What is 15-Free?

The term “15-Free” is used in connection with nail polish. If a nail polish is “15-Free” then it does not contain fifteen toxic and hazardous substances. Conventional nail polishes are 3-Free, 5-Free or 7-Free and they do not contain 3, 5 or 7 toxic substances. The 7-Free nail polishes are often vegan and cruelty-free.



The terms “3-Free”, “5-Free” etc. are not protected, which means that every manufacturer can determine for himself which substances he means by this. The European Union has now banned some of the substances.

At Veganail we are proud to offer a 15-Free nail polish that is 100% vegan and cruelty free. Veganail nail polish is free from the following harmful substances:



Phthalates (DEHP, DBP, etc.) are plasticizers and give nail polish shine and suppleness. They are suspected of acting like hormones and causing, for example, infertility, obesity and diabetes.


Toluene * (Toluene, Methylbenzene, Phenylmethane)

Toluene is found in many cosmetic products such as hair dyes and nail polishes and toluene is used as a solvent to make the color vibrant. Toluene causes nerve, kidney and possibly liver damage and infertility. Inhaling toluene vapors can lead to unspecific symptoms such as tiredness, malaise, sensory disturbances, impaired movement coordination and loss of consciousness.


Formaldehyde * (Methanal)

Formaldehyde is used as a preservative in nail polish. If used improperly, it can cause allergies, skin irritation, respiratory irritation or eye irritation. With chronic exposure it is carcinogenic and also affects memory, the ability to concentrate and sleep.


Formaldehyde resin *

Formaldehyde resins ensure the hardness and adhesion of the nail polish. Formaldehyde resins can cause skin allergies and are the most common source of formaldehyde emissions indoors. (See also formaldehyde)



Camphor is used as a plasticizer in nail polish and ensures the plastic consistency. Camphor acts on the central nervous system and the kidneys, in higher doses also on the respiratory center. It stimulates the circulation and dissolves mucus, but also leads to nausea, anxiety and shortness of breath.



Colophony is used in cosmetics as a binding agent. It can cause allergic reactions or, in vapor form, trigger asthma and cause eczema.



Xylenes are used in nail polish to dilute it and prevent it from clumping. For example, xylenes can cause headaches, memory and orientation disorders, dizziness and shortness of breath.


Ethyl tosylamides*

Ethyl tosylamides serve as plasticizers. They are banned from the EU because of their resistance to antibiotics.


Triphenyl phosphate* (TPP oder TPHP)

Triphenyl phosphate ensures longevity in nail polish. It causes known neurotoxic effects in the context of acute poisoning.


Organohalogen compounds AOX

AOX is used as a solvent in nail polish. Organohalogen compounds are a group of several thousand substances that contain bromine, (mostly) chlorine or iodine. Many of these substances are considered to be allergenic and some of them are cancerous.



Parabens serve as preservatives and are often criticized for triggering allergies. They are suspected of causing breast cancer and skin cancer.


Silicones* (D4, D5, D6 siloxanes also cyclomethicones)

Silicones ensure longevity and make application easier. In the EU only D4 has so far been classified as dangerous. The effects shown in several studies suggest that it may affect fertility. Some studies suggest that D4 may damage the liver and D5 may damage the lungs. A possible carcinogenic effect is assumed for D5.



Fragrances in cosmetics can lead to headaches and discomfort or irritate the skin and respiratory tract. Others can affect the endocrine system and even affect fertility and organs.


Animal ingredients (Guanine, carmine and shellac)

Guanine is a pigment that comes from fish scales and is used in nail polish to create various effects.

Carmine is a red pigment responsible for the red tones in nail polish. To obtain almost 450 g of carmine, 70,000 cochineal scale insects have to be dried alive and killed - then they are boiled.

Shellack is a resinous substance that comes from the excretions of the lacquer scale insect. Shellack adds shine to nail polish.

Animal ingredients do not pose a health risk, but they can now be avoided entirely.



Microplastics are particles less than 5 mm in size of an insoluble, macromolecular plastic. At the moment it is not yet possible to reliably assess whether it is harmful; avoiding it cannot do any harm. Larger particles can be assumed to be excreted through the digestive tract. With smaller particles, however, there is a risk that the body cannot break them down, as happens with soot particles in the lungs. Microplastics are foreign bodies and as such they can trigger inflammatory reactions.

Our nail polishes consist exclusively of water-soluble synthetic polymers and do not fall under the category of microplastics.


*banned from the EU