As working from home becomes an everyday routine and after-work drinks with the girls moves onto Facetime, it's fair to say that social distancing has become the new norm for most of us, at least for the time being. Once the novelty of working in your comfiest loungewear or leggings wears off, it's likely you'll need a little pick-me-up - after all, these are uncertain times we're living in.
So why not give yourself a manicure at home? As anyone who’s ever had a fresh manicure knows, a coat of nail polish can go a long way in lifting your mood and elevating your look. The mood-lifting benefits of a good manicure are undeniable, particularly in times like these. But even a picture-perfect mani has its downsides: Many commercial nail polishes are packed with harsh and toxic ingredients, some of which have been tested on animals.
Should beauty come at such a high price? We don’t think so. And that’s where cruelty-free nail polish comes in. Like its name suggests, this type of natural nail polish ditches the chemicals and unethical testing to leave you with shiny, chip-free nails you can show the world (over Zoom, FaceTime, or from at least 1.5m away) without a trace of guilt.
To get the full lowdown on cruelty-free nail polish, we asked the ethical beauty experts at DB Cosmetics to explain the benefits of vegan nail polishes and walk us through how to paint your nails at home.
What is cruelty-free nail polish?
In order for a nail polish to be certified cruelty free, it must meet the following criteria:
1. It must be free of animal-derived ingredients
Many mainstream nail polishes contain animal-derived ingredients that are meant to colour, strengthen or protect your nails. By “animal-derived,” we mean any ingredient that either comes from an animal - like fish scales (more on that below) - or is produced by an animal - like beeswax, lanolin, and so on. Popular animal-derived nail polish ingredients include:
● Guanine, also known as natural pearl essence, a shimmery substance made from fish scales
● Carmine, also known as crimson lake, a bright red pigment made from crushed insects
● Keratin, an animal protein derived from mammals, like horses and rabbits
On the other hand, cruelty-free polishes contain none of the above, which is great news for vegans (and for our four-legged friends).
2. It must not have been tested on animals
Unfortunately, even to this day, many cosmetic products are tested on animals before they’re cleared for humans. There are two main reasons why animal testing remains commonplace throughout the cosmetics industry: The first being that many risk-averse companies want to protect themselves from potential lawsuits from customers complaining of irritation or injury caused by the product. The second is that certain countries require cosmetics to be tested on animals before they are declared fit for human use.
Cruelty-free or vegan nail polishes avoid animal testing entirely, meaning that neither the individual ingredients they contain, nor the finished product itself, is tested on animals.
The benefits of using cruelty-free nail polish
By now it’s clear that coating your nails in ethical nail polish isn’t just good for making a fashion statement: It’s also good for the planet. Talk about a feel-good mani-pedi! But there’s another big reason why you should get your hands on some vegan nail polish. It’s usually less toxic, making it the best nail polish for healthy nails.
Let us explain. Since a lot of chemicals require animal testing, most vegan nail polish brands leave the “toxic trio” out of their formulas - and some even go a step further and skip the five most common toxins. These are:
● Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
● Formaldehyde resin
These toxins are meant to give you strong, shiny and chip-free nails, but in reality, they can cause irritation and migraines, affect your hormones, and lead to other major health problems. No, thank you!
A step-by-step guide to a cruelty-free manicure
Now that you know about the benefits of cruelty-free nail polish, it’s time to treat yourself to an at-home manicure! Pick your favourite shade of vegan nail polish and follow these steps for a glossy mani that’s good for your nails and the environment:
1. Get rid of any old polish using a non-toxic nail polish remover, and soak the tips of your fingers in warm water.
2. Cut your nails, and then file them into your desired shape. Remember to only file in one direction to keep your nails strong and healthy.
3. Push down your cuticles and clean up any hangnails.
4. Gently buff your nails so they’re smooth.
5. Apply a top coat and wait a minute for it to dry. This will protect your nail beds from damage and help your mani to last longer.
6. Use smooth, even strokes to coat your nail with your chosen vegan nail polish, then give it two minutes to dry before touching up any uneven spots or going in for a second coat.
7. Seal in your polish with a thin layer of glossy top coat, then let your nails dry.
To maintain your nails between manicures and restore strength and hydration, we recommend massaging in a nourishing cuticle oil a few times a week. The DB Cosmetics Soften Up Cuticle Oil is packed with super-hydrating Vitamin E and jojoba, argan and avocado oil, and is one of the best cuticle oils for keeping your nails in tip-top shape.
Top Tip: Dealing with slow-growing nails? Speed up the process with the Let It Grow Nail Growth Serum. This nail strengthener boosts growth and is infused with Vitamin E to moisturise brittle or broken nails.
Nail your next ethical beauty look
As clean beauty products continue to take the cosmetics industry by storm, it’s never been easier to have a top-to-toe ethical beauty look. Cruelty-free nail polish makes it possible to regularly shake up your style and stay ahead of beauty trends without compromising your environmental standards.
For more expert vegan beauty advice, check out the DB Cosmetics blog today!Written by DB Cosmetics