HJ Manicure – polishes that are cruelty free, vegan friendly and 5-free (from toxins)

HJ Manicure polish in subzero - my new grey squeeze

HJ Manicure polish in subzero – my new grey squeeze

I’ve been looking for a grey polish for a while, and finally I’ve found one!

If you’ve ever questioned what is in your nail polish then it’s time to try out a 5-free nail polish. Why 5-free? It’s free of 5 of the common nasties / toxins which are purported to be harmful and irritating (toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, camphor* – so glad someone came up with 5-free to lessen that mouth full). As we’re increasingly becoming more cautious about what we put in and on our bodies, so are brands catching up and realising that they cannot continue to use common irritants or potentially harmful ingredients.

Who is HJ Manicure

HJ Manicure has been set up by a model / session manicurist, Helen J., who has worked on the other side – being the one applying the nail polish, and subjecting herself to these nasties on a regular basis. From an individual user’s perspective the absorption of these 5 toxins may be minuscule, but from the perspective of a nail technician who has to use these products 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, with poor ventilation in some cases, there is a very high risk of absorption.

HJ Manicure

HJ Manicure

Being vegan friendly and cruelty free are, from my perspective, the big draws. I don’t come across many polishes that can claim this, whilst also being able to compete with any of the mainstream brands on colour, consistency and effectiveness.

Admittedly, it takes a little longer to apply as you have to wait for each coat to dry before applying the next, and the overall drying time is significantly longer than some, but the finish is exactly the same as my Essie or OPI ones.


There is a double duty top and base coat, 16 colours in the core range, and 4 new additions for Autumn / Winter – beautiful, lustrous jewel tones (I’ve got my eye on Vintage Bronze for my next one). They’re available online at HJ Manicure and amazon, currently, with plans to expand availability. A brand I will be keeping a close eye on, as I see it having potential.

I attended the launch of the autumn colours for HJ Manicure last Thursday, and was given a manicure, and free bottle of polish in subzero (the colour you see on my nails).

* camphor oil is used as an essential oil and in very small doses is said to be safe. It should never to be ingested. It confuses me as to why this is included as a toxin, but I am not fully versed with the quantities used in nail polishes, nor the studies conducted on toxicity impacts. Please research for yourself and make informed choices.



  1. 26th October 2014 / 11:22 am

    I attended the launch event too – really impressed with the colour range for a 5-free brand. LOVE that shade of grey.

  2. 20th February 2016 / 7:43 pm

    Literally addicted to your blog! Xxx

    • Sofia
      21st February 2016 / 8:52 am

      Thanks 🙂