A friend told me about all the scary ingredients in sunblocks. Is there a natural alternative available in Hong Kong? It’s been so hot and sunny, I’ve already got burned once.
Raisin’ in the Sun, Happy Valley

The Dictator rules: What? You’ve gone without any protection because you suddenly want to use only natural products based on what a pal told you? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say run-of-the-mill sunscreen is still preferable to total exposure to skin cancer. Duh. But I must clarify that I’m not a medical expert. From what I’ve read, worrywarts are shying away from potentially hormone-disrupting oxybenzone, and alleged skin cancer-linked retinyl palmitate, aka vitamin A. To learn more, visit the Environmental Working Group’s website, www.ewg.org, after which you can source natural and organic sunscreens in Hong Kong. German brand Lavera makes 100 per cent mineral-based, gluten-free sun protection, including the Sensitive Sun Cream SPF 30 (HK$119; Jasons, Hysan Place, Causeway Bay, tel: 2776 1090), Spray SPF 20 (HK$159) and SPF 30 Sun Milk (HK$189). The Melvita Prosun line uses natural and 27 per cent organic ingredients in its High Protection Sunscreens of SPF 30 or SPF 50 (HK$350 each; Times Square, Causeway Bay, tel: 2506 0322). Heard of Coola (www.coola.com)? It makes organic and natural Sunscreen Sprays in Unscented SPF 30, Citrus Mimosa SPF 35 and Pina Colada SPF 35 (HK$460 each; A Beauty Bar, 15/F, Kin Tak Fung Commercial Building, 467 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2295 6072). You might also be interested in John Masters SPF 30 Natural Mineral Sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium oxide, as well as green tea, shea butter and jojoba oil (HK$380; A Beauty Bar).

It seems the old-school bikini, with a very high waist, is in fashion again, but I don’t know where to get one. I went to a department store but it only carried two-pieces with weird shorts or skirts, and that’s not what I’m after.
Beach Betty, Big Wave Bay

The Dictator: That’s apparently not the only thing you don’t know. Like, for example, the fact that high-waisted, 1950s-style pin-up bikinis only look good on flat or even concave tummies. For everyone else, the proportions only serve to accentuate how much you ate for lunch. Moving on from that mental image, whenever I think of 50s retro, I turn to modcloth.com. Highlights include: the Beach Blanket Bingo polka-dot available in various colours (HK$698 per bikini) and the Bathing Beauty halter-neck top with ruched briefs in solid black or green (HK$698 per bikini). Note the various sizes of the models, too; you’ve got to love them for that. Seafolly has done its own interpretation in the Goddess, retro ruched briefs with bandeau bikini top (HK$1,350 per set; Ozzie Cozzie, 5/F, Tak Woo House, 1Wo On Lane, Central, tel: 2810 1356). On the fast-fashion front, H&M has some in solid black (top, HK$149; bottom, HK$129).


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