Style at your fingertips: Your Guide to Vegan Nail Polishes

When it comes to fashion there is nothing easier and more reasonably priced to make an outfit or change a mood than nail polish.  Though when these purchases are made, most people do not think about the vegan status of their next nail paint.

Animal testing and animal based ingredients such as pigments from insects, and fish scales, could be making an appearance in your next mani/pedi – if you don’t check…

Some hidden nasties to look out for (chemical and animal-based ones) include:

  • Carmine – a pigment from cochineal insects.

  • Animal testing and animal based ingredients such as pigments from insects, and fish scales, could be making an appearance in your next mani/pedi

    Pearl / Guanine – pearls and fish scales are sometimes used to make shimmery/metallic polishes.

  • DBP – used as a plasticizer reducing cracking by making polish less brittle. It is also a suspected endocrine disruptor in mammals and may cause birth defects.

  • Toluene – used to help polish go on smoothly and adhere evenly to the nail it is also a nervous system toxin.

  • Formaldehyde – used in nail hardeners is a known human carcinogen (a chemical that may cause cancer)

Labels that can help

In addition to the vegan and vegan friendly labels, search for products labeled as “3 free” (free from DBP, Toluene and Formaldehyde).  Many companies are eliminating these chemicals from their products in order to be both environmentally friendly and non-toxic.

You might also enjoy these related articles:

9 Vegan Sunscreens for Cruelty-Free Tanning around the Globe
Bathing, Cleaning, Brushing: A How-To Guide for an Eco-Friendly Vegan Bathroom
Why Your Cruelty-Free Cosmetic Purchase May Still Support Animal Testing and Exploitation

I was lucky enough to try Beauty without Cruelty's beautiful shade “Mermaid” and received tons of compliments!

Your instant vegan makeover 

There are numerous companies that make quality vegan nail polishes in all colors and styles some of which you may have already tried and loved.

Here’s my tried and tested guide to some of the best vegan friendly nail products out there:

Beauty without Cruelty

Price Guide:$17

BWC was founded in the 1960’s to create natural color cosmetics that were not tested on animals (a first during that time) and did not contain any animal ingredients.  This company not only sells nail polishes, but also a whole line of cosmetics and personal care products.

I was lucky enough to try their beautiful shade “Mermaid” and received tons of compliments! They are a little bit pricier than other polishes and do not carry as many shades, but you can shop knowing that you are supporting a company that was founded on its care for animals.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

Price Guide:$10

The name of this company is perfect because I am OBSESSED! OCC’s professional quality nail lacquers are densely pigmented, quick-drying, and super long lasting. With a three year old running around a quick drying polish is a must. This company also sells a full range of ultra pigmented cosmetics that are perfect for the camera.

Zoya currently has over 300 different polishes, so there is always some new fun shade, texture, or finish to try to suit your mood or outfit.

Beautiful on a budget

Zoya

Price Guide:$8

Zoya was the first nail polish that I tried that that marketed itself as a vegan polish. Not only is it long lasting, but they currently have over 300 different polishes and they release four seasonal nail polish collections per year, so there is always some new fun shade, texture, or finish to try to suit your mood or outfit. Zoya also makes nail polish treatments and polish remover.

E.L.F

Price Guide:$1-$5

E.L.F cosmetics are the most affordable of the bunch. ELF is on a mission to provide quality products at an affordable price. This polish is perfect for those on a limited budget or for those looking to set outside of their nail color comfort zone.

As a mother, I love the fact that the idea for this company was formed during the founder’s pregnancy motivated by wanting to make safer choices for herself and family without sacrificing her style.

Planet Friendly and Natural

Priti NYC

Price Guide:$8-$14

Priti NYC was founded with the mission “to support organic farmers and to decrease the amount of chemicals poisoning the Earth and its inhabitants one manicure at a time.” With over 100 shades, Priti NYC is perfect for luxury loving fashionistas.

As a mother, I love the fact that the idea for this company was formed during the founder’s pregnancy motivated by wanting to make safer choices for herself and family without sacrificing her style. One of the many things that make this company unique is that it carries soy nail polish remover that is 100% biodegradable, non-toxic, and non-carcinogenic. Their current line “Bahamas” is long lasting, vibrant, and perfect for the beach (or yacht).

Soulstice

Price Guide:$8

Soulstice Spa is a spa located in California that carries vegan and non-toxic polishes. A portion of their proceeds are donated to social and environmental non-profit organizations. “Glass” is a really nice top coat and I enjoy “Harbour Island” a lite shimmer pink color which is perfect on top of a solid base color. 

This list is in no way exhaustive of all the vegan nail polishes companies on the market today so have fun trying new colors and wearing your beliefs on your hands.      

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Leolin has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana and is currently a Master's Candidate in Humane Education from Valparaiso University. She is one of the co-founders for the Chicago Veggie Pride Parade, teaches people how to live an authentic life on her personal blog My Life Outside the Box and she also is an independent consultant for the vegan beauty and wellness company, Arbonne. Leolin has been a vegetarian since 2007 and a vegan since 2009 and loves sharing the vegan message with others.

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