Is Nail Polish Vegan?

Is Nail Polish Vegan? - Mersi Cosmetics

Your nails are an important part of your self-care and hygiene routine. Keeping them beautiful and healthy is what everyone wants. You might have been using animal-based nail products in your daily routine without even realizing it. A major part of it includes your cosmetics and nail polishes. 

Various nail polishes are available based on their composition, quality, colors, and impact. You might have been using nail polish for a long time without realizing about all the harmful chemicals and animal-derived ingredients present in it. With the increasing trend of ethically manufactured products, vegan nail polish has become a part of recent discussions. 

Do nail polishes include animal-derived ingredients? Can nail paint be vegan? How to identify a vegan nail polish? These and all such questions come to mind when we think about vegan nail polish. 

This article focuses on the answers to all your queries. 

Can Nail Polish be Vegan?

Traditionally, nail polishes are not vegan. They contain animal-based items and products. Moreover, they are tested on animals. It includes testing products on their skin and hair and sometimes inhaling and ingesting products in their bodies. These are all forms of animal cruelty. 

It leads to injuring animals, and in severe cases, they might even lose their lives. Luckily, there are vegan nail polishes available for responsible citizens. Those who care about the environment and its sustainability prefer vegan nail polishes. 

Nowadays, vegan products have become a buzzword. From edibles to vegan nail polishes, the word has brought a transformation to our lifestyles. You might have heard of vegan products replacing dairy items such as brownies, cakes, and bread. 

Vegan nail polish is a game changer for women who want to hit the right balance between beauty and environmental sustainability. 

What is a Vegan Nail Polish?

Vegan nail polish is a type of nail paint free from animal-derived ingredients. Usually, nail polishes contain animal-based ingredients. Vegan nail paints have natural and vegan alternatives for those products and are thus free from any kind of animal cruelty. 

The term vegan takes into account animal meat, skin, eggs, dairy, and any other animal-based ingredient. They neither contain animal-based ingredients nor tested on animals. 

Ingredients of Animal-Based Nail Paints

What makes vegan nail polish different from traditional, animal-derived nail paints? It is the ingredients. Here is a list of some common animal-derived ingredients used in nail paints. 


Do you love the shimmery effect of the nail paint on your nails? The key ingredient behind this shimmer is usually guanine. It is a crystal-like product derived from fish scales. It is also known as pearl essence due to the lustre it produces. 


Another popularly used animal-derived ingredient in nail polishes is carmine. You may find it in the red nail paints as the pigment. It is made from an insect called Cochineal. The female insect is crushed and boiled to obtain carmine. It is also known as a crimson lake due to its bright red color. 

Oleic Acid

Oleic acid is an animal-derived ingredient usually found in animals. It is used to enhance the luster of the nail polish and thicken its consistency. 


You may find Squalene in vegan nail paints, also. So what is the difference? Squalene can be derived from animals as well as plants. Ordinary nail paints include squalene derived from shark liver oil. It is, therefore, a non-vegan element. 


Tallow is used as a moisturizing and hydrating ingredient in nail polishes. It is a product derived from animal fat. It is widely used in other cosmetic and skin care products also. Vegan nail paints have an alternative way of deriving it other than from animals. 


Shellac gives nail polish its fast drying and shining properties. It is obtained from bugs and therefore not vegan. To get this ingredient, thousands of insects are killed and a very small amount of product is obtained. 


A commonly used ingredient in cosmetic products, and specifically nail polishes is keratin. It is an animal protein that is used for nourishing hair, nails, and skin. It is usually derived from mammals such as rabbits, horses, and cattle. It can produce significant results for strengthening the nails, but it is only temporary. 


Perfumes are an important part of nail polishes. They are used to eliminate the overpowering smell of chemicals and give nail polish a gentle fragrance. You might not know that some perfumes contain animal derived ingredients such as musk oil, ambergris, and shark liver oil. Many animals are hurt in the process of extracting these ingredients.

All these ingredients are animal-derived and non vegan. They are not irreplaceable. There are vegan and cruelty-free alternatives available for these ingredients. When buying vegan nail polish, you must ensure that it does not contain any of these ingredients. 

Vegan Nail Polish Ingredients

Besides avoiding animal-derived ingredients, you must look for common ingredients. Below are the most common two ingredients present in vegan nail polish. They offer the same results as non-vegan nail paints with added nourishment and nail care qualities. 

Garlic Extract

Garlic is a natural growth booster for your nails. Its extract can make nails strong and help them grow faster. Some vegan nail polishes include garlic extract as it contains selenium. The selenium leads to strong and healthy nails. 

Soy Amino Acids

Soy amino acids are obtained from soybean plants. They are used as an alternative to animal protein. The main function of soy amino acids is to hydrate and moisturize nails. It binds the moisture in nails and keeps them from drying or becoming brittle. 

Horsetail Extract

From its name it might appear to be a non vegan ingredient, however, it is not. Horsetail refers to a plant species. Its extract can do wonders for strengthening the nails and preserving their natural shine. It also prevents their breakage and bending. Many vegan nail paints include this in the composition. 

Why is Vegan Nail Polish Better?

There is a long list of reasons that makes vegan nail polishes your go-to choice. Here is a brief description of some of them stating why switching to vegan nail polish is the best thing you can do for your nails. 

No Harsh Chemicals

Vegan nail polishes provide you with a guilt-free beauty experience. How? They do not contain any harmful or harsh chemicals that destroy the surface of your nails. Applying animal-based nail paints regularly can lead to dried, dehydrated, and rough nails. 

The reason is the use of toxic chemicals that are harsh on your nails. Vegan nail polishes are free from any such toxins and chemicals. They are also 5-, 7-, 11-, and 17-free. The number represents the count of chemicals not included in the nail polish.


As a responsible citizen, you must make sure that the environment is not hurt by any of your activities. Vegan nail polishes allow you to do so. They do not involve hurting or killing animals for the manufacturing of the product. 

Instead of animal-derived ingredients, such nail polishes use plant-based alternatives. They also prevent allergic reactions, irritation, and itching on skin. 

Source: Pexels

Nourishing for Nails

The vegan ingredients of these nail paints play a huge role in nourishing your nails. These ingredients allow your nails to keep their moisture and stay hydrated. They strengthen the nails, maintain their flexibility, and improve their shine. 

Ordinary nail polishes also have some nourishing ingredients in them. However, their impact is temporary. On the other hand, the natural ingredients of vegan nail paints produce long-lasting results. 

Prevents Staining

Nail staining is a common issue among women who wear nail polish regularly. Dark and deep colors can leave yellowish stains on your nails that look unpleasant. They are also very difficult to remove and may stay until the nail grows, and you cut the stained part. Vegan nail paints prevent nail staining. 

They do not contain harsh pigments that leave permanent marks on your nails. Unlike conventional nail polishes, they do not trap fungus or bacteria in nails. Therefore, there are very minimal chances of nail staining when using vegan nail paints. 

Chip Resistance

Chemicals used in conventional nail paints can lead to chipping, cracking, and breakage of nails. Vegan nail polish provides a shield against all such issues with its chip resistance qualities. Chipping can be a result of excessive dryness of nails. Since vegan nail varnishes keep nails hydrated, it prevents the risk of chipping. 


Most vegan nail paints are also cruelty-free. Cruelty free means that they are not tested on animals. Animal testing is an inhumane process as it leads to killing hundreds of animals. Sometimes animals suffer injuries and abnormalities that affect their lives. By promoting and purchasing such nail polishes, you play your role in reducing the sufferings of animals. 


Vegan nail polish contains no harsh and toxic chemicals. The waste is also biodegradable and eco-friendly. They are therefore better for the environment than the non vegan options. Their manufacturing process does not involve harming animals. Some brands also offer eco-friendly packaging for their nail polishes. 

How to Choose a Vegan Nail Polish?

Vegan nail polish not only gives the same results but also looks the same as any other nail varnish. It might be difficult for you to identify or differentiate it from others. When choosing a vegan nail polish, you must consider the following factors. 

  • Make sure that there is no animal based ingredient in it. Some ingredients might not appear as animal-derived due to their complex names. Do a bit of research to ensure that they are all vegan. 
  • Choose a brand that does not test their products on animals. Such brands and products are called cruelty-free. 
  • Look for the plant-based ingredients in the product. 
  • Choose a brand that is vegan certified. Some brands might claim to be vegan but do not meet the quality standard. A vegan certified brand can be trustworthy. 

Vegan vs Cruelty-free

Vegan and cruelty free are usually used interchangeably. In reality, there is a difference between the two. Vegan nail polish is the one that is made from plant-based ingredients. It does not contain any animal-derived ingredients. They may be tested on animals. 

On the other hand, cruelty-free nail polish is not tested on animals. No animal is harmed during the manufacturing and testing process of these nail polishes. In other words, their manufacturing is ethical. 


Vegan nail paints are gaining popularity among women. The reason is not only their environment and animal-friendly characteristics, but the good impact on nails also. There is no difference in the color, shine, or life of the nail paint. The only difference is the composition and testing of the products, which make vegan nail varnishes an exceptional beauty product.

Whether you opt for a vegan lifestyle or not, your nails would thank you for switching to vegan nail paints.  

Over years of technological revolution and scientific excellence, we can now manufacture vegan alternatives to the majority of animal-derived ingredients. 

There is a wide range of vegan cosmetics and nail polish brands available on the market. You can buy from a trusted and certified one to enjoy guilt-free, vibrant nails. 

Vegan Nail Polish FAQs

What to look for in vegan nail polish?

When buying vegan nail polish, you need to consider two key factors. The one is to ensure that none of its ingredients is animal-derived. The second one is to check whether it is tested on animals. 

Is it possible to replace animal-based products in nail paints?

Yes, it is possible to replace animal-based ingredients in nail paints with vegan alternatives. This goes down as an environment-friendly behavior that everyone should follow. 

What are common non-vegan ingredients in nail polishes?

The most common non-vegan ingredients in nail polish include carmine, guanine, beeswax, and some forms of animal protein. These ingredients are obtained from animals that might sometimes include killing them. This is therefore considered animal cruelty. 

Is vegan nail polish halal?

Vegan nail polish can be halal. For nail polish to be halal, it must be vegan. Since vegan nail polishes do not contain any prohibited or animal-derived ingredients, they can be considered halal nail polish. Animal cruelty-free testing is another aspect that makes them halal. 

Can I pray with vegan nail polish on my nails?

You can pray with vegan nail polish on your nails as long as it is breathable also. If your vegan nail polish is also wudu-friendly, you can consider praying with it on your nails. 

Is vegan nail polish better?

Yes, vegan nail polish is better. It provides as good results as any other animal-derived nail polish. It does not contain any toxic or harsh chemicals in it. In addition, it is nourishing for your nails and eliminates animal cruelty to some extent. 

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