DIY Nail Polish is Perfect for Kids and Summer Pedicures

DIY Nail Polish is perfect for the kids or your own nails. Enjoying mixing it up together and giving each other manicures.
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I have a five year old daughter who is a girl in every sense of the word. She loves Princesses, pink, purple, having her hair done in fancy styles, pretty dresses, and having her nails done.

The problem with conventional nail polish is that it is made with harmful chemicals that are often highly toxic, and not something that I want on my daughter’s nails now that I know better.

Some of the more toxic, seriously offending ingredients are:

Formaldehyde – this is a known human carcinogen and can cause irritation of the eyes, skin, nose and throat. (1)

Toluene – this is a potent neurotoxicant that can irritate, cause breathing issues and may cause developmental damage to the fetus in pregnant women. (2)
Phthalates – also known as plasticizers, the full effects on human health are not known right now, but they are suspected to be endocrine disruptors. (3)
Bisphenol A – (BPA) is a known endocrine disruptor and is used in nail polish to make it more “elastic.” Exposure to BPA can lead to reproductive disorders, asthma and other issues (4).

I knew that I needed to learn how to DIY nail polish and began my search for homemade options, and quickly found out that this can be a tough one!

Homemade natural nail polish is kind of a tricky thing, especially when my primary purpose is for a child. I came across a couple of different options that were 100% natural and non-toxic: using alkanet root or using henna powder. Alkanet root is a natural dying agent and will impart a ruby red color. Henna comes in a variety of natural earth colors and the more you apply the darker the color will come out.

DIY Nail Polish is perfect for the kids or your own nails. Enjoying mixing it up together and giving each other manicures.
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The issue with both of these methods was the fact that although these obviously do work, what they do to impart color is to stain the nail. You have to be very careful to not get any on the skin (again…it is a stain), and the color is also pretty permanent so it basically stays on while and until the nail grows out…neither of those options would be suitable for my child (or even for myself, to be perfectly truthful!). And not only that, you need to leave them on for a long period of time before removing the mixture.

This now became more of a journey to find a good non-toxic nail polish that I could then dye myself to get different color options out of and I learned that sometimes 100% natural is not going to be the best choice.

I found a great reference for this in Wellness Mama’s post on The Best Non-Toxic Nail Polish Options so used that as my basis to find a suitable water-based polish company.

DIY Nail Polish is perfect for the kids or your own nails. Enjoying mixing it up together and giving each other manicures.
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I decided to not care at all about the variety of colors offered, and instead just focused on finding a company that created a safe product in a clear color, as I had decided to make my own color(s) by mixing in mineral eye shadow to the clear polish to create our own custom shade!

I ended up getting both Piggy Paint (the clear topcoat and basecoat) and Honeybee Gardens Watercolors (in clear…but it is not clear like the Piggy Paint is).

Piggy Paint Non-Toxic Basecoat is rated 0/10 on the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

Piggy Paint Non-Toxic Topcoat is rated 1/10 on the EWG database.

Honeybee Gardens Watercolors Nail Polish is rated 1/10 on the EWG database.

When using eye shadow to color your clear nail polish, I recommend using true mineral eye shadow, as they are made without preservatives, fillers, oils and fragrances.

DIY Nail Polish
  • Water-Based, Non-Toxic Nail Polish in clear (Two ideas are Piggy Paint or Honeybee Gardens)
  • Non-Toxic Eye Shadow or other makeup powder - mineral is best for this
  • Small container (do not use anything you do not want to ruin! There is a possibility you can clean it to reuse, but whatever you have on hand is fine.)
  • Toothpick, popsicle stick or another stick for mixing (I ended up using a thin paintbrush with the bristle end removed for this)
  1. Put a small amount of finely crushed eye shadow into your disposable container (you can add more as/if needed)
  2. Open your clear polish and pour the entire bottle into the container on top of the eye shadow
  3. Use your mixing stick and combine the two very well. It is very important to thoroughly mix and have no clumps, so take your time with this step.
  4. Test the color on the nail to see if it is to your liking (and remember that you can always apply a second coat if needed to provide more opaqueness)
  5. Once fully mixed and smooth and the color is to your liking, carefully pour your new nail polish back into the original bottle.
  6. Screw the cap on and shake the bottle for a good 1-2 minutes to finish incorporating everything together.
  7. Apply to your nails (or to your favorite little girl’s nails!), following the manufacturer’s drying instructions for best results!!


  • I noticed that the Piggy Polish was very thin, even once mixed with the purple eyeshadow. It took a good three coats to get the color dark enough that my daughter liked it.
  • The Honeybee Gardens polish was thicker to start with, and only took two coats to get the pink that she liked 🙂
  • Also, please note that Piggy Paint does have a special note that the longer the polish remains on, the more difficult it will be to remove it.
  • Of the two brands, the Piggy Paint had no scent at all while the Honeybee Gardens has an ever-so-slight scent.

For removal – remember that conventional nail polish remover is very drying and not the best choice out there.

PIN this post or share on Facebook so you remember to check back later this week and learn how to DIY non-toxic nail polish remover!

(1) Formaldehyde Info From the EPA
(2) Toluene Info From the EWG Database
(3) Phthalates Info
(4) Exposure to BPA Info

Comments 9

  1. But will it come out of carpeting??? My 2 year old grandson recently ruined the living room carpet while painting his body with nail polish. Rather than abolish all polish… I would like to find something a little less Permanent.

    1. Post

      Hi Dee. Truthfully, I cannot say with any confidence if any kind of nail polish, DIY or not, would come out of carpeting. I know I did not do any kind of testing on that myself. Even though the DIY polish seemed to come off of my daughter’s nails faster than traditional polish, I would not trust it on carpet since it is a whole different medium.

  2. My problem with your site is you give me recipes and I do not want to make anything. I want to buy made product. I lwouls love safe polish but I want to buy it.

    1. Piggy Paint and Honeybee both make colors, as well as the clear polish and they are available in stores. Google the names and you will find a bunch of stores that sell them!

      1. Post

        It is absolutely true that both of those companies make colored polishes. But for me, as someone who truly loves to DIY and uses that as a bonding and educational experience with my kids, the fun is in the DIY, not in buying it pre-made. But I do highly recommend the Scratch Mommy online shop for pre-made skincare items! My personal favorite is the DeFunkifying Deodorant (it is the only natural deo that has not caused a rash or bumps in my underarms).

  3. Hi! I’ve just recently found your website and I’m already a fan. I’ve just bought the honeybee polish and colored it. It has only stayed on less than a hour. I repeated just to make sure. Did you have this problem?

    1. Post

      Hi Jennifer. I must say that it definitely doesn’t last as long as commercial nail polish, no matter what I do, but have not had it come off that fast. One thing I have learned about my daughter’s nails is that they are naturally oily (as is her skin). Before we apply nail polish I wash her hands thoroughly with soap and make sure to dry completely, then I actually use a nail file to very gently file and “rough-up” her nails all over. Then we apply the polish. It lasts longer this way. I also notice that if she goes swimming it comes off faster too.

      ~ Amanda

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