Many health-conscious environmentalists go out of their way to avoid chemicals like BPA — but still apply hazardous chemicals directly onto their bodies. Yes, I’m talking about nail polish. Though many companies have taken the worst three ingredients — formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) — out of their formulations, the remaining stew of chemicals in the bottles are still dangerous enough that cities collect nail polish at household hazardous waste sites.

But nail polish that is safer for you is on the market. On the heels of Acquarella comes another water-based nail polish line: Scotch Naturals. The adult version of Hopscotch Kids, the nontoxic nail polish for children, Scotch nail polishes rank a “low risk” 1-2 on Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic safety database Skin Deep.

Though Scotch nail polishes don’t look any different, you’ll actually be able to tell Scotch is not like conventional nail polishes as soon as you crack open the bottle — because you won’t be greeted with the stench of chemicals. Instead, the polish, if sniffed up close, smells a bit like crayons!

And the nail polish looks great, too. I’ve long since quit painting my fingernails — the almost instantaneous chipping that begins after a manicure completely defeats the purpose of trying to pretty up the nails with polish in the first place — but I usually keep my toenails polished, and Scotch does the job well.

Scotch nail polish, in liquid form, is a little thinner than conventional brands — so make sure you don’t have too much polish on the brush when you give yourself a mani-pedi. The thin liquid is full of fun color though! The usual two coats will give your nails full-color coverage — with a little shine to boot.

The only minor inconvenience of using Scotch nail polish is that the stuff takes a little longer to take off. Scotch makes its own, better-for-your-health nail polish remover, which is great because it won’t assault your nose with chemicals but works a bit slower. Oddly, the remover actually foams a little when I try to use it, which makes it difficult for the cotton ball to soak up all the used-up nail polish. It’s a small price to pay for green beauty though. Expect a five-minute cleanup job for all 10 nails.

Want pretty polish for the holidays? Scotch has a three-pack deal going on. Three colors of your choice, a bottle of remover, and a nail buffer can be yours for $47.99. IMHO, that should be enough polish to get you through all of 2011.

Scotch Naturals paints pretty green nails
Avoid the stew of toxic stuff in conventional nail polish, and try a new, water-based product that gives you color without the worrying chemicals.