Spotlight on Sienna // Non Toxic and Cruelty Free Nail Colour


The vegan cruelty free trend has taken a right turn into the bright spotlight last year and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.  

As well as food and fashion, it has opened up questions about where certain ingredient’s come from in your beauty products and we are shocked to learn so many of these are animal derived and toxic to your health!    

Becoming vegan in June 2017 (one year!), we have been on the lookout for products that does not test on animals (cruelty free) and does not contain any animal or animal derived ingredients (vegan).

That rules out ingredients such as bees wax and honey, milks or collagen, gelatin, lanolin and many others.    

The majority of beauty products have been slowly changing their ethos, with many companies becoming 100% transparent in manufacturing, supply chain and the ingredients being used.

I was introduced to Sienna nail polishes in our amazing Ethical Byron Bay market community a few years ago; the stunning rainbow of shades are ethically Made in Australia, completely free from nasty chemicals and is vegan.

Since meeting the founder Danielle and drooling over her nail polish collection, I now own way too many to disclose! Speaking to Danielle, she is as passionate about creating an ethical world and changing the conventional way of creating nail polish that seem to be taken for granted, as I am for fashion. 

The latest ‘The Trailblazer Collection’ by Sienna has gone above and beyond and I am currently obsessing over their new nail shades, the minimal photoshoot and yummy curves on the models. I have talked about plastic glitter being one of the detrimental micro-plastics in the world, Sienna have launched their AMAZING eco-friendly nude glitters, beautiful fractal of glitter, not made from plastic, but crushed crystal rock to give the exact same glittery shine!! Zero harmful effects to the ocean or environment but all completely natural! So proud and cannot wait for mine to be added to my collection.

So what exactly in Nail Polishes and why is it bad?

Did you know conventional and generic nail polishes contain many harmful chemicals? This makes it one of the most toxic beauty products to buy and may contain animal derived ingredients from some of the most unusual sources.  

Some of the toxic and animal derived Ingredients to watch out for… 

Toulene – A chemical found in gasoline, it’s fumes are highly toxic and known to cause central nervous system problems, dizziness and reproductive harm. Most often used to create smooth appearance and finish in nail polishes and often found in conventional nail polish removers.

Formaldehyde – Banned in all textile dyes as there are strict warnings to avoid any skin contact and inhalation as linked to cancer; this known carcinogen can be found in some nail polishes and used to harden and strengthen nails. Used to preserve dead things and used during lab preparation, this is used in some nail polishes to protect against bacterial growth. 

Formaldehyde Resin -  Not linked to cancer like the regular formaldehyde (above) but this chemical can cause severe skin irritation and allergic reactions, skin depigmentation and loss of nerve sensation. 

Camphor – Derived from the wood of the camphor tree, this scented substance is a major concern for nail technicians who work with certain nail polishes in large doses; when inhaled it can cause nausea, dizziness and headaches.  

Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) – Banned in Europe, this chemical is used in nail polishes to minimize chipping but also known to cause reproductive issues, especially in boys. Classified by the Environmental Working Group (EXG) as the highest danger level and warns that it can cause organ problems and endocrine disruption.

Guanine (or pearl essence) – Avoid guanine when looking for vegan nail polishes, this ingredient is derived from ground fish scales and not pearls (as you would assume) to give extra shimmer to your nail colour. 

Carmine – Another ingredient to avoid when selecting vegan polishes, often used as a red colourant in some blush powders, lipsticks and nail polishes. Surprisingly, the carmine ingredient comes from crushed carcasses of the female cochineal insect to make the carmine dye!  

Plastic Glitter - Glitter is essentially made up of thousands of teeny, tiny fractals of plastic, traditionally made from non-biodegradable materials like aluminium foil or co polymer plastic. As we know, plastic can take up to 1000 years to decompose when sent to landfills! Glitter pieces are classified as harmful ‘micro-plastic’ that pollute the environment, get into waterways, harm marine life and enter the food chain.

Just researching and reading about these chemicals was a little mind blowing, and not something I will remember every time I go to purchase a new product. So that is where the marketing terms 5 free, 7 free and 10 free come in in the nail polish world. Although not regulated through any organisation or government body, these terms have been adopted by many companies to market to their customer that they do not use certain nasty chemicals and allergens.   

Sienna for one states they are 15 free (which is incredible) with benefits – they have a plastic free cap and also jokes they are sugar free, gluten free, lactose free, fat free and carb-free!  Which are all fine by me! But seriously, this unregulated and ungoverned term being used in the industry is a never ending list and Sienna has gone above the rest and assures it contains zero nasties; “free’’ !   

Read more on this topic in detail on Sienna’s informative blog ‘ Decoding 5, 7 and 10 free nail polish – what you need to know.

We still are in love with nail colour, I for one have dipped in and out of bright’s, neutrals and glitter shades since a teen. Colour reflects my personality, who I am and what I am doing at different times of life and this shines through my nail polish collection.

Check our the entire range on

Nisha AbeyComment