia nail is punchy, but still within the classic color range, so you don't have to worry about your nails looking too intense or crazy. Bliss has upped the ante with this all-singing, all-dancing formulation, that besides being five-free, is infused with milk thistle extract to moisturize fragile nail beds. "Fuchsia is related to fire energy," says Cho. "This color can invoke passion and fiery flames of inspiration!" Bliss Genius Nail Polish in Strawberry Fields ($9)

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The color tangerine is my instant mood elevator, not to mention an energetic, tropic-inspired shade. Feeling punchy? "An orange-themed beauty ritual is an earthy nod to stability in feng shui," says Cho. "When we need some security and strength, orange hues are the colors to incorporate into our life," says Cho. Easy peasy to achieve with N.Y.C. nail artist Jin Soon Choi's (known for celeb clients like Sarah Jessica Parker) five-free formula. Jin Soon Nail Polish in Hope ($18)

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Sunshine yellow fingers are the antithesis of play-it-safe, stay-within-the-lines nails, a statement-making hue to experiment with. "Yellow is all about standing in your power," says Cho. "We tend to lead such independent lives nowadays, it's a good reminder to remember that we can ask for and receive support when we need it too." All Acquarella's polishes are water-based and 9-free, meaning there's no formaldehyde, formaldehyde-like derivatives, toluene, ketones, petrochemical solvents, DBP, phthalates, polyurethane, polyurethane film-formers, parabens, camphor, mercury, lead, FD&C, coal tar, gluten, wheat by-products, or aromatic hydrocarbons. Now you know! Acquarella Nail Polish in Lumen 2.0 ($16)


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A great metallic gold calls to mind natural holographic beauties and images of rainbows and unicorns. OK, so maybe just to my mind, but metallic sparkles go with absolutely everything. Plus, adding a touch of sparkle will make you smile as you move your fingertip to your phone, or reach across your desk for your green smoothie. Aside from the very literal psychological benefits, this color is potent, says Cho. "The meaning of gold is very happy, warm, stimulating, and expansive in Feng shui tradition. Gold draws people out and makes them more talkative. It helps to focus attention and stimulate the intellect." Priti Nail Polish in Chrysanthos ($15)


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