Header images courtesy of Glohs (via Facebook)
Originally published by Sophie Pettit. Last updated by Grace Chong and Kopal Manglik.
As today’s health-savvy consumers become increasingly aware of the harmful chemicals found in skincare products, as well as the cruel implications of animal testing, more and more beauty brands are stepping up their game to source natural and ethical ingredients that don’t harm the environment—or our skin. If you’re looking to say “no” to the nasties, check out the best organic and cruelty-free beauty brands in Hong Kong.
Beauty influencers Jenn Lam and Tawnia Lai are the co-founders of WULT (Woke Up Like This), a vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics line that is based in Hong Kong and produced in California. Launched in partnership with local skincare brand Skin Need, the founders’ mission is to promote self-love, positive energy, female empowerment, and community, all while doing good for the planet and its people. Making sure that everyday must-haves do not negatively impact their health and the environment, WULT produces a range of high-quality essentials such as serums, sunblocks, cleansers, and beauty products like lip dabs and concealers.
At their brick-and-mortar shop, you can not only check out their products in person, but also receive private skincare treatments that range from clinical peels and skin energising treatments to transformative lifts. With their comprehensive and complimentary skincare and make-up consultations, you can find the most suitable cosmetic products from their line to achieve your desired results.
WULT, 19/F, 11 Stanley Street, Central | (+852) 6229 5555
Biochemist and Skin Need founder Christal Leung firmly believes that “there is no ‘one size fits all’” when it comes to skincare, especially in Hong Kong’s polarising climate, where one can go from “high temperature, humidity, and air pollution one minute to cool and dry air-con the next.” It encapsulates the mission of Skin Need, where Leung places a focus on natural and organic formulas that are kind to your skin and the earth.
Skin Need even offers a complimentary analysis, which helps the team to create customised skincare products by mixing and blending their extensive line of over 50 formulas. Some of our favourite products include the sunblock range—a must-need for Hong Kong summers! Suitable even for babies, their gentle oil-free moisturiser with SPF18 ($588) or UV Perfect sunblock with SPF40 ($588) not only protect you from the sun but also soothe, hydrate, and refresh the skin. Skin Need products can be purchased in-store at WULT’s two locations in Causeway Bay and Central as well as their online store.
Having already conquered the local market with Skin Need, founder Christal Leung founded Hong Kong’s first independent and home-grown unisex skincare brand in 2021. BYOB (Blend Your Own Beauty) manufactures its products in a state-of-the-art local laboratory with purely natural, cruelty-free, vegan, and botanical ingredients, so you can rest easy knowing that this one’s good for both you and the planet.
Its serums can help treat a number of skin issues common in Hong Kong, including acne scarring, hyperpigmentation, breakout, acne, and skin sensitivity. If you are looking to pamper yourself, look to their line of nourishing face masks ($298) with hero ingredients of hemp seed, charcoal, and green tea. BYOB products can be purchased in-store at WULT’s two locations in Causeway Bay and Central and their online store.
On a mission to inspire a lifestyle of well-being and sustainability, Hong Kong-based brand Coconut Matter has nailed it when it comes to offering amazing natural products at affordable prices. Coconut Matter chooses to only work with fair trade farmers to ensure that all of the products are organically made—as well as being cruelty-free.
For their products, coconuts are harvested from naturally wild coconut trees that grow in the pristine Solomon Islands, which are untouched by pollutants and chemicals, so you know you’re getting some of the purest virgin coconut oil on the planet. From lip balms to body butters and their famous Wild Beauty virgin coconut oil, their gorgeous products not only smell fantastic, but also keep your hair and skin beautifully soft and silky all day long.
Founded by inspiring breast cancer survivor and Hong Kong native Giselle Lee, Glohs offers products comprised only of natural ingredients, and organic whenever possible. Lee created the brand after discovering the shocking amount of harmful chemicals used in mainstream skincare products while she was battling the illness and dealing with the side effects of her treatments. This led her to take extensive classes to learn more about mineral, essential oils, and herbal remedies, and how these substances could help her during her journey to recovery.
As a result, her extensive range of lotions, gels, serums, toners, and creams contain no synthetic fertilisers or pesticides, and instead rely on some rather interesting natural ingredients that have been used for decades and centuries to treat various skin ailments. Her Hydrate & Refine facial serum ($880), for example, contains galactomyces ferment filtrate, a by-product of fermented sake, while her balm for all skin types ($480) contains bamboo silk extract. She also shares some very important and useful advice on her blog regarding product labelling and what to look out for when browsing the shelves in conventional beauty stores.
Particularly amounts Asian women, the topic of ageing is quite the social pariah of topics, with wrinkles and laugh lines hastily covered up with thick foundations and concealers. Michelle Chen, a self-proclaimed “skincare believer” who is highly aware of the unnecessary shame behind age, created Rare SkinFuel to help women develop personalised skincare routines that remove the fear of change and offer inspiration.
Rare SkinFuel is cruelty-free and sustainable, utilising recyclable PET material in its packaging and committing to no animal testing in its development process. In order to deliver the highest level of product, Rare SkinFuel makes usage of a new extraction methodology, cellular extraction, to ensure that botanical properties are preserved and processes products in a heat-free blending process. Sourcing from amongst the best native Australian ingredients, production is kept small to ensure that orders are fresh for clients!
Skincare enthusiast and supermum Daniela Pelonara takes inspiration from across the world in running Native Essentials, having scoured through different countries and cultures for their best beauty secrets and formulas. As a woman wearing many hats and juggling many roles, Pelonara fully understands the strain of being a modern woman, and thus, created Native Essentials around the must-haves of contemporary beauty—clean and minimal lines, eco-friendly and organic, and multi-purpose, of course.
Particularly passionate about spa cultures, native beauty rituals, and botanicals, Pelonara’s Native Essentials consists of eight plant-based products that aim to parse down on complicated skincare routines. With natural essential oils, botanicals, and active ingredients from India, Thailand, China, Korea, New Zealand, Iceland, Italy, and France, there is sure to be something suitable for every skin type!
Truly a labour of love between two friends and workout buddies looking to solve their own need for clean and effective deodorant, ZeroYet100 has taken the Hong Kong beauty and skincare scene by storm. Especially in Hong Kong’s notorious summers of humid weather and polluted skies, founders Anita Patel and Sheetal Avlani sought to create a line of deodorants that is both environmentally- and bodily-friendly (both to yourself and your neighbour).
Four years after their initial launch, ZeroYet100 has since launched a line of skincare products that are toxin- and chemical-free, personally guaranteed by the founders who test all products only on themselves! With all formulation and testing done in Hong Kong, then packaged in recyclable or upcycled packaging, this brand holds true to its mantra —“nothing toxic yet 100 percent effective.”
It’s no surprise that the hot and humid climes have made many of our skins a war zone, coupled with unpredictable dry spells and sudden extensive air condition blasts. With that in mind, So Good Botanicals was created with the Hongkonger’s skin in mind in order to tackle the seemingly impossible challenge of maintaining healthy and good skin in a city of unpredictable weather and relentless stress.
Rather than creating products with harsh chemicals that dry the skin out for fast effects, So Good Botanicals utilises natural and organic plant-based ingredients, high in antibiotics, antioxidants, vitamins, antifungals, and minerals. Given that the skin is our first layer of defence against the outside world, strengthening and nourishing it with the cleanest ingredients is key to staying healthy.
So Good Botanicals commits to no animal testing and using cruelty-free formulas, offering transparency on its ingredient sourcing process and production so consumers can ensure both clean skin and conscience!
Skincare is rarely a topic of discussion when it comes to men’s healthcare, with the popular trope of guys saying “Oh, I just use soap and water!” causing more harm than humour. Aiming to address the unhealthy perception of what men’s skincare should be like, Hong Kong chemist Vivian Lau created Vitruvian Man and seeks to tackle the assumption that men’s skin requires less care and sensitive treatment than women’s.
After consulting with a panel of beauty experts, dermatologists, and scientists, Vitruvian Man was created as a solution geared particularly towards men’s skin. Making full use of the best organic ingredients, its products aim to relieve not just external skincare issues, but internal stressors as well. And to address another facet of toxic masculinity, Vitruvian Man donates two percent of all profits to mental health charities!