Cruelty Free K-Beauty Brands

If you’re into K-beauty, it can be kind of difficult to navigate the issue of animal testing. This post is about brands that do not test their products on animals, but it is not a requirement that they are also vegan. If you’re looking at vegan products, you’re probably better off checking the individual ingredients lists for products sold by these brands.

However, regardless of whether you’re an exclusively cruelty free makeup user, or just prefer cruelty free brands, you’ll probably be happy to know that South Korea is working on phasing out animal testing over the next year or two. Another issues is that it is uncertain whether or not some of these brands test on animals in China. The thing is, China requires that products that are physically sold in the country are tested on animals before they can be sold to humans, but the same requirement does not appear to exist for products that can be bought online only.

Furthermore, please be aware that this list might not be perfect since it primarily relies on secondary sources (in English) and that there may be brands out there that are cruelty free but not represented on this list. This list aims to serve as a way for you to narrow it down to a handful of brands that you can then look into further to ensure that they meet your standards for what you consider cruelty free. If you do notice any discrepancies on the list, please let me know.

According to Style Story (an Australian K-beauty site/store), the following brands do not test on animals: Etude House, Hera, Innisfree, IOPE, Klairs, Leaders, Mizon, COSRX, It’s Skin, I Am Sorry Just Cleansing, Thank You Farmer and ISNTree.

There are a few more brands that are dedicated to being cruelty free: RE:P, Aritaum, DR Jart+, Espoir, Laneige, Mamonde, Pony Effect, SanDa Wa (labelled by the Leaping Bunny Standard), and Sulwhasoo. These and other brands are listed by the blog Wildwood and Sage as being cruelty free.

Brands with no info available according to Korean Beauty Blog: Clio, Holika Holika, SkinFood, Nature Republic, The Saem, TonyMoly.

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6 Things I’d Love to See from K-Beauty Brands

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I love Korean Beauty products and brands in general, but there are some things I’d like to see change or added. This is not calling out any specific brand or hating on the K-beauty industry, just more of a wish list.

  1. More shades
    Korean cushions are some of the best things you can use on your face, and they’re a godsend if you’re an extremely pale person. However, it’s not uncommon for brands to release maybe 2 shades or so. I’d like to see a wider range of skin colours and undertones represented in K-beauty. Even if you only look at Korean people, there are more than two or so skin colours/shades found in the population. It would hopefully boost these brands internationally and provide more options for consumers all over the world.

 

2. More creative hand creams
I love hand creams and have a pretty decent collection of them. K-beauty brands like TonyMoly, SkinFood, and The Saem all come up with amazing hand creams in cute packaging. I’d like to see more of that in the industry. I’m waiting for a rose scented hand cream to be released in rose shaped packaging, space inspired hand creams released inside planets, or even a whole candy themed collection. You’re good at it, so please keep on doing it!

3. Caffeinated Skin & Body Care
Coffee scrubs are commonplace these days. There’s some limited research to suggest that caffeine might have a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect on the skin when exposed to UV rays, leading me to think that researching caffeine as an ingredient in SPF focused products may be worthwhile. Although I must say I don’t know much about the research in this area, caffeine is sometimes used in products targeting dark and puffy under-eye areas. Plus, I’ll buy a coffee scented anything, so if you sell something that smells like coffee, I’ll happily hand over my money. There’s plenty of cafe themed collections and PR photos, so this one shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

4. Moving Away From Animal Testing
There’s a very logical reason as to why a lot of Korean brands test on animals – Chinese law requires that beauty products sold in the country is tested on animals. However, a few brands do their best to avoid animal testing, including SanDaWha (which has some awesome skin care products). I’d just like to see a greater move away from animal testing even if all brands don’t follow suit. I don’t exclusively use cruelty free brands, but more brands getting on board would make it a lot easier for people to access cruelty free products and open the market up for a group of consumers that are currently hesitant about the entire industry. Plus, moving away from animal testing in general is something I believe is a good idea now that other forms of testing are equally good.

5. Eyeshadow Tints
Lip tints are lightweight, blendable, and come in a range of colours. I would like to see that technology/technique adapted into eyeshadows. It would be easily applied with your fingers or a sponge applicator. If you wait a few seconds before applying it, it might be less prone to transferring than many other forms of eyeshadows. Moreover, it would enable a more gradient look for eyeshadows that can be achieved even by people like me who suck at blending.

6. Accompanying Candles
Skincare and makeup collections by Korean brands are often themed according to their active ingredients. You’ll have a whole collection themed around green tea or grapes. Where appropriate, I’d love to see more scented candles accompanying those collections, maybe to be included when you buy a set of something.

 

 

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Some of My Favourite Things 3/5

41. Space – it’s pretty cool
42. The West Wing – Possibly the greatest thing ever put on the small screen.

43. Black Lace – one of the few things that can look delicate and badass at the same time.

44. Fish Sauce – Don’t judge me, everyone likes at least one type of weird food.

45. Sushi

46. Pinball – super addictive and wholesome fun.

47. Halloween

48. Goats – search for fainting goats on youtube and I promise you you’re in for a treat

49. Quirky makeup

50. Coke Zero

51. Post-workout endorphins – sometimes your  body rewards itself for hard work.

52. Pointless quizzes – sometimes you just need to know which pizza you are based on how you’d design a bedroom.

53. Dragon Age

54. Moleskin Journals – stationary luxury in a nutshell

55. Salmon – tastiest fish out there

56. Tapirs – Like goats, but weirder

57. Pineapple

58. Poached eggs – used to hate eggs, but poached eggs have converted me.

59. Henley shirts – they’re just almost universally flattering

60. Long coats – also almost universally flattering

100 of My Favourite Things 2/5

Here’s part two of my 100 Favourite Things List. Literally just a list of things I really enjoy.

21. Lipstick
There’s a reason I collect these. Firstly, they’re a really easy type of makeup to use. Secondly, they can change an entire look. Thirdly, I’ll remain a staunch advocate for traditional lipstick when everyone is obsessed with the (in my opinion) overrated liquid lipsticks. Fourthly, you always look like you’ve made an effort if you’re wearing red lipstick.

22. Nail Art
It’s like regular nail polish but more fun. This is one I made years ago, obviously before the nails were cleaned up.
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23. Scented Candles
I know they’re super basic, but man are they great for making you feel at home. There’s also something about just having candles around that makes you feel warmer in winter, even if the tiny flame does nothing to actually provide warmth. Plus, some of them have really creative designs. Coffee and vanilla make for a great combo.

24. Board Games
There’s apparently a Star Trek themed version of Catan out there and I want it so badly.

25. Productivity Tools
I’m a bit of a workaholic. Feeling productive and getting shit done is one of the best feelings in the world to me. Thus, anything that helps me be or at least feel like I’m being more productive is a plus in my book. I’ve recently started a bullet journal, have a whiteboard that is awesome for to-do lists, use a fitness app to track my steps and exercise, and I found Habitica really helpful during honours when I had similar things that had to be done each day.

26. Rieslings
I’m really boring when it comes to wine. I like rieslings, ideally with a low alcohol content and a good, balanced taste.

27. Tattoos
They are an amazing form of art, enhanced by being on a moving canvas. I’m super happy with most of mine and there’s only one I want removed (original artist butchered it and no amount of trying to fix it has been able to improve it much).

28. Blueberries.
Seriously the best type of berry out there.

29. Pinterest
Perfect for dreaming about things you can’t have, do inspiration boards, and come across ideas for projects.

30. Star Trek
It’s one of the shows that got me interested in politics. It also encourages intellectual and actual exploration far better than other shows I’ve seen. Furthermore, it’s not afraid to be what it is. It’s a sci-fi series and has fun with it. My personal favourite is Voyager, followed by TNG.

31. SkinFood
How this brand hasn’t taken the west by storm yet is a mystery. It has some awesome skincare products and some pretty cool makeup products. I love their hand creams, this one smells of dark chocolate and makes for a fun little keepsake on my desk.
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32. True Crime Youtube
I’ve always been into things that are a bit creepy and weird. The reason why I watch a fair number of true crime youtubers is that I find they’re often more respectful to the victims than many ‘documentaries’ that are designed for shock value. I’m especially fond of Rob Dyke and Cayleigh Elise’s works.

33. The X Files
It’s a good show. Kinda wish I’d gotten into it when I was younger, but it was always on super late. Well worth watching even if the technology dates the show quite a bit.

34. Disney Songs
Want a mood booster? Try Disney. There’s also several good metal covers of Disney songs out there and I absolutely adore it when those two genres are combined well. It’s Disney, you’re meant to have fun with it.

35. Fairy Lights
They’re just really pretty. Got a battery driven string of fairy lights in a jar in the office, makes going in to work on weekends feel a bit more cheerful when you switch that thing on.

36. Johnny Cash
I don’t just listen to metal and Disney songs. Sometimes, I like things that are a bit more old fashioned. That really is how I like to assess the quality of music, if it’s still good years later despite the change in trends and wider social patterns.

37. Equestrian Sports
Far more challenging (mentally and physically) than they’re given credit for. Similar to dancing – it only looks easy if you’re really good at it. Similar to swimming, you get out what you put into it. Sure, you can splash around in the water without breaking a sweat and you can go on a quiet trail ride without much effort. Put some effort in and you’ve got a hell of a workout going. Add to that the fact that horses are sentient beings who sometimes decide to give you a hell of a workout even when you don’t want to.

38. Cheese
This should really be a food group of its own. No matter if it’s just shredded cheese over noodles, or a high-quality cheese platter, I’m a fan.

39. Wrap dresses
It’s essentially a bathrobe that is super comfortable and flattering as hell. Not to mention acceptable to wear in public. These really need more appreciation.

40. Lounge pants
Lounge pants and an old t-shirt are my favourite things to wear when I’m at home not doing anything. Think Geek have some amazing lounge pants, just make sure to buy the unisex model and not the men’s version (unless you’re into having a hole in the front of your pants).

100 of My Favourite Things 1/5

So the idea of listing things you enjoy isn’t exactly new, but I did steal this format from the wonderful YouTuber Toxic Tears. Because this post would be massive if I did all 100 things at once, I’ll be splitting it into 5 parts. Oh and these aren’t ranked.

1. Coffee
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Coffee is love, coffee is life. It’s the finest organic suspension ever devised.

2. The Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series by Val McDermidwp-1494841600167.jpg
I have to do so much heavy reading for my thesis and every now and then it’s just great to have a break and read something light. It’s a series of psychological thrillers with flawed but relatable characters.

3. Mushroom Soup
Anything with sautéed mushrooms is a big win for me and mushroom soup is essentially that flavour taken to the max. It’s the perfect winter treat when you’re feeling a bit crook or down.

4. Geeky Kitchen Gadgets
If you can make something functional and funny or geeky, then chances are I’ll like it. My tea pot is a Tardis, most of my mugs change design when hot or have some geeky slogan on them, some of my dishes have planet prints on them. It just makes life a little bit better to have things like that around.

5. Fire places
Want atmosphere? Get a fireplace.

6.  Dogs
They are happiness on legs. There are few things that instantly put a smile on my face, but dogs absolutely have that effect. I currently can’t have my own dog but even just seeing one walk past outside does make my day a bit better.

7. Fluffy Socks
Nothing says comfort like a pair of fluffy socks. I wear them when writing or just relaxing after a long day. It’s just one of those small things that helps brighten your day.

8. Smashed Avo on Toast
Apparently this is why I can’t buy a house.

9. Good Wifi
Do I really need to explain why I like good wifi more than bad?

10. The theme for Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?
Holy crap is that a catchy theme tune. As far as themes for kids’ shows go, this is one of the best.

11. Batman.
Batman is one of my childhood heroes (thank you Batman: The Animated Series). Actually, scrap the ‘childhood’ part. Batman is one of my heroes.

12. Swimming
It’s one of the few forms of exercise where you can’t actually feel like you’re sweating – at least most of the time. It’s also just a nice thing to do when it’s hot outside.

13. Sunscreen
See point 12. It’s also the best skin care item there is.

14. Personal Styles
I love it when people manage to develop their own personal badass and flattering style rather than following trends.

15. Jeggings
I don’t care what you say, but with the right fabric they can look amazing. Not to mention that they’re super comfortable.

16. Sabaton
Gotta love a band that uses history as an inspiration for some pretty epic metal songs.

17. Sheet Masks
They’re just super convenient and a good way to look after your skin. Not to mention that they’re super cheap compared to most other alternatives.

18. Dark Green
It just happens to be my favourite colour.

19. Comfortable high heels
Finding a pair of comfortable heels that fit just right is absolutely amazing. Plus, they make you taller – which is helpful since you can look over other people’s heads in crowds and know where things are.

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Hidden Gems

This post is about brands and products that I think are underrated, underestimated, or just not as well known as they should be. They’re not necessarily small indie brands and this is not a hipster post. It’s just about things I think you should look into. Last thing to consider is that products and brands may be well known in one part of the world but not in another.

The first brand I’d like to draw some attention to is Palmer’s. It’s a brand you can find in most drugstores in Australia and they specialise in skin care. It’s not necessarily unknown, but I almost never hear people talk about it. The cocoa body butter included in the photo above is wonderful, smells nice, and is really moisturising. In terms of affordable skincare, look into Palmer’s the next time you’re considering a purchase. I use their exfoliator, body butter, and they used to make the best lightweight moisturiser I’ve ever tried.

Geek Chic Cosmetics is one of my all-time favourite indie brands. Their solid perfumes are some of the very few perfumes I actually like. They’re not overpowering and they don’t stink up the entire house. Furthermore, they make my favourite powder foundation. It’s in the shade Kahlan and I’ll have to re-purchase it soon. They’ve also got a great body lotion that references Silence of the Lambs, which is amazing. They’re mostly known for their eyeshadows, which come in geek themed collections. As a bonus, the brand is cruelty free and at least mostly vegan.

SkinFood is a great Korean brand that never seems to get much attention in the west. They make my favourite eyebrow powder, the gummibear shaped hand cremes I rave about, and some truly awesome skincare products. If you love cute packaging, high quality products, and like brands that try new things – then SkinFood is for you.

TonyMoly – this is a brand you’ve probably heard of. However, it seems to be underestimated by most people I’ve chatted to. This brand makes a mind-blowingly good liquid eyeliner for like 10 dollars. Their steam balm in their egg pore series is one of the best products I’ve tried when it comes to fighting blackheads. Furthermore, their Pokémon themed collaboration that you can still find in a lot of online k beauty retailers was really good. The Psyduck cheese firming cream contains gruyere (seriously) and can be used on your body and face. I typically use it on my legs after shaving and it has been really helpful.

Innisfree – Innisfree is my holy grail skincare brand. If I was only allowed to use one brand for all of my skincare, then it would be Innisfree. They are famous for combining natural ingredients with scientific innovation and the result is gorgeous. In addition to their skincare they also have innovative products in haircare and some really solid makeup products. Their no sebum compact powders are perfect in humid climates.

Guerlain – You’ve probably heard of this brand. However, very few people seem to actually purchase things from them. Out of all the luxury brands, Guerlain is the one given the least attention in comparison to how good the brand really is. I’ve been a fan of their Rogue G de Guerlain lipsticks for years and currently use a light-medium coverage foundation from them. I’ve never tried a Guerlain product that I found lacking in quality, the only time a product hasn’t worked for me was when it was made with a pink undertone in mind.

Paint – I’ve only ever seen this brand in one Terry White’s. It’s honestly on par with OPI in terms of quality even though their range is a bit smaller. I remember buying 5 bottles of nail polish for 10 dollars and not a single one of them disappointed me. The shade I’m showing in the photo above was simply called ‘red’. This means that it’s hard to search for the brand online since both the brand name and shade names are really generic. If you have a Terry White Chemist near you, see if they carry this brand.

BH Cosmetics Galaxy Palette – I don’t know enough about BH Cosmetics to be able to recommend the brand as a whole. However, their galaxy themed palette is heaps of fun. It’s great for creating unusual looks and the colours can be used both wet and dry. If you’re looking for a fun palette that’s really affordable, check this one out.

You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?

Yup, straight up stealing from Family Guy.

 

  • “Nukular” – it’s nuclear. Nu-clear. And no, it’s not a matter of ‘accent’. You’re pronouncing the bloody word wrong. I bet you also say expresso.
  • Referring to adults as ‘boys’ or ‘girls’ – well at least you’re being honest about being a big man-child. Grow the fuck up. I’m closer to 30 than I am to my teenage years, I’m not a little girl, kindly don’t equate me to a child.
  • “Are you REALLY gluten free?” – I was diagnosed in my late teens after a biopsy and would give anything for a real bowl of pasta. I don’t have to make shit up to feel special and I don’t know why people do lie about this. And no, a gluten free diet won’t benefit you unless there’s a real actual medical reason you need to eliminate it from your diet. And if you put gluten in my food because you think I’m ‘faking it’, then firstly, fuck you. Secondly, it’s not a nut allergy – I’m not going to choke to death. I will have severe stomach issues a few hours later and a fucked up immune system for six months.
  • People who look down on swearing – fuck off.
  • People who haven’t read my research or researched any similar topics/fields trying to explain my own research at me – Darling, your hypothesis didn’t hold up against even minimal testing, that’s why it’s not in the conclusion. Come back when you’ve ACTUALLY done research beyond looking at your own opinions. The theory isn’t flawed or wrong just because it’s not what you wanted it to be.
  • “You can’t loose weight through exercise unless you go on a diet” – Twice in my life I’ve lost decent amounts of weight through exercise while barely changing my diet. You just have to do a lot of it. Typically this is said by people who are trying to lose weight but aren’t succeeding. Go rain on someone else’s parade.
  • “What’s it like to be a woman in geek culture/academia/politics/literally anywhere?” – What exactly are you expecting me to compare it to? My secret life as a dog in which I’ve also tried all these things? Fuck do I know, I’m not a token woman who experiences all womanly things and speak for all women. I’m me, I can tell you a lot about what it’s like to be me. You know, the actual person you’re talking to. I don’t get any secret memos on What It Is Like To Be Female In This Field.
  • If you show cleavage you are trying to find a man – I’m showing cleavage because the outfit I picked that day showed cleavage. My process of clothing selection typically goes: find something somewhat clean, make sure it matches the weather, check if you’re doing anything that day requiring specific clothing, pick the remaining option you like the most. You, or any random men for that matter, are not even in my mind when I pick what to wear.
  • Women who grab other women’s boobs – you’re not excused from committing sexual assault because you’re the same gender as the person you’re grabbing. You’re not entitled to groping people regardless of which gender you are. Consent still bloody matters. Have the courtesy to at least ask for permission.
  • People who don’t indicate.
  • “Why are you so quiet?” – Because I don’t have anything to say right now.
  • “Why do you talk so much?” – Because I have something to say right now.
  • “Clean” eating – people aren’t dirty or eating dirty because they have a burger now and then. You are not cleaner or more pure than they are.
  • Elastane – I’m allergic to it. Can’t wear it. Same thing with lycra/spandex….
  • Early access games – I really just like buying finished products
  • Beige
  • “Your tattoos won’t look good when you’re older” – nor will your un-inked skin. Skin ages, regardless of if it has tattoos or not.

Cosmetics & Style Gift Ideas

No matter if you’re looking for gift inspiration for someone or just feel like doing some window shopping, here’s some fun things to consider.

Elements of Good Days

wp-1467097542726.jpgThere is no such thing as a perfect day, but there sure are things that make days better. This post is merely mentioning some of them.

Good breakfast is a great way to ensure a good start to the day. Personally, I can’t eat just after I wake up and thus my breakfasts are typically more like brunches. The photo here shows one of my favourite breakfasts, the smashed avo from the PonyCat. It’s a big breakfast, but most of the ingredients are healthy and it’s a perfect treat if you suspect you’ll need a mood booster.

Work might not be a common thing to put on here, but if I can get some work done during breakfast, I know I’m at least off to a good start. This is usually when I blog, prep cases for debates, work on bureaucracy related stuff, or get some studying done. Work makes you feel productive and if you can feel productive before midday even on a day off, you’ve instantly made that day better.

Animals. I could just have left it there, but seriously, being around animals is one of the best things you can do to boost your mood. No matter if it’s our cat trying to sleep on my neck or laptop, or if it’s spending time in the stable… Being around animals simply makes me happy. My quality of life increased substantially when I moved to a house that came with a cat.

Exercise is another one of those things that can turn a day from average to good. The key to making exercise enjoyable is simple – do something you enjoy. For me, it’s either swimming or horseback riding. Both of those sports make for great exercise, swimming is a full body workout and horseback riding is leg day intensified. When it’s hot outside, going to the pool hardly feels like a chore and you can find me there almost every day. Now that it’s colder, I’ve started to return to my roots as an equestrian.

Social time is a bit hit or miss for me. Some days I enjoy a break from people and on other days I enjoy being around people. If I feel like being social, I typically have lunch with someone, chill with my housemate, or find a bunch of friends to play Cards Against Humanity with. Even just going to the movies together is a great way to enjoy someone’s company even if you don’t have the energy to do something more active together.

Luxurious showers are the poor man’s baths. Or at least my version of them. I’d love to have a bathtub, but in the meantime I’ll settle for a shower with a body scrub and some nice bath products. If you’re suffering from stiff muscles, showers are a great way to relax and loosen up a bit. In winter, one of the best things to do is simply to have a heater on in your room so that you don’t have to walk into a wall of cold after your shower.

Caffeine is my true love. My one addiction. When you’re having a bad day, have some coffee. Don’t spoil it by adding sugar, drink it black or with milk if you’re using instant coffee. If you’re going out for it, keep it to one that is coffee and milk. That’s the best way to actually feel the flavour. If you have to add 6 sugars, stop drinking coffee and just grab a soda instead. Yes, I have surprisingly strong opinions on coffee.

Spare time? Playing some games is a perfect way for me to unwind. It’s also a good way to keep your mind active. If I’m having a day where I need to distract myself from life, I play video games. Strategy games are a way to keep busy and get some intellectual stimulation. RPGs are great for when you need to get involved in a story and get some emotional rewards.

The Most Annoying Aspects of Buying Makeup Online

wpid-20151109_130909.jpgWhen you live in a part of the world a lot of companies simply don’t have stores in, you inevitably end up turning to online options for your makeup needs. As convenient as this method of shopping sometimes is, there’s a fair amount of annoyance often involved in online retail therapy.

  1. Shipping
    Ok, this is hardly a surprise to anyone, but if you live in a remote part of the world (like, Australia), chances are you’ve had to sell a kidney to pay for shipping. Thankfully, more and more businesses are starting to offer “Free international shipping when you spend x or more”.
  2. No Shipping
    I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve gotten excited about a product or company, put some items in my virtual basket, and headed for the checkout only to find that they don’t ship to Australia. Or that the company does ship to Australia but can’t send certain products like scents or polishes because the products contain alcohol. Cue the sound of heartbreak.
  3. Discolouration
    It is incredibly hard to truly capture certain colours in photos. Especially if you don’t do swatches. Sadly this has the consequence that sometimes a product arrives and simply does not look like you expected it to. My most recent experience with this was a Zoeva lipstick in the shade Melting Kisses that looks nothing like the colour on the website, it’s to the point where I’m wondering if the label is lying to me and I’ve been sent the wrong colour by mistake…
  4. Excessive Packaging
    It’s not easy to find a good balance when it comes to guaranteeing the safety of the product and making it possible to open. I recently ordered four items: shoes, a dress, and two small makeup items. It was sent in a satchel for the dress (delivered independently) and a big cardboard box for the other items. 60% of the contents of the box were bubble wrap. I also ordered something from Sephora recently and one of the brushes was not only wrapped in bubble wrap, but also has this casing on it. That casing is covered in a layer of plastic that I cannot get rid of. It should not be a major project to unpack minor things.