cruelty free vegan nail polish

The Best Vegan Nail Polish Brands

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If you’re looking for the best vegan nail polish brands then welcome! You’ve come to the right place.

In this post I will answer a few common questions about vegan-friendly nail polish and also list the best cruelty-free nail varnishes. No longer will you have to go on that date, to that party or special event bare-nailed!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the au-naturale look, but there’s something about a well-polished set of toes wearing a classy peep toe that beats the natural look any day.

I personally didn’t wear nail varnish for over a year when I went vegan as I didn’t realise that you can actually get vegan, cruelty free brands. Once I’d done my research on which nail polish to choose and which to avoid I could finally enjoy having colourful nails again. Also, my daughter was delighted to find out there are children’s non-toxic nail paints available too, some of which I mention below.

So, let’s dive right in and start by listing some popular nail polish brands which ARE NOT vegan:

Is OPI nail varnish vegan?


Is China Glaze nail varnish vegan?


Is Essie nail varnish vegan?


Is Rimmel nail varnish vegan?


Is Revlon nail varnish vegan?


Is Sally Hansen nail varnish vegan?


Is Nails Inc nail varnish vegan?


Why aren’t the above nail polishes vegan you may wonder. Well, they are either tested on animals, contain animal-derived ingredients or both. Some of the brands, like Nails Inc, do have a vegan range but are not a fully vegan brand and cannot confirm that all of their ingredient suppliers for their other ranges are cruelty-free.

Animal-Derived ingredients in non-vegan nail varnishes

Jovita Grigaliūnaitė, author of says the following animal derived ingredients are commonly found in non-vegan nail varnishes:

•    Guanine, also named natural pearl essence or CI 75170, is a shimmery substance produced by processing fish scales. For cosmetic use, scales of the dead fish including herring, menhaden, and sardine are scraped off and used to create “pearl essence” that provides a shimmery effect.

•    Carmine, also known as crimson lake, natural red 4 or CI 75470, is a bright red pigment. It is derived by drying and crushing scale insects that commonly live in cactus farms in South and Central America. Carmine is used as a colourant in various beauty products as well as food.

•    Keratin is an animal protein derived from mammals such as cattle, horses, pigs, rabbits, and others. For cosmetic use, it is believed to strengthen the damaged surface of hair, nails and even skin. Even though it provides a healthier appearance, it’s only a short fix until the keratin washes off. 

Now you know which ingredients to avoid, let’s look at the cruelty-free nail varnish brands.

The top 5 best cruelty-free and vegan nail polish brands

1. Barry M

This British cosmetics brand is 100% cruelty-free. With colours ranging from soft and mellow, to vibrant and enticing there’s a nail polish for every occasion. Click here for prices.

2. Zoya

Zoya create high quality nail polishes, with no nasties, which are safe for your nails and for the environment. They are proud to be vegan and cruelty free. Click here for prices.

3.  Pacifica

The Pacifica brand is 100% vegan and cruelty free. They have a good variety of long-lasting nail colours as well as cosmetics. Click here for prices.

4. Ciaté

This London brand is 100% cruelty free and Peta certified. Most of their cosmetics and nail polishes are vegan, but not all. Click here for prices.

5. Piggy Paint

This one is for girls. I love their slogan ‘natural as mud’! Non-toxic, cruelty-free and vegan friendly. Click here for prices.

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cruelty free vegan nail varnish


Why not check out my post on  The Ultimate Vegan Gift Guide for Christmas 2018  which has over 15 totally awesome gift ideas for men, women and kids!

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