Do you feel naked without your nails adorned? Do you love a fresh coat of polish? Is a weekly manicure a necessity, not an indulgence? If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then this is for you. Nail wraps, gel manicures, and outrageous nail designs are all the rage, and in an office full of ladies, there are squeals of delight when a box of shiny new colors arrive for us to sample. During lunch, you can find us giving “speed manis,” coined by Assistant Editor Hilary Pollack, to try out all the new shades. In honor of the changing season (and our complete obsession), here are our top cruelty-free polish picks for fall and tips for making them look amazing.
Fall for These Colors
We turned to fashion site refinery29.com to find out what nail colors are hot this fall season, and we matched the trends with vegan brands, so you can have a compassionate mani-pedi all season long.
1. Teal Blue
This blue-green hue reminds us of the ocean. Paired with a shiny topcoat, you’ll look as sleek as a seal. Zoya offers a great version, the Frida ($8). Another bonus to Zoya: several nail salons carry the brand. Butter London’s Slapper Nail Lacquer ($14) is another stunning teal that has us mesmerized.
Eggplants are getting a whole new treatment, and Scotch Naturals’ Queen of Scots ($14.99) is hot. If you prefer a little sparkle in your nail color, opt for the violet shimmer Priti NYC’s Ruffled Velvet Iris ($13.50).
3. Orange Rust
This trendy tint takes its cue from autumnal leaves. SpaRitual’s Solaris ($5) is just the right shade of orange, or you can add a little party to your nails with a dash of gold with SpaRitual’s Revere Shimmer ($10).
Sweep away the gray clouds of a rainy day with Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics ($8) shade of slate gray called Dangerous. Pair it with OCC’s Flatline top coat ($8) to instantly give this paint (and any others) a matte finish.
5. Hot Cocoa
Winter’s must-have drink makes a special appearance as a beautiful brown shade. Nubar offers two different colors—Cocoa Shimmer and Café Au Lait ($28 each)—in a gel manicure polish. Gel polish lasts up to three weeks without chipping or peeling and keeps a glossy finish. The polish does require a UV or LED lamp to dry, so instead of investing in an expensive light, snap up these bottles and head to your local salon for the finishing touch.
While nail polish may seem like a harmless beauty product, some cosmetics companies test on animals, and nail polish itself can contain animal by-products, the most common being fish scales, lanolin (oil from sheep skin), and animal fat. But tons of cruelty-free companies offer pretty polishes that are mani-worthy. In addition to the brands mentioned above, we love the selections offered by Beauty Without Cruelty, Ginger + Liz, Kaia House, Rescue Beauty, and Sheswai Lacquer.
If you want a mani-on-the-go (or you’re not so great with polish application), nail wraps are like instant tattoos for your hands. Jamberry Nails and NCLA offer killer designs and are completely cruelty-free. NCLA partnered with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on a special edition nail wrap, using PETA’s bunny logo in a black and white houndstooth pattern. Fifteen percent of the online sales of this wrap are donated to animal organizations. Another bonus to nail wraps: each kit has three to four applications and simply require a clear topcoat polish to finish off the look. If you’re more of a creative type and want to go wet and wild with your own designs, snag some Nubar nail art pens and draw your own illustrations. With every color in the rainbow, plus glitter, cream, and metallic hues, you can create anything you could imagine.
Nail Art School
Now that you’ve stocked up on all the fall colors, cute nail wraps, and nail art pens, it’s time to go crazy with artistic style. We’ve compiled some of our favorite designs, and while these picks use non-vegan polishes, you can easily re-create them with compassionate choices.
Pinterest, the online pinboard system that we can’t get enough of, is the motherload of crafty ideas for taking your nails to new heights. Learn how to make a cheetah print with just black and gold paint, make Missoni stripes, and paint a starry night sky. Or stop by hellogiggles.com for Nails of the Day (recent gems include Power Puff girls, strawberries, and koala bear faces). Editorial Director Elizabeth Castoria is obsessed with nail blogs—specifically Glitter and Nails and All Lacquered Up. And we can see why, Glitter and Nails is total eye candy and even though we’re not fluent in French (yet), we love the close-up shots of all the pretty colors. All Laquered Up’s nail gallery by color is a thing of beauty. Who knew holographic polish even existed? And if you’re anything like us, some times you screw up your at-home manicure or pedicure and you’re all thumbs when painting. Never fear. Refinery29.com has a great video on how to fix a messy mani.
Whether you want Batman nails, a long-lasting gel manicure, or ready-to-wrap designs, choosing cruelty-free nail care means you can always have a stylish look while staying true to your animal-free ethics.