HAN Skin Care Cosmetics founder and CEO, Susan Wong, had her eureka moment while scouring the beauty aisles for organic makeup products that didn’t break the bank.
When Wong decided to switch to green beauty in 2011, she realized that even though natural skincare products were readily available in stores, non-toxic cosmetics were almost nonexistent. Moreover, the ones displayed in specialty stores came with a high price tag.
Noticing this void in the marketplace, Wong came up with the idea of HAN Skin Care Cosmetics. A line of affordable, clean makeup that would appeal to all eco-conscious consumers.
Today, Wong’s dream venture is going strong, offering an array of all-natural beauty products from lip and cheek tints to blushes, bronzers and eyeshadows. All the cosmetics are formulated with natural ingredients like oils, shea butter, fruit extract, vegetable and plant pigments and pure minerals.
Here, I chatted with Wong to learn more about her cosmetic line, why organic makeup is safer and all things natural beauty:
Noma Nazish: What sparked your interest in natural and organic beauty?
Susan Wong: My pregnancy, seven years ago, led me to search for healthier alternatives to conventional makeup which commonly contains harmful ingredients. Like many first-time expectant mothers, I did more research during this time and learned that the fetus is highly susceptible to dangerous chemicals due to its immature metabolism. As a result, I wanted to minimize my exposure to toxic ingredients and knew it wasn’t just what I ate but also what I put on my skin that would go into my system and affect the health of my baby. This concern sparked my interest in natural beauty.
NN: What makes natural and organic makeup products a better choice?
SW: As a whole, natural and organic products avoid the use of toxic and questionable ingredients, such as phthalates and parabens, that are linked to health risks and found in many conventional products. Instead, natural and organic beauty products tend to include ingredients that are beneficial for the skin and consciously exclude cheap fillers that dilute the products’ integrity and drive down manufacturing costs. Also, most natural beauty brands tend to be cruelty-free.
NN: What motivated you to start your own natural cosmetics line?
SW: I started paying attention to cosmetic ingredients and labels when I was younger and worked in several beauty stores. However, I became particularly discerning during my pregnancy. The research I did and stories I heard about the dangerous ingredients lurking in cosmetics had me alarmed. So, I went searching for non-toxic and safer makeup that didn’t sacrifice performance or quality, or cost an arm and a leg. I struggled to find such options and when I realized there was a void in the marketplace, I had my “aha!” moment. I decided then that I would create and offer healthy and effective natural makeup that was also reasonably priced, in order to make them more accessible to more people.
NN: Which is your bestselling product?
SW: I would say there are two. One right now that’s really hot is our Malibu Bronzer. It has been featured in various media publications since its debut last winter. The bronzer is matte and talc-free. It uses cocoa powder, cocoa seed butter and argan oil. Another popular product of ours is the Rose Berry Cheek & Lip Tint. It’s great for a wide age range thanks to its creamy formula.
NN: Besides vegan beauty, what other things are you passionate about?
SW: Running! I’ve been an avid runner for about 20 years now and hope to continue for another few decades at least! It’s an essential part of my life, even more so as an entrepreneur, as a way of relieving stress and helping me feel ready to take on the next challenge.
NN: What do you love most about creating green beauty products?
SW: Knowing that I am contributing to the green beauty movement and helping the environment by offering safer and healthier makeup. And helping consumers feel better about what they’re putting on their skin.
NN: What has been the most surprising thing about running your own beauty company?
SW: Realizing that there are many other female entrepreneurs in the beauty business who have gone through or are going through similar experiences. One of the great things about being part of the green beauty community is the elevated sense of camaraderie. By and large, we support and inspire each other.
NN: What would be your top tips for women who want to transition to organic beauty?
SW: It’s perfectly fine to introduce clean products gradually. Especially if you have sensitive skin – as an abrupt switch to a new set of ingredients may cause irritation. Learning to read ingredient labels will help you make better and more informed choices and offers a sense of empowerment. Many resources on green beauty education are available on the internet and from retailers and influencers dedicated to clean beauty, such as Credo Beauty and the Organic Bunny, respectively.
NN: So, what’s next for you and HAN Skin Care Cosmetics?
SW: We’re focusing on expanding our product ofsome fering into new categories based on customer and retailer feedback. We’re working on a CC cream with SPF and some other products. We aim to release some of them by the end of the year. We’re also focusing on expanding our presence and distribution in the U.S.
NN: What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs who want to launch their own beauty line?
SW: Have a clear vision of what you want to offer and a plan in place to better understand and run your business. The beauty industry is a saturated and competitive market – be sure to have a point of difference. If this is your passion and you have all your ducks in a row for launching your beauty line – go for it and stay fully committed!
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.