Advertising Claims Can Be Misleading, Luckily, It’s Not Hard For You To Verify A Company Or Product’s Claims To Be Animal-product And Animal-cruelty Free.
Vegan nail polish, like other vegan goods, does not contain animal-derived ingredients. Recently, vegan nail products have gained popularity among consumers — even non-vegans — because they tend to be safer to wear. Yet vegan ingredients are not an industry standard, so it can be difficult to find 100% vegan-friendly nail products.
When shopping for vegan nail polish, keep in mind that some nail polish brands almost always use at least some non-vegan ingredients, including: Creative Nail Design (CND), Essie, Formula X, L’Oreal, Max Factor, Maybelline, Revlon, Rimmel, Sally Hansen, and Sinful Colors (by Revlon). Other brands are not always consistent in their use of non-vegan ingredients.
The easiest way to make sure your nail polish is vegan is to buy only from 100% vegan-friendly brands, like LBK Nails. Otherwise, you’ll need to do some research to find out if your preferred brand, finish, and/or color contains only vegan ingredients. These steps are a good way to start:
Method 1 - Check The Ingredients List
Nail polish formulas are comprised of three elements: color pigments, a suspension base for preventing separation and ensuring consistency, and adhesive polymers, which allow polish to stick to your nails and resist chipping. Nail polishes often rely on non-vegan ingredients to make them lustrous, shiny, thick, long-lasting, and, specifically, red. Though there are substitute ingredients for each that are not animal-based (that accomplish similar effects), they stick around in many formulas because brands and manufacturers know they work.
Unfortunately, reviewers sometimes find that vegan nail polishes are thinner, dull faster, chip more easily, and also just don’t sufficiently protect their nails, so part of your research process should be checking customer reviews to find which vegan nail polishes have the best formula.
When shopping for vegan-friendly nail products, the most common non-vegan ingredients to look for are:
- Guanine (also called “Pearl Essence” or “CI 75170”): This is a shimmery substance that adds sparkle and luster to many polishes. However, it is primarily derived from a variety of fish scales.
- Carmine (also called “Crimson Lake,” “natural red 4” or “CI 75470”): Carmine is an extremely commonly-used bright red pigment made from crushing scale insects.
- Keratin: Often added to strengthen and give a healthy shine to nails, keratin is sourced from the hooves, horns, feathers, and hair of a variety of animals, including cattle, horses, pigs, and rabbits.
- Oleic Acid: This is an (unnecessary) additive that most often acts as a thickener and adhesive base in different nail polish formulas. Though it is responsible for giving some polishes a hard, smooth, single-coat finish, it is primarily made of animal-derived oils and tallow.
Method 2 - Check The Label
Luckily, if you are unable to find a full ingredients list, you can also look for one specific thing on the label or packaging. Hint: it’s not the phrase “vegan friendly.” That’s because businesses can say a product is vegan-friendly while still using some non-vegan-friendly practices (like animal testing). However, the Vegan Society operates a certification and labeling process that ensures all items bearing a Vegan Society trademark label are guaranteed 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
Method 3 - Check With A Knowledgeable Organization:
Lastly, if you are still unsure (because you can’t find the ingredients list, or don’t have access to the label), a variety of different organizations maintain comprehensive lists of vegan products, including PETA, Vegan.com, and other reputable websites. You can also always contact the manufacturer directly to inquire about their vegan-friendly and cruelty-free ingredients and policies.