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Cruelty-Free Nails FTW!

Written by Ashley Palmer | August 24, 2011

Even while we’re holding onto the last days of summer, our fingertips are reaching for fall. Thanks to a variety of hot polish shades made by cruelty-free companies, our nails have never been more excited for a change of season.

With a palette inspired by the colors of autumn, you’ll make a statement with these bold hues. When shopping, be sure to purchase from companies that are cruelty-free, and you’ll get a dose of good karma to go along with your good style!

Looking for inspiration? Here are my picks for the must-have shades of the season.

If you’re looking for an easy DIY alternative to nail art, try out a shatter or glitter polish to create one-of-kind patterns and textures. Feeling adventurous? Get inspired by this Lettuce Lady’s adorable nails:

What’s your favorite cruelty-free polish, and what fall color do you like the best? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

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  • Raejay says:

    Guess I will no longer purchase Essie!

  • Raejay says:

    Shelby, I too am saddened to hear ESSIE is not cruelty free. They did have a lineup of beatiful colors. To bad to sad.

  • Alanna-R says:

    @Babybunny89 Check out our list of companies that do and do not test on animals here: If the company you’re looking for isn’t listed there on either the “Do” or “Do Not” lists, it’s likely they’ve refused to clarify whether or not they test on animals.

  • Courtney says:

    Jess, I contacted Julep and they are cruelty free. I gave them the peta info so hopefully they’ll get with the bunny program. Every color, other than the red ones, are vegan and they are working to go completely vegan.

  • Delores says:

    Consider checking out the MANY cruelty free / 3 free INDEPENDENT nail polish makers! Many of them are vegan and the polishes are beautiful and high quality.

  • Kylie says:

    Jess, you’ve already spent the money on the products you have; I would use them all up and re-buy from cruelty-free companies. It’s not like using the product is going to support the company any more since you’ve already purchased it.

  • Jess says:

    I was wondering about Julep nail polish. Are they cruelty free? And also I was wondering what you all think about throwing out all your polish that has been tested on animals. I just recently went cruelty free and it has been challenging making decisions. I really can’t afford to go buy all new polishes (i wish i could!) I wont repurchase from those companies again, but should I keep it and use it? Or just give it away? Help! :/

  • forever says:

    I don’t kno why I’ve been so naive for so long, not even giving thought to animal testing, but via a LuxyHair youtube vid, I became aware of this eternally vile practice and have since decided to go cruelty FREE. I started w/my makeup–(F**Q smashbox, and este lauder altogether) and from Sephora I bought a concealer from FX and a new daily face care routine, I forgot the name but I’ll add it later. Tarte and Michael Todd are other good ones!!! Well, now I’m moving on to my nails–which in certain colors are to die for but certainly NOT to kill for…I am so disappointed in so many household names for being such bastards. I’m sorry for contributing to this dam industry, I love all beings and believe in their rights just as much as mine!! Represent what you stand for to the fullest by being the change, ppl begin to change too. Much love for PETA

  • shelby says:

    I recently contacted Essie with a very polite email, requesting that they stop needlessly testing on animals. They responded with their attempt to justify animal testing. I’m sure it would have worked on most other consumers, but you absolutely cannot convince me that testing on animals is “necessary” to test for allergies, particularly (1) when your very own company used to not test, and (2) so many other nail polish companies have chosen to go cruelty-free. Disgusting.

    Still fuming over it, waiting until I calm down to do enough research to send an informed reply. I’m not sure what I expect them to say, but I will not play the stupid consumer role.

  • Lola Leigh says:


  • Gina says:

    Essie is part of L’oreal and they DO test on animals. How unfortunate I have stopped buying their polish until they get with the program!

  • Taahirah says:

    If you have to eat Eggs (which i am not recommending) buy uncaged or caged- free Eggs so the Chickens who provide you with the Eggs you eat can run freely:) Thank You soo much! Some nailpolish removers have gelatin (pig) and some bar soaps are made from animal fat tallow(cow) or lard (pig) and candies and snacks and yogurts like starburst have gelatin this world doesnt need animals in everything! If we have stuff without it then the other products dont need it either ( They test some nailpolishes, dish and laundry detergent, toothpaste , makeup, cosmetics, household cleaners, deodorants and other things like cigarettes on animals. Try not to eat at fast food restuarants like mcdonalds or kfc because they treat their Animals wrong And they hurt cows to get their milk they make them produce more than they are suppose to. Make sure your stuff is cruelty free opi and LA colors nail polish are cruelty-free check labels! Tell everyone I want there to be no more cruelty. Animals deserve freedom

  • Caddie says:

    Essie DOES test on animals – they were always cruelty free but since being bought out by bastard Loreal, I refuse to buy that brand anymore

  • SV says:

    Oh whoops meant to say that opi is still cruelty free but I’m not sure about Essie

  • Qwerty says:

    Yeah, my fav nail polish brand Sally Hansen does test on bunnies until their eyes fall out becuz they have the same texture as our nail and essie gets animal tested ingredients same with opi my other gave 🙁 but on the brightside zoysia is vegan china glaze orly and seche don’t test on animals either!:)

  • Nailistas says:

    Any news about Essie? It is not included in the companies that Do test on animals lis, but is not included in companies that Don’t test on animal neither…

  • Fuzzieferret says:

    When you say the products are not tested on animals. What about ingredients?

  • Ezma says:

    Is it true that Sally Hansen test nail polish on bunny rabbit eyes?

  • debthemakeupnoob says:

    I love “Sparrow Me the Drama”, or basically the entire Pirates of the Caribbean collection.

  • MB says:

    I am a consultant for Jamberry Nails, and our product is NOT tested on animals, and is cruelty free. Jamberry Nails are nail shields; no chemicals or fumes, and last up to 2 weeks on fingers, 6 weeks on toes.

  • rocio says:

    how come o.p.i doesnt have the bunny logo when you go to their website.

  • Vianey says:

    what about sally hansen i heard that they test on bunnys eyes since they are hard as nails and it affects the bunnys eyes and fall out please help.

  • Ashley says:

    Two nail polish companies that I LOVE as of lately that do NOT test on animals are Kleancolor, and Sinful Colors. =]

  • Erin says:

    @Desiree – INGLOT is a company based in Poland. They do not test on animals, yet they use substances that are of animal origin like: colagen, elastine, silk, gelatine. I got the info from a polish beauty forum. Here’s the site: unfortunatelly in polish. Take care.

  • Desiree says:

    I’m looking for information on the company INGLOT. do they test on animals…I went nail polish free for a year then because I found out INGLOT is European based company I figured they couldn’t be testing on animals… then I went on the site and the guy who invented the company was in pharmaceuticals . HELP!

  • Martine says:

    I like VB Cosmetics’ line of nail lacquers. They’re a relatively small company based in Arizona, and they don’t test on animals at all. They have a nice vegan nail lacquer line called Dazzle Dry; it doesn’t contain nitrocellulose either.

  • Ashley-P says:

    PETA used to include Essie on our list of companies that do not test their products on animals. When Essie was acquired by L’Oréal, we contacted the company to request that it sign an updated statement of assurance confirming that it will remain cruelty-free. Essie has not responded to multiple letters. As a result, we have removed Essie from our cruelty-free list as a precaution. We hope to clarify this matter soon and add Essie to our cruelty-free list again.

  • Ashley-P says:

    We are happy to let you know that OPI remains cruelty-free despite its acquisition by Coty. Once again, OPI has signed PETA’s statement of assurance to show its commitment to our Caring Consumer campaign and to verify that it will not conduct or commission any animal tests on ingredients, formulas, or finished products and that it pledges not to do so in the future.

    Large corporations now recognize the expanding audience of compassionate consumers who want cruelty-free food, cosmetics, and clothing. As cruelty-free products grow in popularity, smaller companies will continue to be bought out by larger companies that do not have the same animal testing policies. These conglomerates’ purchases of compassionate companies have meant that more humane products are widely promoted and sold than ever before. Shoppers see them on stores’ shelves and in advertisements, which enables these cruelty-free products to become increasingly popular.

    PETA’s cruelty-free company list includes cruelty-free subsidiaries of parent companies that have not eliminated animal tests because we want to support positive steps that companies make for animals. If a subsidiary operates independently from a parent company, we hope that continued support of its products will send a positive message to the parent company, which will ultimately influence its policy. We do include a notation on our list indicating which companies are owned by a noncompliant parent company so that consumers are fully informed and can make their own choices.

    We hope that OPI’s no-testing policy will persuade Coty to adopt the same compassionate standards and sign PETA’s statement of assurance. Please contact Coty urging it to do so at: (Click on “Contact Us” to access the e-mail contact form.)

  • Antikythera says:

    Even if OPI and its ingredients are not tested on animals, buying it means supporting a company that is not ethical in its treatment of animals. I no longer will consult PETA for recommendations of cruelty-free cosmetics, because it doesn’t look deep enough. I won’t support Loreal by buying OPI or any of its other products.

  • holland says:

    Let us not forget Urban Decay! I’m under the impression they are militantly cruelty-free … hope I have that correct.

  • Carol says:

    I no longer use nail polish at all.

  • Skulda says:

    OPI/Nicole are cruelty free, but the owner Coty, TESTS on animals. So I won’t buy from a company that is even owned by a company that tests on animals. Essie is now owned by the same company as L’Oreal and also tests on animals. The brand can say they don’t test all they want, but their parent company can still do it and profit off their “non-testing” children. It’s your choice.

    Try China Glaze, SpaRituals, Revlon, Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs, Cult Nails, Rescue Beauty Lounge, Joe Fresh (Canada), Orly, Zoya.

  • m1che11e says:

    Don’t forget about ZOYA nail polish! This stuff is amazing and innovative without all of the bad chemicals. Essie & Zoya are both great nail polishes!

  • maren says:

    Just last week I sent emails to OPI and Essie to ask if they were vegan. OPI is, Essie is owned by L’Oreal and thei email response was very “blah”, so im going to stick with OPI and OCC.

  • truthbetold says:

    Both OPI and Essie are still cruelty free. 🙂

  • The Nail Buff says:

    OPI is now owned by Coty, which is blacklisted by some animal rights organisations. I won’t take any chances, and I’m therefore not buying any more OPI products until I know more. There are lots of good brands of polish, like Barry M, Zoya, Nubar, Spa Rituals, GOSH, China Glaze, Color Club etc etc.

  • Emily D says:

    I love Zoya brand nail polish! They are vegan and have TONS of color choices. One of my faves by their company is Veruschka! It is a gorgeous shade of forest green in a matte velvet finish.

  • Elizabeth Adao says:

    I have Essie polishes, but I’m not 100% sure they’re vegan. I don’t like that they’re owned by (I think) Loreal, but I just hope they are vegan.

  • MelMartell says:

    Lincoln Park After Dark with the Alice in Wonderland Glitter (forgot name) polish on top.

  • Megan S. says:

    I love SPARITUALS! They’re a vegan line of professional nail polish. They have super awesome colors and a line that helps brittle/thin nails! But, OPI comes in close as well!

  • sowmya says:

    lotus nail polish