Conversations: Sian Chiew's Minimalist Brand
When we discovered emerging skin care brand Root Remedies, we were determined to work with them. Never mind they're 360 kilometres away in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, we had to bring them to Singapore against all odds.
Root Remedies is the brain child of Sian Chiew, a minimalist at heart. She spends most of her time developing and rigorously testing formulas until she gets the right efficacy before each product is being launched.
What we love about Root Remedies' products is how every single ingredient is personally sourced by Sian, even if it takes driving for hours into the highlands to meet with ethical beekeepers to procure beeswax for her salves.
The base ingredient used in Root Remedies' products is pure virgin coconut oil that is ethically grown on a farm in Selangor and cold-pressed using state-of-the-art technology within the farm's premises to ensure freshness and quickly bottled, so that it contains absolutely no impurities.
Sian insists on infusing each ingredient using a traditional method, ensuring the ingredient is presented as is. "It would've been very easy and cost effective for us to simply use essential oils, but our customers wouldn't be able to experience the true characteristics of each plant. I want them to experience nature as much as possible."
Ever since establishing Root Remedies, she's stopped using commercial products and uses only what she makes. "My skin stopped breaking out and my sebum production has greatly reduced. I don't need to rely on makeup much anymore as the pores have tightened from the moisturizing effects of botanical oils. Just a quick coat of mascara and I'm out of the door"
We witnessed this for ourselves when we got up close and personal with Sian when she visited us at HOUSE. Read on to find out more about this sassy and down-to-earth entrepreneur.
Super Farmers (SF): We love Root Remedies' minimalist approach in its branding, processes and products. Can you tell us your creative motivation behind Root Remedies?
Sian Chiew (SC): Aww. Thank you! I'm quite minimalistic in life, from my choice of clothing to skincare. I keep my skincare routine real simple, because I believe real and natural ingredients are all that you need. We don't need chemicals on our skin or complicated skincare routines to keep our skin beautiful.I am also inspired by simple things like food. The healthiest and most nutritious meals are often the simplest as long as we use the highest quality ingredients, and I believe that applies to skincare as well.
That is why I strongly promote minimal skincare regimes, to encourage people to use simple products with simple ingredients.
SF: Every product is painstakingly handcrafted using the laborious heat infusion method. Why would you choose this method over the usual essential oil method, which most skincare producers tend to do these days?SC: I want to bring a truly natural experience to my customers and to preserve the art of traditional oil infusion method. I want my products to smell exactly like the raw ingredients that they are made from. Like what you get when you're smelling freshly cut grass or fresh fruits and flowers.
It is a more costly way of production, extremely labour intensive and time consuming process, but I believe it's well worth the effort, because our skin health comes first.
SF: Most of your products feature locally-grown Malaysian produce. Even the coconut oil is grown, harvested and cold-pressed in West Malaysia. Why are you strict about using local produce?SC: As a Malaysian brand, I want to support local suppliers. Also, Malaysia is full of resources and good ingredients, so why would I go further to search for raw ingredients if I can get them here?
SF: We notice your interesting combination of ingredients in your products eg. Chrysanthemum + Lime - how do you decide what ingredients to use?SC: I like to work with my instinct when it comes to developing products, so it depends on my feelings and whether the scent/colours work with each other. Once I have an idea, I will do a lot of research on the ingredients and conduct experiments to see if what I have in mind works.
SF: You have amazing skin. Can you share with us your personal skincare routine?SC: During the day, I clean my skin with water and prep skin with botanical oils before putting on sunscreen and makeup. Keeping my skin moisturised is key in ensuring my makeup stays fresh the whole day.
At night, I use the virgin coconut oil to remove my makeup, dirt and oil. it gives my face a nice deep cleanse. After that, I use the coconut oil soap to wash away the oil on my face, hair and body. The soap is multipurpose; It cleans without drying up the skin and lathers really well.
Then, I moisturise my face and hair with botanical oils. I will also use eye serum for some extra care for the skin surrounding my eyes. Finally, I use my body salves all over my body, applying it after a hot shower to help with absorption and to lock in moisture.
I also exfoliate my skin once a week, rotating between my own scrubs.
All of the above are Root Remedies' products!
SF: What is your self-care routine? How do you wind down after a hard day's work?
SC: Most of the usual things - good, simple food, Netflix, a nice bath and yoga. I have also been practicing Capoeira for years, it’s a really interesting activity that combines martial arts, acrobatics, music and culture. I find that it helps me deal with stress and keep my body and mind strong.
SC: I feel that all too often, people don’t think about living healthily or practise self-care enough in our modern world, so I really admire what Super Farmers is trying to do. Also, you guys are just great people to work with!
SF: Why have you chosen to work with Super Farmers? (Even though we seeked you. Haha!)
A wide range of Root Remedies' products is now available exclusively in Singapore at HOUSE by Super Farmers and www.super-farmers.com
Come experience Root Remedies' products for yourself!