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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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Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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