James Robert John: cruelty free + vegan nail polishes

James Robert John (JRJ) was founded right here in Columbus, offering 5-free nail polishes. What does 5-free even mean? It means all 29 colors are formulated without formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, camphor, or formaldehyde resin! JRJ also has a 4-free Quick Dry Top Coat (with less than 1% camphor) which has been one of the BEST top coats I’ve tried to date.


Kathy and I recently tested out some James Robert John polishes (JRJ) for the past few weeks and here’s what we’ve concluded:

  • Easy to apply! Almost had a thin jelly consistency which actually helped the paint spread thinner + smoother. This can be applied easier with a high quality nail brush.
  • Highly pigmented! The color seen in the bottle differs from reality (in a good way) – they turned out better on our complexions than expected.
  • Not necessarily chip resistant. I don’t think ANY polish has been truly chip resistant, but there are ways to make polish last longer – like a good top coat and applying it every 3-5 days.
  • Overall very quick drying.
  • Non-toxic + cruelty free + vegan means great for us and the animals!

Some of the colors we tested:

Apple Orchard (our absolute favorite!)jrjnailpolish-3

  • The perfect shade of red that’s vibrant and pigmented – only needed 2 coats!
  • Easiest color to apply
  • Dupe for OPI’s “OPI Red”

Best Friends

  • A cool toned fun purple (great to wear if you need a pop of color)
  • Unfortunately the cool tone clashed against our warm Asian skin tone


  • A muted dark shade of brown – 3 coats to achieve the perfect shade
  • Warmer version of OPI’s “You Don’t Know Jacques!”

Long  Weekend

  • Muted shade sitting right between nude and gray with subtle white shimmer
  • Great for everyday and will match any outfit!

Quick Dry Top Coat

  • Very fast drying
  • Formula is easy to apply quickly and effortlessly
  • Smooths out any imperfections – just in case you messed up ;)


We can’t wait for new packaging + more colors coming this Spring!

Thank you Rachel from JRJ for providing polishes to try! All reviews and opinions are our own.


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