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Everything you need to know about cosmetics labels – and why they matter

20 February, 2019 3 min read

We might not be able to help you figure out the meaning of life, but when it comes to the icons on your cosmetics labels, we’ve got you covered.

Marooned by your wet-tipped fingers and toes, you try everything: scrolling gingerly through your Instagram, playing a careful round of Candy Crush as you try not to damage your still-drying coat, typing out a few quick text messages with the old hunt-and-peck fingertip method. Our quick drying nail polish has never felt so slow. In desperation, you reach for the bottle – the nail polish bottle, that is. For the first time, you notice the icons arranged on the back of the bottle; they’re cute, but what do they all mean?

At Kester Black, we’re big on things that pack style and substance. As a cosmetics company committed to raising the bar for ethical, cruelty-free production and practices, we know that it’s not enough for things to simply look good: they have to do good, too. We apply this philosophy to everything we do, from the ingredients we use in all our products down to the labels on our bottles. That’s right – the icons on our packaging are far more than just cute. Read on to learn exactly what each of them means, and why they matter.

Cruelty Free and Vegan

Your pet rabbit doesn’t get to enjoy our nail polish (except by appreciating how well it coordinates with your outfits), so why should she be subjected to it at the testing stage? All of our products are completely cruelty free, something that boils down to three key points: we don’t test on animals, we don’t use products derived from animals, and we don’t include any ingredients that have been tested on animals.

You don’t need to just take our word for it – the Leaping Bunny logo shows that all our products have been approved under the rigorous Cruelty Free International Humane Cosmetics Standard, the gold standard accreditation for animal-friendly production. The requirements for the Standard are so stringent that to date, only around 600 companies around the world – including us! – are Leaping Bunny Certified.

We’re also certified vegan by the Vegan Society, who back up our claims that none of our products or ingredients are tested on, or derived from, animals.


Carbon Neutral

We’re not ones for fence sitting, but when it comes to carbon we agree that there’s only one way to be: neutral. As of April 2018, we’ve been proudly Carbon Neutral certified by the Carbon Reduction Institute, Australia’s paramount environmental accreditation for businesses. This reflects a massive effort on our behalf to use only the most sustainable manufacturing processes and ingredients, and means that our impact on the environment is zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

B Corporation

As the saying goes, beauty is as beauty does. In October 2016, Kester Black became the first beauty company in the world to become B Corp certified following an extensive assessment by B Labs of our governance, transparency, and environmental and social impact. To put it another way, B Labs stand by the fact that our insides are every bit as good as our outsides look. Since then, we’ve stayed on top of our mission to reset the bar for ethical beauty and transform the global cosmetics industry one bottle of nail polish at a time.


We’re sure you dispose of all your waste responsibly, so no doubt you’re already familiar with this little green Mobius loop. In case you somehow missed the memo, this symbol shows that something can be recycled, and is found on all our wipes (and applies to both packaging and product!) and remover bottles.


For use in products sold in the European Union, this little guy shows the net quantity – in grams or millilitres – of a product at the time of packaging. You won’t find it on single use products or those with a net quantity of less than 5g or 5mL, because they aren’t needed there.

Open Flame

When we say that our nail polishes are hot stuff, we don’t mean that literally. The open flame symbol warns you that products are flammable, and should be kept away from open flames and high heat at all times.

Refer to Insert

Essentially the ‘Read more on page 6’ of cosmetics labels, this symbol tells you that all critical points are already covered on the primary label or product package – for more information, you’ll have to check out the tiny leaflet, booklet, or other insert that came with your product.

This symbol does two things: professes our love of tulips and indicates that we use certified organic products wherever possible. In our Nail Polish Remover, for example, you’ll find certified organic jojoba, vitamin E, and aloe vera.

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