How to Ensure Your At-Home Manicure Is Eco-Friendly

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Feb. 1 2021, Published 5:43 p.m. ET

Guide To A Sustainable Mani
Source: Getty Images

Reducing personal waste goes far beyond opting for reusable shopping bags over disposable, or sticking to dish towels in lieu of paper. Making changes to your lifestyle holistically, which includes your habitual grooming habits, is a crucial way to lower your daily output. That being said, we've compiled a list of sustainable nail care tips, to ensure your weekly manicure is as eco-friendly as it possibly can be.

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Invest in a reusable nail file or nail clippers.

are nail files recyclable
Source: Getty Images

Although disposable emery board nail files are cheap AF (and often come in cute colors and patterns), their lifespans are short, becoming dull and bending with use. According to Nails Mag, they're also made of non-renewable materials, and take years to biodegrade. Instead, opt for a reusable nail file — this glass nail file from Urban Oreganics is only $12.

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Nail clippers are generally reusable to begin with, but these Ecopiggy Nail Clippers are slightly more sustainable than your run-of-the-mill pair, combining bamboo and stainless steel. They're also supposedly incredibly durable, so they're bound to last you quite a while. 

Find non-toxic and reusable nail polish removers.

sustainable nail polish remover
Source: Getty Images
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The scent of nail polish remover is so harsh, simply because it's made up of various toxic chemicals. According to Beyond Toxics, the average bottle of nail polish remover contains acetone, benzene, ethyl acetate, formaldehyde resin, phenol, toluene, tricresyl phosphate, and xylene, which are potentially cancerous, notorious air pollutants, and can be flammable. Instead, find something soy or plant-based — Priti's is infused with lemongrass, and Karma Naturals' is lavender scented. 

Cotton rounds are another unsustainable aspect of at-home manis — although you only end up using a few each time, they add up, ultimately clogging landfills. Therefore, opting for reusable cotton balls is an eco-friendlier alternative. Seek Bamboo sells a 20-pack of reusable bamboo pads that are 100 percent organic and reusable — just wash and dry them afterwards.

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Choose non-toxic, sustainable, and cruelty-free nail polish.

Source: ella+mila

Regular nail polish is considered to be hazardous waste — according to Buro 247, this is because it's often made of various toxic chemicals that are potentially flammable. Instead, opt for sustainable varieties — ella+mila is free of harsh chemicals, the company follows ethical practices, it's cruelty-free, and all products are vegan.

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A number of nail polish brands also contain fish scales for extra shine, crushed beetles for red shades, and animal fat to thicken the formula, which is why finding something plant-based is yet another way to ensure your paint is as sustainable as can be. That said, we've rounded up our favorite vegan and cruelty-free nail polish varieties — definitely take a look before ordering your next bottle of polish.

Although you might not think of your nail routine as particularly wasteful, many of the products you use are disposable, and oftentimes, not very eco-friendly. Therefore, reworking your weekly mani, and incorporating some (or all) of these products into your regime in lieu of what you used to use could seriously make a difference.

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