In a chrome-lined city like Hong Kong, it may come as a surprise that most of its home-grown beauty brands have a focus on natural ingredients and sustainable packaging. But less so when you think of the effect that the city’s humid climate and urban pollution leave on the complexion, yielding a shift to non-toxic, clean beauty solutions created with high-quality ingredients sourced from all over the world. Ahead, we round up the best Hong Kong-based beauty brands and the hero products to try.
Artisanal skincare and wellness brand Purearth was founded in 2012 by Kavita Khosa, a private equity lawyer-turned-Ayurvedic practitioner and life-long clean beauty and wellness devotee. Elegantly packaged, Purearth’s plant- and mineral-based formulations are rooted in ancient Ayurvedic wisdom, made with superlative ingredients that are sourced responsibly and harnessed at the peak of their potency. The Sitara Strobelighter Serum is a skincare-makeup hybrid that leaves a healthy glow while indulging skin with vital nutrients, while their bestselling, award-winning Mitti Raw Honey Clay Masque is a clarifying, brightening and nourishing treatment of epicurean luxury. But for something truly special, the brand’s new Kwansha Facial Beauty Coin is an upgraded gua sha tool that is hand finished by master “Kansa” metal artisans, which magically draws out toxins from areas of the skin.
I Never Use Foundation
I Never Use Foundation is a skincare and wellness brand founded in 2014 by Olive Wong Chui focusing on 100% plant-based and result-oriented formulas made for Asian climate users — thus expect lightweight textures and hydration at the top of their priority list. Their all-natural products are free from harmful chemicals and made in their GMP-certified and cruelty-free skincare laboratory in California, USA. Packaging is kept minimal and made of recycled materials which you can bring back to their INUF Breakfast Club store in TST, where you can either recycle used containers or refill them with product. Their best-selling Hydration B5 Balancing Serum is a do-it-all oxygen-enhanced treatment that replenishes moisture, brightens and improves skin congestion while reducing shine and soothing acne. To increase the glow, try their indulgent Bulgarian Rose Illuminating Silk Mask which instantly soothes and freshens the complexion.
Hong Kong-born, Australian-made natural skincare range Rare SkinFuel was founded in 2018 by Michelle Chen, a life-long beauty junkie whose own glowing complexion is proof that good skincare requires no makeup. All products from the range are created with high quality, nutrient-rich ingredients and in small batches — formulas are mixed with heat-free blending to preserve active ingredients at their most potent capacity and never diluted with water — you’ll often find aloe vera leaf juice or coconut water at the top of the ingredients list. While the full range is recommended to be used together as a daily regime, our favourite products include the instantly lifting and hydrating Eye & Lip Illuminating Serum and Age Delaying Serum, the multi-tasking Activating Mist, and the raw active ingredients-packed Australian Clay Mask sets. You can also indulge in the website’s star ingredients list, which details each botanical’s skin-loving vitamins and properties.
Specialising in products made with fair-trade virgin coconut oil sourced from the pristine Solomon Islands, Coconut Matter follows COSMOS certification guidelines in Europe for organic and natural cosmetics that make a positive social impact – both to the community of farmers as well as the planet, with sustainable plastic-free, paper packaging. Their hero products are undoubtedly their natural deodorants and lip balms and lipsticks, which arrive in various scents and colours, and are multi-purpose and double the size of standard lip products.
Bathe to Basics
Simple yet sophisticated, Bathe to Basics is a Hong Kong-based skincare, bath and body brand founded in 2011 that is committed to creating premium, handmade and organic formulations made with naturally occurred materials or plant-based derivatives and extracts. Made only with the purest ingredients and no extra additives or frills, each formulation is suited to all skin types. Their Basic Shampoo Mild has long been touted for gently but effectively cleansing hair with a pH-balanced, moisturising formula that leaves hair impossibly shiny, smooth and bouncy. Their Basic Face Wash is a hydrating foaming cleanser made with extra virgin olive oil that doesn’t leave the skin feeling stripped. Bathe to Basics has various refill stations around Hong Kong, including its flagship store in PMQ, Soho.
ZeroYet100, named for formulations with zero nasties and 100% efficacy, was founded by Anita Patel and Sheetal Avlani in 2017, beginning with one natural deodorant. Today, the all-natural line has expanded to facial skincare and body care, all based on the principle that natural is better. Each product is handcrafted and formulated in their Hong Kong workshop and then housed in recyclable, plastic-free packaging. Their hero product is the natural deodorant in the original unisex Z1 Spa scent, which arrives in push-up stick, twist-up stick, pot and spray form. First time chemical-to-natural deodorant converts would benefit from the brand’s Detox Pack, a multipurpose mask that draws out impurities and buildup, whereas those constantly on-the-go will enjoy the brand’s Face Wash Powder, a travel-friendly, preservative-free product that has the versatility of being mixed with anything from milk to water.