Hong Kong’s high humidity levels can climb to uncomfortable extremes. Here’s how to beat the heat, with our tried and tested beauty tips and products to tackle humidity and keep you cool all summer long.
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Hong Kong’s high humidity levels are no joke. This sizzling city is met with unbearable humidity nine months a year, and the soaring temperatures (climate change is very real!) on top of that have us desperate to be wearing as little as possible, making as little movement as possible, all while parked by an AC. But there is hope! We’ve put together this ultimate guide to beating the heat with tried and tested beauty tips, as well as our favourite product recommendations to help you deal with Hong Kong’s humidity and keep cool.
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Tips & Products To Keep Cool In Hong Kong Humidity
What Is Humidity And What Does It Do To Our Skin?
To find the best solution to beat humidity, it’s helpful to understand what humidity can do to the skin. Humidity refers to the amount of water vapour around you, so high humidity means significant moisture levels in the air. This does a number of things including not allowing sweat to evaporate, which leaves your body feeling hot and sticky. To cool off, you have to work harder — which means even more sweat and respiration.
High humidity also forces your pores to expand, opening up and collecting dirt and other fine particles that fly in. Think of this as nature’s sauna but, unfortunately, a more polluted version.
Your skin might even increase its sebum production in high humidity. The term sebum is used for that oily, waxy substance produced by your body’s sebaceous glands. It coats your skin and actually helps to moisturise and protect, but too much of it is what leads to that feeling of “oily skin” and the look of excess shine. And, excess sebum can lead to congestion and blocking of your pores.
Basically, Hong Kong’s humid conditions lead to skin congestion, as a mixture of sweat, dust and pollutants builds up (even more uncomfortable when masked!), leading to potential heat rashes, clogged pores, and inevitable acne and breakouts. We know how tiresome and frustrating it is to deal with inflammation, itchiness, the look of textured skin, excess oil (and so much sweat!) — so read on for some tips and tricks to tackle humidity.
Tried & Tested Tips And Tricks
Use A Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser In The Morning
Start your day with a clean palette by using a gentle lightweight cleanser in the morning. While washing your face with water can work (especially for more sensitive skin and drier skin types), using a good cleanser in the morning will help removes dust particles and dirt that accumulated on your face overnight. Your skin is prone to racking up more layers of dust and pollutants throughout the day, but at least you can be assured that these layers aren’t mixed with any overnight gunk.
Opt for oil-free and non-comedogenic cleansers containing ingredients that won’t clog your pores. We’re big fans of cleansers formulated with 2% salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that penetrate the skin deeper than an AHA or a PHA. A chemical exfoliant that suits most skin types, it helps your skin shed dead skin cells and remove impurities which stops anything from building up, reduces your sebum production and keeps your pores clear.
If your skin is more sensitive or new to chemical exfoliants, we’d suggest starting with a cleanser that incorporates a weaker BHA — like betaine salicylate or Salix alba (willow bark extract).
Read more: Our Favourite Cleansers – The Top 10 We Couldn’t Live Without
Reach For Oil-Controlling Products — Like A Clay Mask
With Hong Kong’s high humidity comes damp-looking skin with an unpleasant sheen from all the oil build-up (we’ve been there!). To stop the feel of greasy skin and the look of excess shine, reach for sebum-controlling products. Once or twice a week, pamper yourself with charcoal or clay-infused masks that absorb excess oil on your skin and draw out impurities (like dirt or grease) from your pores. Routine masking will help you keep your skin balanced and help regulate oil-moisture levels.
Don’t Forget To Moisturise
We’ve lost count of the number of people who tell us they don’t moisturise in hot summer. That’s a red flag! Your skin works in clever ways; it can detect whether you’ve done your homework (aka moisturised!), and when you haven’t, it’ll naturally secrete more oil than it already does as a defence mechanism.
Lesson learnt! No matter what the weather is like in Hong Kong, make sure to moisturise your skin to lock in hydration and create a protective layer against harmful external factors. To avoid feeling uncomfortable in the heat and humidity, put aside the denser “heavy-feel” creams and reach for water-based and gel-type moisturisers. Tinted moisturisers are also a great multifunctional option for those who want to cover blemishes and even skin tone while moisturising skin.
Never Skip SPF
In the world of skincare, it may be an offence to skip sunscreen. No matter how glum the day looks, where humidity levels stand, or what skin type you have, always use sun protection.
We’re often told that products with SPF are heavy, greasy and come with a dreaded white cast finish on the skin. To avoid all of this, reach for sunscreens in essence and gel forms. Sun essences and sun gels seamlessly glide onto the skin and offer a refreshing layer of UV protection, leaving you wondering if you’ve applied any sunscreen at all.
Read more: The Best SPF Moisturiser For Your Skin Type
Refresh and Reset
Keeping a facial mist and oil blotting sheets within reach can quickly soothe, refresh and rest your skin in the thick of humidity. These two products come in handy when your skin needs a quick hydration boost and an immediate solution to remove excess sebum. Best of all, they’re both compact enough to carry around in your pouch or leave on your work desk!
Our Favourite Products
Our skin has seen the best of days and its fair share of the worst of days — so trust our pick of products that work to beat Hong Kong’s humidity once and for all. Here are our tried and trusted must-have items we always make sure to stock up on.
Murad, Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser, $238
Murad’s Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser is a great option for purifying and clearing your pores, and preventing breakouts. Its oil-soluble gel formula melts away excess sebum and rinses away dead skin cells and bacteria, with salicylic acid to treat and prevent acne. Even those who don’t suffer from severe acne and breakouts (like this writer, knock on wood) will find this cleanser effective.
RARE Skinfuel, Activating Mist, $960
Post-cleansing, use a toner like Rare Skinfuel’s Activating Mist to restore your skin’s water-oil balance. Its moisturising properties tone, hydrate and soothe the skin. And, better yet, this toner doubles as a mist that you can generously spray on the skin throughout the day for a quick refresher!
The Ordinary, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, $98
Where you can, add a serum into your skincare routine. Serums offer a concentrated solution to directly target the issue at hand. A go-to for high humidity levels is The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, which blends niacinamide and zinc together to strengthen the skin barrier and brighten the complexion.
Clé de Peau, UV Protective Cream Tinted, $960
Lastly, wearing tinted moisturisers rather than foundation gives your skin enough coverage while letting it breathe. A recent favourite is Clé de Peau’s UV Protective Cream Tinted that’s fitted with SPF50+ PA++++ UV protection and features nourishing ingredients to moisturise skin and give skin an extra layer of protection from free radicals. While high humidity levels give us a more greasy-looking shine, this tinted moisturiser leaves skin with a matte finish while still allowing for a natural glow.
Hero image courtesy of Armin Rimoldi via Pexels, image 1 courtesy of Fleur Kaan via Unsplash, image 2 courtesy of Mike Von via Unsplash, image 3 courtesy of Curology via Unsplash, image 4 courtesy of RARE Skinfuel via Instagram, image 5 courtesy of Nati Melnychuk via Unsplash, image 6 courtesy of Beauty of Joseon, image 7 courtesy of Kalos Skincare via Unsplash, image 8 courtesy of Murad, image 9 courtesy of RARE Skinfuel, image 10 courtesy of The Ordinary, image 11 courtesy of Clé de Peau.