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Are Shellac Nails Vegan? [What You Need To Know]

Getting a great manicure while supporting the ethical treatment of animals can be tricky. But thankfully, not impossible. Unfortunately, there are so many brands and manufacturers that use animal products or their derivates in their formulations. But what about Shellac? Here is what you need to know.

So, are shellac nails vegan? Shellac nails are vegan, as confirmed by the manufacturer, CND. They do not use animal-derived products in the formulation nor do they test on animals. However, they are not PETA approved nor do they publically advertise that they are a vegan-friendly option.

It took quite a bit of research to get there.

And it seems that many people have contacted CND (Creative Nail Design) directly to get a response.

And responses have been mixed.

Either from not getting back any information at all, all the way through to being quite vague in their wording.

So I decided to contact the company directly.

And here is what I got:

“There are no food products at all in Shellac and they have not been tested on animals. It is vegan friendly.”

Thank goodness.

Looks like shellac is an option.

But there is one product to be aware of.

And its their Rescue RXx Daily Keratin Treatment.

This is not vegan as the keratin is derived from sheep’s wool.

So stay clear of that one.

And it also means that you cannot trust that all CND products are vegan.

But with shellac, you are okay.

Depending on your views of veganism of course.

For some of you reading, that may be enough to seek out another type of manicure.

Nevertheless, let us now take a closer look at what Shellac is made of to see why this is a safe option.

What Are Shellac Nails Made Of?

Shellac nails are made up of plant-based and other chemical compounds – the main three being Cellulose Acetate Butyrate (a polymer), Hydroxypropyl Methacrylate (a monomer), and Diisobutyl Adipate (a plasticizer).

Outside of this, there is a long list of chemicals that go into the typical CND Shellac formulation.

None of which, appear to derive from animals.

Just taking a look at the formulation provided by the manufacturer can confirm this.

But wait a second.

Epoxy Resin.

What is that?

Doesn’t resin come from lac bugs found in India and Thailand?

Well, some types of resin do.

Lac-bug-derived resin is often found in a wide variety of things; from food glazing all the way through to furniture polish.

But CND shellac is not the same.

This is a different type of resin.

Epoxy resin is created in the lab by mixing prepolymers together.

It’s an entirely chemically derived substance.

And the result is a nail product that combines the best properties of gel and regular polish – durability, color, and shine.

And there’s a top coat, base coat, and all of the 100 other colors to choose from too.

So Why Do CND Call Their Product Shellac?

It appears that CND branded their gel/polish product shellac to market the durability and shine of the product.

We can only speculate here, but this would make a lot of sense.

Besides, the term resin has become synonymous and is widely used in reference to the high shine and longevity aspects of the product.

So despite the, there are no bug-derived secretions in CND.

Not no harm to these insects in the production.

So if you remember one thing from this article today, let it be this.

Shellac and CND Shellac nails are entirely different things!


If you’re a vegan, shellac nails do still appear to be an option for you.

And with only one manufacturer of the product, it makes it all that little easier.

There are no nuances between brands.

And Salons will stock CND if they are stocking shellac at all.

So you know for sure.

So if you do opt for shellac as your next manicure, you’ll be getting a combination of solvents, monomers and polymers.

All hypoallergenic – with none of the nasty three formaldehyde, toluene, or DBP.

But depending on your views of veganism, the fact that other CND products do contain animal-derived products – it may rule out this brand for you.

That’s your preogrative.

And at the same time, if you do see resin on the label of other products – food, paints, or anything else for that matter – chances are this will have derived from insects.

And that is definitely not vegan.

Wondering what other manicures are vegan? Check out my guides below: