Beauty with a conscience
With the “go, go, go” nature of parenting, we’re constantly looking for a pick-me-up. Whether it’s to prevent dry skin in the cold months or to keep your nose matte in Hong Kong’s humidity, it’s no surprise that makeup, skincare, oils, creams (and countless other lotions and potions) have become daily features. But do we really know what we’re putting on our skin? With the growing concern for animal welfare, and the standards to which they are kept, it’s still shocking to see how many of our favourite brands continue to test products on animals. The pollution, weather and work-hard/play-hard lifestyle of this city combine and we turn to products to keep our skin looking and feeling 100%. Some products exist to help your skin stay youthful, others are shimmery top numbers to take your date night up a notch, whilst the best become part of your pampering routine. But, wouldn’t it be nice to know that we can start making a difference by changing what we slather onto our bodies (and make ourselves feel fabulous while we’re at it)? Here are some of our top picks for cruelty free makeup and skincare brands to try out now…
The New Zealand brand’s mantra is to have “maximum effect on your skin, minimum effect on our environment” and that’s just what it does! As well as being cruelty free, the products are non-GMO and certified natural. With recyclable and environmentally friendly packaging to boot, this brand is leading in saving our planet, one product at a time! Make sure to check out the Organic Rosehip Oil, which can help to reduce the appearance of scars, fine lines and pigmentation and restore the skin’s moisture balance.
Available online here or at 2/F, Wellington Plaza, 56 – 58 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Just because we want youthful, younger-looking skin doesn’t mean we want products that harm the environment, which is why another New Zealand company with a conscience is making us taking notice. Antipodes uses sustainably sourced, certified organic ingredients to create products to support collagen, elastin and antioxidant activity (hello, looking years younger!). Featuring locally sourced antioxidants (think: pinot noir grapes, kiwifruit, boysenberries and blackcurrants), the products are winning awards and their fragrance is fab!
Available at select Watson’s, and here.
A firm favourite amongst the Sassy Team, LUSH is renowned for its all natural skincare and products. As well as always taking a solid stance against animal testing; in recent years, all LUSH soaps have been made with palm-free soap base, and the brand has also removed all traces of palm oil from its products – helping to reduce the impact on the environment. It’s always great to see big brands lead by example.
Available online here or from LUSH stores across Hong Kong.
Coconut Oil has become a household staple and Coconut Matter’s amazing products are some of the finest out there. The brand chooses to only work with fairtrade farmers to ensure that all of the products are pure and organically made just for us (as well as being cruelty free!). Coconut Matter have an awesome range of products from lip balms and soaps, to creamed coconut for cooking (even making a coconut barbecue sauce!), but my choice pick is its original Odourless Coconut Oil – use it to moisturise, tame frizzy hair, remove makeup, shave your legs and so much more!
Read more: 10 Ways To Use Coconut Oil
Available online here.
A personal favourite of mine, Aesop is known for its sleek design and minimal approach to packaging (the products are forever popping up on my insta feed #bathroomgoals) – so it’s a huge plus that the brand doesn’t use any animal-derived ingredients and that none of the finished products are tested on animals. A staple in my bathroom is the Reverence Aromatique Hand Wash, which smells amazing and gently exfoliates hands to leave them feeling silky smooth!
The British makeup brand is always my go-to as the products work super well for everyday looks and for getting glam in the evenings! The colossal range of makeup, skincare and the recently launched perfume are all cruelty free; with the company not testing the finished products or any of the ingredients they contain on animals. For an ultra-long-lasting eye pencil, with a shade to make every eye colour pop, be sure to try out the Colour Chameleon pencil, along with her Hollywood Beauty Light Wand Highlighter.
Available online via Net-a-Porter.
Gourmet Skin Bar is HK’s luxury organic beauty boutique and your one stop shop for products which are 100% natural and never tested on animals. GSB has done the hard work for us and offer up an incredible range of independent luxury brands, with a focus on making natural and sustainable products – so better for us and for the planet! Offering a selection on brands available for delivery on its website, you can be sure that you’re getting quality products which have never been tested on animals (except people!).
Available online here.
With a master’s degree in library science, the creator of évolué Skincare researched what makes us age – then went ahead to counteract it. The products are made with the best ingredients around the world, set to replace fatty acids, moisture, oils, collagen, and elastin that we lose with age. Sounds pretty good to us. To top it off, the company goes above and beyond to ensure that ALL ingredients, plant or animal based are cruelty free and sustainably sourced.
Available online here with selected products available at Harvey Nichols.
GSB is HK’s luxury organic beauty boutique and your one stop shop for products which are 100% natural and never tested on animals. GSB have done the hard work for us and offer up an incredible range of independent luxury brands, with a focus on making natural and sustainable products – so better for us and for the planet! One of their top picks is the Black Tea Pigmented Ultra Lengthening Mascara by 100% Pure. The all natural formula promises to lengthen, separate and thicken your lashes, whilst leaving them conditioned.
Available online here.
We tried out the KARI GRAN Lip Whip (which is included as part of Harvey Nichols’ new eco-luxe Clean Beauty Box!) and loved the soft, pillowy texture. Perfect as an everyday lip balm, with just enough of a hint of colour, the cruelty-free products are a must try.
Available from Harvey Nichols Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong and Harvey Nichols Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong.
A brand certified by both PETA and The Leaping Bunny Program as cruelty-free, Urban Decay is committed to ending animal testing and is definitely one that you can feel great about using (on the inside and out!). Even the makeup brushes are cruelty-free and vegan, allowing you to perfect your look with the velvety soft bristles made from recycled plastic bottles! It would be criminal to not mention the iconic Naked Eyeshadow Palette. Loved by girls worldwide, it’s loaded with 12 bronze hues and mixes it up with a little matte and a little shimmer to provide us with the ultimate tool for any look.
Too Faced is another amazing brand that is dedicated to being 100% cruelty free, and it has an extensive list of products on its website which are totally vegan. A must try for any Sassy Girl has got to be its Hangover Primer. Infused with coconut water, use to boost skin’s radiance, promote elasticity and give your makeup extra staying power! Perfect for skin that’s crying out for a little love after one too many late nights.
Available online via Sephora.
Okay, this one isn’t strictly available in Hong Kong yet, but it’s 100% worth an honourable mention amongst our fave cruelty free brands. It had us at the simple and chic packaging, but the products themselves all offer so much more than what’s on the surface. We’ve especially been loving the boy brow eyebrow grooming wand of late. All you need for perfect brows in a flash, with none of the fuss!
Available online here, with shipping to UK, USA and Canada – with the hopes of coming to Hong Kong soon!
Landing in Hong Kong this past summer, John Masters Organics is a leading organic beauty brand from the US, which is also strictly against animal testing. With more than 25 years in the beauty bizz, the brands mantra is to promote “perfectly natural beauty”, stocking everything from haircare, to skin and body care products for men and women. We especially like the rose and apricot hair milk, a leave-in product sure to refresh even the most tired looking tresses.
For the last three decades The Body Shop has campaigned against animal testing, and has been an industry front runner for cruelty free products. With its hashtag, #ForeverAgainstAnimalTesting, the brand ensures that it is always cruelty free, 100% vegetarian and Leaping Bunny certified, so whether you’re looking for face or hair products, bath or body care, fragrances, makeup and gifts, The Body Shop is the place to head to.
Rooted in ancient Ayurvedic wisdom and with the mission to create ethical skincare, Purearth is all about being vegetarian, vegan and cruelty free. For the most energising exfoliant, a must-try is the Himalayan Salt Body Polish. Made from the pure salt crystals and blended with bitter apricot kernels and wild pomegranate, use this for an indulgent at home spa-experience and come away feeling truly refreshed and ready for anything!
Find it at 6/F Cheung Hing Ind Building, 12P Smithfield Road, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong or online here!
“Existing to make a positive difference in women’s lives” – bareMinerals have always strived to be different and of course take a solid stance against animal testing. The products are formulated with purity in mind, so that you can be sure to feel good about what you’re putting onto your skin. Although the range has grown so much, the original SPF 15 Foundation is still a favourite of mine, available in so many shades and with the guarantee of a silky, soft and flawless finish; you can never go wrong!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2016 and was updated in February 2018.
Featured image courtesy of Getty. Image #1 courtesy of Trilogy HK via Facebook, image #2 courtesy of LUSH Hong Kong via Facebook, image #3 courtesy of Coconut Matter via Instagram, image #4 courtesy of Aesop via Instagram, image #5 courtesy of ctilburymakeup via Instagram, image #6 courtesy of BareMinerals HK via Facebook, image #7 courtesy of Urban Decay Cosmetics via Facebook, image #8 courtesy of Too Faced Cosmetics via Facebook, image #9 courtesy of Gourmet Skin Bar via Facebook, image #10 courtesy of Purearth via Facebook, image #11 courtesy of The Body Shop via Facebook, image #12 courtesy of Ouai Haircare via Facebook, image #13 courtesy of John Masters Organics via Facebook, image #14 courtesy of Kari Gran Skincare and Mineral Makeup via Facebook, image #15 courtesy of Glossier via Facebook; image #16 courtesy of Evolue Skincare Hong Kong via Facebook.