What Makes a Nail Polish Vegan?

Since the start of COVID-19, as a country, we’ve experienced stay-at-home orders, self-quarantining, mandatory mask-wearing, social distancing, so on. As we continue to face this pandemic, we aim for a common goal: to be healthy. An easy step in the right direction is to swap out your existing beauty products for healthier alternatives. One way to do this is to throw away your existing nail polish for a plant-based option. 


But does it really matter what you put on your nails? Well, let’s look at it this way. When you think of being vegan, your mind may go straight to food. Vegans mostly choose plant-based diets because they are nutrient-rich and ultimately healthier all around (not to mention you’re saving animals). It’s an investment in your body, in your beliefs, and in reducing your carbon footprint. Yet, while you’re selective about what you eat, it’s also vital to be picky about your beauty products. After all, 60% of what you apply to your skin is absorbed straight into your bloodstream. With fingernail polish being one of the most toxic beauty products, the ingredients pack a pretty hard punch to your system. But we’re not focusing on that at this moment. Instead, let’s focus on what makes nail polish vegan. 


What is vegan nail polish?

It’s simple. Vegan nail polish does not contain any animal-derived ingredients. While most nail polish brands use animals, consumer demand has indicated a sudden surge in non-vegan products over the last couple of years. What that translates to is that more people are concerned about what they put into their bodies. To get a better understanding of what makes non-vegan nail polish non-vegan, let’s look at the three animal-derived ingredients found in them:



This substance, also known as pearl essence, is derived from fish scales and acids located in animal tissue. Since Guanine gives nail polish a shimmery effect so, you’ll most likely find it in products that have a luminous pearly effect.


Vegan alternatives include leguminous plants, synthetic pearl, or aluminum and bronze particles.



If you see a nail polish or lipstick with red hues, carmine is most likely the reason. Carmine is a mixture of boiled and crushed beetles. According to PETA, 70,000 beetles are killed to produce one pound of this red dye. 


Vegan options include beet juice and alkanet root.  


Oleic Acid

This ingredient comes from animal oils and animal fat. While it’s generally used in various ways, it’s often used as a thickening solution in nail polish.


Vegan alternatives include coconut, wheat germ, coconut, flaxseed, almond, and safflower oil. 


The Kitten Beauty Way


Even though many shops tend to carry toxic, non-vegan nail polish, we’re seeing more and more vegan nail polish hitting the market. At Kitten Beauty, our mission is to create affordable makeup without sacrificing quality or innocent critters. That’s why we pride ourselves on making products that feel as good as they look, are cruelty and paraben-free, are not tested on animals, are sustainable, and do not have mineral oil or toxic chemicals.