Worth It: Non-Toxic Nail Polish Remover That Actually Smells Good


Much unlike many a magazine editor who recommends you buy all sorts of crap that they most likely got for free, your Jezebel staff doesn’t get jack shit (other than books, unsolicited). And that’s how it should be. But on our own time, in our personal lives, we still buy stuff. So this is Worth It, our daily recommendation of random things that we’ve actually spent our own money on. These are the things we buy regularly or really like, things we’d actually tell our friends about. And now we’re telling you.

The only thing I remember about ninth grade chemistry is a speech my teacher gave about nail polish remover probably being carcinogenic (that and Mr. Silver letting me play my the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack during lab time — I don’t wanna wait!). At the time I didn’t know (or perhaps there weren’t) other options, so I stuck with whatever drug store brand my mom picked up. For the next 13 years, I thought about how I was probably slowly killing myself every time I took off my ragged polish, but researching non-toxic removers wasn’t high on my list of things to do.

Then a few weeks ago, I read a New York Times article on new types of eco-friendly nail polish removers and decided that it was time to stop pondering Mr. Ag’s recommendation and invest 15 minutes in finding a new nail polish remover. The $45 jar of “microscopic crystals” reviewed by the Times is out of my price range, but with a bit of Googling I found the names of a few products and headed to Whole Foods. My research proved useless since my Whole Foods only carries two brands of nail polish remover, so I just grabbed the one with the cuter-looking bottle, which was Karma Organic’s Nail Polish Remover with Soybean Oil & Lavender.

I expected that after a few minutes of rubbing my finger with a cotton ball, I’d give up and come crawling back to my old nemesis acetone. However, with only one or two more swipes than usual, two layers of OPI polish and a top coat were completely gone. The color didn’t seep onto my skin, and afterwards my fingers actually felt moisturized. According to the (recyclable) glass bottle, it’s non-toxic and non-carcinogenic, and it feels like rubbing oil into your nails, not a strange cocktail of highly-flammable chemicals that can’t possibly be good for you.

I don’t have much of a sense of smell thanks to a bottle rocket incident in my youth. (Okay, that was Selma Bouvier. I just inhaled too much second-hand smoke as a kid.) However, the biggest selling point — aside from not poisoning yourself — has to be the scent. Karma Organic’s nail polish remover is available in unscented, tea tree, and lavender, which I bought. It doesn’t smell like the fragrance is being used to cover up some horrible chemical odor, it just smells very lightly of lavender. At $12 for a 4 oz bottle, it’s much pricier than the regular stuff, but since I only buy nail polish remover once every few years I figured I should just go for it. Though, I may wind up going through the bottle pretty fast. I’ve been changing my polish twice a week because taking it off isn’t a nasty chore anymore, it’s actually fun.

Karma Organic Nail Polish Remover with Soybean Oil & Lavender, $12 for 4 oz at KarmaOrganicSpa.com.

Worth It only features things we paid for ourselves and actually like. Don’t send us stuff.

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