The 7 Best Cruelty-Free Nail Polishes On The Market In 2022
Gone are the days when you’d have to compromise on your ethics to get the nail polish you wanted.
Today’s consumers don’t want to choose between style and sustainability, with 97% of UK shoppers saying they want more vegan cosmetics and toiletries.
This demand has been met by a huge number of stylish and ethically-sourced products. From vegan to halal nail polishes, there are more cruelty-free options to choose from than ever.
Clearly, the demand for cruelty-free products has skyrocketed, and production has surged to meet this demand. However, with so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the nail polish you want. We’ve made your decision that bit easier with our guide to the best cruelty-free nail polishes on the market.
Before we dive into our selections, let’s start by exploring what ‘cruelty-free’ means and why you should buy ethically-sourced products.
Table of contents
- OPI Nature Strong – For What It’s Earth
- Nailberry – Oxygenated Nail Lacquer Kindness
- Orly – Fairy Godmother
- Zoya – Sutton
- Nails Inc – Plant Power Earth Loves You
- Jessica Nails – Kensington Rose
- Butter London – Come To Bed Red
What is cruelty-free nail polish?
Cruelty-free nail polish is free of animal-sourced ingredients. Its packaging features a logo from a recognised body like The Vegan Society or has the Peta-Approved certification.
If a company classifies its nail polishes as cruelty-free, this means it has not been tested on animals, nor has it paid a third party to test its products or ingredients on animals.
Cruelty-free nail polishes also don’t contain the toxins and chemicals found in less eco-friendly products. You’ll often find the following terms used to describe cruelty-free nail polishes:
These labels signify the number of toxic ingredients which have been excluded from a nail polish’s formula. We’ll explore them in more detail later in the article.
In summary, when you use cruelty-free nail polish, you get the same level of quality and shine but without the cost to the environment or harm to animals.
What are the benefits of cruelty-free nail polish?
As touched on above, the primary benefit of cruelty-free cosmetics is that they’re not produced using animal testing, so you know that no animal has suffered in the process of manufacturing your nail polish.
However, nail products don’t just get their animal-derived ingredients from testing. In fact, another key benefit of cruelty-free nail polish is that it’s free from carmine, also known as cochineal. This is a by-product obtained from crushed beetles, which is used in products such as red lipstick. As a result of these kinds of processes, there’s been a big push to minimise the use of carmine in the cosmetics industry.
Aside from not having any animal-derived ingredients, cruelty-free nail polishes also provide greater longevity than their non-cruelty-free counterparts. Vegan cosmetic products tend to be richer in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than their non-vegan counterparts, meaning they can help your nails stay stronger for longer. Therefore, there’s less chance of your nails breaking or peeling.
Lastly, cruelty-free nail polish is free from chemicals such as dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and formaldehyde. These chemicals have been linked to irritation to the eyes, nausea, vomiting, and headaches, so by opting for cruelty-free nail polish, you’re minimising the risk of experiencing these symptoms.
What are the best cruelty-free nail polishes?
Now that we’ve explained the benefits of ethically-sourced nail polishes, let’s look at which ones stand out the most. These are the best products from some of the world’s top nail polish brands, all of which are available on our website.
American nail polish manufacturer OPI, or Odontorium Products, is known for its witty colour names and is the brainchild of Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, a second-generation Holocaust survivor. She founded the company in the 1980s in response to what she saw as the scarce and boring options for women at the time – in a nutshell, she saw a gap in the market and filled it.
Her company, now one of the biggest cruelty-free nail polish brands in the world, stands out for more than just its eccentric product range. It places a strong emphasis on social responsibility, raising funds and awareness for numerous charities through various partnerships and initiatives.
It’s also famous for being ‘big three-free’. Referring back to the section above, this means its products are free of the harmful chemicals DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde.
The brand launched Nature Strong, its first vegan nail lacquer collection, last summer. This collection is:
- Made from plant-based ingredients like sugar cane, wheat, potatoes, corn and clay.
- Inspired by elements of nature such as water, flowers, sunshine, fruits, and vegetables.
- Certified by the Vegan Society.
The aptly named For What It’s Earth is one of this collection’s most popular products. Its light cherry blossom pink shade is the true colour of spring, and it guarantees long-lasting colour and shine.
This vegan and halal-friendly nail polish offers seven days of wear without fading, along with salon-quality and chip-resistant lacquers. It can also be applied quickly and easily thanks to OPI’s famous flat and wide ProWide brush.
With products like this within its range, it’s little wonder that OPI is available in more than 100 countries and is a world leader in the professional nail care industry.
Nailberry is one of the world’s foremost vegan nail polish brands and is famous for its strong ethical values. Its founder, Sonia Hully, who set up the brand as a nail salon bar in London in 2012, embodies these values.
After noticing that her clients were experiencing dry and damaged nails, Hully set about developing a range of nail polishes that overcame these issues.
This range became the multi-award-winning L’Oxygéné range, which includes the next pick on our list – the Kindness nail polish.
The warm, subtle, semi-sheer vintage pink hues make this nail polish stand out.
It’s made from Nailberry’s L’Oxygéné formula, which is 12-free – a unique accolade. When a product is 12-free, this means it’s free of the 12 toxins most commonly found in the majority of nail polishes on the market.
This formula contains a breakthrough formulation that enables air and moisture to pass through the polish, resulting in healthier, long-lasting nails. It also helps to repair and strengthen damaged nails, if this is something you’ve experienced.
The addition of a UV filter helps to minimise discolouration and yellowing, which we know can be a problem for consumers.
All in all, this is a highly-rated product from a reputable brand that should be at the top of your list.
Orly is a prime example of a brand that doesn’t cut corners to achieve the best quality. Its nail polishes are adorned by famous faces worldwide and made in LA, yet still 12-free, breathable, and free from animal testing.
It has a long-standing reputation as a top brand, having existed since the 1970s, and the Fairy Godmother is a testament to Orly’s decades of expertise and innovation.
Aesthetically, this nail polish oozes glamour, thanks to its beautiful gold shimmer. Practically, it does everything you could want and more.
It’s an all-in-one formula, meaning you don’t need to apply a base coat or top coat. All you have to do is apply two coats, and you’re done, which saves you time and money.
Furthermore, the Fairy Godmother provides the strength-boosting benefits of a treatment and colour, thanks to its Advanced Oxygen Technology.
Your nails will stay strong and healthy thanks to the wide range of key ingredients included in this nail polish, including Provitamin B5, Argan Oil, and Vitamin C.
Put simply, this is no ordinary nail polish. If you want your nails to be elegant, healthy, and, most importantly, cruelty-free, this is the product for you.
Zoya’s strapline is ‘Beauty doesn’t have to cost your health!’ – and it more than lives up to this mantra.
The US-based company was the first of its kind to be 100% non-toxic and ‘big ten-free’. That is, free of toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, parabens, TPHP, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, dibutyl phthalate, and lead.
Zoya claims to make the world’s longest-wearing natural nail polish, and it implements the safest alternative techniques right here in the UK.
Its Sutton nail polish, part of its Naturel 5 range, is ideal for making the transition from winter to spring. This polish is light pink with neutral tones and is perfect for creating a natural look whilst standing out from the crowd.
Application is simple thanks to Zoya’s trademark Z-classic professional brush, and this nail polish ensures full-coverage pigment and staying power.
For a look that’s both neutral and distinctive in equal measure, get your hands on the Zoya Naturel 5.
Founded in 1999, Nails Inc has come a long way in a short space of time. Today, it’s the UK’s leading cruelty-free nail polish brand, having done collaborations with the likes of Victoria Beckham, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Alexa Chung.
Its products are cruelty-free and, at the time of writing, nearly 100% vegan. It has also designed new packaging made from recyclable and sustainable components, so it has a clear long-term commitment to sustainability.
Nails Inc’s Plant Power range confirms this commitment – and our pick from this range is the Earth Loves You nail polish. It’s 73% plant-based and, incredibly, is 21-free – specifically, free from formaldehyde, acetone, parabens, and 18 other ingredients. It also comes sealed in a compostable, 100% FSC-certified ash wooden lid, which is a nice touch.
Vegan-friendly, halal-friendly, and cruelty-free, this nail polish comes in a fun bubblegum pink, which is perfect for ringing in the warmer months. It’s known for being extremely long-lasting, too, so you’ll be getting value for your money if you buy it.
Applying each shade is easy, thanks to Nails Inc’s exclusive patented, wide hugging brush, which is designed to minimise the number of strokes required.
With this nail polish, you’re not only saving the planet and getting a solid all-round product – you get to look like Victoria Beckham. What’s not to love?
When a nail polish is cruelty-free and worn by the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Demi Moore, and Scarlett Johansson, you know it’s worth buying. This is the case for Kensington Rose by Jessica, which was a no-brainer for our list.
Another brand with a rich history and heritage within the industry, Jessica Nails has been around since the 1970s and is a worldwide name. Its products are seven-free and vegan-friendly, reaffirming the point that you don’t have to compromise on ethics to achieve good quality.
The Kensington Rose is among Jessica Nails’ best nail polishes. Its frost pink shade is pleasing to the eye, and it delivers a highly pigmented colour with a smooth, rich finish.
It ticks all the boxes in terms of ease of use and practicality, too. Not only is it smooth to apply, but it’s also long-lasting, and it can stay looking fresh for up to two weeks.
It’s little wonder, therefore, that this nail polish is so popular among manicurists and consumers alike.
The final entry is this classic, striking red nail polish from Butter London – a brand that’s set on shaking things up.
It’s the youngest of the brands featured in our article, having been founded in 2005. Since then, it’s amassed a large following due to its quirky, rebellious ethos and equally daring product range. To quote the company website, it promises to ‘deliver fun, imaginative products every bloody time.’
Its main objective is to provide toxin-free nail lacquer without sacrificing colour, quality, or performance. And with Come To Bed Red, it’s managed to achieve this perfect balance.
This lacquer is ten-free and is loaded with ingredients proven to promote brighter, stronger, healthier nails. These include:
- Shock Resistant Polymer Technology for long wear and chip resistance.
- Diamond Powder to brighten the nails.
- UV Absorbers to provide fade resistance.
- Bamboo Extract to strengthen nails, prevent breakage and peeling.
For a distinctive, high-quality, cruelty-free nail polish that’s going to keep your nails looking their fabulous best, get Come To Bed Red.
Explore our comprehensive range of cruelty-free nail polishes
What did you make of the above list? Pretty impressive, right?
Well, the good news is – all of these environmentally-friendly nail polishes are available right here on our website! Simply click on the links in each heading to get your hands on whichever polishes take your fancy.
You can also explore our Be Kind range if you want to see more from our huge range of vegan, halal, and cruelty-free nail polishes.