You probably don’t need to be told how fast the vegan beauty movement has been growing! If you haven’t already heard from clients about how they want to try out a new vegan lifestyle, you’ve likely seen the flurry of new products announcing themselves as vegan and cruelty-free.

One particular area in demand is vegan nail polishes and manicures. Even if you are not vegan yourself, catering to these clients in your nail salon is a great way to get new faces through your door.

But, you might be unsure of exactly how you go about adding vegan manicures to your treatment menu – what products can you use? What does it mean to be vegan and cruelty-free? We’ve put together a guide to help you out!

Click here to skip to our list of the best vegan nail polishes

Cruelty-Free and Vegan Nail Polish – What’s the Difference?

To those who aren’t familiar with vegan beauty, you might be confused by some of the terms that are out there. Sometimes they can be misinterpreted, but it’s important you know exactly what is in your nail polishes and where they have come from if you are catering for vegan clients.

When looking for vegan nail polish, you might see some that are referred to as ‘cruelty-free’, ‘not tested on animals’ or ‘Peta-Approved’. These are all good signs for animal-lovers, but does it mean they are vegan?

What is Vegan Nail Polish?

If a nail polish is vegan, it means that there are no animal-derived ingredients used in the formula or production process at all.

Regular or ‘non-vegan’ nail polishes often contain ingredients that come from things like fish scales, crushed beetles, beeswax or animal protein to give them the right consistency or level of shine. Vegan nail polish uses other natural or man-made substances in place of these, such as aluminium or faux pearl, to make them ‘vegan’.

What is Cruelty-free Nail Polish?

So, if a nail polish is vegan, does that also mean it is cruelty-free?

The term ‘cruelty-free’ means that the product has not been tested on animals. It is most often certified by the ‘Leaping Bunny’ logo.

However, be aware that if a product describes itself as simply ‘cruelty-free’, it does not mean for sure that it is vegan, and vice versa.

If your nail polish has a logo from a recognised body such as The Vegan Society or is certified Peta-Approved, it is both vegan and cruelty-free. This means that it has no animal-derived ingredients and has not been tested on animals – making it perfect for vegan clients!

If a product simply states it is ‘cruelty-free’, you should still check whether it has any animal-derived ingredients in it. It could be that the product is not tested on animals, which is great, but does contain an ingredient such as honey, for example. This unfortunately means it is not suitable for vegan clients.

Similarly, if a nail varnish states it is vegan without the approval of a recognised vegan or cruelty-free organisation, you might want to check whether it has been tested on animals. To properly cater for vegans, the nail polish you use in your manicure should neither be tested on animals or contain any animal-derived ingredients.

Another issue to be aware of is whether your nail varnish brand is owned by a larger corporation. Many brands offer single products that contain no animal products and aren’t tested on animals, but the company that owns it does. For many vegans this is still a no-go area, so you need to be careful which products you advertise as part of a vegan manicure.

Offer full visibility on your website or social media over what products you are using, so vegan clients can be sure they are happy with them before their appointment.

What is Non-toxic Nail Polish?

Finally – to add further confusion! – there is another term often used in conjunction with vegan nail polish. ‘Non-toxic’ nail varnishes are also sometimes grouped into the mix with vegan nail polishes, but they are not the same thing.

Non-toxic nail polish is made without use of many of the strong chemicals used traditionally in lacquers. This means they are less harsh to apply to the nail, but again does not mean they are vegan or cruelty-free.

What else do you need for a Vegan Manicure?

Remember, it’s not just vegan nail polish you need to provide manicures to vegan clients. You’ll need to ensure that your nail polish remover and any other nail care products such as hand cream and cuticle oil are also vegan – we’ll list you some of these in the next section. You can even ensure your sanitising products are vegan by using our salon hygiene products.

Cruelty-free and Vegan Nail Polishes For Your Salon…

Looking for traditional vegan nail varnishes for your salon? Don’t think you will be limited by your choices, as these fantastic vegan nail polishes can prove they are just as good as the rest…


Peacci Nail Polish Fairy Pink 10ml

As the sister company of The GelBottle Inc, you can count on Peacci to deliver a stunning colour range to impress clients with. Even better, the whole Peacci nail polish range is vegan and cruelty-free, so you can confidently cater to vegan clients with your manicures.

In addition, you can also use the vegan Peacci cuticle oil and Peacci cuticle remover during the treatment, or use the Gel’ous Top Coat to give nails a gel-like durable finish.

Shop Peacci

Find out more: 5 Minutes with Peacci Nails


Orly Breathable Morning Mantra Treatment + Color Polish 18ml

Did you know that Orly nail polish is both vegan and cruelty-free? Not only this, but the formulas are also non-toxic, meaning they are free from 12 of the strong chemicals usually found in nail varnishes – making it both kind to animals and to the nails!

Orly has a huge range of vegan nail polish that is perfect for salons, along with the Orly Genius Remover, which can be used to remove both regular polish and gel polish.

Shop Orly

Find out more: Orly Epix FAQ

Nails Inc Plant Power

Plant Power by Nails Inc is a revolutionary product with a 73% Plant Based formula. It’s vegan, cruelty free and Halal, and has been created free from formaldehyde, acetone and parabens. The technology within the product provides a salon professional finish, with no compromise on colour, wear time, or quality. To top it off, there’s even a eco-friendly wooden cap to ditch the iconic plastic cap – an all round incredible product!

Shop Nails Inc Plant Power

Can You Get Vegan Gel Polish?

Today, vegan clients can enjoy gel manicures too! Just like with regular nail polish, gel formulas can sometimes contain animal-derived ingredients, but there are a number of vegan and cruelty-free gel polishes out there for you to choose for your clients…

Glossify Gel Polish

Glossify Naturabuild

Shop Glossify

Glossify’s gorgeous range of gel nail polishes and their bestselling Naturabuild builder gel are all vegan and cruelty free! With highly pigmented colours, you can create beautiful vegan manicures and impressive nail art – plus, the bottles will look so chic in your salon!

Halo Gel Polish by Pure Nails

Halo Gel Polish Cranberry 8ml

All clients are sure to love your manicures with Halo Gel Polish. This UK based company offers a fully vegan range that isn’t tested on animals, including their EasiBuild Builder Gel, range of fashionable colours, glitter and Cat Eye effects and their Halo Brush Cleaner.

Shop Halo Gel Polish

Find out more: Brand Spotlight on Halo Gel Nail Polish


Bluesky Gel Polish Tulip Lover 10ml

Vegan clients will love Bluesky gel polish, which is cruelty-free as well as containing no animal-derived ingredients. Along with a fantastic range of colours to choose from, including beautiful glitters, the primer, top coat and base coat offer a minimum and 14 days wear when applied correctly.

Shop Bluesky Gel Polish

Glitterbels Hema Free Gel Polish

Did you know Hema is a hydroxyethyl methacrylate which is used to give the nice shiny, hard finish in gel polish? It’s considered the number 1 allergen in nail and cosmetic products and Glitterbels have revolutionised the game by removing it from this gel polish range. Doing so grants nail techs the ability to perform nail services on clients who have shown signs of an allergy. These vegan gel polishes have been manufactured and tested to cure perfectly and are suitable for clients who have been overexposed or allergic to Hema. Did we also mention they have a huge range of different colours to choose from? You’re in for a treat!

Shop Glitterbels Hema Free Gel Polish 

Find out more: What Is Hema Free Gel Polish? 


Gellux have created a gel polish range which is suitable for vegans, cruelty-free and is free of harsh ingredients that can damage nails. They’re the answer to 15 days of no chip, no wear, no wait colour for fingers and toes. With a great choice of gorgeously glossy, colour perfect shades, Gellux dries instantly cured with either UV in 2 minutes or LED in just 10 seconds for guaranteed smudge free nails.

Shop Gellux Gel Polish

Find out more: Brand Spotlight – Q&A With Gellux

Are Acrylic Nails Vegan?

Again, acrylic nails can be vegan so long as you choose the right products. Most of the time it’s the brushes which make the process not vegan. There are however products available to overcome this, so do some research and decide whether it’s right for you!


Glitterbels Coloured Acrylic Powder 28g

Created by Instagram nail star Nails by Annabel, Glitterbels is a fully vegan, cruelty-free acrylic nail system that is perfect for nail professionals. The range offers a stunning selection of powders, from the soft core collection to the gorgeous mixed glitter powders. Try out the Glitterbels Starter Kit to introduce yourself to the range – and don’t forget to treat yourself to the Rainbow Brush Set!

Shop Glitterbels

Related: Salon Design of the Month: Nails by Annabel


Glossify Acrylic Powder is perfect for applying straight to a natural nail or creating a formed nail. It leaves a smooth finish that needs little refining, and to top it off, it’s completely vegan!

See how you can create stunning nail art with these vegan nail polishes with our blog on The Best Nail Art Tutorials For Beauty Professionals!

Find more professional nail supplies at Salons Direct – or contact us if you would like further information on any of our products.

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