CLEAN BEAUTY AWARDS 2021: NAIL CARE REVIEW

The Clean Beauty Awards are back! Now in its 6th year, CertClean, a North American certification body for safer skincare products, has announced the best performing products in 24 categories in partnership with PurPicks, the TripAdvisor of organic beauty products. An impressive 455 products from all over the world entered the global Clean Beauty Awards program. Who rates the product entries? A judging panel of 146 green beauty advocates and influencers who test the products before rating each of them based on performance and eco-credentials. For the third consecutive year I am one of the judges, and after rating products from face care and mascara categories, this year I’m delving into nail care. Here I review the category entries, including the 3 winners.

Sienna Cuticle Oil

First up is none other than the category winner: this nourishing plant-based cuticle oil from cruelty-free and vegan brand Sienna. Originating in Australia’s Byron Bay, it’s now stocked in 20 countries worldwide and is B-Corp certified, meaning it meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Simply put, B Corporations prioritise social responsibility, not just profitability. And the cuticle oil? Super easy to use, the rich oil nourishes my dry cuticles for a groomed look. I just add one drop to each nail and spread around the base and sides – where my skin is particularly dry – to either nourish naked nails or bring a new lease of life to a dull manicure. And the freesia-scented one smells delicately floral. A first place well-deserved.

Sienna nail polish in Rosie

Sienna has done well out of the Clean Beauty Awards as this nail polish grabs 3rd place in the nail polish category. The non-toxic, breathable formula is micro-plastic free, aluminium free and nano-particle free, and whilst it’s inspired by Byron Bay, it’s actually made in France. Featuring natural ingredients derived from sugar cane, cotton and corn, what actually first gets my attention is the unusual dusty rose shade. Just when you think you’ve seen all possible permutations of nude (and I actually launched an entire collection of nude nail enamels when I worked at Bourjois) out comes a new take on the ubiquitous shade. Easy to apply, non-streaky, great coverage and quick drying, try this if you’re looking for a deeper nude than the traditional hue to add a bit of interest to a working week staple. 

Sienna Nail Polish Remover

Unfortunately I didn’t get on with this product at all. Which is a shame as I really wanted to find a more natural alternative to the Cutex nail polish remove I currently use. A water-based formula without any of the tell-tale chemical smell, it claims no leave nails hydrated and healthy. Which is absolutely true, the problem being that it’s getting the polish off the nails that proves tricky. I have to soak the cotton pad in the liquid and work at each nail for what feels like ages before seeing any results. I’m used to just holding the cotton pad over each nail for a few seconds for the polish to effortlessly glide off the nail with a couple of swipes, but with this formula I find myself rubbing away at my nails like Lady Macbeth trying to wash imaginary blood off her hands. On a positive note, the glass container looks great, I’ll be upcycling that into a single stem vase.  

Kester Black Miracle Base Coat

This impressive base coat wins the 2nd position in the nail polish category. Founded in Australia by New Zealand-born Anna Ross, here’s another B Corp-certified company that is carbon neutral, cruelty-free and vegan. The virtuous formula contains 76.5% of naturally sourced ingredients. Right now no nail polish can be fully chemical-free however this brand is 12-free, meaning it avoids  formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, camphor, formaldehyde resin, xylene, parabens, fragrances, phthalates, animal ingredients, ethyl tosylamide or triphenyl phosphate. As for the product’s performance, it delivers on that front too: designed to strengthen weak nails, it does so in style with a brightening pearlescent finish. Described by the founder as ‘strengthening and doubling as a nice, neutral colour when you feel like a break between shades’, I couldn’t agree more with that description. Leaving my nails a beautiful shade of light nude with a subtle shimmer, this is so much more than a base coat!

Kester Black Breathable Base Coat nail polish

Another offering from Kester Black, this breathable base coat – which contains 84% of naturally sourced ingredients – helps to protect nails from staining and makes your manicure last that little bit longer. A straightforward product that does what it needs to do, quite simply.

Karma Organic Nail Polish in Nausil

When I opened my CertClean parcel and spotted this bright fuchsia shade I was immediately drawn to it like a magpie to a jewel. Not only is this hot pink a positivity-inducing shade, but it also always reminds me of my wedding day as I had fuchsia accents throughout, including, of course, on my nails. The US brand actually started as a spa designed with natural, non-toxic, and recycled materials and expanded into clean beauty products, including a range of 7-free vegan and cruelty-free nail polishes, meaning they are free from toluene, formaldehyde, DBP (phthalate), camphor, formaldehyde resin, xylene, and parabens. The formulas do however contain calcium and coffee extract to help strengthen nails without the use of Formaldehyde, and packaging is 100% recyclable. A couple of coats provide a much needed boost of colour during the peaky British spring and a full-on holiday vibe come summer.

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