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.


Review: Labiotte’s Wine Lipstick

Brand: Labiotte (Chateau Labiotte)
Product: Wine Lipstick Fitting
Shade: 4
Price: 19.51 AUD
Bought from: W2Beauty

First impressions: The colour is more discrete than I anticipated and a bit more matte than I thought it would be. It’s still a nice colour, so I’m not disappointed, just a bit caught off guard. The packaging is awesome. It feels really nice on the lips, it’s lightweight and not very drying.

Packaging: It’s a wine bottle. I like wine bottles. Especially when they’re comfortable to hold, stay closed, and stand up on their own.

Usage: I wear it without lipliner or lip primer. It stays on pretty well but if you want to keep the bottle on your desk, you can probably use the need to reapply the lipstick as an excuse. The cut is slanted rather than pointed, so you might find some parts of your lip need to be painted with care.

Value for money: 20 AUD is pretty mid-range for lipsticks and I’d say the price is fair considering the extra work that was put into the product. It’s fine but doesn’t make me giddy with what a steal it is.

Would I buy this again? Maybe. It takes me a while to get through lipsticks and this shade is nice but not amazing. I might consider picking it up in a different colour the next time I buy from W2Beauty.

Review: Wine Lip Tint from Château Labiotte

Brand: Labiotte
Product: Wine Lip Tint
Shade: RD01 – Shiraz Red
Available: MIK Australia, W2Beauty
Price: 14-15 USD
Note: I actually won this product (and a few others) in a Facebook competition that was open for everyone on W2Beauty’s FB page.

Packaging: If Cersei Lannister had a makeup line, this would be her star product. From what I can tell, all products from Labiotte (also called Château Labiotte) are wine themed. Considering they’ve got mascaras, fragrances, eyeshadows, and lipsticks, that’s quite impressive. Seriously though, this is some of the most awesome packaging I’ve ever come across. It’s lightweight and yet sturdy. Practical and fun.

First Impressions: The applicator is good and easy to use, it has the right amount of precision and the unusual shape of the handle doesn’t have a negative impact on how it controls.  I’ve used this product a handful of times and the colour is gorgeous. It’s a very flattering deep red that could be worn by most people. I can’t help but think this item would be a great conversation starter in any scenario where you’re around people who wear makeup. Or like wine.

Cons: The first time I wore this lip tint it was one of the best tints I’ve ever come across. However, it doesn’t seem like it has the best staying power. It’s on par with some good lip tints, but you’d need to top it up if you wear it on your entire lip as opposed to in a gradient lip.

Pros: Given that the product is really small, it’s easy to carry around in your purse or keep on your desk. That somewhat mitigates the issue of it wearing off throughout the day. The two best aspects of this product are without a doubt the colour and the packaging.

Value for money: Good. It’s not the cheapest lip tint I’ve come across, but it’s really opaque and you only need one layer of product.

Would I recommend it? Yeah, if you’re into lip tints and like fun packaging – then this is the product for you.


Review: TonyMoly’s Jigglypuff Peach Pact

wp-1490621023746.jpgBrand: TonyMoly
Product: Jigglypuff Peach Compact
Shade: 01
SPF: SPF 42 PA+++
Scent: Mild Peach
Volume: 5g
Other: Pack includes mirror and an application sponge
Price: Approx 10 Aud
Available: MIK Australia

First impressions: This is terribly cute and perfectly geeky. Small compact that is perfect to keep in your bag or at your desk. The applicator sponge is pretty good and the mirror gets the job done. The powder itself has an outline of Jigglypuff in it which I absolutely love.

Packaging: Nothing revolutionary but solid. It doesn’t randomly open up and it’s rather sturdy. Bonus points for matching the Pokemon with the package and not just slapping a sticker on top of the a regular package.

Usage: works best when worn over a bb creme. Removes oiliness and has decent coverage.

Pros: Compact, cute, competent. SPF!

Cons: Only available in two shades that are both very light. You might need to reapply it once or twice during the day.


Would I recommend this? Yeah, if you’re a Pokemon fan or just a fan of cute packaging, then go for it. It’s not a mind-blowing product but it gets the job done and looks good while doing it. Plus, it’s rare to find compact powders for such a low price available to Australian consumers.

Review: SkinFood’s Gummy Bear Jelly Hand Gel

wp-1490621038790.jpgBrand: SkinFood
Product: Gummy Bear Jelly Hand Gel
Scent: Dark Chocolate
Price: 8 USD at Ulta (other scents)

Available from: StyleKorean, Ulta

First Impressions: It smells just like dark chocolate, your hands smell good enough to eat. It’s very moisturising and smooth. The bottle is adorable but on the small side. This product lives on my desk and I use it several times a week.

Packaging: It’s a big gummy bear, what’s not to love? One massive plus is that the head always ends up facing forward when you’re putting the cap back on. It’s soft enough for you to be able to squeeze product out quite easily. Again, it’s pretty small.

Usage: Products that moisturise your hands are seldom complicated to use. It’s quite easily absorbed, so you don’t need to worry about your hands being gooey afterwards.

Would I recommend this: Absolutely. The scent is awesome, the packaging is awesome, and it’s a good hand creme. Go for it.

Packaging – Why it matters


It’s no secret to anyone who even occasionally reads this blog, I adore the Korean packaging culture. It is innovative, creative, and still doesn’t compromise on the practical issues. So why aren’t Western companies doing the same thing as their Korean counterparts?

I think it’s quite simply a matter of realising that adult consumers like fun. There seems to be this notion that products need to be serious in order to be scientifically valid as well as the notion that you shouldn’t try too hard. Recently there’s also a trend in the west that everything should be ‘natural’, which is a word that means shit all in makeup. No matter how organic or natural something is, every product you put on your face is 100% chemicals. But the organic/natural trend seems to have influenced packaging to be minimalistic, plain, and well, boring.

Makeup is the adult version of face paint and somehow we often fall into the trap of taking it so seriously that we forget the fun. Korean women on average spend more money and time on skincare and makeup than Western women do and I believe this is a key factor in why Korean companies try to make makeup & skincare more fun. If your customer is going to spend a lot of time with your product, you want to make the whole experience positive.


My gummy bear hand cremes from SkinFood aren’t less good because they’re in packaging made to resemble massive pieces of candy. The TonyMoly powder compact I keep in my bag isn’t less effective because it has Jigglypuff on it, and my lip balm from It’s Skin isn’t less moisturising because it has the Cookie Monster’s face on it. These products get the job done, but in addition to that, they also make me smile. My day gets a little bit brighter when I get to laugh at the silliness that is “Psyduck Cheese Firming Cream” as I apply it after a shower. My skin gets moisturised and I get amused.

Looking at Sephora Australia’s website, the vast majority of the products I see look almost… clinical. There’s a handful of brands that have some fun with packaging. TheBalm, Kat von D, Benefit, and Too Faced are probably the Western major brands that dare to have fun with their packaging and themes. No one is going to look at the Chocolate Bar palette and assume it’s for kids or that it has to be low quality, and yet this is the assumption I’m often faced with when someone sees my Korean products.

Makeup & skincare are meant to be fun and functional, let’s have the packaging reflect that.

Korean Haul

wp-1486510254163.jpgI was thrilled to discover that my order from MIK Australia this morning. MIK imports products from Korea and it’s a great way to access products not normally sold in Australia.

My haul includes a lot of SkinFood and limited edition TonyMoly, mainly because those are the two things I haven’t really been able to find in Australian stores. It’s pretty evident from the photo that I went kinda nuts for the Pokemon collection from TonyMoly and I’m so keen to finally try it out.

I’ve only tried a handful of the products so far, and I have to say, the gummy bear hand creme is amazing. I’ve only tried the golden one and it has an incredible scent of dark chocolate.

This haul cost me just over 200 dollars. Full list of products below

TonyMoly x Pokemon Pikachu mini cushion blusher – 01 Pink Fantasy
TonyMoly x Pokemon Pikachu Pika Get It Tint – 02 Red Hot
TonyMoly x Pokemon Pikachu Pika Get It Tint – 03 Red Joy
TonyMoly x Pokemon Gorpaduck (Psyduck) Cheese Firming Cream
TonyMoly x Pokemon Foam Cleanser – Isanghessi (Bulbasaur): Green Tea
TonyMoly x Pokemon Purin Peach Pact (Jigglypuff) – Vanilla
TonyMoly Easy Touch Auto Lip Liner – 02 Rose Pink
TonyMoly Egg Pore Tightening Cooling Pack

Innisfree Camellia Essential Hair Mist
Innisfree Apple Seed Cleansing Tissues

Skin Food – All Over Muffin Cake Finish – No. 05 Cocoa Cream Quarter Muffin
Skin Food – Salmon Dark Circle Concealer Cream – 02 Salmon Beige
Skin Food – All Over Muffin Cake Finish – No. 03 Gold Banana Muffin
Skin Food – Gummy Bear Jelly Hand Butter – Dark Chocolate
Skin Food – Gummy Bear Jelly Hand Butter – Cherry Chocolate
Skin Food – Peach Sake Pore Pact

It’s Skin Macaron Lip Balm – Sesame Street Edition -05. Love Choco (Cookie Monster)
It’s Skin Babyface Mellow Stick Eye Shadow – No. 05 Marron Cocoa
It’s Skin Babyface Creamy Lipliner – 04. Rose Beige

The Face Shop – Face It Styling Mascara – 02 Edge Curling

Nature Republic – Botanical Apple Dome Blusher – 01 Pink Apple
Nature Republic – Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera 92% Soothing Gel

Etude House – My Beauty Tool Strawberry Sponge Hair Curlers


Current Favourites: May

20160501_090725.jpgYup, my phone’s camera is broken. Cracked when I dropped it, so the light & focus are kinda messed up.

However, I thought it worth sharing some of my current favourite products with you guys. Some of the classics aren’t included since there’s only so many times I can recommend specific products before it gets repetitive.

Let’s start with skincare and similar items. Only two current favourites when it comes to this section. Firstly, Geek Chic Cosmetics’ Buffalo Bill’s Skin Conditioning Lotion, which smells outright divine. It’s also quite effective. Geek Chic Cosmetics are currently working on updating their stock/presenting new products, so I’d keep an eye on their website over the next week or so.
Secondly, we have The Body Shop’s Grapeseed Glossing Serum, which is a leave in conditioning treatment for your hair. Since my hair is currently a bit damaged after having sections bleaches, I do need something to keep the frizz at bay. This does the trick.

In the makeup section, we have five products.
Guerlain’s Parure de Lumiere in 02 Beige Clair, which I’ve previously reviewed on this site. It’s my go to foundation at the moment and I’m really happy with it, works best when applied with brushes. Then, there’s Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara which is an absolute powerhouse when layered over another mascara. It’s decent on its own too, but it’s fantastic when you layer it. Thirdly, there’s a lipstick from The Body Shop that I’ve been using a lot lately. It’s a classic creamy red that feels wonderful on your lips. It’s from their Colour Crush line and the colour has the number 101 if I’ve read the packaging correctly.
Fourthly, we’ve got Rimmel’s Lasting Finish lipstick line, especially the shade 016 Heart Breaker. I’ve mentioned this on the blog a few times and it’s one of the best drugstore lipsticks I’ve ever used.
Lastly, we’ve got a new cushion! TonyMoly’s BCDation cushion with SPF 50 and PA +++. I’ve got the shade 02 and it’s still slightly too pale for me (Korean skin makeup is often one shade lighter than your actual skin tone), but it will look great once winter really gets going and my ran disappears.

Red Lipstick – New to Makeup

Red lipstick is quite possibly the most iconic type of makeup there is. It is a staple in classical, vintage, and modern makeup. In other words, it deserves its own post.

So I put some of my lipsticks in my bag and headed to my local coffee shop to write. These are far from my only lipsticks, but they do illustrate a rather decent range of colours and types.

Here’s five things you need to know about red lipstick.

Read More »


One of my current projects is to use up makeup I have, mainly because I have a tendency to hoard things. I’ve hoarded everything from notepads to nail polishes, and currently it’s makeup. So yeah, trying to not let my makeup drawers overflow.

Among the things I’ve recently finished, you’ll find these foundations. The Etude House foundation is one of my favourite foundations and I’ll probably repurchase it later. The Chanel one was lovely in many ways but lacked longevity, which is kinda important in a foundation.

I’ve also finished the pomegranate sheet mask I got from Sephora and while it felt good on my skin it simply smelled rank. I have tons of sheet masks to get through, so I won’t be repurchasing that one.

One of my facial scrubs has also been chucked out. It’s the espresso scrub from TonyMoly that I’ve mentioned on here several times. I think the product might sadly have been discontinued, which is a shame because I really liked it. So instead I’m starting on a black sugar mask from SkinFood.

Within the next day or two, I’ll be finishing a hand creme from The Saem. It’s in the shape and scent of a mangosten and it’s really adorable. It’s a good hand creme and although this specific brand is quite difficult to find in Australia, TonyMoly has a very similar range of hand cremes that also come in fruit shaped tubs and scents.


It’s been kinda difficult to try new makeup or even wear reliable products for a few days now. We’ve had a heat and humidity wave, it’s been like walking around in a greenhouse. Walk three minutes to the pub? Covered in sweat. So yeah, I didn’t think it was fair to test out any new products or try any new looks when it’s so hot that my foundation barely attaches to my face.