For this week’s ‘8Shades Of’, we’re talking to one of the OGs of Hong Kong’s green beauty scene – Edmund Ip, co-founder of Bathe to Basics.
Founded back in 2011, Bathe to Basics’ gorgeous skin, hair and body-care products are handmade locally in small batches in Hong Kong, using all-natural, cruelty-free ingredients; in fact, they were one of the first beauty brands here to offer eco-friendly refill stations for many of their products.
We talk to Edmund about how Hong Kong’s sustainability scene has changed over the years, his top green beauty tips and why he’s all about embracing the basics.
See also: Neighbourhood Guide – Eco Retail Shops in Central
1. In one sentence, tell us what you do?
We locally create products derived from nature for the benefit of both ourselves and the environment.
2. Why are you an 8Shader?
It feels good to be sustainable! It’s the same feeling you get when you help others – it’s just that you’re helping the environment and Earth instead. I believe that if all of us do a little to help the environment, our collective efforts will be big enough to change the future.
3. Fave eco brand?
Hyginova – they focus on making disinfectant that easily decomposes and their products are made locally in Hong Kong too.
4. Fave veggie dish in Hong Kong?
The spicy cauliflower hummus bowl from Chickpea. Their pickles are so fresh and tasty – you really feel the joy of veggies with their colourful selection!
5. Bathe To Basics started back in 2011; how has Hong Kong’s sustainability scene changed since then? And what improvements would you like to see in the future?
We started our refill stations when bulk shopping was not really a thing yet in Hong Kong. We provided more than just the body soap or shampoo that you’d normally expect, with refills for other products like toothpaste, cleansing oil and deodorant too. I’m happy to see more bulk shops opening around different districts these days, with even more product options!
When it comes to sustainability, I think most people are currently concerned about disposable containers and single-use plastics; however, I think it’s about more than just that. We should put more emphasis on ingredients too. Besides being vegan and cruelty-free, it would be even better if products didn’t use artificial fragrances and colours, as well as other ingredients that impact our environment, such as oxybenzone in chemical sunscreens which harms the sea and coral.
6. What are some of the biggest challenges in making your all-natural beauty products? How long does the development process take?
I think one of the biggest challenges is keeping ourselves up-to-date with the latest trends and standards. Going eco and natural is now a global trend, so we’re constantly checking to see if there are any better ingredients for our formulas. But of course, we’ll always embrace the basics, like our brand name! That’s why we use a lot of natural plant oils – they’re the most basic ingredient and still the best.
Indeed, the development process never stops! I think that is one of the benefits of being a smaller brand; we can keep our production batches smaller and keep our ears open to feedback from our customers, so we can make minor adjustments to our formulas and make our products even better. We also have so many ideas for new products – like shampoo bars, mouth wash and other customisable products. It’s an endless process as I think there is always room for perfection!
7. What are your favourite Bathe to Basics products? And what are your top green beauty tips?
My personal favourite combo is our Basic Facial Oil and Porcelain Face Scraping Plate. I love using oil in my skincare routine; the scraping plate helps the product get absorbed while boosting blood circulation and working its magic to keep my skin in good shape!
My top green beauty tip is to pay attention to ingredients and read the labels! Many of us aren’t used to reading labels and understanding ingredients; I think it’s essential for brands to provide their full ingredient lists for clarity, like Bathe to Basics does. As customers, we should also start learning how to read labels properly instead of just believing marketing jargon, so you know exactly what you and your family are using.
8. What shade of green are you?
A dark greyish green. It’s subtle and calming – I even dedicated one of the walls in my room to this colour!
Find out more about Bathe to Basics on their website and Instagram
NEXT: See all ‘8Shades Of‘ interviews
Sign up for the 8Shades weekly newsletter to get our top stories in your inbox!