Whenever I travel, I love going through markets and browsing all the new and wonderful products that are on display. As a lover of all things vintage, I am always drawn to beautiful packaging which sometimes means that I will buy something just because it’s pretty and it brings me joy. This was one of those times, I was shopping for some accessories to match an outfit I was wearing to a Malay/Indian wedding in Little India, and on display in a small accessories store were tiny little golden boxes. They were beautifully decorated with flowers and the portrait of a stunning lady. They were only $1.90RM (about 70c AUD) so before the lady had rung up my order, I popped a little golden box on the counter and didn’t think too much of it. When I came home, I put the box on display and that’s where it sat ever since.
About a month ago, a beautiful Malaysian friend of mine reached out to me to recommend a vintage beauty product for me to test out, Sam Fong Pressed Powder. Sounds great! The first thing I did was Google it and low and behold, I already had the box within reach of my desk on display. Now since the original purchase, I had opened it, powder went everywhere, I tested it on my hand and that was about it. Awful behaviour I know right?! But now my curiosity was peaked and my friend was shocked when I sent her a photo of the little box of powder asking if I had the correct one. I let my friend tell me everything she knew about this powder, most of the information came from her grandmother who had been using the powder for years.
Sam Fong Powder, translates to Three Winds Begonia Powder, is a compressed powder block made up of calcium carbonate, talc and fragrance. It is most well known for its beautiful packaging of a golden box adorned with flowers, coins and a beautiful portrait of a lady. Sam Fong Powder is made by a Hong Kong company, Sam Fong Cosmetic Co which was established in 1933. There isn’t too much information about this company but they are still around and producing products.
As I did my own research I found that there were two types of this powder; one was from Hong Kong which is the one I purchased. It is very finely milled, has a slightly smaller slab of powder and comes in white and pink. The other is made in Malaysia (I have seen some people call it Hoi Tong Powder), isn’t milled as fine and has different ingredients; Magnesium silicate, Calcium carbonate, Talc, Methyl Paraben, Propyl Paraben, Aquademin, Fragrance. I am really glad I still had the original sticker on my box which gave me a translation of the powder’s ingredients and where it was made. According to this blog, the Malaysian version is more textured and grainy.
Another misconception I discovered is that some people call this powder, ‘rice powder’. According to my ingredients, there is no rice or rice powder present and after more research, I found another brand, Palladio, who uses similar packaging to make rice powder related products. I’m super keen to test them out as I know rice is amazing for skin care and I love testing out new things. If you are planning on purchasing this powder, make sure you know which one you’re getting as there are many dupes.
I should actually be preparing to return to KL for another wedding but as we all know, worldwide travel is banned. I’d love to try and hunt down either one of the pink powder versions or the Malaysian version to do a full comparison. If I do make it to KL any time soon I will do my best to find this powder and write up a continuation of this blog.
Now, let’s look at the powder itself. Upon opening the box (which always sends powder going every which way), I was greeted with a pleasant flower/powdery scent. It wasn’t overpowering but it did linger for quite a while. Inside the little box was a thin white sponge which I was told no one used so I moved it aside. Inside the lid was a slip of paper which I, unfortunately, couldn’t read, and the main part of the box held the brick of pressed powder and all the loose powder that had crumbled off. The powder was very soft to the touch and extremely finely milled. Do not sneeze around this product or you’ll look like you’re in Tony Montana’s house. Using a cosmetics brush of mine, I gently pressed the brush bristles into the powder and then applied it to my face on top of my foundation.
Do not use too much of this powder of you’ll leave the house looking like Olaf! It does take a while for the product to sink in but you can always brush off any excess. Although I’m not very good at it, my friend told me she has used it to bake her face and it worked out quite well. I am terrible at baking my face so I just took her word for it. The powder is designed to mattify the face, absorb excess oil and moisture on the skin, balance the pH and give your face a lovely matte finish. I have combination oily and super dry skin so I personally like to look as matte as possible. I found this powder to be really great for keeping my shine down and controlled. Upon applying this to my make up in the morning, I still looked matte in the evening without reapplying. That sounds like a winner to me. I was also informed that the powder can be used to polish silver due to the calcium carbonate. I am yet to test this out but hurray for a multiuse product.
I have now been using this powder quite regularly for about two weeks and I still love it. I really think this powder deserves a lot more recognition than it gets and I know you can find it pretty cheap on Amazon; please read the description to make sure which version (Sam Fong or Hoi Tong) you are buying. I have also read that you can buy the powder from Walmart or Ulta but living in the wrong country, I can’t support or deny this claim. Alas, eBay is always able to find you anything so the powder is also available there.
I’d like to thank my beautiful friend and her grandmother for asking me to try out this product; it’s so amazing knowing you’re both here for my vintage journey and thank you for sharing a little part of your lives with me.
So what do you all think? Are you intrigued by this powder and want to give it a go? Should I track down the Hoi Tong powder or a pink Sam Fong powder and compare them? Please let me know in the comment below! I’d also love to hear if you have any vintage beauty products you’d like me to test out in the future.
Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way.