By Elisabeth King

A decade ago there wasn’t a lot of choice when consumers went in search of makeup made from all-natural ingredients. But green beauty has not only become a major force to be reckoned with, Karen Murrell has created fashion-forward all natural lipsticks that deliver superior results to many of their mainstream competitors.

Karen has always pursued her own vision, inspired by her Nana Gwen who made natural cosmetics using ingredients from her very own garden in New Zealand.
But she also gained valuable insights in the commercial side of the beauty business during her university days when she worked at the Clinique counter at Smith & McCaughey’s department store in Auckland. In the early Noughties, Karen saw a gap in the market for a natural lipstick that was environmentally friendly yet functionally as good as any top international brands.


Designed in New Zealand and made in Australia, Melbourne, the Karen Murrell brand has become one of Australasia’s leading lipstick manufacturers. Already successful in both Trans-Tasman markets and overseas, the brand’s launch into Priceline stores in November last year was a huge deal for us, says Karen. 

Last year marked another major step forward when McPherson’s Consumer Products became our distributor, allowing us to really make a mark in the Australian market, says Karen.  

In recent years, natural beauty and skincare has gone mainstream and are now two of the fastest-growing sectors of the cosmetics market. Many of these consumers seeking natural beauty products already shop in Priceline and in pharmacies because of its emphasis on health and wellness, so it is the perfect avenue for our range.” 

The demand for non-toxic and allergen-free ingredients is on track to drive the global natural and organic lipsticks market to expand by 6.5 per cent CAGR over the next five years, says Market Research Future, because they represent both luxury and wellness. Karen started her lipstick range with an iconic balm and four colours. “Women are said to consume up to two kilos of lipstick throughout their lifetimes. As more consumers started to seek out “got to be good for you” lipsticks, we expanded the range and created colours to suit every skin tone,” says Murrell. 

We’re so proud of the fact that our lipsticks are (and always have been) guaranteed free from coal tar, carmine, mineral oils, triclosan and parabens, and of course also cruelty-free,” she adds. “Exceptional colour payoff is also our trademark. That’s why we released eight of our most adored shades in Priceline from Coral Dawn, my favourite orange, to Rymba Rhythm, a classic red, in addition to our much-loved Moisture Stick Lip Balm, the ultimate lip protector and plumper”.


Lara Losic, Brand Manager – Cosmetics, for McPherson’s believes that the Karen Murrell brand will resonate with Australian beauty consumers because it is authentic and genuine. “The brand essence is captivating and what I find really special about this brand, is how Karen’s creativity and passion comes through. Karen believes a woman in beautiful lipstick can brighten a room like a bunch of fresh flowers. That magical burst of beauty inspires everything she creates and even comes through in the lipsticks names and packaging, as each colour has its own unique back story”.

Another clincher, says Losic, is that consumers are surprised that these “better for you” lipsticks are also high-performing and long-lasting because they are made from nourishing ingredients such as avocado oil, evening primrose oil and carnauba wax. “The colour payoff is extraordinary because of the bold pigments, same as those that you would expect to see from some of the  top international brands”. McPherson’s became the Australian distributor for the Karen Murrell brand in July 2017 and we are building distribution in selected pharmacies and Priceline stores, says Losic. 

“We have invested heavily in this brand with a comprehensive support plan across the most relevant platforms, with a major focus on public relations and sampling to really drive awareness and encourage trial for this beautiful range” 

The price point – $29.95 – and the packaging are also major selling points that connect with today’s eco-friendly consumers. Karen Murrell packaging is not only beautiful and eye-catching, it is also printed with vegetable-based inks on sustainably sourced paper by an FSC-certified company. 


Karen Murrell captured international attention from the start. Back in 2010, her lipsticks were ranged in Bon Marche, the famous department store in Paris. “We’ve enjoyed massive growth with our products now sold in 21 countries”, says Murrell.

“We have also had great success in China, as the Chinese are very interested in natural makeup products because of the high pollution levels in the major cities. They also love Australian-made products”. The daigous – Chinese overseas shoppers – were early adopters of the brand and our range has done spectacularly well on, China’s third largest shopping site behind Alibaba’s Tmall and”.

“It’s a great privilege to hear happy customers tell us that it’s been life-changing to find a 100% natural lipstick that’s so moisturising. My core function is as a lipstick designer and formulator, so I never get tired of hearing such lovely comments. Giving back is very important to me too. We are working with the Look Good Feel Better campaign with a special offer from March to May where we are donating 1 Karen Murrell lipstick for every 1 sold.

As we have expanded, we have made sure that everything that goes into a Karen Murrell lipstick – packaging and product – remains traceable and natural so our customers know they are getting the real deal”.

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