Top 9 Breathable and Water Permeable Nail Polish Brands for Healthier Nails

Woman looking at her freshly painted nails

Nails require exposure to water and oxygen for it to remain healthy.

But, wearing nail polish that is full of chemicals often can damage the nails.

Nail polish has been attributed to poor nail health, as covering the nail in a non-porous film inhibits its ability to breathe, and gradually leads to weakening of the nail bed.

But beauty experts have developed a water permeable nail polish formula that would actually let your nails breath.

This is a great option for women who enjoy wearing nail polish often but want to prevent them from getting dry and brittle.

Keep reading as we reveal how water permeable polish can allow your nails to be healthy and colourful all at the same time.

What is Water Permeable Polish? 

Also known as breathable nail polish, water permeable polish is a lacquer which contains a specific type of polymer that allows air and water vapour to pass through the nail’s surface.

The idea is that this allows the nails to get the necessary nutrients they need to stay healthy.

How Does it Work?

Woman applying nail polish to her nails

Traditional nail polish is made up of neat, tight molecular bonds, so water molecules cannot pass through.

However, water permeable polish is a lacquer that has a similar technology to that of contact lenses.

The breathable formula contains a specific type of polymer and has a staggered structure.

This allows the water and air molecules to slip through small spaces.

As air and oxygen are able to pass through the nail bed, it keeps it nourished and strong to promote healthy nails.

Is it Better for Your Nails?

Your nails don’t necessarily need to ‘breathe’ as they get all their oxygen and nutrients from the blood flow to the nail bed underneath.

However, regular nail polishes tend to block both water and air vapours from coming in contact with the nail.

So, if you’re a constant polish wearer, this can contribute to dry, brittle or weakened nails.

It can make the nails more prone to breakage and even turn them discoloured if worn constantly.

Your nails are actually hydrated by their natural oils, which keeps them flexible and healthy.

But traditional polishes trap these oils and weaken the nails.

This is because it coats your nails in a lacquer which prevents them from breathing or being exposed to fresh air, which can lead to fungal infections.

Water permeable formulas, on the other hand, allows for the natural movement of the oils through and then off the nail.

Consequently, this formula can allow your nails to stay hydrated without drying out quickly as much as any other nail polish formula.

The breathable formula instead allows for the necessary molecules and nutrients to penetrate through the nails to improve the health of them.

Instead of suffocating and drying out your nails, it actually allows them to breathe right through the colour.

Breathable nail polish formulas contain fewer harsh chemicals than traditional products.

What’s even better is that breathable polish formulations also contain nourishing ingredients to further help keep your nails healthy and strong.

So, it acts as a treatment as well as a colour.

Is the Quality Different to Regular Polish?

Contrary to popular belief being water permeable does not make our nail polish chip and peel easily.

There’s no compromise in shade, coverage, durability or shine.

Both formulas provide a coat of colour; it’s just the underlying formulas that are different.

But not all breathable nail polishes are alike.

Just like regular nail polish, this will depend on the brand and the formula they use.

Other Reasons to Switch to Water Permeable Polish

Woman applying nail polish to her nails

It’s Easier to Apply

Since breathable polish allows air and water to pass through, you don’t have to use a base coat anymore.

With shorter routine means easier application and faster results.

Faster Dry Time

The dry time is reduced since air can penetrate through the nail polish.

This means less time to wait, and less chance for your polish to smudges for a more precise finish.

Can Muslim Women Use it?

Manicures can pose a problem for Muslim women; however breathable nail polish could help some women find a balance between beauty and faith.

With prayers five times a day, and a pre-prayer ritual that requires washing the hands and arms, traditional fingernail polish has been mostly off limits because it prevents water from making contact with the nails.

If the lacquer is coating their nails, they are unable to clean them properly and would have to remove it completely.

Water is unable to permeate traditional nail polish, and because it creates a barrier, the nails aren’t considered clean enough to pray with.

Women would have to remove their nail polish every time before prayer, which may mean removing and reapplying the polish several times a day.

Consequently, the majority of Muslim women who pray regularly tend to refrain from using any type of nail polish.

This is why breathable nail polish is causing such a stir.

The formula of breathable polish is air and water permeable, allowing for water to make contact with the nails for the ritual washing before prayer.

This is an option that can be used by Muslim women who take part in wudu – the prayer ritual performed before prayer that requires water to touch every part of the body.

While there is still much debate among Muslims as to whether or not these products live up to their claims, water permeable polish is still a major step forward for the industry.

Water Permeable Polish Brands

A number of nail polishes scattered on a surface

Every brand makes a unique formula, which means varying degrees of coverage and performance.

Like all cosmetics, finding the brand that’s right for you is about personal preference.

Nailberry Nail Polish

Former winners of Stylist’s best beauty award, Nailberry doesn’t compromise on quality.

Their L’Oxygéné range offers fabulous shades of breathable nail polish that provides a long-lasting and salon quality finish.

The polishes have added a UV filter to ensure lasting pigment without discolouring the nails.

It is free from five major chemicals, which makes it suitable for pregnant women, children and most allergy sufferers.

In addition to this, it’s also vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.

LENA Nail Polish

If you are looking for a more affordable option of breathable polish, then this is the brand for you.

You don’t have compromise quality or choice with Lena’s generous selection of breathable nail polishes.

With an extensive variety of vibrant shades in glossy and matte finishes, you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice.

Each nail polish has been given a fun quirky name so that customers can remember the shades.

The nail polish formula ensures a smooth and easy application as each polish has a high-quality brush to apply the product for the perfect finish every time.

You’ll find every shade that you possibly need in this range

Their range of professional, high-end salon quality nail polish formulas are vegan and halal approved.

They aim to give customers a range of gorgeous shades ranging from subtle hues to funkier shades.

Inglot Cosmetics

Inglot Cosmetics is the first brand to introduce water permeable nail polishes to the beauty market.

The O2M Breathable Nail Enamels, created to care for healthy-looking and beautiful nails, revolutionized the cosmetics world.

The formula dries quickly for a long-lasting shine in the diversity of colours for outstanding manicure creations.

The brand has over 80 shades available in a range of different shades, textures, formula and finishes to keep your nails looking beautiful.

95% of their products made in-house in their own facilities to ensure quality ingredients and fair prices.

Inglot has even collaborated with Jennifer Lopez to create a limited edition collection in partnership with the brand which created her favourite shades of polish.

Her collection includes four shades of chic and sophisticated, nude polishes that are all vegan and cruelty-free formulas.

Orly Beauty

Orly beauty has a selection of 18 nail polish shades in their breathable collection.

Packed with pigment, these high-quality polishes contain Argan oil for extra hydration and smooth coverage.

The long-lasting formula prevents chipping and peeling, to keep your manicure looking amazing for longer.

The products offer the strength-boosting benefits of nail treatment and colour with Advanced Oxygen Technology.

ORLY Breathable Colour includes Argan Oil, Pro-vitamin B5 and Vitamin C to help improve hydration, stimulate nail growth and help heal damaged nails.

Their formulas are also infused with Argan oil, pro-vitamin B5, and vitamin C to keep your nails healthy.

Shop This Product as a multi set for $11.15

Maya Cosmetics

Woman with nail polish on her nails touching her shoulder

Breathable, vegan and cruelty-free, Maya cosmetic’s range of nail polishes are as ethical as they are beautiful.

With stunning, fast drying colour selections and sophisticated, premium packaging, this is a nail polish brand that you need to have in your makeup bag.

The range has a selection of vibrant colours including a glossy top coat and matte top coat resulting in a variety of combinations.

They even have many metallic and glitter polish options which are hard to find for water-permeable brands.

This premium cosmetic brand has been approved as halal and ablution friendly.

In addition to this, it is also 9-free, meaning that the products do not contain any of the 9 commonly used harmful ingredients found in typical nail polish.

This includes toluene, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and camphor.

Talyah London

London based cosmetic company Talyah is the nail polish you brand you need if you love classic, elegant shades.

With no harsh chemicals or ingredients added to their products, their easy to remove and vegan-friendly nail polishes will give your nails a professional, salon looking finish.

Each product is also 100% halal and ablution friendly and is rich in pigmented and long-lasting colour that is easy to remove.

786 Cosmetics

Shop This Product $19.99

786 Cosmetics is certified and verified by PETA as cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.

In addition to this, is it also 100% halal and wudu friendly, making it suitable for Muslim women to use.

The founders were motivated to create a halal cosmetics brand because they recognized the profound need for beauty products that could be used by Muslim women.

Their polishes are named after cities around the world as they ship internationally and have customers from all parts of the globe.

According to 786 Cosmetics’ site, the water permeability does not compromise the polish.

Instead, this non-peelable formula lasts anywhere from 7 to 10 days with just one coat.

In addition to nail polishes, 786 Cosmetics also offers a clear top coat and a soy-based nail polish remover made with almond essential oil that is less harsh for your nails and can remove your polish more gently.


LYN, which stands for ‘Live Your Now’ is a halal certified nail lacquer brand.

The brand’s nail lacquers are brought to life by a team of French experts with the perfect blend of elegant art and modernity.

While their polishes are healthier than regular nail lacquer, it doesn’t compromise on colour or quality.

Available in over 100 elegant and modern, shades this brand has an extensive line up of stunning hues and definitely has a colour for everyone.

These lacquers have been formulated with pigments that reveal their true brightness and vividness for ultimate wear.

So, this is a great option if you are looking for vibrant, stand out shades

The brush bristles of the polish are wide enough to cover the nail in a stroke or two for easy and quick application.

The polish is fast drying too, making it great if you want to apply a fresh coat quickly before heading out. 

Vivre Breathe

If classic colours are what you are looking for, then this is the brand for you.

Vivire breathe has a range of cruelty-free, paraben free formula polishes that come in a range of five feminine and classic colours.

Their mission is to create chic and trendy premium high-quality products free of harmful ingredients

Their nail polishes glide on evenly and are extremely pigmented for rich, long-lasting colour.

Certified halal and wudu friendly, these chip resistant, fast drying polishes are made in the USA.

However, the brand ships their products internationally on orders of $45 or more. 

How to Maintain Overall Nail Health While Wearing Nail Polish

Woman wearing nail polish on her nails

Give Your Nails a Break from Polish

While water permeable polishes may be better for your nails, it is still important to give them the occasional break from polish.

So, try and retain from wearing polish every few weeks to allow your nails to recover properly.

You can even apply some cuticle oil to the nails to give them a hydration boost to keep them nice and nourished.

Don’t Pick at your Polish

Picking at your polish of biting your nails can take off the layers in your nail and damage them.

If you want to remove the colour, then use a nail polish remover and a cotton pad to take the colour off your nails gently.

Or, if you want the colour to stay in place for longer, then a good top coat can shield the colour and prevent it from flaking or peeling off.

So, try and resist the urge from picking off your polish when you see it coming off.

Apply Cuticle Oil to The Nails

Cuticle oil is a moisturizing product for your nails and cuticles that helps to hydrate the nails to restore its health.

It can also help to protect your nail and cuticle against trauma.

To use it, brush the oil onto your nails or use a cotton pad to dab the product onto your cuticles.

Then, massage it into the nails to help increase circulation to the nail bed and stimulate new nail growth.

Try and use it once a week to improve the health and appearance of your nails.

If your nails are brittle and dry, breathable nail polish could make a huge difference.

So, give your nails a break between your gel and acrylic manicures and nourish them with breathable formulas.

To learn more about nail polishes that are better for your nails, click here to read our article on ‘Top 20 Vegan Nail Polish Brand For The Perfect At-Home-Manicure.’ 

1 Comment
  1. I use Vivien Kondor Henna Halal nail polish, its breathable, permeable to air and water with two coats, is vegan friendly and is infused with pure Henna to aid the protection and nourishment of the nail. the shades are beautiful too. highly recommended

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