I thought I’d seen it all until I walked into Silvercord Arcade in Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong and stumbled upon this vending machine dispensing beauty products from Two Girls, apparently Hong Kong’s first homegrown cosmetics brand established in 1898.
Two Girls was created by Kwong Sang Hong Limited and has been well known since the end of the 19th century. Although I’d never heard of it before, one of the recipients of the products I brought back said that the products had been available in Malaysia a long time ago and her grandmother was a loyal user and is always asking for the products, in particular their famous Florida Water.
Now as everyone knows, Hong Kong doesn’t lack beauty products but a vending machine that dispenses beauty products, that was entirely new to me and I was intrigued. Only a small portion of Kwong Sang Hong’s 300 cosmetic products are available via this machine, namely hand creams, talcum powder, a trio of travel-sized products consisting of shower gel, shampoo and conditioner & what appears to be their iconic and signature product, Florida Water.
What in the world is Florida Water? The vending machine won’t tell you much as it’s impossible to read the product descriptions (let alone the ingredients) without purchasing the products. that’s the thing about vending machines, you can only see the products but not examine them thoroughly. A quick check of their official website revealed that Florida Water is a natural fragrance made from plant extracts, with soothing and antiseptic properties and has multi-functions:-
apply to skin directly to sterilize and relieve the itching effect of insect bites. Apparently, the effect of preventing insect bites lasts up to 3 hours.
add some (1 tablespoon) to a hot bath for relaxation and refreshing, and prevent baby’s prickly heat.
add some (a few drops) to hot towel and apply directly to your face after drunk and feeling exhausted for relaxation, and prevent sunstroke against the heat and hot weather.
add a few drops to a handkerchief and apply to skin to enjoy its beautiful aroma.
spray generously in the room as air freshener.
Florida Water contains essential oils of lavender, bergamot, cinnamon, clove and peppermint. I made the mistake of spraying it directly onto my face, not recommended as it made me choke. It can be sprayed on the body with no adverse reactions unless you’re sensitive to its ingredients. I like the scent of Florida Water, it’s a heady concoction indeed.
For me, the most arresting feature about the products is the vintage packaging. It’s like getting products that my grandmother might have used. Although the bottles from the vending machine are plastic, they look good on the dressing table, adds a certain vintage charm. I liked the travel sized trios of shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. The vending machine doesn’t dispense full-sized products.
You’ll need an Octopus Card in order to purchase the items from the vending machine as it doesn’t accept cash or credit card. I guess they want to simplify matters otherwise someone will have to go there to collect the cash every few days. I had to drag my friend there and borrow her Octopus Card.
Otherwise, you can visit Two Girls retail outlets located at The Peak Galleria and Causeway Bay but due to time constraint, I couldn’t make my way to any of the outlets. I believe this vending machine is their only one in Kowloon and I sure would like to see more of them.