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.

Our 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.