Soothing creams, hydrating masks, where do we begin? If you’d like to narrow down your to-buy list, here are the clean beauty products that actually make a difference to your skin and the planet.
Despite its name, clean beauty is a messy concept. Because it’s relatively new and therefore yet to be properly regulated, brands throw around this term a lot, each to their own interpretation (and benefit). But, whatever clean beauty means, these products are here to show you that you don’t need to head to a fancy hotel spa to feel good and look good – and to make the world a better place. Whether you’re a newcomer to sustainable living (welcome aboard!), or wishing to save the oceans, here are some of the best clean beauty products you should get in Hong Kong.
But wait! Before we begin…
Clean beauty can be a lot of things (trust us, it’s a rabbit hole), and we’re not going to try and define this huge concept. For instance, the consensus seems to be that sustainability and being cruelty-free are a given for clean beauty brands. However, the use of all-natural versus artificial ingredients (or – God forbid – ‘chemicals’) has always been a matter of debate. So, whether a beauty brand is ‘clean’ or not depends a lot on its own interpretation of the term. But, more importantly, we’d believe that you should be the one to decide what clean beauty means to you. As you scroll through our list, have a good think about whether clean beauty actually matters to you – or if it’s just a label.
As for what we think… Well, stay tuned for our opinion pieces! 😉
Treat yourself (and Mama Earth) right with these clean beauty products
1. Bioactive Face Masque, Lesse
Made with non-GMO, cruelty-free, and hypoallergenic ingredients, Lesse’s Bioactive Face Masque is a sustainable and environmentally friendly product designed to alleviate the symptoms of chronic skin conditions. Also, it works to prevent breakouts, dark spots, and other skin concerns. The blend of organic botanical extracts, ethical honey, charcoal powder, and sunflower seed oil provides deep detoxification, so that the skin can be renewed at a cellular level. Moreover, this face masque is pregnancy-safe, so mothers-to-be needn’t worry!
Wondering which clean beauty products to use for your skin type and dermatological concerns? Nourish Clean Beauty has Lesse and plenty other clean beauty goodies for you.
Shop Lesse Bioactive Face Masque exclusively from Nourish Clean Beauty.
2. Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser, Aesop
Okay, so Aesop may or may not be a completely ‘clean’ brand – depends on how you define ‘clean’, really – but its products are indeed all vegan and cruelty-free. This means no animal testing, and no furries were harmed throughout the design and manufacturing process. Aesop is also quite transparent with its ingredients; for instance, its Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser contains parsley seed extract, liquorice root, lactic acid, plus substances that are all listed on the product’s website. This cleanser is one of Aesop’s bestsellers, as it’s not only suited to most skin types, but its plant-based ingredients make the foam emit a floral and herbaceous scent. Offering exfoliation and removing impurities, this cleanser leaves the skin feeling fresh and smooth – perfect for those who are always on the go in a polluted urban environment.
Shop Aesop online, or head to its physical stores in Hong Kong.
3. Botanical Repair series, Aveda
Shedding hair everywhere? Those with long hair will know what we’re talking about. If you struggle with hair falling all over the place (we’re feeling personally attacked, TBH), Aveda’s Botanical Repair series might just be able to help. With a shampoo, conditioner, leave-in treatment cream, and two hair masques, the series of plant-powered formulations aim to strengthen and repair your roots. To prevent brittle locks, the products contain a nourishing blend of avocado, green tea, and sacha inchi oils to smooth and detangle the cuticles, too.
Shop Aveda via its online store, or visit its physical stores in Hong Kong.
4. The Liquid Silk Canvas primer, Tatcha
Founded by Victoria Tsai from Hong Kong, Tatcha is a cruelty-free brand inspired by Japanese heritage and its holistic approach to beauty. Based on scientific research in Japan and the US, Tatcha’s range primarily uses the superfoods green tea, rice bran, and algae. The brand also claims its products to be suitable for those who have sensitive skin and/or are pregnant. One of Tatcha’s most popular products is The Liquid Silk Canvas, which is a lightweight, oil-free primer. This fluid formula contains three different forms of silk extracts to protect the skin from makeup and pollution, and help makeup stay on for longer.
Shop Tatcha online, or find its physical products at Lane Crawford.
5. Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, Caudalie
Caudalie is big on #CleanBeauty. That is, to produce the most effective products with natural active ingredients, but also without sacrificing the environment – and honestly, this sounds pretty good. In addition, Caudalie is transparent with its ingredients, and it’s committed to eliminating all the (potentially) harmful ones from its range. These include parabens, mineral oils, animal-derived substances, among others. One of its latest bestsellers is the Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, which is an oil-free product that aims to correct existing dark spots and to even the skin tone. Suitable for all skin types, the serum has subtle aromas of citron blossom, orange leaves, watermelon, and crushed mint. Mmm, so fresh.
Shop Caudalie online, or visit its physical stores across Hong Kong.
6. Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil, Biossance
If clean beauty means sustainable beauty to you, Biossance will be your perfect match. Saving sharks and salvaging the planet, Biossance is one of the leading brands in the ethical and sustainable beauty industry. Squalane, a substance derived from sugarcane and helps with hydration, is a key component of many Biossance products. One of these is the new Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil, which contains damascus rose extract and chios crystal oil. These revitalise the skin, boost radiance, and increase firmness. And of course, there is vitamin C – but in the form of oil for easy absorption – to improve the skin’s elasticity. In terms of what the Oil does not have, you can be assured that Biossance has banned over 2,000 ingredients that are toxic to humans and the environment.
BTW, we love Biossance’s Skincare Ingredients Library, a user-friendly glossary of substances we may find in our skincare products, but don’t have a clue what they are. This is useful stuff!
Shop Biossance online, or find its physical products at Sephora.
7. Super B5 Hydration Gel Mask, I Never Use Foundation (INUF) Breakfast Club
Started by Olive Wong Chui in 2013, I Never Use Foundation (INUF) Breakfast Club has been one of the leading eco-conscious beauty brands in Hong Kong. Because INUF believes that artificial chemicals are harmful to the human body, the brand doesn’t use any chemical preservatives, stabilisers, silicone, GMO, or even alcohol – and the list goes on. Instead, every ingredient is naturally derived. INUF also launched its in-house skincare brand, INUF Responsible Skincare, in 2014. Among its range of products, which are developed with Hong Kong’s humid climate in mind, we particularly like the Super B5 Hydration Gel Mask. Not only does this mask quickly boost levels of hydration and nutrition in the face, it also accelerates the healing process after break-outs and invasive skin procedures.
Shop INUF Breakfast Club online, or pop by its physical store (and salon) at I Never Use Foundation Breakfast Club, 21/F Penthouse, MW Plaza, 40 Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, p. 3904 0390, 尖沙嘴金巴利道40號MW Plaza21樓閣樓我從不上粉早餐會
8. Rejuvenating Face Cream, A.O.R
A.O.R (or AOR) stands for An Organic Revolution, and oh boy does it deliver exactly that. Striving for perfection in its formulae, the Australian brand offers a variety of organic skincare products. Those who have tired, puffy faces (we’re silently raising our hands here), A.O.R’s Rejuvenating Face Cream will be able to sort you out. This lightweight moisturiser is made with kakadu plum, macadamia oil, cocoa butter, chia seeds, and plenty of other plant-based ingredients. These elements work together to increase collagen production and defend the skin from environmental pollutants. Meanwhile, there are no synthetic preservatives, fragrance, or dyes in AOR’s products, so you can feel completely detoxed.
Shop A.O.R online, or find its products at Beyorg’s physical stores.
9. Ageless 10% Phyto-Retinol Night Concentrate, bareMinerals
bareMinerals is one of the best known brands in the clean beauty industry. Since its launch in 1995, bareMinerals has been dedicated to making cruelty-free skincare products without parabens, phthalates, and other ‘suspicious chemicals’. If you’d like to rejuvenate your skin overnight (as we all should, with the AC blasting 24/7), try bareMinerals’ Ageless Phyto-Retinol Night Concentrate. Reformulating retinol with plant-based ingredients, this Night Concentrate is a vegan, anti-ageing lotion that aims to minimise fine lines, and to even the complexion without irritating the skin.
Shop bareMinerals online, or head to its physical counters in Hong Kong.
10. Clean Classic Warm Cotton fragrance, Clean Beauty Collective
Using both natural and synthetic (and certified safe!) ingredients, Clean Beauty Collective has been creating beautiful fragrances since 2003. From manufacturing the fragrances to packaging and distributing, products are made cruelty-free and with sustainable ingredients. Find extra comfort with its Warm Cotton fragrance, belonging to the Clean Classic range. Inspired by the scent of fresh laundry, this fragrance is one of the brand’s bestsellers. Delight in its floral and citrus aromas, with base notes like musk and amber to finish.
Shop Clean Beauty Collective online, or visit its physical kiosks in Hong Kong.
11. Restorative Algae Hand Peel, L:A Bruket
L:A Bruket is a Swedish brand that centres its products around nature, and strives for innovation with its range of organic ingredients. Our favourite item is its Restorative Algae Hand Peel, because all the hand-washing and alcohol sanitisers have made our hands sooo dry these days! Thanks to its infusions of almond oil, shea butter, and other nourishing ingredients, our hands can finally get the love they deserve. Designed to gently exfoliate and deeply restore damaged hands, this product is essential on your clean beauty list.
Shop L:A Bruket via its online store.