5 Best Cruelty Free Vegan Nail Polish Brands

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Nail polish can be a sneaky hiding place for animal ingredients and harsh chemicals. I can’t remember a time I bothered to look at the ingredients in nail polish before I went vegan.

When I finally did, it shocked me!

My favorite nail polish brands contained all kinds of awful things. Fish scales? Formaldehyde? Insect shells? I didn’t even want this stuff when I wasn’t vegan!

At first, I felt like my manicure days were over.

Luckily for me (and you!), there are lots of options that are vegan, cruelty-free, and free of many chemicals and toxins. These formulas will keep your insides feeling as good as your outsides.

It’s easy to find nail polishes you can feel good about using. You just need to know what to look for – and what to avoid.

Article GuideVegan vs. Cruelty-Free3-, 5-, and 7-FreeOur Favorite Vegan Nail Polish Brandsella+mila Nail PolishPacifica 7 Free Nail ColorMineral Fusion Nail PolishFloss Gloss Ltd Pro Nail LacquerJulep Color Treat Nail PolishHealthy Nails, Healthy Animals, Healthy Planet

Vegan vs. Cruelty-Free

Contrary to popular belief, the terms “vegan” and “cruelty-free” aren’t interchangeable. To ensure a product is 100% animal-friendly, you’ll want to find products that list both.

Vegan refers to the ingredients in the product. A nail polish that’s labeled “vegan” means there are no animal products in the polish itself. That means no beeswax, no fish scales, no insect shells, etc.

However, a vegan product doesn’t mean that animals aren’t harmed in the process. A vegan-only nail polish may not contain animal products, but it may have been tested on animals.

Animal testing is a miserable and sometimes fatal process for the animal subjects.

During testing, cosmetic companies may rub cosmetics into animals’ eyes and skin. Others may be forced to consume the product to determine toxicity.

Regardless of the method, animal testing is cruel and unnecessary.

To be sure that no animals were harmed to make your polish, make sure your products are both vegan and cruelty-free. One without the other has good intentions, but ultimately does not line up with vegan values.

​For a closer look on the difference between the two, read this article here.

3-, 5-, and 7-Free

I’ll admit I never really gave nail polish ingredients much thought. I grew up painting my nails with my mom and at birthday parties and sleepovers. For all I knew, the harsh fumes and discolored nails were just part of the process.

Little did I know that every time I opened a bottle, I was exposing myself to toxins like DBP and formaldehyde.

It doesn’t have to be so! Many nail polishes now carry a 3-, 5-, or 7- free, which denotes how many toxins have been removed from the polish.

Many traditional polishes contain three chemicals that can be particularly harmful.

A 3-Free label means the polish is free of these toxins:

  • Dibutyl Phthalate, or DBP, is often added to plastics to make them flexible. According to the EPA, this can have side effects on development and reproduction.
  • Formaldehyde, which has been linked to cancers of the nasal cavity and blood.
  • Toulene, which is added to give the polish a smooth finish. Chronic exposure is linked to blood problems and kidney damage.

A 5-free polish is free of the “toxic trio”, as well as:

  • Forrmaldehyde Resin which, like straight formaldehyde, is a known carcinogen.
  • exclamation-triangleCamphor, a scented substance which can cause nausea, dizziness, and headaches when inhaled in large doses.

A polish labeled 7-free is free from the previous five, as well as:

  • exclamation-triangleEthyl Tosylamide, which is added to improve drying time. This can be absorbed by the body through the fingernails.
  • exclamation-triangleXylene is added to many nail polishes and is usually responsible for the trademark strong odor. This ingredient can reduce the body’s ability to detoxify.

While 3-, 5-, and 7-free polishes are all a step in the right direction, opt for 7-free polishes if you’re able.

This is especially important if you’re using nail polish with your children, or you get frequent manicures.

Our Favorite Vegan Nail Polish Brands

The world of cosmetics can be confusing, especially for new vegans.

You don’t want to be stuck in the drug store for hours, trying to figure out whether a certain polish is safe and in line with your values.

To make things quick and easy, we’ve compiled a detailed guide to our favorite products. Each polish on this list is vegan, cruelty-free, and free of at least 5 of the 7 toxins.

Best of all, many are available in your drugstore, and all are available online.

ella+mila Nail Polish
7-free, Made in the USA, Variety of colors, Dries quickly, Doesn’t discolor nails
Pacifica 7 Free Nail Color
Custom wide vegan brush makes for easy, application, Long-lasting, Dries quickly, Smooth application, 7-free
Mineral Fusion Nail Polish
5-free, Smooth application, Affordable, Long lasting with topcoat, Ergonomic brush and bottle
Floss Gloss Ltd Pro Nail Lacquer
Variety of fun colors, 7-free, Number of coats changes finish, Made in the USA, Gorgeous pigment
Julep Color Treat Nail Polish
Strengthens nails, Fast-drying, Long-lasting, 5-free, Good coverage

ella+mila Nail Polish, Mommy Collection - Tea Rose

ella+mila Nail Polish

ella + mila strives to create nail polishes that are eco-friendly and high-end.

The products are available in nearly every color from nudes to neons to pastels. There are also a variety of finishes, including matte, sheer, and metallic.

The company releases a new collection every few months.

The polish comes in single bottles, as well as “Mommy&Me” collections. These duos contain a large bottle for mom, and a smaller, fun-size bottle for little fingers.

ella + mila polishes are 7-free products, free of all major toxins and chemicals.

They’re made in the United States, and cruelty-free vegan certified by PETA.

What We Like

Reviewers with allergies and weakened immune systems love this product. It’s gentle on skin, safe to inhale, and the durability is comparable to traditional polish.

What We Didn’t Like

Even after multiple coats, some purchasers noted the application was still streaky. If you want a very smooth finish, you’ll need to apply many coats.

The Bottom Line

This polish is a great choice for eco-friendly households. The Mommy&Me collection is perfect for children and their parents!

Check Price on Amazon

Pacifica 1972 Pool Party 7 Free Nail Polish

Pacifica 7 Free Nail Color

Pacifica is one of my all-time favorite vegan cosmetic brands. All products are 100% vegan and cruelty-free, and their nail polish is no exception.

This vegan nail polish is available in 27 vibrant shades. These include exotic island colors like coral and turquoise, to luxurious shimmering black.

The polish also comes in a beautiful bottle that’s almost as lovely as the color inside. Everything about it feels spa-like!

Every color is 7-Free, meaning it is free of the major chemicals and toxins common in nail polish.

The product comes with a custom wide vegan brush for easy application. The colors go on smooth and stay put, even after using your hands a lot.

What We Like

Usually you can expect to pay an arm and a leg for more natural products. However, Pacifica’s nail polish is extremely affordable considering that it is designated 7-Free. This polish is cheaper than many toxic brands available in my local drugstore. Pacifica won’t make you pay a pretty penny for better-for-you polish!

What We Didn’t Like

Some reviewers mentioned problems with the colors they received. In some cases, the color was much different than what was shown on Online. In other cases, mostly with the pinks, the polish became discolored over time.

The Bottom Line

This product is a great buy, considering it’s completely free of the 7 major toxins. However, you get what you pay for – you may experience some issues with the colors.

Check Price on Amazon

Mineral Fusion Nail Polish, Grotto, 0.33 Ounce (Packaging May Vary)

Mineral Fusion Nail Polish

Mineral Fusion sticks to the motto “minerals on a mission.” The products are formulated to meet professional standards while remaining safe and healthy.

They aim for multi-tasking products or things that improve skin while beautifying.

Mineral Fusion’s line of cruelty-free nail polishes is nothing short of luxurious. I especially love their pastel colors with pearly, luminescent finishes. They are the perfect way to welcome spring to your wardrobe.

The company also offers a variety of finishes, including eye-catching sparkles.

The polish comes in a sleek, elegant glass bottle with a bronze-colored top. These look gorgeous when displayed together.

Mineral Fusion’s polishes are designated 5-Free. They are free from formaldehyde, camphor, TPHP, DBP, and toluene. They are also vegan and cruelty-free.

What We Like

The polishes come with an extra-wide, extra-thick brush. This ensures smooth, flawless application and eliminates streaks.

What We Didn’t Like

This polish needs several coats before it looks “finished.” This will cause you to use more product per polish.

The Bottom Line

This is a good option for healthy adults looking to make better choices about their cosmetics. It’s not recommended for use around children or those with sensitivities.

Check Price on Amazon

Floss Gloss Ltd Pro Nail Lacquer - '95% Angel' - 0.18oz (5.5 ml) - FG027

Floss Gloss Ltd Pro Nail Lacquer

Floss Gloss was founded in San Francisco in 2011. To me, this is most “fun” line of polishes – even the names of the colors are cute!

The first thing you’ll notice about Floss Gloss polishes are the colors. They come in fun tones like “Neon Nacho,” “Fastlane,” and “Keys to the Mansion.”

This is a vegan-friendly nail polish line for divas looking to make a statement!

It’s also a perfect choice for eco-conscious consumers. All shades are 7-Free, so you can feel good about applying these wild colors to your nails. Floss Gloss is making eco-friendly, vegan products super sexy and trendy.

The polishes are designed in Brooklyn and made in California, USA.

What We Like

The colors, the colors, and the colors! These aren’t your boring colors usually associated with “natural” products. Floss Gloss allows you to express yourself without sacrificing your health or the animals’ wellbeing.

What We Didn’t Like

These bottles are teeny tiny! This means you might run out of the product quickly. Additionally, the price for the amount might make this cost-prohibitive for some shoppers.

The Bottom Line

These are ideal for the eco-conscious fashionista!

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Julep Color Treat Nail Polish, Deep Berries, Jeanette Bombshell, 0.27 fl. oz.

Julep Color Treat Nail Polish

Julep’s founder Jane Park’s philosophy is that beauty should make you feel AND look good!

Julep products are more than just nail polish – they improve the condition of nails. An independent trial showed that two weeks of use resulted in stronger, harder nails.

These products use breakthrough oxygen technology to make a quick-drying, long-lasting polish.

The formula is 5-Free and uses strengthening hexanal and antioxidant green coffee extract.

Julep offers a wide variety of colors and finishes. You can choose tones for every season, as well as subtle shimmers or big, eye-catching glitter.

What We Like

The coverage of Julep’s nail polish is unparalleled. It dries quickly and leaves a smooth, shiny finish on nails without streaks.

What We Didn’t Like

To get the best results with this polish, you’ll want to use it with the base- and topcoat. It can be frustrating to have to buy more products, but you really get what you put into this polish.

The Bottom Line

This is the perfect “feel good” choice. Make your nails beautiful and make them stronger at the same time!

Check Price on Amazon

Healthy Nails, Healthy Animals, Healthy Planet

There isn’t any need to ditch some treat-yo’self manicures when you decide to go vegan.

By keeping an eye out for just a few ingredients, you can make choices that are all-around better. Vegan and cruelty-free products mean you’re speaking out against cruel animal testing practices. By opting for 5- and 7-Free products, you’re also protecting yourself and your family against harmful toxins.

While you can find vegan-friendly nail polish in stores, it can be tough to figure out on-the-spot whether or not they’re vegan. To make things easy, turn to our trusted brands above.

That way, you spend more time polishing and less time sweating in the nail aisle!

Choosing vegan, healthy products gives a voice to animals, children, and the earth. Plus, they make your nails look darn good while you’re doing it!

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