Shanghai Suzy – Say What?

Yes, I know, the name Shanghai Suzy doesn’t give too much away. But ladies, this is a brand you want to know. Founded by Melbourne model and former cosmetic marketing executive Joanna Wheaton, Shanghai Suzy is a cruelty-free and vegan lipstick brand consisting of bold and on-trend limited edition colours that change every season. The packaging is ultra-mod, clean and classy and the lid stays on (hallelujah!), so bright lipstick doesn’t end up all through the lining of your handbag (the pigment on these babies is ridiculous). At a crazy cheap price point of $12.95, Shanghai Suzy is affordable high-end quality at its best.

I had a five minute chat with my uber-talented friend Jo about lippes, the brand and her thoughts on being a cruelty-free company.

How did Shanghai Suzy come about?

I started Shanghai Suzy because I love lipstick and felt there was a gap in the market for affordable and good quality lip products. I constantly change my go-to colours each season and I have never finished a lipstick, so I used that insight to start a fashion-focused lipstick brand. Each season we release a new ‘lipstick wardrobe’ of colours that will carry you through until the next season. They are perfectly cheap’n’chic, smell like grape bubblegum and they are completely cruelty-free.  I had worked in cosmetic marketing for many years and had the know-how to make my dream a reality, so I bit the bullet!

Where did the name come from?

One of my girlfriends Suzy is from China and we used to call her Shanghai Suzy at school. I thought the name had a pretty fun ring to it, so it stuck as the name of the brand. Also, each of the colours are named after people in my life or people who are involved in the business. For example, my sister had her own shade, Miss Claire, and we’ve just recently named a colour after one of our salon owners, Miss Mia!

How does your product differ from others?

Shanghai Suzy is pretty unique in terms of lipstick and cosmetic brands. We have a pharmacy price point ($12.95) but Shanghai Suzy is sold in (and endorsed by) salons, professional makeup artists and beauty therapists. It is a salon quality product, smells like grape bubblegum and all of the colours are seasonal and limited edition. It is also completely cruelty-free and vegan.

How much does skin tone come into play when choosing the right shade of lipstick?

I personally think trying to match lipstick with skin tone is bollocks and very old school. I have an African girlfriend with beautiful dark skin, who rocks our pastels better than anyone I’ve seen. I also have heaps of Asian girlfriends who rock neon oranges and look stunning. The old-fashioned rulebooks would tell you that doesn’t work, but it does! It’s all about the look and the attitude, I think.

Is it important to you that Shanghai Suzy is a cruelty-free company?

I simply cannot understand the need for cosmetic testing on animals, it’s completely barbaric and unnecessary. We are lucky in Australia that most local brands are against animal testing. All of the other brands I have worked for and developed products with (in my past career) have been against animal testing. But unfortunately it’s not a mindset that is shared globally. In terms of ingredients, I can’t understand why companies would use animal-derived ingredients or even palm oil when you can easily use synthetic alternatives.

What can we expect from Shanghai Suzy in the next year?

We have a new Spring Summer range which is just about to hit the shelves (this weekend ya’ll) AND we are about to start selling in the US too which is really exciting!

Five quickies…

Favourite lipstick shade? This changes constantly- at the moment it’s one of our new Summer shades, Miss Leah Baby Cocoa.

Can’t live without beauty product? An old fashioned face-washer.

Favourite cosmetic brand? I’m a bit of a makeup slurry as I’m not loyal to any one brand. I use YoungBlood foundation, Natio bronzer, Sisley Paris eyebrow pencil/eyeshadow/mascara and wear my own lippies of course!

Guilty pleasure? The second latte of the day.

Best lipstick trick? Layer! Apply several layers for a nice, thick finish – then blot, and apply another layer! It will last longer, be more hydrating and you’ll build pigment for a rich finish.

Shanghai Suzy is available for purchase on their website here or on Vegan Beauty.

For a full list of stockists, click here.10446198_625162037603082_8870668138520874508_o



  • Catherine says:

    I decided to contact the company directly and it turns out they use a synthetic version of ethylhexyl palmitate, not natural palm oil. And it says so right in the above interview, DUH on me. 🙁 Off to order some lipsticks. 🙂

  • Catherine says:

    Thanks for pointing that out, Emma. I had not idea, but upon googling Ethylhexyl palmitate, it turns out it is indeed a derivative of palm oil. I am avoiding everything to do with palm oil (for obvious reasons, considering the associated massive rain forest destruction) and I had high hopes for these lippies. Bummed out!

  • Emma says:

    Ethylhexyl Palmitate is PALM – this is ANIMAL CRUELTY!!

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