Is OPI cruelty free? Everything you need to know.

is opi nail polish cruelty free

You’re considering buying a new nail polish, but you want to make sure it’s cruelty-free. You’ve heard that some companies test on animals, and you don’t want to support that practice. So, is OPI cruelty-free? Let’s find out!

It can be tough to be a conscientious consumer. We all want to buy products that are good for us and the environment, but it’s not always easy to figure out which ones those are. Add in the fact that some companies use deceptive marketing tactics, and it can feel downright impossible.

I’m hoping that you have the time to read this whole post, because there’s no simple answer to the question: Is OPI cruelty-free?

But in case you’re in a hurry, here’s the short and fast answer to is OPI cruelty-free:

No, OPI is not cruelty-free. OPI does not test its products on animals. However, they are owned by Coty Inc, which was removed from Peta’s Global Beauty without Bunnies Program because they fund deadly animal testing of OPI nail products in China.

OPI’s “cruelty-free” status is complicated.

Let’s dig a bit deeper and I’ll explain.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is cruelty-free beauty?

cruelty free colors

The words “cruelty-free” are used a lot in the beauty industry.

But what do they mean exactly?

Generally speaking, if a product is cruelty-free, it means that no animals have been harmed while creating and/or testing that product.

The term is used most often in reference to cosmetics, but it can apply to other products as well, like clothing or cleaning supplies.

Cruelty-free is a bit different from vegan, but the two terms often overlap.

You see, there are lots of animal-derived substances that are used to make nail polish.

Guanine for example (aka pearl essence) is a substance used to add shimmer that actually comes from fish scales.

Carmine is made by boiling and crushing female cochineal insects and is used to add color, particularly to red nail polish.

If nail polish is labeled as “vegan” it means that the product does not contain any of these animal-derived products.

If it’s labelled as “cruelty-free” it means that no animal testing was involved.

But, as you can tell from the above example a nail polish can be considered “cruelty-free” but still cause harm to living creatures (if carmine is used).

Why do people want cruelty-free nail polish?

cruelty free logo

People care about cruelty-free beauty for a variety of reasons.

Some people (myself included) feel strongly that animals should not be harmed for the sake of human vanity.

The experiments conducted on animals are often horrific and deadly.

As PETA explains, some of these tests:

“involve dripping substances into their eyes, smearing products onto their shaved or scraped skin, or forcing them to ingest or inhale huge quantities of chemicals.”

Quote is taken from – “Vegan nail polish brands that don’t test on animals“.

Others may have environmental concerns, or they may simply prefer to use products with fewer chemicals in them, which is often the case with cruelty-free products.

Whatever the reason, more and more consumers are looking for cruelty-free options when they shop for beauty products.

How can I tell if a product is cruelty-free?

how can i tell is a product is cruelty free

Marketers can sometimes be tricksters. They know that consumers want cruelty-free products and they will use that to their advantage.

So, how can you tell if a product is really cruelty-free?

The first step is to look for the bunny logo.

Many cruelty-free beauty companies are certified by one of two organizations: Leaping Bunny or PETA.

PETA has 3 main logos. They all have the bunny ears and the following words on them to say exactly what each one means:

  • Animal test free
  • Both animal test free and vegan
  • Peta approved (only used in Europe)

The animal test-free logo means that neither the company nor its suppliers condone, conduct, or fund animal testing in any form anywhere in the world.

The animal test-free plus vegan logo means that the brand’s entire product line is also free from animal-derived products.

If a product is Leaping Bunny certified, it means that the company conducts no animal testing anywhere in the world or at any stage of developing the product.

It also means that the brand did not buy any ingredients that were tested on animals.

To be Leaping Bunny certified, companies must also be open to annual audits to check that cruelty-free standards are being maintained.

You can read the whole Leaping Bunny standards here.

Is OPI cruelty-free?

If you look for OPI on Peta’s list of companies that do test on animals you won’t find it listed.

So that means that OPI must be cruelty-free, right?


OPI is actually owned by a company named Coty Inc.

If you look at the image below, you’ll see that Coty inc is right there on the naughty list.

opi does test on animals peta screenshot

But why?

Well, actually, OPI did once appear on Peta’s Beauty without Bunnies list. Because they don’t test on animals.

BUT, Peta had to remove them when it was discovered that OPI pays for their products to be tested on animals in China.

They do this because Chinese companies can not legally sell OPI’s products unless they are “fully tested” (on animals).

Do OPI test on animals?

No, OPI does not test its own products on animals.

However, they do allow (and pay for) OPI nail products to be tested in order to be legally sold in China.

This is why OPI (aka Coty inc) has been removed from Peta’s list of companies that do not test on animals.

Are OPI nail polishes vegan?

Most OPI nail polishes are not vegan.

However, they have recently launched a range of 30 nail polishes called Nature Strong.

Nature Strong OPI nail polishes are certified vegan by The Vegan Society.

This means that they contain no animal-derived products.

However, the Nature Strong polishes are not cruelty-free, because OPI funds animal testing in China.

So if you want to protect animals, you may want to find another brand.

Do OPI fund animal testing?

Yes, unfortunately, OPI (owned by Coty inc) funds animal testing in China.

They do this because Chinese law requires all foreign cosmetics to be “fully tested” on animals before they can be legally sold in China.

OPI does not test their own products on animals, but they allow (and pay for) their products to be tested.

Final thoughts

So there you have it. OPI nail polish used to be considered cruelty-free until they abandoned that policy in order to be able to sell OPI nail products inside China.

Because of that, they were removed from Peta’s list of companies that are truly cruelty-free.

Many people are looking for cruelty-free beauty products, and it can be difficult to tell which brands are truly cruelty-free. Remember, the first step is to look for the bunny logo, which indicates that the brand is certified by either Leaping Bunny or PETA.

I hope that you found my Is OPI cruelty-free post useful and thank you for doing your bit to save the rats, mice, and bunnies!


  • Phoebe Meadows

    Phoebe Meadows is a self-proclaimed nail addict, always on the lookout for the latest trends and techniques. When she's not creating stunning nail designs, you can find her researching the latest nail care products or experimenting with new techniques.