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Frequently asked questions

Ever read about our products and wondered ‘Hey Kester B, what does that even mean’? Well, We’ve prepared a list of drop-down explanations to give you the lowdown on our commonly used terms, ingredients, and answers to those burning questions of yours.

About us

Where did the name ‘Kester Black’ come from?

This wasn’t one of those ‘first-pet’ ‘first street-name’ scenarios. No, no. Our founder Anna, named the business during a trip to her homeland’s pristine south island. Read all about it here.

Who owns Kester Black?

We do. Kester Black is a privately-owned company. And while the biz was formed in Melbourne, Australia in 2009 our founder and creative director Anna Ross is originally from New Zealand where the brand lives and breathes today.

What accreditations does Kester Black have?

Short answer: loads. These accreditations were not easy to come by. So naturally, we wear our certifications with pride and we work our butts off to maintain every single one of them.

Enough about our bodacious bods, here is our official accreditation list:

B Corporation Certified - Being B-Corp certified means that we meet the most rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. So while we love creating beautiful things, we also believe in being a fierce force for good; balancing  profit and purpose.

Halal Certified - Because everyone should be able to enjoy wearing nail polish, we developed a formula that’s breathable and water-permeable, allowing water and air to reach the nail bed. To seal the deal, we acquired our Halal certification so that our Muslim sisters can have confidence in choosing a glam, guilt-free product.

Vegan Certified - All Kester Black products are 100% vegan. That means none of them have been tested on animals or contain animal derived ingredients. Just look for the green ‘V’ trademark tick! We’ve gained this accreditation through The Vegan Society; something we're very proud of.

Cruelty Free Certified - All of our products are certified cruelty-free, by Cruelty Free International, meeting the world’s most rigorous ethical standards. This means they have never, and will never, be tested on animals or contain any animal-derived ingredients. If our furry friends could, they’d be singing our praises.

Certified Carbon Neutral - Kester Black is 100% carbon neutral as accredited by The Carbon Reduction Institute. We’ve taken a good, mum-look at our business emissions and offset them by purchasing carbon credits. Because carbon footprints are so ‘90s.

Products & Ingredients

Are your products tested on animals?

No way, José. It’s simple. Kester Black products aren’t for animals, so they have never, and will never be tested on animals.

Are your products vegan?

Yes, indeed. All Kester Black products are 100% vegan-certified. We’ve even acquired a shiny accreditation from The Vegan Society to prove it.

What ingredients are in your products?

Take a look at our labels and you’ll find ingredients that would fit right in at brunch: like  olive oil, kefir, and organic avocado oil (pass us a side of sprouted sourdough, won’t you?). We use only the highest quality ingredients (organic, where possible) because we’ve found that they work better. With active natural compounds, less of an environmental footprint, and nourishing vitamins aplenty, what’s not to love?

And because we like to be as transparent as possible, we share a full list of ingredients on every product page, and boast about all of their benefits on our blog.

Do your products contain nasty ingredients?

No, ma’am.  We do everything we can to use only the highest quality ingredients, sourcing the majority of our raw ingredients from Europe. We’re also very particular when it comes to our formulations. We’ll never use ingredients that we wouldn’t use on our own pals, parents or siblings.

Call us old fashioned, but we prefer the good stuff. Our nail polish formulas are 10-Free which means we strip out ten of the nastiest nasties that are commonly found in standard nail polish like: formaldehyde (which can cause cancer), camphor (a poison), and toluene (which irritates skin, eyes, and spellcheck). Even our nail polish removers are acetone and acetate free, non-flammable and water-based.

Keen to suss the full list of ingredients? Say no more. We list all of our ingredients on each product page - get your dictionaries ready!

Who develops Kester Black products?

Our smart, stylish and very clever founder/creative director Anna Ross is the creator of all things product.

Together, the KB team works with the best beauty manufacturers in Europe to help bring her visions to life. What you get is the result of years of research, trial and error, blood, sweat, and tears (literal tears because we’re BIG on crying).

Where are Kester Black products made?

In order to produce the best quality cosmetics, our products are manufactured in Australia, France and Italy - which through our own experience, we consider to be the best in the business.

More specifically, our lipsticks are made in Italy, our nail treatments and some of our nail polishes are made in France, while other nail polish colours and removers are made right here in Australia.

We chose Europe for their market-leading manufacturing legislation; raising the bar for our industry, and giving us (and in turn, all of you) more confidence in quality assurance.

Are your products safe for pregnant women?

We have no information to suggest that the ingredients we use, or the formulas we’ve made, pose a threat to pregnant women when used appropriately.

Our legal team even gave us a fancy, formal description about it:

‘We manufacture cosmetics and other products according to the ISO 22716:2007 GMP for Cosmetics standard. The products supplied by us are cosmetics that have been assessed to be safe for use as cosmetics when used according to the recommended methods of use and wear.’

But it’s such a personal decision, and totally up to the mama-to-be. If you’d like some more detailed info about our formulas or specific ingredients, drop us a line, we’d be more than happy to share this info with you.

Are your products palm oil free?

Heck yes, our products are palm oil free.

Are your products palm oil derivative free?

Sadly, they are not all palm oil derivative free.

Confusing, right?

Some of our products contain palm-derivative ingredients which cannot be removed and replaced with a suitable and sustainable alternative. Stearalkonium bentonite, found in nail polish, is one of those ingredients.

This is an industry-wide issue and something we are actively working to address. Unfortunately, the alternatives that meet our ultra-high standards aren’t that easy to come by and those that are, have their own environmental challenges (think coconut oil and deforestation, eek).

Despite this, we are continually working on improving our products and minimising their environmental impact; from the ingredients to our packaging and postage.

Stick around, as it won’t be long before we’re forging new territory on this front.

What are the palm oil derivative ingredients?

The following palm-oil derivative ingredients are components that can’t be removed from some products, without a suitable and sustainable alternative.
- Stearalkonium Bentonite (found in all nail polishes on the planet)
- Disteardimonium Hectorite (found in our lipsticks)
- Isododecane (found in our lipsticks)Propylene carbonate (found in our lipsticks)
- Isocetyl Stearate (found in our lipsticks)Synthetic beeswax (found in our lipsticks)
- Glyceryl Behenate/Eicosadioate (found in our lipsticks)

Is your packaging environmentally friendly?

Naturally.

We design with the end-life of our products in mind, manufacturing in quantities we know we’ll use, with as much recyclable packaging as possible.

And while our shipping boxes are 100% ‘Grammable, they’re made of 100% uncoated recycled stock and vividly printed with soy inks. Our jiffy bags prove that perhaps rock can beat paper after all; they’re made from recycled limestone (no, really). Of course, it was always going to look good, but we demand it does a world of good, too.

Are the colours in the product images the same in real life?

What even IS real life? But before we get existential on you, we can confirm that colours appear differently depending on the monitor or screen you’re using.

From glorious Apple Pro Retina screens to our humble smartphones, colours can display differently due to brightness, blue-light filtering, and power-saving settings.

You may need to recalibrate your screen to ensure all colours appear accurately before purchasing.

Please note that we cannot exchange nail polish or lipstick products for hygiene reasons. Please review our returns policy for clarity.

Lipsticks

The lipstick I bought seems darker than the colours on your website.

Our lipsticks dry one to two shades darker than the colour on the pack.
We developed the range to complement a whole spectrum of complexions. Naturally, colours will appear slightly different depending on your skin tone, but not too differently from the swatches previewed on the site. Pinks will be pink and reds will be raging!

What’s the best way to remove Kester Black lipstick?

With our Self Love Oil, of course.

This all-over, hydrating body potion softens cuticles, hydrates skin, and gently removes lipstick. Melt away today’s shade and embrace tomorrow with a nourished pout.

When can we expect additional shades to be added to the collection?

Mid 2020. Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to swatch it all.

Will you be releasing any gloss lipsticks?

While we haven’t set the date, we’re working on a gorgeously glossy formula. Sign-up for glossy exclusives through our newsletter.

I’m worried that the lipstick will bleed as I have fine lines around my mouth.

Never fear. This lippie won’t budge, bleed, or bang on about those fine lines. It’s going to stay exactly where you put it, from day to night.

I don’t normally wear liquid lipstick as my hair sticks to my lips.

Not a problem. Once dry, the only thing sticking to your lips will be that gorgeous shade and the gaze of your admirers.

Nail Polish & Treatments

How should I store my nail polish?

Nail polish should always be stored in a cool, dark place. Please don’t store nail polish in the fridge or in direct sunlight. Temperature variations (from the fridge to extreme heat) can damage the formulation, resulting in gluggy varnish and colour separation. Direct sunlight will also change the colour of the polish, so please don’t take your polish sunbathing.

Why does nail polish chip?

Good question. Residual oil on the nail is the main cause of chipping. Dastardly oils! Good thing we’ve found a 5-step guide to nail polish application that will prevent chipping:

1. Apply Kester Black Cleanser to a cotton pad and swipe over each fingernail (painted or not), to remove oily residue.
2. Using your favourite Kester Black Nail Polish, glide the brush over each fingernail, coating the surface from base to tip. Allow to dry for 5 minutes.
3. Apply a second coat to each nail, covering any streaks from the initial coat. Give each coat 5 minutes to set.
4. Seal your colour with a Kester Black Top Coat, taking extra care to cover the tips of your nails. Allow another 5 minutes for the finished product to dry.
5. To refresh and prolong your manicure, apply Kester Black Top Coat to the tips of your nails every 2 days. This is a top tip from our resident nail art professional.

Why do fluoro nail polish colours need 3 coats?

Just like regular paint, non-fluorescent colours are created by adding pigment to a white base. Fluorescent colours are created by adding pigment to a clear base; an inherently transparent foundation.

Because white based colours usually offer better coverage than clear based ones, fluro colours require a few more coats to cover the nail and become opaque. 
If they did contain a white base, they’d appear pastel instead of fantastically fluorescent.

Is it fluro or fluoro?

The jury is out on this one.  We’re sticking to the more elongated ‘fluoro’ just in case the rest of the word returns to claim what’s rightfully theirs.

How do I salvage my gluggy nail polish?

So your nail polish has found its way to Gluggsville. Been there. Rescue it with just a few drops of our Nail Polish Thinner. As tempting as it might be, please never use nail polish remover to thin your polish. Nail polish remover slowly degrades the formula of your nail colour, so in a month’s time, it won’t stick to your nails - nightmare.

Which nail Top Coat and Base Coat should I choose?

We made our Breathable Base Coat and Breathable Top Coat for those who require breathable/water permeable nail polish due to cultural or religious beliefs. 
If you don’t fall into this category, we recommend our Supersonic Top Coat and Miracle Treatment Base Coat as they have faster drying times and a glossy finish (as opposed to the satin finish on our Breathable Top Coat).

What does 10-Free mean?

Our nail polish formula is 10-Free which means it does not contain any (ob)noxious suspects like: formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, camphor, formaldehyde resin, xylene, parabens, fragrances, phthalates, or ingredients derived from animals.

10-Free is a term used to label nail polish based on the ingredients they are ‘free-from’.

Here is a guide to the various ‘free-from’ labels:

3-Free polish is free from dibutyl phthalate, toluene or formaldehyde.
4-Free polish is free from all of the above and formaldehyde resin.
5-Free polish is free from all of the above and camphor.
6-Free polish is free from all of the above and parabens.
7-Free polish is free from all of the above and xylene.
8-Free polish is free from all of the above and ethyl tosylamide.
9-Free polish is free from all of the above and animal ingredients.
10-Free polish is free from all of the above and fragrances.

Shopping

Where can I buy Kester Black?

Right here! This is the best place to get your fill of our feel-good cosmetics. But, if you would prefer to check out our products in real life (IRL), you can visit our stockists page to find your local store.

What if an item is out of stock?

It means you have impeccable taste and have chosen a much-loved product. 
While we endeavour to keep our stock levels updated, there is a chance that the item you’ve ordered may be out of stock in the exact moment you hit ‘Purchase’. 
In this unlikely event, we will refund you immediately and do our best to offer you a replacement.

We’re working on more intuitive ways to tackle this inventory issue, so that this becomes a thing of the past - like dial-up modems.