While you might have ruled out animal-tested make-up a long time ago and diligently swapped your skincare for cruelty-free alternatives, chances are you haven’t considered the ingredients hiding in your favourite nail treatments.
A category that’s fallen by the wayside in the world of vegan beauty, traditional nail polish can contain animal-derived ingredients including guanine (derived from fish scales or crustaceans to help give that pearlescent finish) along with keratin, an animal protein known to help strengthen nails.
As for those shellac treatments we all love? Unfortunately, traditional shellac is not vegan — it uses a resin derived from the female lac bug found in India and Thailand that helps create the glossy formula you see in the salon.
As Veganuary is in full swing, now is a great time to consider switching your nail polish (along with the rest of your beauty routine). But how to work out if it’s actually vegan? Look out for the Peta-approved vegan logo and the Leaping Bunny trademarks. Don’t be put off by a high-shine finish, either, lots of vegan alternatives have aluminium particles or synthetic pearls to get that shimmery, high-shine result that we’ve all grown to love.
The good news is that there’s plenty of great vegan options to choose from to switch up your manicure. From winter shades to shellac alternatives, see our favourites from the likes of Nailberry, Rimmel and Orly, below.
How we tested
They may all be plant-based, but every nail polish formula is unique. That’s why we tested a range of different price points across different brands to find the best vegan polishes around. We looked for things like colour vibrancy and finish, long-lasting results, nail care and shine and narrowed down our top seven contenders for 2022, below.
The best vegan nail polishes for 2022 are:
- Best for luxury – Nailberry hot coco time to hygge: £15, Nailberry.co.uk
- Best for budget – Rimmel London kind and free plant based nail polish: £5.99, Superdrug.com
- Best for shellac alternative – Manucurist green flash set: £89, Manucurist.com
- Best for shade range – Peacci hubba bubba: £6, Peacci.com
- Best for shimmer – Orly alexandrite by you breathable nail polish: £7.15, Salonsdirect.com
- Best overall – Sally Hansen good.kind.pure vegan nail polish in golden quartz: £8.99, Boots.com
- Best for nail care – Revlon ultra HD snap! nail polish cherry on top: £7.99, Superdrug.com