Doing your nails is a fun and relaxing activity you can do right at home, or if you want a bit more pampering, at a nail salon of your choice.
Your nails are a creative extension of your personality, and much like vegan fashion, they’re an excellent way to showcase who you truly are.
Unfortunately, traditional nail polish often contains a lot of toxic chemicals that aren’t good for your nails or the environment. Some polish formulas even contain animal-derived ingredients like fish scales or shells.
The great news is that as the vegan lifestyle and sustainable living become more popular, consumers are also asking for cleaner nail polish formulations. As a result, more and more polish brands are coming out with 3-free, 5-free, 7-free, 10-free, and even 16-free nail formulations.
Here are some of our favorite cruelty-free and vegan polish brands on the market today.
All brands on this list, unless explicitly stated, are completely vegan-friendly.
Londontown Lakur - US
Londontown is a family-run business based in the US with a rich history of using restorative recipes to create beauty products that look as good as they feel.
With forward-thinking formulas and thoughtfully clean products, this vegan nail polish brand goes beyond a “free of” list and aims to redefine how clean beauty is done in the industry.
The Polish Collection
Londontown Lakur has a beautiful selection of nail polishes in different finishes and opacity. Lakur is perhaps best known for its soft pink and brown nude shades, which are the perfect versatile colors for any event.
If you’re a huge fan of french manis or plain nude nails, then Lakur’s nail polishes definitely deserve a spot in your collection.
While the nudes are the star of the show, Lakur also has plenty of other striking nail polish colors, from soft pastels like baby blue and olive to deeper shades like plum and magenta. If you’re into bolder colors and finishes, some iridescent shades are also available.
Each nail polish is chip-resistant and long-wearing, with a gel-like finish without all the fuss. The polishes are also made with a high-pigment yet hydrating formula that won’t leave your nails dry or cracked.
Thanks to a unique Pro-contour brush and self-leveling polish, Lakur’s nail colors will give you a seamless, streak-free finish.
If regular nail polish doesn’t cut it for you, Londontown Lakur also has some gel nail polishes in their collection. Of course, gel nail polishes require UV lamps to dry, so make sure to keep that in mind.
Londontown Lakur’s cruelty-free nail polish is a 16+free formula, which makes it free from more than 16 of the most commonly used (potentially harmful) ingredients in nail polish, which includes animal-derived ingredients.
Free from formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates (including DBP), formaldehyde resin, camphor, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, acetone, TPHP, bisphenol A, and more, their polishes give excellent color payoff without harming your nails.
Lakur also uses a signature blend of restorative plant oils to help them achieve polish longevity. They use botanical extracts such as rapeseed flower oil, cucumber extract, primrose oil, and chamomile, among others.
Of course, all formulations are completely cruelty-free and vegan. For those with celiac and non-celiac-related gluten sensitivities, all Londontown lacquers are also gluten-free.
Londontown Lakur polishes are made locally in the United States.
Sundays Nail Polish - US
Sundays is a nail vegan nail polish brand founded on the values of individuality, simplicity, and wellness, all of which are manifest in their products and the way they do business.
More than just a nail care brand, Sundays is keen on building a community of people who are passionate about wellness and making the beauty industry kinder to all.
The Polish Collection
True to their word, Sundays’ nail color collection is super simple and really brings you back to the basics in the best way possible.
The brand’s focus lies on timeless colors you can wear to any event or occasion—no need to chase new trends or fads in the nail care industry.
Their selection of vegan and cruelty-free nail colors is mainly composed of pastels, nudes, and other soft creme colors.
You can easily browse their collection by color according to your needs and preferences.
For a better application, we suggest also taking a look at their base coats. They have numerous options available, including a strengthening base coat and a filler base for the ridges on your nails. Using a base will make your colors apply more smoothly and seamlessly.
Sundays only makes long-wearing and non-toxic nail polish, so your nails feel pampered without any harm.
This nail polish brand is on the more expensive side of lacquer prices, but the quality is definitely worth your money.
Depending on which color you get, most shades will give you full opacity in two coats but expect to add one swipe for ultra-light shades.
These cruelty-free polishes have an opaque gloss finish and are professional-grade but are still beginner-friendly. With an optimized brush and bottle shape, these colors will give you a precise and quick application, even if you’re still new to painting your nails.
As a non-toxic nail polish brand, Sundays focuses on making their formulas as clean as possible. It took the brand a year to develop their proprietary 10-free formula free of dibutyl phthalate, TPHP, toluene, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, parabens, and tert-butyl hydroperoxide.
Of course, as a vegan brand, all Sundays products are only made of vegan ingredients. Sundays products are never tested on animals and have always been cruelty-free.
Sundays products are made locally in the US.
If you’re in NYC, you can also drop by two of their nail salons in the city. They offer some unique nail care experiences, and you’ll surely feel pampered with their services.
Nailmatic - France
Nailmatic began in 2012 with a simple idea: vending machines that sold polish instead of chips or chocolate bars! Although quite novel and a bit unorthodox, this idea paved the way for Nailmatic’s creation of eco friendly polishes absent of the chemicals often found in nail varnishes today.
The Polish Collection
Although Nailmatic’s origins are a little out of the box, their nail colors are anything but—chic, simple, and incredibly versatile.
With close to 50 unique shades, Nailmatic colors are made for all occasions, whether it’s something as simple as a picnic date to important milestones like your engagement, Nailmatic has something for you.
But we featured Nailmatic not simply because of their versatile shade range, but because of their cute little collection of nail colors for kids!
Many of the conventional polishes you can buy on the market contain ingredients that aren’t exactly good for your little ones. As an answer to this issue, Nailmatic released a collection of water-based nail colors specifically formulated for kids (but adults can use it, too!).
Nailmatic’s water-based products may not have the lasting power of regular polish, but it still gives excellent color payoff for a day’s worth of color-loaded fun.
These kid-friendly polishes are odorless and are super easy to apply, even on their tiny fingernails. And because the formula is water-based, these colors will easily fade with some water and soap—perfect for kids who like experimenting!
You can use these polishes for special events like Halloween, birthdays, or even just a simple afternoon of fun.
Nailmatic’s kid-friendly formula is 57% water-based and will not stain. However, if it somehow gets on your child’s clothing or any fabric (like the couch), make sure to wash it immediately without letting it set.
If young kids are playing with this polish, we strongly suggest supervising them to avoid spills or accidents.
You can check the full list of ingredients here, but the majority of the product is just aqua, otherwise known as water.
These polishes are formulated for 3-year-old kids and above, so do not apply them to infants or toddlers.
Do note that while Nailmatic’s formulas for their polishes are completely vegan and cruelty-free, two of their products do contain animal ingredients and are, therefore, not vegan. If you prefer to support a completely vegan brand, you may skip this one and check out the other brands featured on this list.
Holo Taco - US
Holo Taco was founded by Canadian YouTuber Cristine of Simply Nailogical. Built on fun, bright colors and a love for holographic nail toppers, Holo Taco is not like your average nail brand.
The name Holo Taco, though strange at first, is actually a fun inside joke between the creator and her fans. Cristine is known for starting her videos by saying “holo” instead of hello and using taco as an alternative term for “top coat,” and thus, Holo Taco was born!
The Polish Collection
Holo Taco is a little different from most of the cruelty-free brands we’ve featured on this list. Because while most of the others focus on natural nail colors and pastel shades, Holo Taco is all about the holo.
Holo Taco does have its share of creme polishes, but their best-selling products are shimmery, holographic toppers that are difficult to find in any other polish brand.
If you’re a fan of sparkly nails, then Holo Taco is definitely for you. The brand also stocks more unique finishes like multicolored chromes and metallic polishes. These toppers aren’t usually available in most collections, so we’re really glad to see more options in the industry.
Each nail polish is formulated to be super pigmented and opaque within two coats, perhaps with the exception of light colors. Holo Taco also has one of the most opaque whites available with just one coat, so the polish is great for nail art or french tips.
Holo Taco’s vegan, cruelty-free nail polish is also available in bundles and sets, so it’ll be easier for you to get polishes in the same color family.
Holo Taco’s polish bottles are also designed for easy application, so your polish will have a nice, smooth finish. Do note that Holo Taco polishes are a bit on the thicker side formula-wise, so make sure to adjust your application as needed.
If you’re picky with your cruelty-free polish and you want to see exactly how they perform before making a purchase, then Holo Taco is most definitely for you. The brand has a YouTube channel where you can see swatches of all the shades as well as some cool nail ideas for your next mani!
Holo Taco polishes are all 5-free and do not contain formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, toluene, and Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP).
As a vegan, cruelty-free brand, Holo Taco never conducts animal testing on any of its products, nor do they use any animal-derived ingredients.
While the polishes are labeled as 5-free, we noticed that some of the polishes are also free of parabens and xylene, which are both common chemicals used in nail polish.
If you want to know more about the ingredients for each specific nail product, Holo Taco discloses all ingredients in their product description.
Ella + Mila - US
Founded as a high-end and eco friendly nail polish brand, Ella + Mila is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after nail polish brands today.
This brand is frequently a staple in many nail salons across the globe, and they’ve retained their eco friendly values all throughout the growth of the company.
The Polish Collection
Ella + Mila’s collection of non-toxic nail polish is reminiscent of soft summers and garden parties. Their most popular shades are soft pinks and nudes you can wear to any occasion, whether it’s a wedding, work event, or simply for every day.
And while the cruelty-free brand’s popular colors tend to be within the soft neutrals category, they also have plenty of other polishes in different textures and finishes.
From duochromes to holographic glitters, Ella + Mila’s polish collection has something for everybody. The best part is that these polishes are quite affordable, and you can buy them at your local drug stores or beauty supply outlets.
The brand also has super cute polishes under their ‘Mommy and Me’ collection. Each set of polishes has one big bottle and one small bottle in two different shades, perfect for bonding with your little one.
Children of all ages love experimenting with colors, so these cruelty-free polishes are a really great way to get those creative juices flowing.
Not all nail polishes are kid-friendly, though. Always remember that health and safety must always come first so we recommend using only safe nail colors for kids. If working on a young child, we recommend getting a water-based polish as they tend to be more gentle on the nails.
Ella + Mila products are 17-free, which means they are not made with Acetone, Animal products, Bisphenol-A, Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Gluten, Glycol Ether of Series E, Nonylphenol Ethoxylate, Parabens, Phthalates (including DBP), Styrene, Sulfate, Toluene, Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP/TPP), and Xylene.
You may refer to this page for more information on these chemicals and ingredients and why you wouldn’t want them in your nail varnishes.
All of the brand’s polishes are made in the US and PETA-certified vegan and cruelty-free.
Orly - US
Founded in 1975 by the inventor of the French Manicure, Orly is one of the most prominent nail polish brands in the market today—a staple by many salons worldwide.
Family-owned and completely vegan and cruelty-free, Orly is a great brand for those looking for professional-grade polishes that glide on smoothly to achieve beautiful, chip-resistant nails.
The Polish Collection
Orly’s nail polish selection contains both vegan gel polish and regular nail polish. To switch things up a little, we’ll be talking more about their GELfx collection, which is composed of cruelty-free gel polishes in various finishes and textures.
Each Orly gel polish is 12-free, which is amazing considering the lasting power of gel polish—which we’ll delve deeper into in a later section.
Orly’s vegan gel polish collection houses more than 150 shades and is one of the most comprehensive gel polish catalogs on the market right now.
Vegan gel polish is a little more expensive than regular polish but if you want ultimate lasting power, they’re really worth spending your money on. As a disclaimer, it’s important to recognize that gel polish is not like traditional polish and requires sufficient experience and knowledge to apply and remove well.
One of the dangers of doing gel polish by yourself is accidentally damaging your nails through improper removal. Remember, these polishes adhere strongly to your nails, making them last weeks more than regular polish.
As a result, you will also have a harder time removing them. Unlike typical vegan and cruelty-free polishes, a simple swipe of some nail polish remover will not cut it. You will need to soak your nails in a remover (which is usually pure acetone) before you can remove it safely.
If this does not sound like something you’d want to try, we highly advise against going for gel nails.
All that said, if you want to try vegan, cruelty-free gel polish out, Orly is one of the best polish brands to start with.
Orly’s cruelty-free gel polish formula is 12-free and does not contain the following: DBP, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Camphor, Triphenyl Phosphate (TPP), Formaldehyde Resin, Parabens, Gluten, Animal-derive ingredients, Ethyl Tosylamide, Xylene, and MIT.
Orly polishes are all made in the US.
Olive & June - US
Olive and June began in 2013 as a nail salon in Beverly Hills. Now with its own nail care line, Olive and June has successfully brought the quality and luxury of the salon experience right at home.
The Polish Collection
Olive and June is a pretty popular polish brand known for its sleek cylindrical bottle design and minimalist graphics. If you’ve been in the world of polish for some time, then you’ve definitely seen this brand around.
You can easily shop their selection by color, opacity, finishes, and even the level of difficulty of each polish! Some polishes are more difficult to work with than others because of the formula, opacity, and general ease of application.
This unique feature is especially helpful to beginners out there who may be delving into nail colors for the first time!
Each of Olive & June’s polishes gives a gel-like finish when applied correctly and will last you at least a week without chips! However, some polishes naturally have a sheer finish so don’t expect each shade to give you full opacity.
Olive & June polishes come with a wide, fan-shaped brush that’ll make painting your nails so much easier. Wide brushes allow you to cover plenty of surface area in just one stroke, which is crucial when you’re working with polish that sets quickly.
A fan-shaped brush also allows you to get as close to your cuticle as possible for a sleek, clean mani.
As a plus, Olive & June polishes are quite affordable so they’re perfect for those who want a high-quality vegan polish without breaking the bank.
Olive & June polishes are 7-free and do not contain Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Ethyl tosylamide, and Xylene.
Of course, the formula is completely vegan and cruelty-free.
Peacci - UK
Peacci is a vegan, cruelty-free nail polish company specializing in professional quality and long-wearing polishes that make you feel good inside and out.
This UK brand believes in creating products that anybody can use—whether you’re a complete polish novice or a seasoned nail technician.
The Polish Collection
Peacci has a huge range of more than 150 cruelty-free and vegan polishes. Each shade is housed in a square glass bottle with a long handle for easier gripping during application.
Whether you’re a fan of muted pastels or bright neons, we’re sure Peacci has something for you.
With super-pigmented shades made using a long-lasting formula, each of Peacci’s vegan, cruelty-free shades makes for ultimate wearability throughout the week. For best results, make sure to use both a top coat and a base coat for your nails.
Many of the brand’s colors are perfect for nail art thanks to their high color payoff with just one layer. Doing nail art with regular polish requires precision, and it can be difficult to layer colors on top of one another when you’re doing super intricate designs.
Due to that, the best colors for nail art and stamping are often polishes that can give you a solid color with just one swipe.
Peacci’s nail varnishes will give you a glossy finish and will remain chic and wearable for up to a week if you follow the recommended directors for use—more on how you can make your polish last below.
Peacci’s polishes are all 12-free and do not contain 12 of the most common (potentially harmful) ingredients used by many brands of polish.
For more information on specific components, Peacci discloses all ingredients they use on each product listing.
All Peacci products are made in Europe with ingredients and materials also sourced in Europe.
What Is The Difference Between Gel Nail Polishes And Regular Nail Polishes?
Gel nail polish has recently become more popular over the last decade, and if you’re new to nail polish, you might be very confused as to what sets gel polish apart from a regular gel-like finish.
Gel nail polish is known for its ultra-shiny finish and extremely long-lasting wear. If applied well, gel polishes should last you two weeks without losing any of the shine and color. The shine will fade over time but the color should stay for more than four weeks on your nails.
Gel nail colors have been growing more popular because they’re easier to maintain and require fewer touch-ups.
However, gel polishes are also more difficult to remove and may damage your natural nail plate if the polish isn’t taken off properly. The gel polishes themselves won’t hurt your nails, it’s the removal process that may do so.
Regular nail lacquers, in comparison, are lighter and more breathable but they also last a considerably shorter amount of time. Most manicures will last you a good week before they start chipping.
And if your nails are particularly resistant to polish and your hands are always exposed to water, then regular polish will only last you a couple of days before the first chips start to appear.
While it is most certainly possible to extend the life of your regular lacquers, gel nail polish will almost always last longer.
If you’re a beginner to nail colors, we strongly urge you to go for traditional nail polish at first, unless you will be going to a nail salon. Gel nail polishes are quite complex to apply and require additional tools like a UV lamp to cure them whereas regular nail polishes simply require some product and a little bit of time.
But to find out which one of the two kinds you really prefer, we suggest trying them both! Each kind of nail polish has its own pros and cons, and knowing which one you prefer will require taking a look at various factors and preferences.
How To Make Your Cruelty-free Nail Polish Last Longer
One of the major frustrations many people have with nail polish is that it simply doesn’t seem to last! You might find that after washing the dishes a couple of times, the damage on your fresh manicure is incredibly obvious.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can make your manicure last longer without gel polish.
Nail Care and Prep
Nail prep is crucial to any manicure and it is our biggest tip for making sure your nail polish lasts. All nail polish, even good, vegan nail polishes are prone to chipping if you don’t prep your nails right.
Our nails release natural oils and making sure your nails are free of oils before application is the secret to having a long-lasting manicure. Take note that not all nails are the same. Some nails are naturally oilier than others, which can shorten the life of your mani.
Regardless of this, just make sure to apply your cruelty-free vegan nail polish on a clean surface. so the polish can adhere properly to your nail and last longer without chips.
Avoid The Cuticle
Being precise with how you apply your nail varnish is also crucial to achieving a long-lasting manicure. Applying polish on your cuticles will cause the nail polish to lift in those areas, thus causing chips near the base.
Once chipped once, you then leave more room for your polish to chip even further, creating a domino effect for your once-beautiful mani.
It can be difficult to cover your nail fully with color without hitting your cuticle, especially if you’re a beginner. We recommend getting cruelty-free and vegan nail polishes with a wide, fan-shaped brush for easier application.
Start applying on the middle of your nail and slowly push the product towards your cuticle before bringing it back to the tip of your nail.
Cap or 'Wrap' Your Nail
One of the very first areas where nail polish can chip is the tip because it is the most exposed. Applying polish to the tip of your nail makes your polish more chip-resistant and will make your mani last so much longer.
This might be a little bit difficult to do on short nails, but it is still doable.
Use A Base And Top Coat
Using both a base coat and a top coat is a major mani game changer. A base coat will help the polish adhere better and last longer while a top coat helps seal all the layers together and adds some shine.
If you haven’t yet, make sure to add these two products to your routine.
Keeping your nails healthy, manicured, and freshly colored is a commitment. Pursuing a sustainable lifestyle and making sure you buy eco friendly and vegan options is even more so!
But cruelty-free products are just as good as conventional alternatives, even in the makeup and beauty industry—and the brands we featured are proof.
After decades of toxicity in polish, you can now happily paint your nails without causing any harm to yourself, animals, and the environment.