Beauty Clinic: Advice on natural nail polishes

Q. I want to find nail polish that is as natural as possible. Could you explain the terms 3-, 4- and 5-free and recommend some brands please? A. The terms 3-, 4- and 5-free refer to the really quite nasty synthetic chemicals, which were traditionally used in nail polish, as we explain in our latest book The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible. The three main ones are formaldehyde, toluene and DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate), and many brands now exclude these. The fourth is formaldehyde resin, a possible allergen, the fifth is camphor, which may irritate skin.

In our ‘tried & tested’ consumer trials for natural nail polishes (and polish removers) for The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible, several brands performed excellently, proving that you don't need to compromise on performance, durability or choice of shades.

The top-scorer in this section was Organic Glam Nail Polish, a 4-free offering from The Organic Pharmacy. ‘This lasted exceptionally well, and gave a fantastic 'polished' look,’ according to one tester. There is an impressive range of shades, including a classic pretty ballerina-ish French Manicure Pink, which all our testers loved. It's £11.50 for 11 ml  - buy here

Following close behind was Kure Bazaar Nail Polish, which is also 4-free and actually contains 85% natural ingredients including wood pulp, potatoes, cotton and corn. It’s a particular favourite at Beauty Bible HQ, not just for the actual colours (huge range here) but also the base coat, which keeps colour pristine for weeks literally – and then allows easy and complete removal of even the darkest red shades with no staining.

Our testers tried Kure Bazaar Rouge Flore, a classic pillar box red, and their comments include this one: ‘Loved this product which went on really easily; I’ve bought very expensive designer polishes previously and they’re not a patch on this.’ All £14.95 for 10 ml - buy here

 However, nail polish removers proved a more difficult category with only Fresh Therapies Eden Nail Polish Remover making the grade with our testers. Comments this lime-scented product, which also nourishes nails and cuticles, included: ‘removed black sparkly polish with great ease’, ‘conditioning and nourishing; not like paint stripper…’, and simply …‘a revelation!’ It's £8.99 for 50 ml - buy here