Is Essie Cruelty-Free and Vegan? (Good and Bad News)

Cruelty free makeup and skincare products are becoming more and more popular.

Most consumers assume that cosmetic products are now all cruelty free.

But this isn’t always the case.

So, what about Essie? Are their nail polishes and other products cruelty free?

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Is Essie Cruelty Free?

Essie cannot be described as being completely “cruelty free”, however...

They have claim to have dedicated several years to ensure that their products do not contain any animal products.

On Essie’s website, there is an FAQ section with the question “Is Essie tested on animals?”.

The response to this question is “Essie and L’Oreal are totally committed to animal-free beauty.

If you’d like to learn more about the work in the area of alternative methods to animal testing, please click here.” The “click here” then sends you to another information page.

But here's the thing..

Does Essie Sell It's Products In China?

Essie sells its products in mainland China.

And so does its parent company, L’Oreal.

This is surprising for such well-known brands.

Especially those that are seemingly dedicated to following the changes that are happening when it comes to vegan products.

The sale of Essie products in mainland China doesn’t mean that Essie tests its products on animals.

It definitely does not mean that they are testing products on animals and lying about it.

It means that they are allowing people in mainland China to test their products.

Put simply, Essie cannot be classed as truly cruelty free as they allow others to test their products on animals.

If they were truly dedicated to ending animal cruelty in the cosmetics industry, they would stop selling products in mainland China. But, this would affect their profits.

Are Essie Leaping Bunny or PETA Approved?

No, because of their testing policies neither Leaping Bunny or PETA have certified Essie.

Is Essie Vegan?

Although Essie cannot, unfortunately, be officially classified as cruelty free, all of their products are vegan!

This is due to a 2021 pledge by Essie to make all of their products vegan by the end of 2020.

And they did it!

Many Essie products previously contained animal products and animal byproducts.

But, due to the growing popularity of veganism and the growing demand for vegan cosmetics, Essie redeveloped its products.

Some other companies have simply brought out a line of vegan products.

This is a good step in the right direction.

But it simply treats veganism as a fad.

When in reality, attitudes toward consumerism are steering massively away from using animal products. 

Essie, on the other hand, has taken a different approach and made all of its products vegan.

This is a pretty big deal and would have been a massive undertaking.

Essie began reformulating its products in 2018.

Since then, it has changed its formulas so that they contain absolutely no animal products.

Is Essie 8 Free?

It has also reformulated its products so that it is now “8-Free”.

This isn’t a phrase that is used very often. But it is an important one to look out for. 

Some cosmetic products, such as nail polishes, have previously contained potentially harmful ingredients.

And some still do. These ingredients began to be known as the “Big 3”.

But now 8 ingredients have been identified. 

These ingredients have been shown to negatively affect women’s hormones.

The research into these chemicals was conducted by Duke University and the EWG.

So this isn’t some internet craze that spreads fear about any ingredient that can be described as a “chemical”. 

From this, you will understand why so many people want to avoid the “Big 8”.

The Big 8 are formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, resin, camphor, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, or triphenyl phosphate.

These ingredients can be found in a wide range of products. So being able to look out for a nail polish being “8 Free” is very useful.

Are Essies Products Clean or Toxic?

It is especially useful to know that Essie products not only no longer contain products derived from animals.

But they also no longer contain ingredients that can be potentially harmful to women.

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essie Salon-Quality Nail Polish, 8-Free Vegan, Sheer Pale Pink, Ballet Slippers, 0.46 fl oz
  • Glossy Shine Nail Polish: essies Ballet Slippers is a classic pale pink nail polish [with sheer pink undertones] and a glossy shine finish. Salon quality nail color formula provides flawless coverage and glossy shine.
  • Even, Professional Application: Our exclusive easy glide brush fits every nail size and allows for quick, streak-free, even and professional application at home. Flawless nail color coverage and durability with every brush stroke.
  • The Perfect Manicure: Apply 1 coat of any of our base coat polishes on nails, follow with two coats of essie nail polish, and finish with any 1 of our top coat offerings. Follow with essie apricot cuticle oil, a nail care essential.
  • Iconic and Trendsetting Colors: from the essie collection, which has produced over a thousand nail polish shades and counting. essie nail polish takes from fashion and cultural trends to make manicure possibilities endless.
  • America's Nail Expert: essie is a leader in nail luxury, committed to high quality standards. Our nail polish has a vegan formula with no animal derived ingredients and no animal testing. essie nail polishes and nail care products make life colorful.


Overall, Essie cannot be classified as cruelty free.

Although all of their products are vegan, they are still sold in mainland China. 

As mentioned above, this means that the products are definitely tested on animals. 

Even if the products sold in China are different from those sold in the US and elsewhere, the brand still cannot be classified as cruelty free.

Essie’s parent company, L’Oreal, also sells products in mainland China.

So this is another reason why Essie cannot be classified as cruelty free.

Last update on 2024-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API