The best vegan nail polish, and what could be hiding in non-vegan alternatives

Vegan beauty is here to stay, just ask the nail care industry

Credit: Peacci 

There’s nothing quite like a set of freshly manicured nails. It’s one of the easiest ways to add a pop of colour or subtle glamour to an everyday uniform, but most of all we love it for the enforced time out - there’s no scrolling social media or checking emails with wet nails. Something that doesn’t sit so well however, are the ingredients lurking within some of our most prized polishes.  

From the shimmery effects of guanine (produced by processing fish scales) to nail strengthening keratin (an animal protein extracted from mammals) our nail products are riddled with animal-derived ingredients, and are still sometimes even developed with animal testing. Shocked? It’s no wonder vegan beauty shows no sign of waning.

So much so, that Superdrug recently announced a 30 per cent year on year sales increase from 2019-2020, which saw their vegan beauty category grow by one third.  

Head of Own Brand and Exclusives at Superdrug, Jamie Archer, notes: “Our customers tell us that both vegan and cruelty-free are important to them, so wherever possible, we’ll always start with vegan formulations.”

With vegan beauty having extended well beyond the realms of a passing fad, we’ve recently seen vegan nail polishes take centre stage, quite literally, not only with the launch of new, innovative formulas but also with its presence at London Fashion Week. 

Proving that vegan polishes carry the same quality and efficacy as normal polishes, new vegan nail brand Peacci took the runways by storm this month, spotted backstage at Tommy Hilfiger and Victoria Beckham, to name a few.

Credit:  Peacci 

Believing that the rise of veganism has coincided with the surging demand for vegan nail care, brand founder Daisy Kalnina says, "modern day technology means it is no longer necessary to live a lifestyle that depends on the consumption of animal by-products and with an increase in climate issues, people are taking steps to live a lifestyle that is more conscious of the world around them." 

And a conscious lifestyle is not restricted to veganism alone. Daisy notes, "if a brand really values their vegan and cruelty-free ethos, they’ll probably also value having a good quality product that is kind to the natural nail and therefore they will take steps for physical, social and environmental sustainability". For Peacci, which offers polishes starting at £10, this means creating products that are free of preservatives and a number of common toxic chemicals found in nail polish, such as Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBT) and Formaldehyde. 

Good on your nails and the planet, what's not to like?

3 other vegan nail brands to know now

good. kind. pure, £8.99, Sally Hansen 

good. kind. pure, £8.99, Sally Hansen 

Sally Hansen's first ever vegan nail polish collection is formulated with plant-based ingredients such as corn and wheat, right down to the bristles. I've been hooked on the shade Cherry Amore since it landed on our desk. The pigment is a dream and, with a wash of the collection's top coat, my nails remained pristine for over a week.

Naked Nails, £15.99, L' Atelier Green

Naked Nails, £15.99, L' Atelier Green

The definition of an all rounder. This new brand's debut collection includes kind-to-nails organic, active ingredients like sweet almond oil, ginseng and zinc, all encased in a breathable and water-permeable formula which allows air and water to pass through the nail plate to ensure nails are kept in the best condition. 

L'oxygéné Oxygenated Nail Lacquer, £15, Nailberry

L'oxygéné Oxygenated Nail Lacquer, £15, Nailberry

Proving that vegan polishes pack as much excitement as their regular counterparts, this lacquer from Nailberry in the shade Pink Sand boasts a shimmery rose gold hue with fine gold glitter, for ultimate decadence.