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Is Shellac Vegan?

by Toni Olukiran

1min read

Shellac is an ingredient used in chocolate and sweets — but is also a brand of nail polish, so is shellac vegan in either circumstance? We’ve broken down what you need to know and why the matter seems so confusing. 

What is shellac?

To break things down simply, shellac (lower case s) is a resin used as a food glaze but also acts as a wood varnish, stain and sealant in construction. So shellac, in this context, is made from lac bugs found in India and Thailand which produce a resin as they move around trees. The resin can then be scraped of tree bark, heated for purity and made into a colourant and glaze. 

On the other hand, Shellac (with an uppercase S) is the name of a brand of nail polish; CND Shellac creates well-known and loved gel nail polish.

Is shellac vegan?

Products containing shellac (the food glaze) are not vegan, because shellac is not plant-based and therefore not suitable for vegans.

Does CND Shellac contain actual shellac in it?

While it shares a name, this may be because shellac is generally associated with a glossy finish as CND Shellac markets in its nail polish. However, it doesn’t appear to have any shellac in its formula. 

Is CND Shellac vegan?

This is a slightly tricky one. CND Shellac does not appear to have any animal-derived products in its ingredient lists, which would in theory make it vegan. However, the company does test on animals so it isn’t cruelty-free, which would ultimately make it unsuitable for use for vegans who are plant-based in particular for animal cruelty reasons. 

Got any other questions for us? Let us know in the comments!

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Toni Olukiran
by Toni Olukiran

Toni is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants, and when she’s not writing posts about everything from Jamaican cooking to vegan champagne, she’s making a Spotify playlist (she was at 200, at her last count) or playing tennis in the park.

Read more from Toni


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