Right nourishment on spot

Founder of The Branding Room, Kresta Mae Thanh, is breaking stereotypes on skin treatments and encouraging Filipinos to take charge of their futures.

By Farhana Chowdhury

Published: Thu 24 Dec 2020, 6:28 PM

We're experimental creatures; we love to discover new products, crave variety and look for the best solutions to match our beauty needs. But how many of us are currently using beauty products that we 'think' are meant for us? Far too many, and guilty, as charged. 

Kresta Mae Thanh, Founder of The Branding Room, a newly established aesthetic centre in the neighbourhood of Jumeirah Village Circle, advises that as much as we love to try out renowned brands endorsed by celebrities and get wooed by pop culture, we're doing more harm to our skin than good. She points out that there should be mindfulness in taking care of your skin, and no, it doesn't not have to involve an intensive 10-step regime.

"We have a lot of clients that think their skin is of a certain type, so they end up using products that may not actually be meant for them. This may lead to more problems. Simple solutions can make a difference. For instance, your cleanser should be based on your skin type. You can also add a second cleanser to your routine, which will act more like a treatment," she said.

These words of wisdom stem from Mae's own search for effective skincare that eventually led to the establishment of The Branding Room, a concept that falls between a medical spa and a beauty salon. 

The treatments on the menu are aimed to give a personalised experience, using scientifically tested products and techniques to take control of skin.

Inspiring fellow countrymen

Growing up, Mae has always had an affinity for beauty and skincare. However, it wasn't until years later that she finally plucked the courage to step up and follow her true calling. She had originally pursued a degree in education development, a path carved by her father in order to assist in running the family's corporation back in The Philippines. After toiling away for seven years, she'd decided to break free of those chains and pursue an independent path.

"It may seem a bit rebellious but I wanted certain independence, to achieve something on my own. My dad is successful but at the same time I was under a strict household. I wanted to assert myself, achieve a certain kind of freedom and break away from being dependent on them," she said.

An ambivert at heart, Mae eventually moved to Dubai with her husband, and has never looked back since. After undergoing training and certification, with a focus on semi-permanent make-up, she established

The Branding Room

Mae is also striving to change the perception of Filipinos in the region. Just as beauty should not be boxed, Mae encourages her fellow countrymen to dream big.

"We should all aim for greater achievements in life and set high standards, so that we can on par with our counterparts, or even exceed that level. We are capable of becoming business leaders if we invest in ourselves," she said.

Tried and tested Treatment: The Branding Room's Peptide Base Facial.

Skin type: Combo, leaning towards dry

I was warmly welcomed at The Branding Room and led to the waiting section to relax with refreshments and complete a form about my current skincare routine and concerns. Once done, Mae dedicated around 30 minutes for consultation where we discussed my woes.

After discussing and analysing my product use and routine, she recommended a customised Peptide Base Facial.

Therapist Bishnu Kumal, who is gifted with the hands of an angel, took over with an hour-and-half long session that almost put me to sleep. After I changed into a robe, my session started right away with a five to 10-minute steam directed at my face and neck to open up the pores, followed by a double cleanse. The first cleanser was meant to melt away my make-up and surface dirt, while the second one was to pump a dose of hydration back into my skin. She layered both products over my face and neck, and proceeded to massage in gentle but firm motions, before wiping them off with a warm, damp towel.

Then came the exfoliation. Bishnu whipped out an ultrasonic extraction device to clean up the product at the end. Skilful and silent, she used the device's vibrations to loosen up debris, dirt and dead skin trapped between the pores to give me a squeaky-clean finish. My favourite part of the entire experience was the massage, as therapist targeted various pressure points on my face and neck, which she said was to improve blood circulation, relax the muscles, assist with toxin drainage, and overall, give me a lifting effect. I wouldn't be surprised if anyone fell asleep at this point. Personally, I was already satisfied with my experience by then and would have loved to end my session there, but The Branding Room still had more to offer - a cold mask treatment to further introduce moisture into my skin and a high frequency wand that used electrical currents to rejuvenate my skin, reduce inflammation and encourage collagen production.

Verdict: I felt extremely refreshed and a glow stayed with me for the entire week. I didn't not experience any side effects, and my usual hollowed dark circles were non-existent. Personally, it was the hydrating factor that won me over, as I did not feel any tugs nor over-greasiness. I would highly recommend The Branding Room's expert team for a much-awaited skin spa retreat.

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