As the covid fourth wave surges and salons close indefinitely, we’re once again faced with the problem of keeping our skin in optimal condition — and all by ourselves with. We asked two beauty experts in Hong Kong about their favourite skincare products that can be used chez vous for the best home spa experiences.
Rare Skin Fuel founder Michelle Chen is no stranger to maintaining good skin within the confinement of her own home. Her obsession with anti-ageing culminated in her creation of a range of 100 percent Australian-made skincare products manufactured in strictly limited quantities with extensive certified organic and native Aussie ingredients. Made with a long and complex heat-free blending procedure, Rare Skin Fuel delivers a one-of-a-kind treatment for the skin.
With a heavy emphasis on only the finest botanical extracts and other natural nutrient-rich ingredients, Rare Skin Fuel’s products can just as easily be used at home as in a spa. With people having to stay indoors a lot more recently, constantly wearing face masks and going make-up-free, Rare Skin Fuel’s mission to “reveal, not conceal” true beauty rings strong. Its botanical ingredients are obtained via a new extraction technology that, unlike traditional methods which degrade the source material, works to preserve the plants as they exist in nature, so that they’re pure, stable and active for long periods. The two-step manufacturing process – the hot phase binds and blends the cream-based products’ ingredients, while the subsequent cold phase preserves the extracts’ minerals, vitamins and nutrients – ensures that the skin receives the benefits of the ingredients at their optimum quality and potency.
Eliminating the risk of contamination during transport, every product is manufactured, hand-blended and packed with Australian-grown ingredients at the same facility. Unlike many skincare companies that use hot and humid shipping containers, Rare Skin Fuel’s final-batch products are flown from Australia to an air-conditioned warehouse in Hong Kong, ensuring quality and effectiveness. Recently, it launched a home spa kit to help users create a spa-like experience. To achieve this, Chen suggests beginning with the Detoxifying Australian Clay Mask and Refreshing Activator, which deeply cleanses, refines and exfoliates pores and dead skin cells for clearer and smoother skin. Afterwards, to balance out the drying effect of the detoxifying clay, soothe and moisturise the skin with the Restoring Australian Clay Mask and Nourishing Activator.
Botanic Pretti5, another locally founded but Japanese- bred skincare brand, also has unique products and tools to achieve spa-grade results at home. Born out of a passion to create clean products inspired by nature, Botanic Pretti5 harnesses the power of Chinese medicine using cutting-edge Western technology. Its modern skincare solutions are designed to fortify the skin’s natural immunity to combat stress, pollution and premature ageing. The low-irritant, non-comedogenic [non-pore- blocking] formula works for everyone – especially those with sensitive skin and rosacea. In particular, the brand offers a De-Puff and Shine set that achieves the same results as a facial, providing three easy steps for deep hydration that can alleviate large pores, puffiness and dark eye circles.
The set includes an Antioxidant Hydrating Toning Essence, a Miracle Glow Facial Oil and a Rose Quartz Facial Roller. The brand’s award-winning Antioxidant Hydrating Toning Essence contains snow-mushroom extracts and Japanese Goldflower root extract to provide deep hydration and pore refinement. It’s pH-balanced and contains no alcohol, so as to avoid irritating sensitive skin, provide better oil control and reduce acne breakouts. Founder Dorothy Chau suggests moisturising the skin with this toning essence after showering, followed by applying one or two drops of the multi-purpose, 100 percent plant-based Miracle Glow Facial Oil, which has a non-greasy formula infused with squalene and jojoba oil. The ginger extract in the oil also helps improve blood circulation and reduces facial bloating and dark circles, is easy to absorb and can be applied to the eye area without causing milia. Follow up with a gentle face massage using the Rose Quartz Facial Roller, one of the best-known ancient Chinese beauty tools whose multiple benefits remain popular to this day. Using this roller helps to reduce puffiness, removes extra water retention and toxins in the skin, promotes collagen production and reduces the appearance of fine lines, while brightening the skin tone by improving blood circulation for healthy and nourished skin.
A properly drawn bath can work wonders as a home spa treatment
The dry winter weather makes hydration of utmost importance. Fortunately, NARS has also recently released a skincare collection, which contains algae extract from Brittany in France to help stimulate natural cellular renewal and help skin look smoother, brighter and more evenly toned. It also replenishes the skin with mineral seawater harvested from the lagoons of French Polynesia to deliver essential moisture and minerals – such as calcium, magnesium and sulphur – to the skin’s surface. For those worried about dull skin, this collection also contains uniquely shaped Light Active Micro-Prisms to diffuse external light, just as a prism would, to optimise light reflection and result in a more luminous and
If you’re looking for something more potent, Valmont has a Prime Renewing Pack that includes two exclusive anti-ageing and anti-wrinkle ingredients: Liposomed RNA and the Peptides+Cocktail, which can immediately smooth and repair skin so that the face glows with radiant youth. An anti-stress cellular mask, whose formula visibly smooths and relaxes the facial features, it also provides long-term anti-ageing benefits by stimulating the skin’s essential functions. Its moisturising line also provides effective, customised hydration and features a cream that also acts as a mask for optimal hydration, with just one application.
Aside from the face, body and hair-care spa treatments can also be undertaken at home with Augustinus Bader’s body collection and Laura Mercier’s bath products, as well as Aveda and Kérastase’s specialised hair masks. A game changer since it entered the market, Augustinus Bader recently launched a body lotion and oil. The body lotion contains a protective polysaccharide compound that boosts inter-cellular communication and the skin’s ability to retain water, while rejuvenating shea butter and soothing aloe vera also make it ideal for after-sun care. Informed and inspired by 30 years of research and innovation, the body oil is powered by Augustinus Bader’s proprietary TFC8 complex, which blends natural amino acids, high-grade vitamins and synthesised molecules to enhance the skin’s innate process of rejuvenation and repair. The lightweight compound meets a range of needs, due to a fast-absorbing formula that improves the skin at the deepest levels, promoting overall dermatological health and resilience. “Our new high- performance body oil works to nourish and protect the skin’s integrity while supporting its renewal process. The more you use it, the stronger and healthier your skin will look,” Professor Augustinus Bader says.
During these trying times, a properly drawn bath can work wonders as a spa treatment at home. Laura Mercier’s almond coconut milk scrub is a polishing scrub with sugar granules and exfoliating beads that gently sloughs skin as well as clarifies and tones it. The creamy texture removes dead cells from the surface, leaving the skin soft and silky. The macadamia nut and sweet almond oils containing vitamins A and E also help to moisturise, protect and soothe.
The highlight of Laura Mercier’s bath products, however, is the fragrance. The warm fragrance of this scrub captures the essences not only of almond and coconut milk, but also jasmine, rosewood, ylang-ylang, vanilla, tonka, heliotrope and musk. Or pamper yourself with its Ambre Vanillé honey bath whose thick and rich bubbles will leave your skin velvety smooth and senses calm and relaxed. The nourishing blend of shea butter, vanilla extracts, sweet almond proteins, hydrolysed rice, oat proteins and Vitamin B-5 moisturises, rebalances and protects the skin. The quiet sensuality of amber blended with the warmth of vanilla is enhanced with fresh notes of tangerine and tiger orchid, sweet notes of almond and brown sugar, as well as a final hint of musky sandalwood for a finish that’s soft, intimate and addictive.
Combat dull and lacklustre hair with Kérastase’s Masque Reconstituant, a rich, thick white cream which provides intense hydration and nourishment for hair fibres without weighing it down. It also helps fortify the hair to become smoother and softer. Likewise, Aveda has also recently launched its first nutrient-powered all-day moisturiser for dry hair. A blend of organic pomegranate oil, coconut oil and mango butter, this unique product intensely moisturises and replenishes dry and depleted hair.
“Coconut oil is known to penetrate the hair strands for nourishment, and the pomegranate oil and mango butter help smooth and nourish the surface of the hair,” said Christine Hall, Aveda’s vice president of research and development. “Pomegranate oil has powerful nutritional benefits for the hair; rich in omega-5 fatty acid, it helps revitalise dull and dry hair with hydration and protects it from depletion.”
With these products targeting face, hair and body, rest assured that they’ll keep you well taken care of from head to toe while access to spas and salons may not necessarily be guaranteed.
(Hero shot: Botanic Pretti5’s De-puff and Shine Collection)