At first glance, the idea of “clean beauty” sounds simple enough. The ingredients comprising our favourite cosmetics and skincare products should be safe, non-toxic and ethically made. Sadly, we know that’s not always the case: it’s all too easy for many beauty brands to slap buzzwords like “natural,” “sustainable” and “eco-friendly” onto their marketing and packaging, with little to back it up.
Thankfully in Hong Kong, we have options! These Hong Kong-born clean beauty brands make transparent beauty products that are easily accessible to the conscious consumer so you can have peace of mind knowing that what you put on your face is not only safe but ethically and sustainably produced.
See also: The Truth About… Clean Beauty
When GLOHS founder and Hong Kong native Giselle Lee was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, she never imagined the journey to recovery would lead her to establish a natural beauty line. In dealing with the side effects of her cancer treatments, Lee realised just how many harmful chemicals go into the skincare products she used. She set off on a new path to learn as much as she could about mineral, essential oils and herbal remedies as substances to help her through her treatments.
The journey led to a discovery of natural ingredients, many of which have been used for centuries and are incorporated today into her own skincare line, which include a range for normal and sensitive skin. Today, GLOHS products use only natural ingredients, aiming for organic whenever possible, a decision that is not only good for our bodies but better for the environment too!
Tip: Check out GLOHS’ ingredient glossary to learn what’s going onto your skin!
Learn more about GLOHS here.
2. SKIN NEED
If there’s one person who knows how to weed out a less-than-clean beauty product, it’s a skincare formulation specialist! As a biochemist, Christal Leung spent most of her working career behind the scenes in Southern California where she was involved in the formulation and manufacturing of private skin care labels. Recognising a need for more specialised skincare solutions, and jaded by the industry’s one-size-fits-all approach, she started her own skin care lab right here in Hong Kong.
Skin Need — Your Private Formula seeks to be a functional and wholesome skin care brand that recognises the uniqueness of every skin. This is carefully done in a variety of ways, from formulas that honour the skin’s individuality and are free of chemicals or animal testing, to doing away with traditional beauty brand conventions like a bloated marketing budget or enforcing a hero product that may detract from the skin’s actual needs. As the largest organism on our body, Skin Need offers an enlightened and mindful approach to skincare for real individuals.
Tip: Head to their website for a skin analysis that includes a complimentary consultation!
Learn more about Skin Need here.
3. Irene Beauty
Tucked away in Yuen Long, mother-daughter duo Peony and Irene of Irene Beauty established their own beauty oasis to deliver not only skincare products but personalised, plant-based, therapeutic-grade skincare services that help individuals achieve their skin goals. While many commercial beauty centres can feel impersonal, Irene Beauty believes the beauty salon is a place for guests to understand their skin better, learning how to utilise skincare correctly and effectively for real results.
Relying on the time-honoured tradition of reputation, Irene’s notoriety precedes her as she has spent years creating treatments for satisfied guests, never needing to rely on social media or ads. Irene Beauty’s ethical treaments include facials, advanced medical treatments, and even laser hair removal and semi-permanent makeup. The salon also curates products from clean beauty brand faves like HK’s Skin Need, France’s Maison Louise Marie, Australia’s Mukti and Biologi, and California’s Skin Expert. With the seasons changing, now is the time to book a treatment with Irene to get your skin all sorted for the cooler weather ahead!
Tip: Build your own summer to fall routine with Irene Beauty’s Early Autumn Edit.
Learn more about Irene Beauty here.
4. Woke Up Like This
Harnessing the power of Beyoncé’s mantra for beauty standards and expectations, Woke Up Like This is the brainchild of BFFs and cosmetic fanatics, Jenn and Tawnia, who were confronted with the daunting truth about the harmful ingredients found in mainstream makeup products. From hormone disruptors to heavy metals, the list of toxins deeply worried the duo deeply. Together they built their own vision of cosmetics, built on the principles of fun, integrity and confidence.
What you will find in WULT’s range are nourishing lip oils, suncscreens and hand creams, mineral concealers, face tints in comfortable textures, hydrating formulas and only contain plant-based, natural ingredients like rosehip seed oil and lavender. What you won’t find are parabens, fragrances, denatured alcohol that can dry out skin or comedogenic ingredients that can clog pores. These beauties feel good to wear, and are safe for your skin too. In the words of Queen B, “We flawless!”
Tip: Sign up for WULT’s Gal Pal Community to benefit from monthly specials and perks
Learn more about WULT here.
5. Zero Yet 100
When it comes to skincare, and any consumption choice, there’s more to consider than just “me”. Hong Kong skincare brand ZeroYet100 keeps it 100 with its holistic approach to its products and packaging. A natural skincare brand through and through, the decision to put the best on your body, and have the least impact on the earth, is easy to do with their body and face products. All products are packaged in refillable, recyclable or repurposable packaging, so your skincare journey is earth-friendly too. Each item is 96% free of plastic packaging and labels.
Even better, their formulas are chemical and aluminum free, and are never tested on animals. What this means is that they’re safe and toxic-free for everyone, from children to moms-to-be to grandparents. Each product is also personally tested by co-founders Anita Patel and Sheetal Alvani to verify effectiveness too. And when it comes to labels, there’s no hiding here: all ingredients are pure and listed on the package, handcrafted in house at their Hong Kong workshop.
Tip: Try their Mini Me sets to test their range, or as a perfect gift!
Learn more about ZeroYet100 here.
6. Coconut Matter
When it comes to health, mom knows best! As a mother, Coconut Matter founder Diane van Zwanenberg was inspired by a desire to give only the best beauty products to her daughter — that means safe for her, and the planet. From there, she outlined the brand’s four pillars: the coconut as the origin and basis; innovative and toxin-free ingredients; zero waste processes from formulation to packaging; and fair trade to protect the earth and further the communities where Coconut Matter’s coconuts come from!
Since 2015, Coconut Matter has blossomed as a locally recognised eco-minded brand, into a leader in waste reduction and sustainability across Asia. While their natural deodorants may be their claim to fame — they’re beloved for their long lasting effect, plastic-free packaging and safe ingredients — their velvety smooth coconut body butter and insect relief are repeat crowd pleasers.
Tip: Subscribe to their newsletter for 10% off your purchase!
Learn more about Coconut Matter here.
7. Botanic Pretti5
Reflective of Hong Kong itself, Botanic Pretti5 blends the best of East and West to optimise your skin and restore your natural glow. Every single product is developed with the expertise of a Traditional Chinese doctor to utilise the best herbal ingredients, while leveraging the power of Western skincare technologies. The result is a tailor-made experience that eliminates the stress of fact-checking each ingredient in your skincare routine.
After scouring the globe for the best place to produce their products, Pretti5 settled on their laboratory in Japan where they believed they could acquire the highest level of professionalism in creating their beauty line. Shop by skin concern to curate a skincare routine that works best for you, your lifestyle and your skin type. Their topical collection section even covers maskne and periodskin for those pesky mask-induced pimples, and the tired skin that can occur during that time of month.
Tip: Pretti5 is now available at Sephora!
Learn more about Pretti5 here.
For INUF founder Olive Wong Chui, knowing what’s needed for her skin to stay fabulous was never a guessing game. Her mother, a beauty industry professional, often provided great insight and guidance to Olive, so much so that friends regularly thought she must be wearing foundation. Hence the birth of I NEVER USE FOUNDATION, or INUF. For those of us still looking for our North Star, we’re in luck: Olive pours her tests, trials, advice and analysis into her carefully tested products.
While all items in the skincare line are formulated in INUF’s state-of-the-art R&D lab, everything is developed in small batches to ensure safey and effectiveness. But beyond its skincare products, INUF is also a skincare experience, with a Skin Spa and Nail Sweet Nail salon, both of which offer treatments and services to keep you stress-free and looking luxe. For those who want a truly closed circle skincare routine, INUF’s Green Beauty Bar at its flagship store in Tsim Sha Tsui has a refill station which makes reusing your INUF bottles easy and economical!
Tip: Check out INUF’s Aura Photography studio for a fun gift or experience idea
Learn more about INUF here.
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