Today’s natural beauty landscape is constant reminder that consumers are more conscious than ever about what goes onto their skin. Beauty enthusiasts are willing to trade heavy textures and high payoff for naturally pigmented products that leave a light, dewey feel on the skin. New to the vegan beauty scene is a Bay Area up-and-comer, HAN Skincare and Cosmetics.
Launched in June, 2015 by Bay Area resident Susan Wong, HAN is 100% vegetarian, colored with concentrated vegetable, fruit and plant pigments. HAN also boasts skincare benefits from natural ingredients like nourishing butters, moisturizing oils and anti-aging antioxidants from powerful super fruits.
Wong, a UC Berkeley HAAS School of Business graduate, opens up about her inspiration, her foray into business, beauty, and her favorite natural beauty brands.
Tell us about your background; what inspired you to start HAN Skin Care and Cosmetics?
I come from a background in both beauty and corporate finance which may seem like an odd combination; but, my experience in these industries has proven to be very complementary and enables me to look HAN Skin Care Cosmetics from multiple lenses. My foray into beauty began in college when I took a part time job on the cosmetics floor in department stores and Sephora. I was quickly intrigued and remember proactively studying ingredients on products, as if I were going to be tested on them in a final. I couldn’t ignore my passion for the beauty business so even after college I worked as a freelancer for several cosmetic brands on the weekends while working full-time in finance.
My beauty experience expanded my product knowledge and has allowed me to be more technically savvy when it comes to product development for HAN Skin Care Cosmetics. In addition, my years in corporate finance have helped me to think about my company more from a business standpoint and answer questions like what is our company mission, who is our target audience and what is our sales and marketing strategy. The intersection of these experiences has given me invaluable insight and a greater ability to launch and develop the roadmap for HAN Skin Care Cosmetics.
Why did you want to start an all natural line?
When I was pregnant 5 years ago, I was very conscious of not only what I was eating but also what I was putting on my skin, knowing that exposure to beauty products can potentially affect fetal development. I wanted to minimize the risk of adverse effects on my pregnancy so I sought non-toxic makeup that was also affordable and the selection then was far and few between. I had my “a-ha” moment then and decided I was going to fill a void and create and offer a healthy and natural (HAN) line of makeup that was also good for your skin and friendly on the wallet.
What makes HAN different from the other all-natural lines that are so popular today?
We’re different in that we focus on using effective skin care and antioxidant ingredients in makeup, even the pigments which are largely derived from plant, vegetable and fruit sources. For example, our cheek & lip tint is colored from beetroot, pink carrot, red quinoa, rose and cherry. We’re also relatively affordable for prestige quality products.
What beauty brands did you use growing up? And what brands inspire you today?
Growing up, I used products that were easily accessible and affordable to me – that typically meant drugstore brands, like Neutrogena. I was lucky that I didn’t have common skin problems growing up, like oily skin or acne, so a simple cleanser worked for me however little did I know back then that what I was applying was not necessarily good for my health. Fast forward to today, there are so many great natural beauty products particularly from independent brands. One of my favorites is Wonderland Organics. Alice the Founder makes phenomenal facial serums. Other favorites include Indie Lee and One Love Organics.
What type of feedback have you received from celebrities or major beauty bloggers using the line?
Celebrity MUA Paidge Padgett said in a recent article on Well + Good, “HAN Skin Care Cosmetics Chocolate Bronze Eye Shadow is one of the softest, silkiest eye shadows I have ever tried, and it’s made with a rice, not talc. Rich pigments, vibrant colors, and it’s made with natural fruit coloring from plants, veggies, and fruits such as pink carrot and rose. You can pronounce the entire ingredient list.”
Also, a few green beauty social influencers including Beauty by Britanie and Vlogger Valerie Lee who have commented on how pigmented the products are for an all natural beauty brand.
What are 3-5 must-have products from the line?
For me they are the Cool Coconut eyeshadow, Coral Candy blush and Nude Rose lip gloss. These are your everyday products for a natural and gorgeous look. You can also combine with other products to add dimension or create a new color. I like pairing a few of the eyeshadows together and applying a lip gloss over a lip tint.
Could you give us a tip on a quick pick-me-up product from Han (as well as an image of the product)?
The Cherry Cosmos Cheek & Lip Tint delivers instant color and that “I just worked out” flush. It’s very pigmented and may look intimidating, but you can achieve a sheer look or add more color as the tint is a buildable product. Start off with an easy hand and build if desired.
What’s in store for Han Cosmetics in the future?
We have several key initiatives that focus on expansion. The first is to grow the product collection with additional colors and new products. We have several in the 2016 pipeline. The second is to expand distribution and have a presence in more stores so consumers can enjoy the tactile experience of playing with and testing the colors in person. Of course, we’d also like to have a footprint internationally, but as a small business with limited resources we are focusing on one market at a time.