Even though animal-based products in nail polishes aren’t absolutely necessary, most brands still choose to use them, which is a huge bummer. In fact, vegan nail polishes have just as great coverage and finish as animal-based ones without the guilt of knowing you indirectly made an innocent soul suffer.
So, to make your journey to veganism a little easier, I went on an expedition to find the perfect vegan nail polish. As a fellow nail polishes lover myself, I’m sharing everything I learned along the journey with you.
Without further ado, keep on reading to find the best vegan nail polish out there.
- The 7 Best Vegan Nail Polishes in 2021
- How to Pick a Vegan Nail Polish
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words
At a Glance
- Zoya — Best Overall (UK Company)
- Sundays — Runner-Up
- Sally Hansen — Best Colour Selection
- Smith & Cult — Best Packaging
- Butter London Patent Shine 10X Nail Lacquer — Best Value for the Money
- Piggy Paint — Best for Kids
- Tenoverten — Best for Promoting Healthy Nails
The 7 Best Vegan Nail Polishes in 2021
To make your life a little easier, here’s a detailed review of my favourite vegan nail polishes on the market, along with their pros, cons, and everything else you might need to know.
1. Zoya — Best Overall
Besides being vegan, Zoya’s nail polishes are environment-friendly and produce minimum waste. So, with going for a brand like Zoya, not only are you saving animals, but you’re also helping the Earth.
Zoya’s non-toxic nail polishes are perfect for your nails because of how lightweight they are, so you can forget all about damaging your nails when trying to remove nail polish! The nail polishes come in 15-ml bottles that are guaranteed to last you a while.
The 10-free nail polishes from Zoya come in an excellent variety of colours, so you’ll surely find unique colours that complement any outfit you have.
Additionally, their nail polishes have different finishes, including cream, holo, pixie dust, gel effect, matte, shimmer, glitter, and metallic. Whether you’re going for casual day-to-day nails or extra, glittery ones, you’ll find the perfect bottle for you.
Also, their nail polishes vary in intensity (or coverage), so whether you prefer sheer polishes or really intense ones, Zoya has something for you.
Let’s talk more about the formula because that’s what really matters. When testing their nail polishes for the first time, I remember how impressed I was. After using a base layer, I found the nail polishes easy to use, and they dry quickly! However, I strongly recommend using a topcoat to extend the polishes’ lifetime further.
Who said you couldn’t have vegan, cruelty-free, and environment-friendly nail polishes that don’t harm your nail? Zoya’s polishes come in an outstanding variety of colours and finishes that you’ll simply love. Besides, the non-toxic and quick-drying formula will last a few days as long as you apply base and topcoats.
2. Sundays — Best Value for the Money
Sundays is another brand that offers high-quality vegan polishes that’ll look like you got your nail professionally done. Besides, the polishes are 10-free, non-toxic, green, and cruelty-free.
After doing my regular routine of applying a base coat, two coats of nail polish, then a topcoat, I was amazed by how rich the colours are. The glossy finish instantly gave my nails an elegant twist that I wasn’t expecting.
Over the course of a few days, the nail polish was staying completely intact; day 7 nails looked like I just had them done a few hours before. I even tested the polishes out without applying a topcoat, and they stayed looking fresh for days.
Now, let me tell you about the packaging. The bottles are 50-ml, which is large enough to last you a while (I’m talking months), so you’re getting the best bang for your buck. Also, the overall minimal packaging on the polishes is so practical and cute.
Even though the colours the brand has to offer are all beautiful, they’re nothing unique. I mean, I’ve seen most of the colours before. Still, they’d be perfect if you like soft, neutral, and feminine nails for most days, and you’re not really looking for something crazy.
I have to mention that the Onyx Black and Jade Blue shades (numbers 42 and 35, respectively) blew me away with how pretty they are.
If you’re on the lookout for the most practical vegan nail polishes out there, Sundays is a brand that you need to consider! Their nail polishes are so long-lasting, you won’t even believe it. Moreover, their colours are so pretty and feminine; you’ll instantly fall in love with how your nails look
3. Sally Hansen — Best Colour Selection
You won’t find any brand of vegan nail polishes better than Sally Hansen if you want the most diverse colour selection possible. Sally Hansen has multiple lines, each with its own colours and finishes, so let’s talk about them.
First of all, the Good Kind Pure line is plant-based and 16-free—even the brush is plant-based! There are 30 colours available, and they have a glossy finish that’ll look elegant effortlessly.
Next, if you’re a lover of gel polishes, you’ll love Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel line. My favourite thing about this line is that it’s actually easy to remove, unlike most gel polishes I’ve tried. With over 50 shades available, this gel polish doesn’t even need UV light to dry, which is just impressive.
The Insta-Dri line is exactly what you’d expect from such a name. With over 60 shades available, this formula completely dries within one minute, perfect for vegans who apply nail polishes on the go!
If your nails are quite weak and you want high-quality nail polishes that can help repair them, Sally Hansen also has more lines like Color Therapy and Mega Strength that are gentle on the nails.
Overall, Sally Hansen’s colour options are simply unmatchable. Each line has so many different colours and finishes available, and they’re all vegan! Whatever colour you have in mind, Sally Hansen has it.
Sally Hansen is a brand that you can’t ignore when on the lookout for high-quality vegan nail polishes. With an outstanding variety of colours, finishes, and lines, the perfect nail polish for you is out there. Besides, the polishes’ affordable price is not to be missed out on.
4. Smith & Cult — Best Packaging
For all the gluten-free vegans out there, the Smith & Cult nail polishes will blow you away with how pretty the colours are. Even if you’re not gluten-free, cutting some gluten from your life will always be beneficial, even in nail polishes.
Winning the Allure Beauty Expert Award in 2020 should give you a good idea of just how amazing these polishes are. With a shiny finish and great coverage after just one coat, Smith and Cult’s polishes are hard to compete with.
I have to talk about the fancy packaging of these polishes. The gold colour of the cap, along with the overall design, make the polish look so elegant. Also, the thick brush handle is so easy to hold, providing you with a seamless nail polish application process.
Colours like Call Me Poetry and Doe My Dear are so stunning; I strongly recommend you check them out if you want neutral colours. Moreover, if you love glittery or metallic polishes, I recommend taking a look at A Little Lovely and Fosse Fingers, respectively. Lastly, Color Me Curious and A Little Underground are for those who love more daring colours.
Smith and Cult’s nail polishes are as high-quality as can be. The award-winning polishes are vegan, gluten-free, and 8-free, meaning they’ll be gentle on your nails without sacrificing great coverage.
5. Butter London Patent Shine 10X Nail Lacquer — Best Value for the Money
Made with shock-resistant technology, the Butter London 10X Nail Lacquers are guaranteed to last for days on your nails without chipping. Also, they’re formulated with bamboo extract that promotes healthy skin and nails.
The 8-free formula of these polishes further guarantees that they’re gentle on your nails and won’t damage them in the long run. On top of that, these polishes have a gel-like finish that’s also shiny, which enhances the overall look of your nails and really boosts the colour payoff.
To make it a little easier for you, all the polishes by Butter London with silver caps are vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free, so you can enjoy having pretty nails without the guilt of knowing you harmed an innocent soul in any way.
Because these aren’t gel polishes, they can just dry without UV lights, and they don’t require base and topcoats, so they’re much more beginner-friendly and easy to apply on the go. Still, their finish looks a lot like gel, so you can have the looks without the hassle.
Let me tell you about Butter London’s colour selection. You can find some beautiful neutral shades like Yummy Mummy and Toff Patent, some colourful yet elegant options like English Lavender and Bang On!, and some unique and glittery shades like All You Need Is Love and 24K Crushed Diamonds.
All things considered, the colour options are quite versatile and suitable for day-to-day use.
If you love how gel polishes look but don’t have the time or the effort to apply them, Butter London offers high-quality vegan polishes that have a gel-like finish. Besides, these nail polishes are gluten-free and 8-free, so they’re gentle on your nails and won’t damage them.
6. Piggy Paint — Best for Kids
If you’re looking for vegan nail polishes that you and your little sibling or any child can use as well, you won’t find any better than the Piggy Paint polish. These non-toxic polishes are all water-based and 7-free, so they’re gentle on the nails.
There are some neon colours like Neon Lights, some sparkly ones like Sweetpea, some glittery shades like Shimmy Shimmy Pop, and some matte options, including Angel Kisses. There’s even a glow in the dark shade called Radioactive!
Most colours are pretty vibrant and fun, but there are still some neutral wearable options for casual looks. However, there’s something I have to mention, which is that there’s nothing really outstanding about the colours; I’ve seen them all before.
If you want to pamper your little one with pretty nails, the Piggy Paint polish is for you. The fun, bright colours will attract any child, and the lack of harsh chemicals will ensure their nails stay healthy. Also, if you’re sensitive to the strong smell of typical polishes, this one’s odour isn’t unpleasant at all.
7. Tenoverten — Best for Promoting Healthy Nails
With essential oils, Vitamin E, and Aloe formulated into these nail polishes, Tenoverten polishes are guaranteed to keep your nails as healthy as can be. The 8-free formula is vegan and cruelty-free, so your nails can look ravishing without harming any animals.
The polishes are so easy to apply, and they’re pretty long-lasting when using base and topcoats.
If you love neutral colours, you need to check out Fulton, Houston, and Jane shades. On the other hand, Carmine, Church, and Orchard are such elegant colours that’ll look perfect for a night-out look.
If you haven’t noticed, each nail polish’s name is inspired by the streets of New York City, which is a nice personalised touch by the brand.
Tenoverten nail polishes are for you if you want to keep your nails as healthy as possible. Formulated with nail-boosting ingredients like Vitamin E and Aloe, these nail polishes are easy to apply and can easily last a few days without chipping.
How to Pick a Vegan Nail Polish
Now that you know that not all vegan nail polishes are the same, here are some factors that you need to consider before making a buying decision. Keep on reading to learn how to pick the best vegan nail polish for your needs.
10-Free Nail Polishes Are It!
You’ve seen me mention that Zoya nail polishes and 10-free and Sally Hansen ones are 16-free—but what exactly does that mean?
Simply, 10-free nail polishes mean that they don’t contain 10 of the most commonly used chemicals in typical nail polishes, including some harsh chemicals like Formaldehyde, parabens, Xylene, toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and more.
There are also 8-free and 16-free polishes, but they’re not as common as 10-free ones. Also, 10-free polishes still have the typical consistency and drying time of a typical polish, so they offer the perfect balance of lack of harsh chemicals and decent drying time.
If your nails get damaged easily or if you like to wear nail polishes most of the time, I strongly recommend going for 8-free, 10-free, or 16-free polishes.
Double-Check That the Polish Is Actually Vegan
In case you didn’t know, typical nail polishes include animal-based products, so you shouldn’t assume that any nail polish on the market is vegan. Make sure the description of the product clearly states that it’s vegan, or examine the ingredient list yourself.
You can also e-mail the manufacturer to ask and make sure their product is vegan and cruelty-free, and I strongly recommend doing so.
If you’re wondering if vegan polishes are as good as typical polishes, yes, they are. In fact, vegan polishes are even better because they allow you to enjoy having stunning nails without the guilt of knowing you might have indirectly harmed an innocent animal.
Just looking at the polish’s bottle or reading the ingredients might not give you a clear idea of how the polish actually performs. Make sure you read the description thoroughly and see what the manufacturers claim their product to be.
I strongly recommend seeing what other people have to say about their experience using your nail polish of choice before making the final decision. Avoid polishes that take forever to dry and ones that get clumpy when you try to add another layer.
Also, try to opt for polishes with nail-boosting ingredients like Vitamin E and ones that lack harmful chemicals.
Nail polishes that chip after just a day or two are a huge no. Nobody likes reapplying their polish every day because it’s not an easy task. Even if you enjoy doing your nails, you won’t always have the time.
Again, read what reviewers have to say about how the polish lasts without chipping. Any polish that can stay an entire week without chipping is a winner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are All Nail Polishes Vegan?
No! Some brands use animal-based ingredients in the formula of their nail polishes for strengthening your nails or boosting the colours, and that’s the more common way of manufacturing polishes. So, you’d have to search for vegan polishes.
Are Vegan Nail Polishes Any Good?
Of course, they are. Vegan nail polishes perform just as good as typical nail polishes, if not even better. Additionally, vegan polishes don’t cause harm to animals, so that makes them even better than traditional ones. It’s also worth mentioning that animal-based ingredients aren’t crucial, and they’ve vegan alternatives that perform just as well.
Are All Vegan Nail Polishes Gluten-Free?
No! If you’re allergic to gluten or you’re just avoiding it for other reasons, you need gluten-free nail polish, not just a vegan one.
Now that you know that there are high-quality vegan nail polishes out there, there’s no reason you should still be using non-vegan options. Here’s a quick recap of my top 3 best vegan nail polishes if you need a memory refresh.
Zoya’s nail polishes are 10-free and environment-friendly. Besides, their colour selection is just amazing. Performance-wise, the polishes are long-lasting yet breathable, so you can have beautiful nails for days without causing any damage.
Sundays is another brand that offers impressive vegan polishes. Besides being 10-free, the polishes are green and non-toxic, making them gentle on your nails. The polishes have a glossy finish and excellent coverage that’s hard to match.
Lastly, if you’re passionate about nail polishes, you need to check out Sally Hansen’s outstanding selection. With multiple lines for different purposes, you’re guaranteed to find the nail polish with the colour and finish you’re seeking.