Now that the PTSD is wearing off, we might be able to look back on 2020’s quarantine with a hint of appreciation … for certain things. More time for ourselves, sure. Kick-starting our extreme home makeover, great. But one of the major changes for me was giving up getting regular manicures. Having the time to do my own nails made me realize that in fact... it SAVED me time! Not to mention the money previously budgeted towards my “essential” upkeep.

As it turns out, doing my own nails is actually quicker and easier than scheduling an appointment, getting to and from the salon, waiting to dry, etc. I don’t have to breathe a bunch of toxic salon chemicals, and I can do my own nails while watching Season 3 of Succession. PLUS I can use whichever products I want. No more packing my own toxin-free polishes to the salon in hopes of sparing my body the carcinogens found in many mainstream brands. And carcinogens are just one of the nasty elements to avoid along with hormone disruptors like phthalates that can affect fertility and oh, also, neurological toxicants. Freaked out yet? Same. That’s why I have been reaching exclusively for the less toxic options on the market for years now, because let’s be honest: the only truly toxin-free option is bare nails. But while I gave up professional manicures in 2020, I’m not quite ready to give up my polish entirely.

So which ones are the best? Ahead are a few great options, although in the many months spent quite literally watching paint dry, I found a few favorites of my own. Dazzle Dry promises a 5 minute dry, and they ain’t lyin. But Smith & Cult could claim the same and their colors are EVERYTHING. I swing between Poppy Papi and Kundalini Hustle for the most perfect reds, and am currently obsessed with Mannequin Moves: a chic neutral that makes me feel modern, not dead. Olive & June is great too. All the brands dry quickly, and last a full week if you can avoid dish duty. You’re welcome.

Natalie Decleve aka "Natty Style" is a Holistic Personal Stylist based in New York City. Natalie brings style and clarity to the wardrobes and lifestyles of men and women all around the world. Effortless, confident, thoughtful. Find her on Instagram @natty_style.