One particularly uninspiring grey November morning, I found myself en route to a secret location in London’s Russel Square to meet with Cecily Braden, educator and leader in the wellness industry and founder of Beautysecretsus.com. I was interested to hear her views on the Siam Botanicals skincare range, and why she felt they were the ideal accompaniment to her facial treatments. I was interested to learn more about Gua Sha, the traditional Chinese practice of using stone tools for facial massage (Vogue has plenty to say about this too). But to be completely honest, I was mainly interested in being a “model” – in the loosest possible sense of the word – as she demonstrated her renowned Gua Sha technique to 8 eager students using my own face as her teaching aid.

Gua Sha stones and Siam skincare products

Jade stones, Argan and Moringa, Tamanu and Cucumber

It’s not often that one gets the chance to lie back and relax whilst Cecily Braden gets to work. However, I was slightly apprehensive when I saw the Gua Sha jade stone she was planning to use. It was, well, a stone. A stone with pointy bits that didn’t look particularly face-shaped. Was I going to have to practice my poker face whilst being subjected to some unpleasant kind of torture in the name of lymphatic drainage and qi flow?

Of course I needn’t have worried. To start with, Cecily used a hot towel and Siam’s Rosehip and Tea Tree oil-based cleanser. Soothing and moisturising, this light cleanser gently and effectively removes makeup (which I wasn’t wearing) and city smog (which after a 6 mile cycle I definitely was). The next step was Siam Botanicals’ Argan and Moringa Facial polish aka an exfoliator that actively moisturises the skin. I could feel my pores positively singing as Cecily expertly wiped away the last few natural jojoba wax beads. Next on the list was a spritz of toner: pure Bulgarian Rosewater to be precise. Siam Botanicals uses only organic Bulgarian Damask roses to distil this purest of botanical extracts. Rosewater has been used traditionally for hundreds of years to gently tone and lift the skin, as well as reducing the appearance of dark circles. Also I can confirm that it smells incredible. Finally, Cecily used the Natural Balance Face Serum, full of light grapefruit and lavender oils to make it suitable for day and night use. 

Then, explaining her process to her students, Cecily reached for the Gua Sha stone and began her magic. Starting at my neck and clavicles, she proceeded to use her deep understanding of traditional Chinese medicine to clear my lymphatic pathways and stimulate the body’s own systems of energising and healing. She worked along my jaw, cheeks and the sides of my nose, easing tension and draining away areas of puffiness. She worked along my brow bones, massaging out adhesions and smoothing away my frown lines, and then up and along my forehead until my face was as smooth as a peach. The Gua Sha stone was of course pointy in all the right places [picture of it fitting exactly around my ear] and used expertly to smooth, relax and energise it felt sometimes warm, sometimes cool, and always delicious against my skin. Unfortunately for me, the room full of students had been extremely attentive and did not need to see the demonstration a second time. After I’d reluctantly hopped down off the table and re-entered the real world, I couldn’t help but notice my skin had a healthy glow and my smile was wider than usual – all down to the Gua Sha stone and it’s expert wielder.

Gua Sha toolbox

Customers in the US can buy the products used in my facial rejuvination through the Beauty Secrets Website as well as finding out more about the treatments and education services Cecily’s company provides. Customers in the UK can go direct to our webshop or of course visit the new shop at 32 Cheshire Street in London. Customers in Thailand can visit our flagship store or order through the website here.

Whilst we’re perhaps best known for our skincare, we also have a brilliant set of haircare products that we’re going to shine a light on for you. All our shampoos and conditioners contain natural ingredients that make gentle products, suitable for everyday use. Why would someone choose to use a natural shampoo? Let’s have a look at two chemicals that are frequently found in mainstream hair products to find out.

Sodium laureth sulphate is a synthetic detergent that also creates the lather we have come to expect of modern shampoos. It strips dirt from hair and scalp, although unfortunately some people find that it also irritates and inflames sensitive scalps, aggravates eczema and dries out hair. Parabens are another synthetic chemical that have hit the headlines recently. These chemical preservatives are used widely in cosmetics and haircare products to limit mould growth, and you’ll find them in many high street products. Some studies have suggested a link between parabens and cancer, and whilst they are considered safe at low levels, an increasing number of people are making the positive lifestyle choice to go all-natural.

Siam botanicals shampoo is formulated with pure aloe vera juice and sweet almond oil and it contains no detergents or synthetic preservatives – our expert blends of herbal extracts perform that function. We’re incredibly proud of the formulae we’ve developed to make effective, luxurious haircare. So, what’s on offer?

Our Revive formula shampoo and conditioner uses extracts of rosemary and peppermint to gently cleanse and condition hair and scalp, not to mention wake up your nose of a morning with the glorious smell! Rosemary has historically been used to promote hair growth and add body to fine hair, and peppermint oil naturally cleanses. All in all, a brilliant pick-me-up and daily treat.

Our Siam Roots shampoo and conditioner set works well for those prone to greasy roots: the astringent properties of lemongrass help to balance excess oil and support your scalp’s natural ability to regulate oil production, whereas traditionally anti-inflammatory ginger extract helps to calm skin and condition hair.

Oriental shampoo and conditioner use the heady scent of jasmine and ylang ylang to transform a regular shower into a luxury spa experience. One deep breath whilst you rinse and you’ll be transported to a Thai garden in the evening: the essential oils here have been selected for the power of their scent to transport and relax you.

Looking for something a little different? Our kaffir lime shampoo bar is the perfect choice for those who want to minimise their impact on the environment – there’s no bottle to dispose of, it lasts and lasts, and it’s small enough to carry around easily on your travels. The natural cleansing properties of kaffir lime, olive oil, shea butter and castor oil help to make a rich, caring lather with no fuss.

If your hair needs a little extra help to boost body and encourage growth, we’d suggest using our Argan and Lemon Balm Revitalizing Hair Treatment. We also recommend it for helping to defend your hair against the elements (and yes, I am including hairdryers and straightening irons in this category!) To use as deep conditioning treatment, massage into wet or dry hair and leave for 20 mins before washing your hair with a gentle natural shampoo. Alternatively put a very small amount on your fingertips and run through hair strands while blow drying as normal. Use very sparingly on fine hair and more generously on thick hair – this treatment is rich and made to last.

So, now that we’ve outlined our fantastic haircare range, take the plunge and choose natural haircare with Siam botanicals.

Gone are the days of women anxiously counting wrinkles in the bathroom mirror. We all age, and no amount of faux-scientific promises on synthetic skincare products can alter that fact. What we’re after isn’t a miracle potion, or a face free from any sign of having smiled or frowned: it’s optimal hydration and healthy, radiant skin. With consistent care and high-quality, 100% natural ingredients, there’s absolutely no reason this can’t be a reality for everyone.

One of our top ‘growing old gorgeously’ role models, Dame Helen Mirren, has officially declared the era of Anti-Aging over, and we couldn’t agree more. There’s a significant shift towards skincare that acknowledges the differing needs of our skin at different ages and Siam’s natural products really lend themselves to the protection of delicate skin. We’ve put together this suggested Siam Botanicals skincare routine with just this purpose in mind.

Firstly, our clary sage facial wash has a calming effect on skin that might be feeling dry or sensitive. Traditionally, clary sage is used to relax and fortify both the skin and the mind. Use with warm water to open pores and gently cleanse, ready for the Argan and Moringa face polish. Argan oil has been used for centuries by Berber women to protect skin against the visible signs of aging: it’s high levels of fatty acids and vitamin E are incredibly nourishing to dry, thirsty skin. The gentle exfoliating action of the polish helps to lift away dead skin cells and allow our natural ingredients to do their job.

Next, glycerine and rosewater facial toner. It’s the toner for people who don’t use toners! Absolutely not astringent, the moisturising properties of this traditional recipe have been tried and tested for centuries. It can also help to rebalance the skin’s pH, which can be made too acidic or too alkaline by exposure to the harsh environments of modern life. We recommend a light misting over patted-dry skin and at least a one minute soaking-in time. Why not drink a glass of water whilst you wait? Skin hydration happens from the inside as well as the outside! Getting a balanced diet, plenty of fresh water, and leading a healthy lifestyle are as important as finding the right skincare routine when your goal is happy skin.

Blossom of moringa oleifera, the drumstick tree

All soaked in? Lastly, our gorgeous Rudis Oleum replenish formula serum contains perfectly balanced natural moringa and argan oils to repair and revive skin, while jojoba oil offers superior moisturising and balancing properties. Moringa oil is a premium ingredient that is a fantastic moisturiser. Whilst it’s gaining in popularity, you can often find it languishing at the bottom of ingredients lists with many companies including it in tiny proportions only. Public Service Announcement: ingredients lists are written in order of percentage with the highest first!. One glance at the ingredients list for our Replenish Formula Serum confirms that Moringa is the primary constituent, so you can gently massage in knowing that at Siam we’re including the best ingredients at the highest percentages. Feels good!

Our skincare products don’t turn back time, and we believe that beautiful skin can be a reality at any age. Take good care of your skin using products free from harsh chemicals, and you’ll reap the rewards with clear, radiant skin and of course a brilliant smile!

Things are progressing quickly with our exciting new Asian Rhizomes range of skincare products. Previously we took a look at lesser-known plai root and ginger lily, with their amazing anti-inflammatory properties and historical use in ayurvedic practice. Now it’s time to take a fresh look at the big hitters of the rhizome world.

Ginger: you know it, you love it, you probably eat it quite frequently. Perhaps you’re partial to drinking it in an infusion. But did you know about the benefits of using ginger directly on your skin? It’s less well known in Western cultures as a topical application but we’re on a mission to change that. In common with plai root, ginger is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. When used in direct contact with the skin in our carefully formulated natural products, it can decrease inflammation and help to keep skin calm, fresh and clear. You also know that as we never use synthetic chemicals in our products, our ginger skincare really does what it says on the bottle.

Ginger root: Zingiber officinale

Turmeric, also known as Haldi, is a frequently used spice in Indian cookery. It also has brilliant skincare properties and is used by some Indian brides to promote beautiful, healthy skin for their wedding days. Traditionally used mixed into a clay face mask, more recently the potential antioxidant properties of turmieric’s active constituent circumin are being investigated. Antioxidants fight UV skin damage by protecting against free-radicals which are responsible for causing signs of premature aging like wrinkles and fine lines. Combined with a good natural sunscreen, turmeric really could help to protect your skin from sun damage all year round.

We can’t wait to share the first sneak peeks of our new Asian Rhizomes skincare range with you: visit our instagram and facebook pages for more info.

We’ve got some incredibly exciting new products in development at the moment. Although the official release date is still a few weeks away, we can’t bear to keep everything totally under wraps. Our luxurious new skincare range will be based around the beneficial properties of the Asian rhizomes ginger, turmeric, ginger lily and plai root.

The benefits of ginger and turmeric are fairly well recognised outside of Asia already – not to mention that they’re a delicious way to brighten up your dinner! – but plai root (Zingiber cassumunar) is little known outside its native Thailand. Used in Thai remedies and massage therapies for hundreds of years for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, Plai essential oil has very high levels of terpinine-4-ol, which is the constituent in Tea Tree considered to give that oil its antimicrobial properties. It’s traditionally used to calm painful muscles and tendons. We’re also delighted to report that plai has a delicious, earthy scent with a clean camphorous base. Even though it’s closely related to fiery ginger, plai root has a cooling effect to the skin, and we just cannot wait to put it to work in our delicious new products.

Photograph of white ginger lily flowers

Ginger Lily: Hedychium coronarium

Ginger Lily, or Kapoor Kachari as it is known in Hindi, is an Indian plant that yields a thick yellow essential oil. This root has a long history within Ayurvedic practice and the oil has been traditionally used to support the respiratory system and for its antifungal properties – oh and also to keep hair thick, luscious, and smelling delicious! It has a bolder scent than plai – fresh and earthy, with camphorous and spicy undertones. Keep your eye on our twitter and instagram feeds for further announcements about the new Siam Botanicals skincare line – coming soon.