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Mama Belle: Q&A with Dr. Tina Hou

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Honey Belle was founded by Iris Cherng and Calvin Hang in 2015 but did you know the business was inspired by a very special woman?! Dr. Tina Hou is a holistic doctor of natural medicine and has dedicated her life to serving others. She also happens to be Iris’ mom!

To celebrate Mother’s Day I sat down with the inspiration for it all, the woman who raised Honey Belle’s fearless leader, Dr. Tina Hou. Check out our chat below and get to know her :)

 

10 MINUTES WITH DR. TINA HOU

Hi, Dr. Tina! So everyone at the office knows you as Iris' mom but I also know you're that and so much more! Can you tell me a little bit more about yourself?

Hello, yes! My name is Dr. Tina Hou. I am a holistic doctor of natural medicine and I've been practicing acupuncture since 1997- it's now been, wow 22 years! What inspires me about holistic medicine is promoting natural healing, and working in-tune with the body to allow the body to heal itself. At my acupuncture clinics, we aim to relieve tension, pain, and stress, and ultimately to educate our patients and the community about self-care and healthy lifestyle habits. My favorite thing about my medical profession, are my medical missions. I work with a network of passionate doctors who travel to less developed countries, providing health and treatment to the people.

More about me is that I love to cook- I'll make fresh fruit and veggie smoothies, traditional Taiwanese dishes, and fresh salads out of my backyard garden. I also love to be active, and enjoy the excitement of trying new things. I am currently taking ballet classes at the local dance academy. My ballet-mates are much younger than me at ages 8-12 years old but I keep up!

 

Wow you’re amazing! I love that you’re taking ballet classes. Your adventurous spirit really shows with everything you do from traveling, cooking, to even dancing. Now let’s go back to when you were talking about self-care. Self-care is such a huge trend right now and it’s also heavily paralleled with skincare. Iris has mentioned you were the inspiration for Honey Belle, can you tell us how long you’ve been into skincare and beauty?

Let me tell you, I’ve been into my face for decades (*laughs)! I was never obsessed with beauty and I was never the one to wear a lot of makeup, but I love being presentable, feeling great, and practicing self-care. My favorite self-care activities are doing face masks, getting facials, and even soaking my feet after a long day. I used to be very into making my own skincare products but now I leave that to Iris, she’s very good at it.


Yes, it’s crazy to think that Honey Belle all started with you sharing the body creams you made for yourself. Who would have thought Iris would expand on that to make over 60 natural product offerings. Besides body cream, what was your first homemade skincare product?

The first skincare product I made was a medicinal salve to help calm my skin irritations. The body goes through many changes in life and I found that I have to listen to my body and give it what it needs. For the salve, I used sesame oil and herbs like comfrey, female ginseng, and gromwell root. Around the same time, I was making massage oils, lotions, toners, and even serums.


OMG, a lot of those ingredients, I’ve never even heard of. You are super knowledgeable with natural ingredients but what is your favorite ingredient to use and why?

Hmm, I would say that my favorite ingredient to use would be a tie between rose and lavender! I love the rose experience and how heavenly it makes me feel and I love lavender for it's calming and peace-promoting properties. They also both smell amazing and can either be super concentrated or diluted to control the experience of either in a lotion, toner, soap, or anything really.


Now, what do you think is the best natural ingredient on this earth?

That is a hard questions. I’ve travelled to many places and there’s honestly way too many awesome natural ingredients to choose from. My ingredient obsession also changes from time-to-time based on what’s currently on trend or what my body and skin is responding to best but some of my past favorites have been Rosemary, Basil, Seabuckthorn, Hyaluronic Acid, and Thanaka.


Woah, I’ve never heard of Thanaka before, what is that?

Thanaka is Myanmar’s best kept beauty secret in my opinion! I did a medical mission in Myanmar about 2 years ago and they told me all about it and even let me try it. It’s a paste made from Thanaka tree logs and applied onto the face as natural protection from the sun. I’ll share a video I have of it on my Instagram page.


Awesome, yes. I would love to see that. You have amazing clear and glowy skin and it’s no wonder since you have access and knowledge to a lot of different natural ingredients. Can you tell us what skin type you are?

Ok, so an important thing to remember is that your skin type CAN change. During my teen years, my skin was pretty great. In my 20's, I developed combination skin with acne popping up in my t-zone area. After 30, my skin balanced out and drugstore items seemed pretty sufficient. When I hit 40, I realized my skin started getting really dry and less bouncy, so I began to invest in higher end department store brands. A few months after I hit menopause my skin became sensitive, and I was having irritated patches and dryness.

I honestly didn't think of bringing my holistic background and botanical herbs into my skincare, but now that it's here, it's made such a difference to my skin. The last 5 years, my skin has been pretty amazing. Now, at almost 60, I can say that I've pretty much been through every skin type, and it's taught me to just roll with the punches and love my skin no matter how it's feeling, and last but not least, nourish it with all-natural loving wholesome ingredients.


That is a great tip for our readers! Oftentimes I even catch myself fixating on my current skin issues but it helps to know that my skin will change with time. Now Dr. Tina, we’re at my last question! Can you tell us more about what role you’ve played in Honey Belle? What do you think about it now?

Well, I was pretty involved in the beginning stages. I purchased and gifted Iris her first set of in-kitchen production tools. Those days, it was an immersion blender, some whisks, blending spoons, a few storage boxes, and essential oils. I was her main production assistant during those kitchen days. I really loved it. In 2015, Calvin became more involved and the two of them left their full-time jobs to pursue Honey Belle full-time. From there I watched them move into their first office space, and I got the chance to take a step back and focus on my holistic health and acupuncture clinics. Now, the two are so heavily invested with the company, and have met some really awesome people who have joined the Honey Belle staff. Every now and then I love to share my thoughts on current trends or ingredients and overall I’m just so happy that I get to see my daughter build something that is affecting the lives of so many other people.

 

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