Us Sassy girls like to look and feel our best at all times – and awesome eco-friendly website Green Queen is here to help! They’ve rounded up the best independent beauty brands in Hong Kong, featuring the finest local handmade pampering products to be found in the 852. Come satisfy your inner beauty junkie in the most sustainable ways possible… they’re both better for the planet and better for you!
Bathe To Basics
Founded in 2011 by Gia Wong and Edmund Ip, Bathe to Basics’ method of soap making centres around the handmade cold process (CP) philosophy; products are never exposed to temperatures higher than 40°C in order to preserve the nutrients and active properties of the ingredients used. All their products are made locally in their Tai Po workshop, whilst Edmund’s design background ensures that their simple and chic packaging exudes sophistication – making ideal gifts for even your most discerning friends.
What they have: Bathe To Basics makes various bar soaps, liquid shower gel, hand wash, face wash and baby foam soap. They also feature seasonal scents and flavours such as the Lunar New Year Pomelo Leaf Chinese Ritual Bath soap bar.
Where to find: Order directly from their swishy e-commerce website here or find them at markets and fairs around town.
Why we love them: All their toxin-free products can biodegrade in water within 24 hours – so no clogging up waterways, rivers or oceans, no damaging marine life with dirty chemicals, and no environmental footprint!
Green Queen pick: Their Baby Foam Soap is a great option for any little folk in your life – it’s unscented (fragrances can overwhelm a baby’s sensitive skin) and extremely gentle.
Local eco-enthusiast Bella Ip founded Bella Sapone over six years ago. Looking to channel her love for nature and her deep respect for the environment, she taught herself the art of soap making by reading traditional manuals – and after persistent experimentation became the soap pro she is today! Bella Sapone products are made using ingredients sourced as ethically as possible, supporting micro-farming communities across the region, such as coconut farmers. All her soaps contain plant oil blends (usually coconut, castor and olive oil) mixed with one or two essential oils, like lavender and tea tree.
What they have: Bella Sapone offers hand soaps and liquid soaps including products for hair, body, hands and pets. They also have multi-purpose cleaning soap, laundry gel and dishwashing liquid – the only brand on this list to do so.
Why we love them: Bella Sapone offers one litre bottles – which are both friendly to the environment and our wallets!
Green Queen pick: Give your pooch the greenest bath there is – Bella Sapone are the only outfit in town to stock toxin-free, locally-made, liquid Pet Soap.
Clara Yeung Skincare
Clara Yeung Skincare is a complete range of luxury quality skincare, with the products all made exclusively by Clara herself. Whilst very much handmade in their formulations, they are packaged beautifully and of professional grade. This brand is focused specifically on face care, with powerful ingredients carefully chosen to address targeted beauty needs.
What they have: Clara Yeung Skincare is mostly focused on facial products (including toner, face cream, exfoliators, cleansing oil, eye cream and serum) but does also offer a few non-facial products, such as lip balm and deodorant.
Where to find: Contact Clara via email and she will send you her complete product and price list; you can also find her at markets and fairs around town. [Note: Clara’s Facebook Page is a great resource but mostly updated in Cantonese; as yet, she does not have an official website.]
Why we love them: Clara uses Fair Trade ingredients wherever possible.
Green Queen pick: We love Clara’s Chamomile & Calendula Gentle Cleansing Oil; we know many ladies out there who swear by Shu Uemura’s cleansing oil… and here’s the natural, toxin-free version!
Top image also sourced from Clara Yeung Skincare
Native Essentials was founded by Daniela Pelonara, a certified aromatologist and fully trained cosmetics chemist. After discovering the healing powers of essential oils and aromatherapy, she created Native Essentials as a complete luxury, aromatherapy, living care brand. They offer products for every aspect of your life, with solutions for every ailment. Forget the chemist and forgo the pharmacy – it’s time to invest in Native Essentials’ plant-based solutions for your daily health woes!
What they have: Native Essentials offers a huge collection of products (that’s too large to list here!), including essential oil blends, massage oil blends, baby care products, pregnancy care products, children care products, skincare, body care, hair care, aromatherapy remedies, diffusers and burners. They also provide bespoke services and will blend customised skincare products and aromatherapy remedies to suit your needs.
Where to find: Native Essentials’ entire collection is available through their e-commerce website here. A selection of their products are also stocked at various shops, spas, yoga studios, wellness centres and gyms in Hong Kong; for a complete list, check their website.
Why we love them: All Native Essentials’ ingredients are 100% certified organic, with absolutely zero toxins to distract from the healing power of the oils and essences they use. Eco bonus: Native Essentials will take back all their empty bottles and give you a 5% discount on your next order for going through the trouble of recycling… Win-win!
Green Queen pick: Try their Dry & Damaged Hair Mask with cedarwood, lavender and geranium in Argan oil. With extreme weather conditions on the rise, this potent potion will protect and rejuvenate your tresses.
Bella Sapone founder Bella Ip is the brains behind what has become one of Hong Kong’s most recognisable handmade beauty brands. Whilst developing Bella Sapone, she realised there was a way to involve the community whilst making safe, personal care products – and So… Soap! Was born! So… Soap! is a true social enterprise, a business with a conscience and a desire to benefit the community, as well as turn a profit. The company employs disadvantaged and marginalised women to make their products and uses recycled soya milk bottles as liquid soap containers.
What they have: So… Soap! makes bar soaps, liquid hand and body soap, lip balm, body cream and hand cream.
Where to find them: So… Soap! recently opened their first pop-up store in Causeway Bay so stay tuned for more of those in the future (and they can often be found at markets and fairs around town too); in the meantime, however, they are available at a host of retail outlets throughout the city (see the full list here).
Why we love them: On top of being the Hong Kong’s first soap social enterprise, So… Soap! works constantly to protect our planet’s resources – they organise bottle collection campaigns, practice upcycling and host soap-making workshops across the city.
Green Queen pick: We cannot get enough of their Tea Tree Hand Wash – it’s in every bathroom in our house! It seems like lots of local businesses agree too; we regularly spot So… Soap! in the washrooms of artisan cafés and restaurants throughout Hong Kong.
Swedish’s Handmade Bodycare
Rebecka Lundin, founder of Swedish’s Handmade Bodycare, grew up amongst plants and trees in her native Sweden. Inspired by a childhood filled with homegrown vegetables and natural remedies, Rebecka is passionate about the importance of using clean, toxin-free and non-synthetic products. She started making soaps in her tiny Hong Kong kitchen a few years ago and her hobby soon turned into a whole line of goodies – and us customers get to reap the rewards!
What they have: Swedish’s Handmade Bodycare line includes soap bars, lip balm, hand soap gel, eye make-up remover, face oil, hand cream, body lotion, shower gel, body scrub, oil burner incense and scented candles.
Where to find them: Email Rebecka directly to order (she sells her products from her apartment!) or catch her at various markets and fairs.
Why we love them: The homemade quality of this brand is hard to beat – Rebecka’s packaging is charmingly old-fashioned, with dried fruits and spices adorning pretty ribbons. Their products will make beautiful gifts for any special girls in your life!
Green Queen pick: We love the Sea Salt Body Scrub – it nails the perfect consistency of salt and oil, leaving our skin feeling smooth and moisturised. A total must-try!
Flower2 Grass by We Are NO Expert
The We Are NO Expert team approaches the making of every product as if it were their favourite after-school hobby – except the hobby in question is actually a fully-fledged handmade beauty and body-care line! Their cheerful Facebook updates feel like the notes your best friend used to pass you in class; each product has its own interesting story and unique packaging, although all share the same high quality, unprocessed ingredients.
What they have: We Are NO Expert’s Flower2 Grass line includes aloe vera gel, bath salts, facial polish, body oil, shower gel, hand cream, eye cream, day cream, night cream, make-up remover, facial toner spray, bar soaps and face masks.
Where to find them: We Are NO Expert showcase at fairs, markets and shopping centres around Hong Kong, with selected products stocked by Organic We in Mong Kok. You can also order online via their website’s order form here.
Why we love them: All Flower2 Grass products have a therapeutic element, with scents and ingredients chosen especially to help you detoxify both physically and mentally.
Green Queen pick: Their Amazing Kefir Yogurt Mask is a beauty must-have amongst local ladies in the know and we are totally on-board – the results are amazing!
Green Queen is Hong Kong’s #1 green living blog, which includes the Green Queen Guide to Hong Kong. With over 600 organic, artisanal and eco-friendly listings of shops, services and restaurants, they have all your sustainable lifestyle needs covered! Green Queen also hosts Made in HK Local Artisans Pop Up Events; Sassy is co-hosting the next one on 15 March 2014, so remember to RSVP here for a chance to win four pints of Happy Cow Dairy Free Ice Cream