Grain gain: Thai beauty brand hopes to make red rice as popular as Korean ginseng

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Hebalist Siam hopes to promote the use of red jasmine rice extract in cosmetics and improve the value of Thai rice. ©Herbalist Siam
Hebalist Siam hopes to promote the use of red jasmine rice extract in cosmetics and improve the value of Thai rice. ©Herbalist Siam
Thai skin care brand Herbalist Siam has made it a priority to promote the use and improve the value of red jasmine rice extract in cosmetics.

Herbalist Siam’s product line-up consists of a serum, a cream and a bar of soap but the company plans to expand the line with five more products: a sunscreen, oil treatment, lip balm, hand cream and body cream.

The company claims that stem cell extracts from organic red jasmine rice has potent anti-ageing properties such as anti-tyrosinase effects, which can prevent concerns such as pigmentation.

It also has anti-pollution properties that will benefit consumers that face pollution in their everyday lives.

The firm said it wanted to make the rise as well-known as Korean ginseng.

“Thailand has a thousand year-long history of rice cultivation and development… Thai rice is naturally unique like nowhere else in the world,”​ said Jaruda Siriwattanapornkul, marketing officer of Wathoothorn, which owns Herbalist Siam.

“We are trying to promote red jasmine rice to the world and make it as well-known as Korean ginseng extract, which is frequently used in cosmetics around the world. This is the first thing that the brand has to achieve.”

Increasing the value of rice through cosmetics

According to the brand, the value of red jasmine rice grain has increased since it began using the extract in its products.

“Herbalist Siam adds value to Thai Red Jasmine Rice. In the past, red rice grain costs $0.63 per kilogram. After using it as a cosmetic ingredient, it is now $570 a litre,” ​said Siriwattanapornkul.

It also hopes that the increased awareness will influence more local farmers to adopt organic farming practices.

“Farms in Thailand mostly use chemicals and we have to persuade them to become an organic farm. By using natural materials, it will benefit the environment and ensure good quality of Thai rice,” ​said Siriwattanapornkul.

This in turn will benefit the local cosmetics industry which faces challenges to sourcing quality organic ingredients locally.

Siriwattanapornkul added: “It’s a challenge for us because we have made a commitment to source from organic farms that are willing to sell their products to support Thai-made product and make them well-known locally and internationally.”

Harnessing the power of red rice

Herbalist Siam uses a patented method to obtain rice stem cell extract with more antioxidants.

It selects rice breeds with the highest Epidermal Growth Factor for cultivation and extraction.

“The products focus on restoring skin health and make the skin brighter, more radiant, moisturised, translucent, firm and wrinkle-free. Energising skin like Thai rice energises people around world," ​said Siriwattanapornkul.

Even with such a potent ingredient, the company said that formulating can be a challenging,  especially when developing products that suit all skin types, while providing a high level of efficacy.

“This matters because our natural cosmetics have to be as good and efficient as non-natural skin care,” ​said Siriwattanapornkul.

Three-year plan

The company aims to export its products overseas by this year. And as part of its three-year plan to increase awareness of its products, it is seeking to participate in as many trade shows as possible.

In 2018, Herbalist Siam participated in trade shows such as China International Organic and Green Food, ASEAN Beauty and Cosmoprof Asia.

“The countries we have planned for expansion are USA, China and European countries. We believe we can thrive because Herbalist Siam has an interesting story and key ingredients unique to our geography,”​ said Siriwattanapornkul.

It also aims to “be involved in activities”​ supported by the relevant local departments such as the Department of Rice.

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