We’ve reached out to all the nail polish brands to bring you this post. The main thing I’d like to point out is that Essie and OPI, 2 of the most popular nail polish brands, DO test on animals by selling in China. Sally Hansen is another culprit.
Regardless, you’ll notice that there are an overwhelming number of cruelty-free nail brands to choose from, so there’s no reason to have to support a brand that tests on animals! This includes brands like China Glaze, Deborah Lippmann, LVX, Orly, and Seche Vite.
I’ve included options for every budget, from 99¢ drugstore products to indie and high-end luxury polishes. Some of these brands are also 100% vegan, and you’ll find it clearly noted in the list when this is the case.
Here’s an overview of the guide:
- The first section lists brands that DO test on animals. This list is not exhaustive.
- The next section lists the cruelty-free nail polish brands. Keep scrolling for descriptions of all the brands, from the high-end brands to the budget ones. If the brands are 100% vegan, 5-free, or 7-free, it’s going to be noted.
- The third section includes brands that haven’t responded when we reached out to them.
- Finally, the last section lists a few brands that did write back, but haven’t provided enough information.
Without further ado, here’s your guide to cruelty-free claws!
1. Nail Brands That Test on Animals
First up are the brands that DO test on animals. Note that some of these brands don’t conduct any animal testing themselves, but fund animal testing by selling their products in mainland China. This means they’re not cruelty-free.
- Nicole by OPI
- Sally Hansen
- Sephora Collection
- Sinful Colors
- Tom Ford
- Yves Saint Laurent
2. Cruelty-Free Nail Brands
These nail brands confirmed that no animal testing takes place at any point during production, including by their suppliers, and they do not sell their products in mainland China. Many of these brands are also 100% vegan! Any brands which are owned by parent companies who aren’t cruelty-free will be indicated with an asterisk.
Another thing to consider when shopping for nail polish is the toxicity of the formula. The three most commonly known hazardous chemicals which can be found in nail polish are Dibutyl Phtalate (DBP), Formaldehyde and Toluene. If a nail polish is free of these three toxic ingredients, it would be considered “3-Free”.
Many of the cruelty-free nail polish brands mentioned below are not only free of these three ingredients, but free of other harmful ingredients as well. Brands can also be considered “5-Free”, “7-Free”, and so on. “5-Free” polishes contain no Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor, in addition to the original three, and “7-Free” polishes also eschew Ethyl Tosylamide and Andxylene.
- 100% Pure
- Barry M
- Beauty Without Cruelty
- Butter London
- China Glaze
- Ciaté London
- Color Club
- Deborah Lippmann
- Deco Miami
- Ella + Mila
- Furless Cosmetics
- Gabriel Cosmetics
- Hard Candy
- Kester Black
- L.A. Colors
- Lauren B. Beauty
- LOOK Nail Color
- Manic Panic
- Marc Jacobs Beauty
- Milani Cosmetics
- Milk Makeup
- Mineral Fusion
- Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
- OH TIFF!
- Palate Polish
- Piggy Paint
- Play Love Laugh (Hugo Naturals)
- Prestige Cosmetics
- Pretty Serious
- PRITI NYC
- Pure Anada
- RMS Beauty
- Seche Vite
- Sonia Kashuk
- Smith & Cult
- Trust Fund Beauty
- Urban Decay*
Cruelty-Free High-End Brands
These are some of the most popular high-end and salon brands available at Sephora, Ulta and department stores.
black|Up is a French upscale beauty brand available at Sephora which is dedicated to women of color. Their line of nail lacquers includes high-gloss nudes specially-designed for darker skin tones, as well as some bright pops of color. The brand does not specify whether they are “5-Free” or not. Some of their products contain non-vegan ingredients (beeswax, lanolin and/or carmine), so be sure to read the label if you are looking for a vegan-friendly product.
2. Butter London
Butter London is a popular polish brand available at Ulta and Nordstrom. They offer a fairly extensive shade selection and their formula is “8-Free”, meaning it does not contain Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, DBP, Toluene, Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, Xylene, or TPHP. The formula is not vegan as it contains hydrolyzed silk.
3. Ciaté London
Another London-based cosmetics company, Ciaté has a huge shade selection with a variety of finishes. They also just launched holographic gel polishes which look stunning! Their polishes are available at Sephora, Nordstrom and other department stores. Vegan-friendly products are marked as such on their website.
4. Deborah Lippmann
Celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann‘s line of polishes are available in tons of gorgeous shades and can be found at Sephora, Nordstrom, and other department stores. Various celebrities have rocked her styles, from Lady Gaga to Julia Roberts. Deborah Lippmann polishes are also “7-Free” and vegan!
5. Ella + Mila
Ella + Mila releases a new trendy collection of nail lacquers every couple of months available at Ulta and online. They’re made in the USA The formula is also “7-Free” and vegan! Plus, their packaging features an adorable elephant, so what’s not to love?
6. Gabriel Cosmetics
Gabriel Cosmetics is a natural luxury cosmetics brand available in stores like Whole Foods as well as online. Their core collection includes a whopping 50 shades, and they’re not all grey! The polishes are actually “10-Free”, and all of Gabriel’s products are 100% vegan!
Habit is the only nail polish in the US that uses Myrrh, an extract that naturally strengthens nails! In addition, they’re vegan and “7-Free”. I love the sleek bamboo overcap, which is not only stylish but also environmentally friendly, reducing the amount of plastic used.
Julep‘s trendy polishes are available via their Beauty Box subscription service as well as at Ulta stores. In addition, their polishes are “5-Free” and vegan, although not all of their products are vegan, as some include milk and beeswax, among other animal-derived ingredients.
9. Marc Jacobs Beauty
Marc Jacobs Beauty is a luxe designer brand whose nail polishes are available at Sephora and online. Their polishes are unique as they are formulated for extra high-shine. Some of their products may contain ingredients like beeswax and carmine, so they aren’t considered fully vegan.
10. Milk Makeup
Milk Makeup has a super fun revolutionary “Spray Nail” which allows you to literally spray on polish as if you were using a can of spray paint, then allow to dry and wash hands so that the polish only remains on your nails and not on your skin! They also have a clear polish and holographic glitter polish, as well as a natural nail polish remover.
11. Smith & Cult
Smith & Cult‘s nail polish colors have extra shine and exceptionally smooth coats. They’re “8-Free” and are available online and at department stores. I love their creative shade names and descriptions, as well as their uniquely shaped packaging!
12. Urban Decay*
Urban Decay*‘s cult classic polishes have been around since the 90’s, and they’re available online via Urban Decay, although many of the shades are often out of stock. Some of their shades may contain animal-derived ingredients like carmine.
Cruelty-Free Drugstore Brands
There are also tons of wonderful affordable cruelty-free brands available at Ulta, Target, Walmart and drugstores.
1. 100% Pure
I’m not sure whether I’d call 100% Pure a drugstore brand, but it is a wonderful natural brand which can be found in some Walgreens stores as well as online! Their nail polishes are “10-Free” and all vegan! Some of their other products may contain beeswax and honey.
2. China Glaze
Available at Ulta, drugstores and in most nail salons, China Glaze is a good cruelty-free staple when the only other options are Essie and OPI (both of which are NOT cruelty-free). They offer tons of fun colors and the formula is durable.
e.l.f.‘s nail polishes are a super affordable option and are available at drugstores and online. Their formula is made for quick drying and is infused with Vitamin E for nail strength. In addition, their polishes are vegan!
Essence makes fun and trendy nail polishes in a variety of lines, including “The Gel”, “Secret Stories”, “Colour Boost” and “Out of Space”. Their polishes are available at Ulta and drugstores, and everything is super affordable.
GOSH is an amazing European cosmetics brand, and their nail lacquers have gorgeous bold shades. Their products are available at a variety of drugstores worldwide. According to their website list, all of their nail lacquers are vegan as well!
6. Hard Candy
Hard Candy is a super cool cult favorite with fun colors, and they’ve been around since the 90’s. Some of their nail polish bottles still come with awesome collectible rings! Their products are currently available at Walmart and online.
<a href=”https://www.jordanacosmetics.com/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”Jordana is a fun makeup brand that’s been featured in the media and magazines like Seventeen. Their nail polish, which contains a “French Manicure” line, is available at most drugstores and online. Their website contains a link to a vegan product list but it’s not currently functional.
Kokie is an exciting new cruelty-free brand available at Walmart. Their nail polishes contain a stylish array of colors, and I absolutely love the cute elephant on their packaging. Their products are also available at a handful of other drugstores.
9. L.A. Colors
L.A. Colors‘ Color Craze nail polishes come in a wide variety of shades, including some fun glitters and shimmers. Their products are available at Target, Walmart and a number of drugstores, as well as online.
10. LOOK Nail Color
LOOK Nail Color is a sleek and trendy nail polish brand with high-quality pigments. Their polishes are available at Target and online, and most importantly, they are “8-Free” and vegan!
11. Milani Cosmetics
Milani Cosmetics makes a chic but affordable Color Statement Nail Lacquer, which is available at drugstores and online. Their shades do contain guanine, which can be an animal-derived ingredient.
Orly is a wonderful cruelty-free brand with several nostalgic LA-themed collections. Their nail polishes are available at Ulta, Target, Walmart and online. Plus, Orly’s polishes are “12-Free” and vegan!
Pacifica is one my favorite beauty brands, and they offer a diverse range of nail polishes. They are available at Target and online, and their products are “7-Free” and 100% vegan.
Pixi is a savvy, trendy brand whose nail polishes contain built-in UV protection, which is a cool feature for the summer. Their Nail Colour collection is available at Target and online.
15. Prestige Cosmetics
Prestige Cosmetics is an Italian-founded beauty brand. Their Wonder Gloss Nail Lacquer is vitamin-enriched and, well, glossy. Their products are available at drugstores and online.
16. Seche Vite
Available at Ulta, drugstores and online, Seche Vite is the best cruelty-free top coat on the market! It is super glossy and definitely prolongs the wear of a manicure. It is quite smelly though, so I recommend using it in a well ventilated area.
17. Sonia Kashuk
Sonia Kashuk is a cruelty-free brand owned by Target available through their stores or online. Their high-shine and chip-resistant polishes are very affordable and come in many fun colors, and they often come out with limited edition collections.
theBalm is a super stylish cosmetics brand with a vintage appeal. Its Hot Ticket Nail Polish line is available at Walgreens and online. I love their unique color names, like “Girls Just Wanna Have Plum” and “Orange You Glad You’re Not Blue”.
19. Wet n Wild
Update: Wet n Wild is no longer cruelty-free as of 2019.
Wet n Wild is by far the most affordable option out there, and it’s available at most drugstores and online. It actually launched in 1979 with their nail polish line and is still one of their top sellers. They have posted a list of shades (and other products) that are vegan on their website FAQ section.
Zoya is a fashionable cruelty-free brand whose products are available at Ulta, Walmart and online. Their nail polishes are “5-Free”. I love using their nail polish remover in particular!
Cruelty-Free Independent Brands
And of course, we cannot forget the multitude of amazing independent and indie brands, many of which are also 100% vegan!
A.Dorn is a cute cruelty-free nail polish brand that is “4-Free” and 100% vegan. A few of their shades can still be found on Amazon.
2. Beauty Without Cruelty
As per its namesake, Beauty Without Cruelty is an awesome cosmetics brand that doesn’t test on animals. Their Attitude Nail Colors line, as with all of their products, is 100% vegan!
3. Color Club
Color Club is a nail brand that specializes not only in polish, but also nail art and gel. They regularly come out with plenty of fun collections like Pop Wash and Nailmoji Neon. Plus, they’re owned and operated by women, and they support female empowerment through contributions to a number of charities.
Colourpop just launched their new nail polish line, and they are SO pretty! They’re the perfect addition to their amazing aesthetic. In addition, their polishes are “7-Free” and vegan.
5. Deco Miami
Deco Miami is a fun, Florida-inspired cruelty-free nail brand. Their nail lacquers are made in the USA, as well as being “8-Free” and 100% vegan. I think their packaging is really cute!
Fairypants is a UK-based cosmetics brand with compassionate products including an adorable nail varnish line. They are “5-Free” and their products are proudly vegan.
7. Furless Cosmetics
Known for their vegan and cruelty-free brushes, Furless Cosmetics also makes their own nail polishes! Their simple but elegant line of nail lacquers are “4-Free”, and their products are 100% vegan.
8. Kester Black
Kester Black is a unique beauty and body care brand from Australia. They are committed to environmental sustainability and supporting local charities. Their nail polish line is “10-Free” and vegan!
9. Lauren B. Beauty
Lauren B. Beauty is an exciting brand offering nail care and nail polish products. They strongly support the environment and the empowerment of women in business. In addition, their polish is “5-Free” and vegan.
LVX‘s nail lacquers are inspired by runway looks from top fashion designers. They even collaborate with designers for Fashion Week runway presentations. Their gel-like formula is really good for longer wear, and they’re also “7-Free” and 100% vegan.
11. Manic Panic
The famous makers of vegan and cruelty-free hair dye also have their own line of fun nail polishes. Their line, titled Claw Colors, is also vegan (as expected)!
12. Mineral Fusion
Mineral Fusion is a health-focused brand whose mission is to incorporate minerals and botanicals into the beauty routine. Their nail polish line is “5-Free” and vegan.
NCLA is a super popular option not only for polish but also for awesome nail wraps. All of their nail polishes are made in California, “7-Free” and 100% vegan!
14. No Miss
No Miss Cosmetics is a growing beauty brand offering an eclectic supply of nail polishes and other products. Most of their polishes, including their One-Coat Polish, are “4-Free”, although their Glitter Polish is not.
15. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
One of my favorite cruelty-free makeup brands, OCC has so many fun and unique polish colors. I always stock up when they have a good sale going on. They are “5-Free” and everything in the line is 100% vegan!
16. OH TIFF!
OH TIFF! is a style-setting cruelty-free nail polish brand from Texas. Their nail lacquers come in a selection of classy colors and are “5-Free” and vegan.
Oribe‘s Lacquer High Shine Nail Polish invokes royal grandeur with its decorated packaging and refined style. Their polishes are designed for longer wear and are “8-Free”.
18. Palate Polish
Palate Polish is a small-batch nail polish brand whose products are “5-Free” and vegan. I love that the name of each polish is inspired by a similarly-colored food item!
19. Piggy Paint
Piggy Paint is an adorable vegan nail polish made for kids. Its water-based ingredients are odorless, biodegradable and vegan. As they are meant for children of all ages, they claim to be not only “10-Free”, but “Everything-Free”!
20. Play Love Laugh (Hugo Naturals)
Play Love Laugh (Hugo Naturals) is another child-friendly nail polish brand from Hugo Naturals. Their polishes are made from fruits and vegetables and claim to be “5-Free” but also free from any toxins or carcinogens.
21. Pretty Serious
Pretty Serious is an Australian beauty brand that makes cruelty-free nail polishes. They come in a variety of fun shades and are very affordable.
22. PRITI NYC
PRITI NYC is a trendy cruelty-free brand that works with designers for Fashion Week runway projects. Their nail polishes are “7-Free” and vegan. They regularly come out with new seasonal collections as well!
23. Pure Anada
Pure Anada is a Canadian beauty brand whose Glamour Polishes are made to be long-lasting and are “5-Free”. Their nail polishes don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients and are therefore vegan.
24. RMS Beauty
RMS Beauty‘s nail polish line is inspired by their famous Living Luminizer (a facial care product), adding a healthy sheen to the nails. Their polishes are “6-Free” and vegan!
SOPHi, the brand that makes Piggy Paint, now also makes a more sophisticated polish for adults (by popular demand)! Like the children’s version, these polishes are “more than 5-Free”, odorless and vegan.
SpaRitual is a zen-inspired nail lacquer brand whose polishes come in a variety of peaceful, New Age colors. In addition, they are “5-Free” and vegan.
Stylush is a cruelty-free eco- and health-conscious nail lacquer brand with several unique color collections. Their polishes are “10-Free” and vegan. Plus, they run a vegan blog with awesome recipes and lifestyle tips!
28. Sugarloom Cosmetics
Sugarloom Cosmetics is a cruelty-free nail polish brand that takes its inspiration from nature. Their modern collections have an array of vibrant thematic colors. In addition, their polishes are “5-Free” and vegan.
Sugarpill is known for their colorful eyeshadows and fun lipsticks, and they also have a unique selection of vegan “5-Free” glittery nail polishes. Their aesthetic is so fun!
30. Trust Fund Beauty
Probably my favorite nail polish brand of all time, Trust Fund Beauty knows what they’re doing. I love their formula and color selection, and their shade names can’t be beat. In addition to being super pigmented and long lasting, their formula is also “7-Free”, and all of their products are 100% vegan!
3. Brands with No Response
I’ve also contacted the following companies, but haven’t heard back from them. This doesn’t mean that these companies test on animals. However, it’s often a red flag when a company refuses to share their animal testing policy.
Brands will be moved from this list to the appropriate list once I hear back from them.
- 1143 Nails
- 2B Colours
- Authority Cosmetics
- Chrome Girl Nails
- Cult Cosmetics
- Domani Color
- Eve Snow
- Faby Nail Polish
- Fingertip Fetish
- Floss Gloss
- Ginger and Liz
- Jesse’s Girl
- Kiara Sky
- La Couleur Couture
- Lillian Eve
- Model’s Own
- Morgan Taylor
- Perfect Formula
- piCture pOlish
- Pop Beauty
- Pretty Vulgar
- Pure Ice
- Rainbow Honey
- Red Carpet
- RGB Cosmetics
- Soulstice Spa
4. Brands with Unclear Policies
There are some companies that refuse to give us their full animal testing policies or remain vague about some aspects. I couldn’t trust these brands as being fully cruelty-free, so here they are, along with the explanation.
1. Dazzle Dry
They could not confirm whether their ingredient suppliers test on animals.
2. Nails Inc.
They also could not confirm the status of their ingredient suppliers.
More cruelty-free guides!
Thank you for reading the cruelty-free nail guide, and I hope you found some great cruelty-free brands and products. Don’t forget to check out our other guides: