How My Fair Lipstick Started

immanuel kant philosopher, cruelty free cosmetics

“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” 

–      Immanuel Kant, philosopher

Last year during one of my regular trips to the nail salon, it occurred to me that what I was doing could be harmful. Not to me mind you, although I have wondered about those UV lamps and possible skin cancer. I was worried about animal testing.

So as my nails were lacquered and drying (under a fan, those lamps scare me) I sent a text to my friend Kate who is a nurse and animal activist. After ten text messages whizzing back and forth between us, we discovered there are a great deal of cruelty-free brands available to shoppers. Unfortunately, most of the ones we were using didn’t make the cut.

The two of us vowed to go cruelty free and I suggested we start a beauty blog sharing tips on how to find accessible, quality products.

What’s involved in cosmetic testing?

“I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”

– Abraham Lincoln

I was clueless about the processes of cosmetic testing. I thought a bunny had some foundation rubbed on its fur and then was given to a loving home. The process is actually excruciatingly painful – it could literally be called torture if we had to endure the same tests. And once it’s over the animals are killed – some life eh?

When it comes to cosmetics, there’s a lot of pressure for brands to find new and improved ingredients – hence the need to keep testing new products instead of ones that are already deemed to be safe.

What a lot of consumers also don’t know is that China plays a massive role in the cosmetic industry. When we launched My Fair Lipstick I had no idea that China legally requires all cosmetics to be tested on animals. This is a huge impact on whether brands decide to test on animals. Having said that, there are many great companies that refuse to enter the lucrative Chinese market.

Kate and Emma – Image by Blair Rasmussen, choose cruelty free

Kate and Emma – Image by Blair Rasmussen

How to go cruelty free

“If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.”

– Albert Einstein

Don’t trust packaging. In Australia and the US companies are legally allowed to say they are cruelty free when they’ve just hired a third party to do the tests.

At My Fair Lipstick we only stick to the Choose Cruelty Free criteria where companies have to sign statements to prove they are 100% cruelty free. For people overseas you can refer to Leaping Bunny or PETA, but check their criteria first to know where you stand.

Choose Cruelty Free (CCF) is stricter than PETA. For example, CCF won’t accredit The Body Shop who is owned by L’Oreal. Personally I think this is a good thing when you consider that not only does L’Oreal test on animals but also spent money to fight the EU ban on cosmetic testing. So even though The Body Shop doesn’t test per se, the profits go towards supporting animal testing.

Charlie_Brown_and_Snoopy choose cruelty free

What makes me happy

 “Happiness is a warm puppy.”

—    Charles Schulz, creator of Charlie Brown

Things that make me happy are:

  • Nail polish. As a nail polish addict, I thought giving up the salons would be hard but it’s really not – and I’m saving money too. The nurse in Kate also likes to point out that doing a DIY mani means less risk of fungal disease.
  • Homemade body scrub and foot soak recipes. Like baking, it’s quite therapeutic to do it yourself. Soon we’ll be branching out to even more DIY cosmetics so stay tuned …
  • Pictures of puppies and bunnies. My Fair Lipstick is less about doom and gloom, and more about appreciating the many beautiful creatures that roam the world.

Giving up Maybelline mascara and OPI nail polish made me a little sad at first but I’ve quickly realised that it’s not a loss – in fact, cherishing the lives of animals means my own life is richer.

This blog post originally appeared on the self-improvement website,

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