June 15, 2012, 4:00:00 AM

Is your nail polish tested on animals?
About cruelty free nail polish brands — an overview

Being a lover of animals I'm always trying to be conscious of the suffering animals go through, to "serve" us people.

Hundreds of thousands of animals are being poisoned, blinded and killed every year, in outdated product tests for cosmetics, personal care products, household cleaning products, etc. If there's one thing I cannot stand, it's the fact these innocent creatures have to suffer for the sake of something trivial as cosmetic products.

94% of animal testing is carried out to determine the safety of cosmetics and household products, leaving only 6% for medical research. Often these tests are performed on mice, rats, rabbits and guinea pigs.

The tests these companies conduct are absolutely horrifying. One of these tests, the so called Draize eye test, involves placing substances into the eyes of restrained rabbits, then recording the progressive deterioration. Some research labs also carry out the lethal dose test, forcing substances (such as oven cleaner or nail polish) down animals’ throats, pumping it into their stomachs through a tube, or injecting it into their bodies, until a percentage of the animals die. After these tests, the animals are killed, normally by asphyxiation, neck-breaking or decapitation. Think about this, is this something you're actually willing to contribute to, by buying these products?

Europe ban

Luckily, there is some good news. In 2013 all animal tested cosmetic and household products have been banned in Europe.
However, when a company is claiming that their products are cruelty free, they're actually referring to the finished end product. So, their statement isn't saying anything about the individual ingredients that have been used, so keep that in mind.

Mother companies & China

Some companies are owned by other companies: such as Essie who falls under the L'oreal umbrella. Back in the day, when Essie was independent, they used to be a cruelty free brand. Unfortunately, L'oreal is not. Since Essie is now owned by L'oreal, you could say they're no longer cruelty free.

A good indicator if a brand carries out animal tests, is the fact whether a brand is sold in China or not:

The Chinese government conducts mandatory animal tests on all cosmetic products imported into the country. The government may also conduct animal tests on items pulled from store shelves. Therefore, even if a company does not test their products or ingredients on animals, if they sell their products in China they cannot be considered cruelty free.

Sometimes a brand, that is owned by a larger company, actually is cruelty free and not sold in China. You could argue that these companies do fund animal testing indirectly, it's up to you how you feel about this.

Cruelty free list

After doing some research of my own I was happy to find out that a lot of great brands are actually cruelty free. But, the majority of the big, popular brands are not. You can find an overview listed below:

Brands that do test on animals

  • #
    • & Other Stories
  • A
    • (Giorgo) Armani (L'Oreal)
    • Artistry Makeup (Amway)
  • B
    • Bourjois
  • C
    • Chanel
    • Christian Dior
    • Clarins
    • Clinique (Estee Lauder)
    • Collistar
    • Coty
    • Cover Girl (Procter and Gamble)
  • D
    • Dior
  • E
    • Ellen Betrix
    • Essie (L'Oreal)
    • Estee Lauder
  • G
    • Givenchy
  • H
    • H&M Cosmetics
    • Helena Rubinstein (L'Oreal)
    • Huda Beauty
  • I
    • Inglot
  • K
    • Kiehls (L'Oreal)
  • L
    • L'Oreal
    • Lancôme (L'Oreal)
  • M
    • M.A.C. Cosmetics (Estee Lauder)
    • Max Factor (Coty)
    • Maybelline (L'Oreal)
    • Miss Sporty (Coty)
    • MNY (L'Oreal)
  • N
    • Nars Cosmetics (Shiseido)
    • Neutrogena (Johnson & Johnson)
    • Nicole by OPI (Coty)
  • O
    • OPI (Coty)
  • R
    • Revlon
    • Rimmel (Coty)
  • S
    • Sally Hansen (Coty)
    • Sephora by OPI (L'Oreal)
    • Sinful Colors (Revlon)
    • Shiseido Cosmetics
    • Shu Uemura (L'Oreal)
  • W
    • Wet ‘n Wild
  • Y
    • Yves Rocher

Cruelty free brands

Ⓥ = vegan

  • B
    • Barry M
    • Black Dahlia Lacquer Ⓥ
    • Blu Ink Nail Lacquer Ⓥ
    • Buddha Beauty Ⓥ
    • Burt's Bees
    • Butter London
  • C
    • Catrice
    • Cheeky Cosmetics Ⓥ
    • China Glaze
    • Claire's Ⓥ
    • Color Club
    • Colour Alike Ⓥ
    • Cuccio Colour
    • Cult Nails Ⓥ
  • D
    • Deborah Lippman
    • Dimension Nails Ⓥ
    • Douglas (own label)
  • E
    • E.L.F Cosmetics Ⓥ
    • Essence
    • ESN
    • Etos
    • Evil Shades
  • G
    • Gosh Cosmetics
  • H
    • Hard Candy
    • Hema/Miss Helen
    • Herôme Cosmetics
  • I
    • IsaDora
  • J
    • Joe Fresh Cosmetics
  • K
    • Kure Bazaar
    • Koh Cosmetics
  • L
    • L.A. Colors
    • Lacquester
    • Lime Crime Ⓥ
    • LUSH Cosmetics
  • M
    • Make Up Store
    • ManGlaze
    • Milani Ⓥ
    • Misa Cosmetics LLC Ⓥ
    • Models Own
  • N
    • Nubar Ⓥ
    • NYX Cosmetics
  • O
    • Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Inc. Ⓥ
    • Orly International
    • OZN Ⓥ
    • Ozotic (Lumineye)
  • P
    • Pacifica Ⓥ
    • Priti Polish Ⓥ
  • R
    • RGB
  • S
    • Safe’N’Beautiful Ⓥ
    • Seche
    • Smashbox Cosmetics (Estee Lauder, not sold in China)
    • SpaRitual Ⓥ
  • T
    • The Body Shop (Natura Cosmeticos)
    • Trind Cosmetics
  • U
    • Urban Decay (L'Oreal, not sold in China)
  • Z
    • Zoya
Ⓥ = vegan


Please note that companies do change policies, owners etc. So, if you spot a brand that should be in the other list, please let me know!
Last edited on: june 15th, 2018