My daughter has come back from uni very eco-fied. While at times, to be honest, annoying, she has convinced me of the evils of chemicals in cosmetics but I refuse to go around with unsightly hands. Is there a form of nail lacquer that is natural?
Nailed to It, The Peak

The Dictator rules: Oh, poor you. The only thing worse than a whinging teenager is one with a newfound social conscience. Thank your lucky stars (your daughter can probably do that for you, too), there are nail polishes out there that are so good, you won’t even get a whiff of the treehugger from them. You’ve probably seen, if not used, SpaRitual’s vegan nail lacquers (HK$160 each; Sense of Touch, for locations see They are made with Ecocert-certified bamboo for stronger nails and come in almost every colour under the sun. You can also eco yourself out at Sense of Touch with other products such as those by Juice Beauty, Erbaviva and Natural Patches of Vermont essential oil body patches (ask them). From The Organic Pharmacy, there’s the Organic Glam Nail Polish line, which is free from DBP, toluene, formaldehyde, etc, but still manages to come in all sorts of bright colours (HK$150; Harvey Nichols, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2918 1711). Oh, you’ll love this: Priti, the Sanskrit word for “love”, is the brand behind cruelty-free and vegan nail polishes in colours named after flowers and plants (HK$160; Nailone, 14/F, C Wisdom Centre, 37 Hollywood Road, Central, tel: 2537 2991).


You mentioned Indian clothing some time ago, so I was wondering if you had any tips or contacts for cleaning a delicate beaded and embroidered sari.
Sari for Asking, Robinson Road

The Dictator: Yup. I recommended a series of specialist stores staffed by people who know this unique product category. You read it. Didn’t you stop and think at any point that maybe they would have the best recommendations? Anyway, I contacted them for you. Purveyor of designer Indian clothing, Sanskrit (by appointment, tel: 2545 2088; opening soon at 9/F, 1 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central), told us that, because many dry cleaners refuse to clean heavily embellished pieces, a lot of their clients wait until their next trip to India to have them done there. No matter who you ask, one name keeps coming up again and again: Martinizing (7 Glenealy, Central, tel: 2525 3089). Sharing its expertise, Fine n Rhine (2/F, V-Plus Building, 68 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 3118 7338) let us in on its secret spot: Mr Clean (Winly) Dry Cleaning Laundromat (5 Bonham Road, Mid-Levels, tel: 2540 9307). Those in the know have also told us that established cleaners such as Jeeves ( and Goodwin’s of London ( will do the job if they think they can. It follows then that, although high-end firms do offer a pick-up and delivery service, it is worth your while to go in in person to discuss the details. It’s useless to guesstimate costs: each unique garment will be priced differently.



Got a question for The Dictator? E-mail her with your name, or alias, and address at: