A guide to the best cruelty-free, animal friendly, and vegan nail polish options to look great.
Already know what you want? Check out the full list of featured cruelty-free nail polish options here.
When it comes to cruelty-free nail polish brands the number of choices available can seem endless and of course, this can be both a blessing and a curse if you’re looking to get straight to the best polish for the job. The good news however, is that we’ve done the heavy lifting to sort through the best options out there to let you pick from some of the top cruelty-free nail brands without spending endless hours going over all of the options.
Why choose a cruelty-free nail polish?
As with other cosmetics, choosing a cruelty-free nail polish means finding a solution that does no harm to animals in the production of the product.
The truly animal friendly products are of course, those which meet both of these criteria.
When it comes to cruelty-free nail polish, the emphasis is almost always on the non-testing side however if you’re also looking for a vegan nail polish, this distinction is an important one to keep in mind when searching out the perfect nail solution.
Opting for a cruelty-free or vegan nail polish (and a wider base of cruelty-free or animal-friendly cosmetic options) is one of the simplest ways to change your everyday routine towards an approach that does no harm to animals.
What makes a nail polish cruelty-free?
Cruelty-free products are those which have not had any element of testing conducted or carried out on animals at any point during production or manufacture. This definition for cruelty-free includes all of the ingredients and the final product itself.
With this in mind, the same criteria applies to finding the best cruelty-free nail polish and if you’re looking for an animal-friendly nail polish option, then going for a cruelty-free brand or product is definitely the answer.
One of the best ways to make sure that a nail polish is cruelty-free (or any other cosmetic for that matter) is to keep an eye out for an official certification or mark of cruelty-free accreditation. The good news here is that the best cruelty-free nail polish options will specify their vegan credentials or cruelty-free certifications as a matter of pride.
Some of the major cruelty-free certifications and standards from the leading organizations such as Leaping Bunny and PETA are ones to watch out for and will ensure that the nail polish you’ve got your eye on is ethically aligned with your goals and is cruelty-free in its production ethics.
Another important thing to keep in mind when looking for a cruelty-free nail polish (or any other cruelty-free product) is that “cruelty-free” is actually still an unregulated term meaning that while some companies may claim to be cruelty-free, they may not actually have official certification of this to prove it to the end user (you and me) so it’s always worthwhile carrying out your own research if you don’t immediately see one of the major cruelty-free certifications mentioned and if you still can’t find anything at that point, to contact the company directly to ask about their practices and any cruelty-free affiliations they have before buying.
What makes a nail polish vegan?
So, at this point you may be wondering what’s the difference between a cruelty-free nail polish and a vegan nail polish? Well, the simple way to think about it is to consider what makes a nail polish not vegan. Basically, this is any animal-derived ingredients that may be hidden among the list of ingredients on the back of your polish.
The issue here is that these items may not be that obvious at first glance. For example ingredients such as guanine (derived from fish scales and sometimes used in nail polish colors) or shellac (derived from the lac bud and used as a hardener in some polishes) can often hide behind names that we’re not looking for or simply don’t know about in the first place!
Therefore in the same way as assessing cruelty-free nail polish credentials, one of the best things to do when scrutinizing vegan nail polish claims is to look for some kind of certification or registered mark that verifies a nail polish brand is doing (and using) what it says it is.
Best cruelty-free nail polish options
The best cruelty-free and vegan nail polish solutions bring the convenience meaning you can look good and rest assured that the production practices of your chosen polish are aligned with your own ethical values.
In this guide we’ve outlined our pick of the best cruelty-free nail polish brands as well as a selection of our top choices from some of the best in the business. It’s important to note that while all of the brands and products featured in this guide are cruelty-free, some may not be vegan. If you’re looking specifically for a shortlist of the best cruelty-free nail polish options that are also vegan, then see here.
Whether you’re looking for a special occasion nail polish for those one-offs, want something to brighten up the day, or simply want a regular staple that you can match to your mood, choosing from one of the best cruelty-free nail polish options means you can look good and do better every time.
The Kashmir vegan nail polish by 786 Cosmetics is breathable and is one of the options from a range of stunning colors inspired by cities of the world.
All of the nail polishes by 786 are cruelty-free and halal certified, while an impressive 11-free formula means that this vegan polish is free from the 11 harshest chemicals typically found in other conventional nail polish alternatives.
If you’re looking for nail polish that’s both cruelty-free and vegan, then this stylish nail paint from a.dorn if an obvious choice.
On top of this, a.dorn nail paints are free from toulene, DBP, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and camphor which make them a great option if you’re looking for a vegan and cruelty-free nail polish with a conscious ingredient profile.
The vegan ingredient list of this cruelty-free nail polish mean that it’s free from any animal products and an extensive range of shades make it the ideal accompaniment for whatever mood your nails are in.
Safe, non-toxic, and with virtually no odor, the Acquarella range of vegan nail polishes are completely water based and are free from phthalates, formaldehyde, toluene, or any other petrochemical solvents.
This Soft Coral cruelty-free nail polish provides a gel effect without the need for the full manicure to achieve the look.
PETA and Leaping Bunny certified, this attractive pink cruelty-free nail polish is also free from parabens making it a better option all round.
This cruelty-free nail polish is chip-resistant, long-lasting, and vegan in a versatile color finish perfect for the office or a night on the town.
Made in the USA, this vegan nail lacquer is formulated without parabens, sulfates, camphor, dibutyl phtalate, toluene, triphenyl phosphate, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, xylene, bismuth oxychloride, and ethyl tosylamide.
So what does that all mean? Quite simply it means this cruelty-free nail lacquer is a cleaner, better alternative to traditional nail polishes that can’t brag about these kind of things.
The Beauty Without Bunnies cruelty-free nail lacquer is a 100% vegan pink creme nail lacquer that applies smooth and opaque while producing a glossy finish.
A dollar from sale proceeds are donated to PETA with every sale of this polish and as with the other members of the All Heart family of cruelty-free and vegan nail lacquers, this option is 8-free.
This cruelty-free nail polish from French brand Avril is vegan, fast drying, and long lasting – everything we look for in finding the perfect partner for our nails.
A selection of striking and intense color finishes are complemented by an ingredient list that is 77% derived from natural origins and an end product that is formulated without camphor. C’est magnifique!
Every nail polish in the Barry M collection is 100% cruelty-free and while all products from the brand are vegetarian (some still use ingredients such as beeswax), they’re working toward making the entire range vegan.
If you’re looking for a stylish yet affordable cruelty-free nail polish, the expansive range by Barry M take some beating when it comes to ethical glam per buck.SHOP BARRY M
This high gloss, long-lasting, and quick drying vegan nail color is free from toluene, formaldehyde, phthalate, and cruelty.
This Flamingo pink nail polish makes an impact both visually and ethically and is formulated with 90% natural ingredients.
An 8-free formula also means that this cruelty-free nail polish looks good for less bad and doesn’t include toulene, camphor, phthalates, formaldehyde, parabens, silicones, TPHP, or colophony.
BKIND NON-TOXIC NAIL POLISH
This vegan nail polish is not tested on animals and is 10-free, meaning it doesn’t contain any of the 10 chemicals usually found in regular, less kind nail polishes.
Good looking, easy to apply, quick drying, and long-lasting. Everything you want in a cruelty-free nail polish.
This perfectly pink vegan nail polish is free from parabens and delivers a gel-like finish, providing a stunning look for up to 10 days and making this powerful polish a solid choice as a cruelty-free nail treatment.SHOP BUTTER LONDON
This vegan nail lacquer from Catrice is enriched with acai oil, lasts up to 7 days without a top coat, and provides a stunning glossy finish.SHOP CATRICE
This cruelty-free nail polish is fuchsia colored with a light pink micro glitter finish. Not only this, but there’s not a sign of the usual bad guys on the ingredients label meaning the likes of toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, or triphenyl phosphate don’t make the guest list.SHOP CHINA GLAZE
A 10-free and vegan friendly formulation make this cruelty-free polish even more attractive as the foundation beneath a color-switching glitter top coat featuring a blend of blue sequins and a sparkling holographic base.SHOP CIATÉ LONDON
This vegan nail polish features a cruelty-free formula and an ingredient list so clean you’d let your mom wear it.
Available in a ton of awesome colors and styles, this is one vegan and cruelty-free nail polish that makes an impact wherever you wear it.SHOP DECO MIAMI
This grey-meets-purple cruelty-free nail polish is 17-Free, vegan, quick drying, and chip resistant.
A subtle yet impactful vegan nail polish that’s as good as it looks.SHOP ILNP
This is one cruelty-free nail polish that’s a natural match for winter wearing or evening pairing and a list of impressive credentials including 7-free formulation make it even more appealing.SHOP FLOSS GLOSS
This metallic number from Gabriel has an impressive array of ethical credentials under the lid offering a formulation which is both vegan and 10-free for a better kind of cruelty-free nail polish that shines both inside and out.SHOP GABRIEL
As with other nail polishes in the Habit range, this burnt salmon vegan polish is cruelty-free and certified by PETA.
Offering strengthening for nails and formulated with Myrrh, this cruelty-free nail polish comes in a creme finish and is sustainably packaged with a removable bamboo cap, a recycled plastic brush, and an FSC-certified paperboard box.SHOP HABIT
The earth-friendly formula behind the Honeybee Gardens Watercolors range of cruelty-free nail polishes represents a great example of colorful variety with a conscience.
Vegan and quick-drying, this water-based nail polish provides a warm summer rose tone and is free from both animal ingredients and a whole lot of less than ideal additions such as toluene, dibutyl phthalate, and parabens.SHOP HONEYBEE GARDENS
This light purple pastel is the perfect addition to your cruelty-free nail polish collection offering a vegan friendly, long-lasting, and quick drying 10-free formula lacquer that delivers a striking brilliance and intense shine.SHOP JINSOON
This nail polish is not only cruelty-free, but is also vegan, non toxic, and 10-free meaning it’s free from TPHP, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, parabens, and tert-butyl hydroperoxide. Phew.
Designed and formulated to make a subtle yet stylish statement for any occasion, this vegan nail polish is good on every level.SHOP SUNDAYS HERE
This vegan nail polish is not only cruelty-free, but also (as the name suggests) 7 free, meaning that it doesn’t include toluene, xylene, DBP, camphor, formaldehyde resin, formaldehyde, or TPHP. Find out why that’s a big deal here.SHOP NCLA
As well as being vegan, the 7 free formulation of this pretty in pink cruelty-free nail polish means it does away with many of the less than ideal chemicals that sneak into many conventional nail polishes.
Cruelty-free. Vegan. 7 free. Awesome.SHOP PACIFICA
The no-odor formulation of this cruelty-free nail polish is just one of the reasons we’re obsessed with the Karma Organic offering. As well as being 100% organic, this polish is vegan and free from TPHP, toluene, formaldehyde, and DBP meaning it’s suitable for everyone from kids and pregnant women to your allergic grandma.
A crazy choice of color options, 100% recyclable packaging, and a never tested on animals policy make this one of the very best cruelty-free nail polish choices in our guide.SHOP KARMA ORGANIC
The wow-factor of this rose gold holographic nail polish might be obvious, but the ethical credentials behind the scenes are what make it even better when you look a little deeper.
Chip resistant and easy to remove, this cruelty-free nail polish also doesn’t use any animal derived ingredients meaning it’s 100% vegan as well as never tested on animals. What you put on your nails matters and a 7-free, non-toxic formulation means that this vegan nail polish is just as good on the inside as it looks on the outside.SHOP ILNP
This quick-drying vegan nail enamel is 7-free and delivers a mirror-like dark midnight navy blue finish allowing you to make an effortless statement.
Made in the USA and formulated without the inclusion of questionable ingredients, this almost black cruelty-free nail polish blends edgy with sophisticated while keeping a clean conscience the whole time.SHOP LAUREN B. BEAUTY
A cruelty free nail polish in a sky blue hue with a cream finish, this vegan nail color from Mineral Fusion is free from parabens, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, toluene and a whole host of other shady characters making it a naturally cleaner choice for both your nails and the environment.SHOP MINERAL FUSION
A professional effect vegan nail polish in a bold pink finish, this cruelty-free color from Orly is 12-free and never tested on animals.
Sometimes it can be tough to find a polish that strikes the balance between vibrant style and a conscious ingredient list, however this lacquer features a formula free from toluene, formaldehyde, DBP and a whole lot more showing it’s possible to look good and do better.SHOP ORLY
A shimmering glossy red finish makes this vegan nail polish a bold addition to any makeup bag and is fast drying, chip resistant, and as with other polishes in the range, contains a UV inhibitor.
Cruelty-free and formulated with a list of better ingredients, this polish looks good and does good, making it a naturally better choice if you’re looking for a vegan nail color.SHOP PRITI NYC
This cruelty free nail polish is 8-free and formulated to provide even coverage, brilliant shine, and chip-resistance.
If you’re on the hunt for a neutral vegan nail polish, then this could well be the cruelty-free color you’ve been searching for.SHOP SMITH & CULT
This cool toned vegan nail polish features an all-in-one 10-Free formula to strengthen and brighten nails for a better finish all round.
A 1-step formula means that you simply need to apply 2 coats (without the need for a basecoat or topcoat) and you’ll have the perfect cruelty-free finish for your nails.SHOP SPARITUAL
Cruelty-free and vegan nail polish: A-Z
786 Cosmetics (Vegan)
Adesse New York
All Heart (Vegan)
Beauty Without Cruelty (Vegan)
Dazzle Dry (Vegan)
Deco Miami (Vegan)
Dimension Nails (Vegan)
Ella + Mila
Floss Gloss (Vegan)
Furless Cosmetics (Vegan)
Gabriel Cosmetics (Vegan)
Karma Organic (Vegan)
La Couleur Couture (Vegan)
Lauren B. Beauty
Live Love Polish (Vegan)
Look Nail Color
Madam Glam (Vegan)
Marc Jacobs Beauty
Mented Cosmetics (Vegan)
Miss Frankie (Vegan)
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (Vegan)
Oh Tiff! (Vegan)
OOO Polish (Vegan)
Picture Polish (Vegan)
Play Love Laugh (Hugo Naturals) (Vegan)
Priti Nyc (Vegan)
Sienna Byron Bay (Vegan)
Smith & Cult
Surya Brasil (Vegan)
Taupe Coat (Vegan)
Trust Fund Beauty (Vegan)