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I Tried 3 Vegan Nail Polishes Created By WOC

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Over time, I'm learning that a lot of favorite products aren't really good for me.


In fact, a lot of brands use harmful chemicals in their products that can have some serious effects on our health. Lately, I've noticed that my nails were becoming super brittle and broke off with the slightest touch. In efforts to achieve good nail health, I cut out tips and acrylic and took it back to simple manicures. While on the hunt for ways to heal my damaged nails, I came across vegan nail polish. If you're like me, then you're probably wondering, what's the difference? Well, many vegan nail polishes contain vitamins and minerals that can help your nails become stronger and more durable, helping it to serve as a more suitable option. It doesn't contain any of the toxic ingredients found in regular nail polish, like DBP (Dibutyl phthalate), Toluene, Formaldehyde/Formaldehyde Resin, and Camphor. These ingredients can cause skin damage and irritation among many other harmful effects.

Vegan nail polish is a healthier and safer way to do your nails. If you're thinking about making the switch, check out these vegan nail polish brands created by women of color and what I thought about them.

Krissy Lewis/xoNecole

Pear Nova

Krissy Lewis/xoNecole

Pear Nova is a vegan-friendly and cruelty-free nail polish brand created by mompreneur Rachel James. Pear Nova is the perfect mix of function and fancy and is committed to celebrating the strength and beauty of women everywhere.

Nail Color: Ginzaholic

Price: Originally $11.50 | On sale for $9.75

Thoughts: I tried the Ginzaholic, which is a mixture of grey and purple, and I loved it. Usually, when I shop for this color combination, it's either too light or it blends in with my skin complexion without any pop. But this wasn't the case. Ginzaholic is a soft color that works for the fall and winter season. So if darker colors aren't your cup of tea, then this is a great option.

As for the formula, it is five-free, meaning it doesn't contain five of the most toxic nail chemicals. Pear Nova polish has a long-lasting shine and applies very easily. While I wore it, I didn't experience any dullness or color fade. I learned that when I apply the Pear Nova top coat, after getting it done the first time, it will extend your nail polish wear. That top coat is a must if you want your nails to last even longer.

Breukelen Polished

Krissy Lewis/xoNecole

Breukelen Polished (which I assume is the luxury way of saying Brooklyn) is a luxury vegan nail polish brand straight out of Brooklyn. They cater to the the health conscious while also representing the grit and evolution of Brooklyn.

Nail Color: Cocoa Bread

Price: $10.00

Thoughts: Cocoa Bread is a really pretty dark nude color. I don't usually do nude because it's hard for me to find a shade of nude that fits me and my skin complexion, but this is the perfect nude! It seems like it has more hues of brown in the formula and it has a really shiny finish. Speaking of the formula, this is an 11-free polish, which means it doesn't contain the standard five toxins nor Ethyl Tosylamide, Xylene, Acetone, Parabens, Wheat and Eggs. Breukelen Polished is also pigmented, chip-resistant, and I really loved how fast the nail polish dried. The website didn't claim to be a quick dry, but I was out of the salon in no time and you know regular polish takes a bit longer.

As for shipping, I think they can improve a bit. I understand this is a small business but I ordered all my nail polishes on the same day and this one was the last to arrive. I order my polish on October 12 and received it on October 19. The website said it will take 1-3 business days and I paid $7.05 for shipping (their shipping cost was also the most expensive). Don't get me wrong, I will still shop with them again, I was just a bit surprised by the shipping experience.

Krissy Lewis/xoNecole

Law Beauty Essentials

Krissy Lewis/xoNecole

Law Beauty Essentials is a vegan polish line that encourages self-love and woman empowerment. The founder, Tanisha Lawrence, made it a mission to create pigments that are high shine, chip-resistant, and serve as a healthy alternative for self-care.

Nail Color: NETWORTH HOW MUCH?

Price: $7.00

Thoughts: When I first saw this color, I immediately thought of fall and Christmas. It's such a pigmented and smooth green— it catches your eye instantly. The name is also very catchy and cute, it's like each polish comes with its own vibe. As for the formula, I can attest to it being chip-resistant and shiny and it is also five-free. This polish also takes a bit longer to dry.

I think it's only right to include my shopping experience because I was very impressed. The shipping is very quick (my products came in two days) and they keep you informed of each step via text and email. And, what I loved the most is that shipping was only $3. I mention this because, due to this not only being the most inexpensive one, the shipping cost was low and it influenced me to buy more.

Overall, I loved all of the nail polishes. Each brand has a unique vibe and set of colors. All three are definitely inclusive, and every nail color is perfect for all skin complexions and shades. This is my first time trying any vegan nail polish and I will most likely use this moving forward. I initially thought using vegan polish would be more expensive, but it's the same price as any good quality polish.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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