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Header image courtesy of Vitruvian Man
Despite our reputation for being a makeup lover’s paradise, a lot of Hong Kong’s own home-grown brands tend to get overlooked by visitors and locals alike. While we love digging around in our local SaSa or Bonjour as much as the next person, there’s more to beauty shopping in Hong Kong than just Japanese drugstore makeup and Korean sheet masks—read on for some of the best skincare and makeup brands that Hong Kong has to offer.
Founded in 2012 by lawyer-turned-Ayurvedic practitioner Kavita Khosa, luxury skincare and wellness brand Purearth is one of the more established brands on the list, with their products being stocked in the likes of Lane Crawford, American lifestyle brand Anthropologie, and Bicester Village in the UK. The Ayurvedic-inspired range covers everything from raw honey masques and antioxidant face creams, to highlighting serums and even artisanal gua sha tools.
As part of its recycling programme, Purearth now offers a free collection service to customers across Hong Kong and India wishing to recycle their empty products. For each jar or bottle that is returned as part of the programme, the company plants a tree in an effort to adopt greener business practices.
Purearth, 6/F, Cheung Hing Building, Kennedy Town | (+852) 6080 0045
This relatively new makeup brand—which stands for “Woke Up Like This”—is the brainchild of local influencer Jenn Lam and socialite Tawnia Lai. The products are designed in Hong Kong but made in California, and include a tinted physical sunscreen, a velvet-finish lip stain, and a newly launched liquid blush.
From its minimalist packaging to the dewy, wash-of-colour looks in the promotional images and pink-tiled showroom, it’s clear that WULT was envisioned as Hong Kong’s answer to trendy Gen Z beauty brands like Glossier, Milk Makeup, and fellow Asian makeup line, Sunnies Face.
WULT, 21/F, Cs Tower, 50 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 6229 5555
As you may have guessed from its name, coconuts are pretty central to Coconut Matter’s brand. This local beauty company has been making coconut-based deodorants, lip balms, lipsticks, soaps, and hand and body balms since 2015, and can be found at popular sustainable stores like Live Zero and Foodcraft.
Everything in their range comes in recyclable, compostable packaging, and is made from fair-trade virgin coconut oil from the Solomon Islands. Apart from their signature natural deodorants, Coconut Matter’s best product is probably their enormous tinted lip balm, which can even be used all over the face for a monochromatic makeup look.
Coconut Matter, Room B, 12/F, Block II, Kingley Industrial Building, 33 Yip Kan Street, Wong Chuk Hang | (+852) 9539 1151
Another Hong Kong brand with an abbreviated tongue-in-cheek name is I Never Use Foundation, the in-house skincare line of eco-friendly store INUF Breakfast Club. Everything in their range is plant-based and free from silicone, mineral oil, alcohol, parabens, and artificial fragrance. The products—which were designed with Asian skin and climates in mind—can be blended to maximise their efficacy, and INUF has even created a recipe guide for its customers.
You can explore their recommended products here; the items are categorised according to your skin type but the lightweight, soothing Hydration B5 Balancing Serum is an easy winner that suits most complexions. In keeping with the store’s philosophy of conscious consumption, you can bring your empty packaging into the Tsim Sha Tsui store to be refilled or recycled in exchange for loyalty points.
INUF, 21/F, MW Plaza, 40 Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 3904 0390
For makeup products that are artist-approved, look no further than the eponymous line from working Hong Kong-based makeup artist Natasha Moor. Having decided to create the brand after seeing the confidence her makeovers gave to trafficking victims and recovering drug addicts at a women’s shelter, Moor has made self-love and female empowerment a cornerstone of her brand with product names like “Boss”, “Self-made”, and “Take Control”.
The line, which launched with a collection of bullet lipsticks in flattering nudes and reds, has since expanded to include complexion and eye products, and can be found in Sephora stores across Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.
While luxury beauty brands for men are (unfortunately) few and far between, we’re pleased to see that Hong Kong has at least one excellent representative in that department: Vitruvian Man. This no-frills line has only four products in its range—a two-in-one cleanser and toner, a day cream with SPF, a hydrating gel-cream, and an eye cream. As the passion project of a former pharmaceutical chemist, Vitruvian Man’s ingredients lists are all killer, no filler—you won’t find any silicones, petrochemicals, or alcohol here.
All of Vitruvian Man’s products are vegan, cruelty-free, and made from certified organic ingredients.
After a health scare that led to her leaving the finance industry, Akar Skin founder Kate Chen took a trip to the Tibetan Plateau that changed her life. Inspired by the “prized fruits” she found there, the Hong Kong-based entrepreneur founded her skincare brand, which she named after the Tibetan word for “white crystal”: a reference to the purity of its organic, wild-harvested ingredients.
The product range, which features cleansers, toners, face oils, and face mists, is cruelty-free and almost entirely vegan (the one exception being the lip balm, which contains beeswax). Standouts include the plush, hydrating Restore eye serum and the rosewater-based Balance toner, which features willow bark (a.k.a. the oily skin saviour) as a hero ingredient.