I think I’ve found the closest you can (currently) get to zero waste nail polish- Little Ondine! This British brand (local, double win!) has formulated a nail polish that not only uses all natural ingredients but is peelable, eliminating that whole annoying removal process entirely, woo hoo! No more using cotton pads and toxic nail varnish remover! (Can you tell I’m excited!) Isn’t the nail varnish itself still destined for landfill though? Actually, no. Before buying, I contacted Little Ondine asking if, as the products are all natural, if the varnish could be composted- I received a confirmation that the peelings are biodegradable!
I bought 3 colours in December (Pacific, Back to Black and Cuddle) and so far so good. The colours are nice and it dries seriously quickly. Obviously, being peelable means that it doesn’t typically last longer than 3 days, but my nails are in way better condition than when I used to wear nail polish everyday so I don’t mind having them bare more. I paint my nails maybe once a week now. The few times that I have smelt traditional polish or remover since using Little Ondine, I have been shocked by the pungent chemicalness– I can’t believe I used to inhale that so often! I’ll update again when I have an idea of how the polish holds up over time.
Currently I believe they are only available online which is not the most ideal, but still. Worth it if you’re looking for an eco alternative. See Little Ondine’s website here.