Over the last few years, Hong Kong has really grown in terms of great homegrown natural beauty brands available here, and we were excited to see another one launch this summer – Omaia Skincare.
Having spent years working in the F&B and hospitality industries here in Hong Kong, Bulgarian-born power couple Arturo Sims and his wife Ana decided they wanted to bring the incredible powers of the organic Bulgarian rose water they grew up with to Hong Kong… and thus, Omaia was born.
Pure, natural, organic, vegan and cruelty-free, we were totally impressed with Omaia’s green credentials – and having tested out their rose water over the last few weeks, we’ve been equally impressed with its gorgeous scent and fantastic refreshing and hydrating qualities (ideal for hot and humid Hong Kong).
We sat down for a chat with co-founder Arturo to discover more about the amazing properties of rose water, its painstaking production process, and some of the biggest challenges they faced along the way in launching a brand new beauty product:
What inspired you to start Omaia?
Back home in Bulgaria, the benefits of rose water have been passed down the generations – our grandmothers would always spray our skin with rose water, teaching us how to use it.
Upon leaving Bulgaria, we discovered that maintaining healthy skin was no easy task! Spending hundreds of dollars on different creams and lotions, nothing seemed to deliver results. We finally decided to go back to our roots and started using rose water again – and quickly felt revitalised by the freshness of this great product. But after years of living in Asia, we realised there was a lack of 100% pure, organic, natural rose water on the market; it was difficult to find, wasn’t always pure, and the packaging was not convenient to use and almost always plastic.
During our honeymoon, we travelled once again to Bulgaria’s Rose Valley, where we fell in love with the place. The floral scent in the air is everywhere, the water is fresh, and the land is pure. That is where the idea for Omaia was born – why not create our own line of organic, pure, natural, vegan and cruelty-free beauty products? We decided to start with our 100% organic rose water, which is sourced from one of the oldest and most renowned distilleries in Bulgaria.
What are the key benefits of rose water?
There are so many! Rose water is a powerful hydrating agent, soothes skin irritations, and is a natural disinfectant that helps heal wounds and scars; it’s a great product to use on burns. It refreshes the skin quickly, bringing back plumpness and elasticity. Rose water also contains many antioxidants, which help with anti-ageing, and its neutral pH helps balance the skin; it can be used as a natural cleanser, an eczema and acne treatment, or to clean pores clogged with dirt and oil. Of course, it also has a beautiful scent and can be used to help relaxation – for example, we spray it on our pillows before going to sleep!
Can you tell us a bit more about the production process?
Bulgaria’s rose water production process has not changed in many, many years. It’s a very manual process, with many people working in this industry throughout the year. The production really supports the local economy; Bulgaria’s annual rose festival brings lots of visitors and is a must-experience event!
The process is very traditional – every single rose bud is handpicked at the peak of its maturity at the beginning of summer, meaning the blossoms are at their prime and full of essential oils. The flowers are then taken for distillation, where they’re put into traditional copper vats with pure mountain water. The whole vat is heated and brought to boil, creating the separation process; rose oil is distilled on one side and rose water comes out the other! Literally nothing else is added – it really is just roses and water, so is completely natural, organic and sustainable.
What were the biggest challenges that you faced in creating your product?
The biggest challenge was creating everything from scratch from far away. We’ve lived in Hong Kong for nine years already and with the distance and time difference, creating a product in Bulgaria was a true challenge! It took a lot of trial and error but fortunately, our family was on-hand to help with every step of production, keeping an acute eye on quality control.
Selecting our spray bottle also took a long time. We tested many types of spray before finally landing on the one we currently use. It sprays the rose water in very fine particles, and the mist it creates is very… misty!
Why is it important to you that you use natural ingredients and cruelty-free practices?
It is extremely important for us! We believe nature is the key for long-lasting beauty and we’re proud to use the best organic products available out there, bringing real value to our clients. We love animals and would never want to hurt any of them, so there is no animal cruelty whatsoever involved in any of our processes.
What other natural and cruelty-free beauty brands do you recommend?
What’s next for Omaia?
We are currently working hard on creating five new organic and natural products. We want to bring the benefits of nature to more people by using high quality organic and natural ingredients. They should launch in Hong Kong in 2021, so stay tuned!
Find out more about Omaia at omaiaskincare.com