Qtrove, the curated market place

Qtrove is a curated marketplace that exhibits and sells non-mass produced items from small entrepreneurs across the country. These products are natural, sustainable, not easily available elsewhere, enhance the well-being and social currency of today’s discerning consumer.

You would have already seen my Qtrove haul pic in Instagram. As you know, I love encouraging local artisans and vendors, and Qtrove offers over 3000 products from local sellers across the world. I just place my second order yesterday, and that’s when I realized I did not introduce #Qtrove to you.

img_20161025_184322-01

From L-R : French caramel sauce, desi cow’s ghee, oats pancake mix, apple dates and orange jam.

What I liked about Qtrove:

Super fast delivery. Only very few online purchases, like that from Nykaa, has impressed me with their fast delivery. But Qtrove provides even better service by bringing the products within a day or two mostly. I really liked the thank you notes with the bunch.

I also bought this incense set. This has rose incense sticks and an incense stick holder. Love it.

img_20161027_183312-01

Among all the food items, my favorite is the desi ghee. So different from the products available in market. This one doesn’t look all yellow but smells very pure. Also let me tell you, ghee is a must in winters to combat dry skin. One spoonful inclued in daily diet will do wonders.

The caramel sauce is really delicious and is a versatile product. You can have it as such, or with bread and rotis, or even make a caramel pudding or cheese cake with it.img_20161025_184532-01Now to be fair, I did not like the apple jam at all. Yes it is all natural and has only vinegar as preservative. But well, it is not sweet and has this strong flavour, which I am not a fan of.

Also by mistake I had ordered 2 of these. Now one thing to be noted is, if you are not careful with the order you will end up with products that you cannot return. Since these are preservatives free, eventhough I didnot open the jar, they were not ready to accept the return. So well I ended up with 2 of the least favourite product from the lot.

Now last day, I placed my second Qtrove order, as there is a sale happening in the site. I bought another jar of ghee and some new products like completely natural dishwash soap, chocolate almond butter and gulkand.

img_20170107_141745-01

Eventhough it is just 100g and costs almost the same as its weight, I can’t keep my hands off it. It tastes exactly like the cold betel leaf filling. It is a mix of rose petals, nuts and dry fruits and tastes yum.

I will do a detailed review of other products after I use them for a while. The site offers skincare products, house hold and petcare products as well. Incase you want to buy curated hand picked products that are sustainable and awesome, take a look at their site.

Check it out here : Qtrove

Reverie December beauty box unboxing

Christmas is almost here and we are all in the festive mood. The winter has not been any forgiving this year either, for those of us who gets those dry patches and flaky skin during cold climate. Inspite of all that, I really like Christmas time. I have already set up and decorated my Christmas tree and I am very much looking forward to enjoy the holidays.

Many of you who follow me on Instagram, would have already had a sneak peek of this wonderful beauty subscription box. For those of you who is new to the blog,

Reverie box is a natural skin care subscription box in India, that just started on October. They provide full size products that are not animal tested and free of parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, sulfates and other nasties. They specially curate products for each customer based on their skin issues and requirements.

They have tie up and include products from green skin care brands like Ayca , Junaili , Vana Vidhi , Bon Organics , Saint Pure , Soap Square , Burst of Happyness , Neev , Ma Earth Botanicals and Roots Magique.

I have been following the brand for last 2 months and when I got to know that December box is a winter skin care box, I couldn’t stop myself from getting one of these.

flavoursofbeauty-1481797263551

So the people from the brand contacted me and asked for my skin concerns. Once we discussed about skin and body care products, I was sent the box at the beginning of December.

Price: 1499Rs on prebooking. The total cost of all the products int he box will easily come to 3000Rs.

img_20161205_182715-01

Packing: The outer package is secured with yarn strings and has your name tag. The inner one, is a good quality, sturdy box that can be used to store products. Their was a complimentary candle in a glass case in the box that broke in transit 🙁 The reverie team contacted me regarding this and warned me to be careful while unpacking.

What I got in the box:

instabox_2016126201839125-01

There are 4-5 full sized products in each box and few complimentary products in sample size. I got a card with all product names and prices, another one with product details of Roots Magique and a discount voucher from Vanavidhi.

Products:

Vana Body oil, Roots face oil, Odiva gel nail paint, Neev cream, Aroma candle and soaps from Soap square and Junaili scrub.

I had asked for a non-drying body scrub and I was looking forward to trying out products from Junaili. I am so happy that I got it in the box.

The first thing that strikes you when you open the box, is the amazing rose aroma from the soap square soap pieces.

I am not a big fan of face oils, but Anchal, my skin care advisor from the reverie team assured me that the one from Roots Magique will help in combating blemishes and dryness.

img_20161205_183504-01

Another interesting product I got, is the Vanavidhi breast massage oil. It claims to increase the size of breasts on regular massage. Well, I am not so keen to try that but I feel this works well as a moisturizer for winters. It has a faint sweet natural, floral aroma and is very light and non-sticky. I have started using it as a body oil and I use it especially on those dry patches on knees and elbows.Vanavidhi is a luxury beauty brand and eventhough I wanted to check out their products, the cost just kept my interest at bay 😛 Happy that I got once of them in the box.

I have started using Roots Magique face oil at night. I really love the bottle with the nozzle and plastic cap. But I am a bit concerned if this is causing me to break out.

There were minor glitches in the December box apart from the broken glass case of the candle. The team informed me that the Neev cream might be contaminated because of moisture and when I checked I found it to have black molds on top. The team assured me that it will be replaced and they were really apologetic and helpful. Also the Odiva nail color was supposed to come in the color of our choice. But the one I got had a different colour. But it was okay as this is a really pretty colour as well.

Verdict:

I am really impressed by the customer service of the brand. The person who contacts you via whatsapp, is available 24*7 to answer your queries. The products are from cruelty free brands and are free from chemicals and are not just samples but full sized products. I am really happy with the dedication and love the team puts to curate each box.

If you are looking for a bunch of skin and body care products curated just for you, that are all natural, I would definitely recommend this one over any other subscription boxes in India.

I wish the reverie team all the very best. Also follow me on Instagram here to see the christmasy nail art I created,using Odiva gel nail paints with mirror shine.

Buy the reverie box from their site : link

My winter skin care regime

Winter is on our door steps. Eventhough winter reminds me of all things ‘Christmasy’, it also comes with skin issues like dry flaky skin. Especially for people like me with a combination skin type, choosing the right product is of utmost importance. With oily t-zone and dryness in hands and legs, an overall lifestyle change is also required to address these climate related issues.

img_20161128_182652-01

The key is to use products that nourishes the skin well without stripping the skin of its moisture and natural oils.

1.Cleanse with mild soap free cleansers

Cleansing is of utmost importance and this is the major factor that determines the longevity of a healthy and youthful skin. Use mild cleansers that are soap free to clean your face so that it doesn’t strip your skin of all moisture.

I use body oil from Gia, as a first cleansing step to remove the dirt, sebum and pollutants accumulated over the day (read review here ). After this I gently massage my skin with Khadi cucumber and aloe cleansing milk. 

Pros:

This cleanser is soap, sulphate and paraben free. This white thick cleanser is like a puree of aloe and cucumber and has the goodness of shea butter for that extra kick of moisture. It is very mild and gentle and will suit all skin types. It refreshes the skin well and makes it soft. At just 100Rs for 210ml, this is quite inexpensive.

Cons: Doesn’t remove makeup or grime.

Other suggestions: Oats based cleansers from Gia here , Silksplash from justherbs here , mix of chickpea flour(besan) and honey.

img_20161128_182708-01

2. Exfoliate once a week

Kama Aurveda Kumkumadi brightening scrub and Greentea face and body scrub by Fuschia are my favourites this winter. Both are soap free and creamy. The Kama one has more gritty particles than fuschia one. Leave the scrub for a couple of minutes before washing it off, so that the awesome ingredients gets enough time to work on the skin.

3.Moisturize

If your skin gets dry, stretchy or flaky, with white patches especially on your knees and elbows, using just a body butter or lotion will not help in the long run. It would just keep the area moisturized for few hours. If you want soft and supple skin for winter, oil massage is a must.

I have been using the oils Sugandhadi (Buy here) and Jwalini (Buy here) from Kama ayurveda as massage oils, and let me tell you, I just love them. These have the goodness of sesame oil,coconut oil, ashwagandha, cardamom etc and have very calming and relaxing ayurvedic fragrance. I sometimes feel that it has a hint of warm peppery smell. These are not viscous or very oily and gets easily absorbed by skin. Priced at just Rs 350 for 100ml, these are affordable as well. Wash it off with ubtans or green gram powder for best results.

You can also use warm coconut or sesame oil instead. This process of ‘Abhyanga’ ensures that the skin is taken cared of during winters, relaxes the muscles and even gives a good sleep at night.

I also add a few drops of Lavender essential oil from Soulflower, to the bath water and the fragrance is so relaxing.

For face I use Kama Eladi Hydrating Ayurvedic Face cream (Read review here). This nourishes my combination skin, without making it oily.

img_20161128_183056-01

Swatches L-R : Gia body oil (transparent light one on the extreme left), Just herbs Silksplash(transparent thick liquid), Khadi cleanser, Fuscia scrub, Kama Ayurveda Kumkumadi scrub, Kama Ayurvedea oils Sugandhadi and Jwalini

Lip Balm :

Take extra care of your lips, as they tend to chap easily during winters. My favourite lip balms are The Burt’s bees peppermint lipbalm (reviewed here ) and the Aroma Essential’s  Orange vanilla lip balm (reviewed here).

In addition to using suitable skin care products make sure you keep yourself hydrated throughout the day and keep away from beverages like coffee and tea if possible.

Let me know what your winter skin care problems are, and I will include the tips and tricks in the next post for sure. Have a happy winter you all 🙂

Daily cleansing method for soft and glowing skin

Cleansing is the most important part of skin care. Our skin is always exposed to dust, dirt and pollution and thorough cleansing twice a day helps to refresh the skin and remove all the unwanted build up on the skin.

I like trying out different products and home made ingredients as cleansers. I usually use face wipes or my recent purchase, Khadi cleanser to remove kajal (even though it doesn’t do that well) and cleanse face in the evening. But this time, I tried this body oil on my face and I was really surprised by its efficacy as a cleanser. It made my skin extremely soft and made it glow in just one use.

Many of us have combination to oily skin and doesn’t prefer to use oils on face. But let me tell you, you will be amazed at how some oils nourishes your skin without making it oily. There are serums and oils that are suited for oily skin, which even helps in reducing skin troubles like acne.

Let me tell you how to effectively cleanse your face to get that soft dewy skin.

Gia Bath and Body works Ginger Lilly Body Oil

oil-01-01

Price : Rs 390 for 200ml

Ingredients :  Evening prim rose oil, Walnut oil, Argan oil, Extra virgin olive oil, sweet almond oil, Rosehip oil, apricot kernel oil, wheatgerm oil, vit E, essential oil blend

Texture : Light and non-greasy. If your skin is not too dry, you can use replace body lotions/butters with this oil. Gets absorbed easily on skin and doesn’t leave shine on skin.

Fragrance : I bought this oil to use as a pre-wash body oil as my body has dry skin. But this one is actually a post-wash moisturizing oil, as it is very light and has amazing fragrance (I think it has artificial fragrance as well).

How to Cleanse your face with oil :

I washed my face with warm water as this softens up the skin helps loosen all dirt and grime on skin. After pat drying my face, I took few drops of this oil and massaged it well on my face. This one stings if it goes in your eye, so be careful. Leave it for a minute.

Wipe off all traces of the oil with a soft tissue or a wet face cloth.

I used the Tea cleanser from Cape of Good Soap,  after this, to make sure my face is squeaky clean. You can skip this step in case your face feels quite clean already.

I went on to make dinner and did not give it a  second thought. After a while, I was surprised to see that my face had that dewy glow and did not feel oily at all. I am definitely making this a part of my skin care regime.

So why I love this oil :

  • Affordable
  • Excellent and highly effective ingredients
  • Non-greasy and light
  • Smells so good
  • Effectively cleanses face and doubles up as makeup remover as well.
  • Gives my skin dewy glow and makes it super soft.

You can try out other light oils like Jojoba oil and sweet almond oil  based on your skin type and let me know if it works as effectively as this.

 

 

DIY all natural mask for glowing skin

I have been getting messages from many of you asking to recommend a good skin brightening mask. Even though I have tried face masks from many brands including high end ones, none of them has given the glow and brightness to skin, as this simple home made mask. I have been using this since my school days and this was my one and only step for skin care. This is an all in one face/ body pack that offers many benefits like,

  • controls oiliness
  • reduces pigmentation
  • lightens sun tan
  • clarifies skin
  • combats pre-mature aging
  • scrubs away dead skin
  • softens skin
  • reduces acne

Are you ready to make your skin dewy and bright. So here we go.

Ingredients are simple and easily available in India:

  • half teaspoon sandalwood powder
  • half teaspoon red sandalwood powder
  • 1 teaspoon chick pea flour/besan
  • Quarter-half teaspoon on turmeric powder
  • Honey/Curd/Rose water/Milk to mix the ingredients as per skin type

I usually add a spoon of honey or curd for my combination skin. If you have dry skin milk/honey or milk cream will provide the extra moisture boost.

1472738583452-01

How to prepare:

Simply mix all the ingredients to form a fine paste that’s not too thick. Adjust the quantities as required to get the right consistency. Adding more red sandalwood powder makes the mixture more coarse in my case as the red sandalwood powder I have is not so fine.

How to apply:

Wash your face with warm water and cleanse it well. Apply the pack using hand or a clean face brush. Don’t forget to apply it evenly on your neck as well. Two cucumber pieces for your eyes and relaaaaxxxxx.

Keep it till you feel a bit of stretch. Do not wait till mask is completely dry,as it can dry out and stretch the skin. Massage the still wet mask by moving the fingers upwards. Massage for 2 minutes and wash the mask off using a warm moist face cloth or simply wash it off with warm water.

Finally rinse your face once with cold/ water in room temperature and pat dry.

Admire your squeaky clean and bright face in the mirror <3 <3 <3

This can also be applied as a foot mask for soft and tan free feet.

NOTE : Make sure all ingredients are pure and of good quality. Buy from trusted vendors. Do not use the turmeric powder you use for cooking in this. Kasturi manjal or wild turmeric powder is what we need here.

I get it powdered in mill from raw turmeric. Also I use home made paste of sandalwood and red sandalwood by rolling the wood sticks on stone.

You can also buy these in stick/powdered form from online sites like EbayGiskaa and Amazon.

Hope you liked the post.

 

 

All about hair cleansers

Hi you all 🙂

Hair care products play a very important role in the quality and health of hair, along with other controllable factors like protein rich food, keeping hydrated and having stress free life. I had thick long straight silky hair as a kid but once I moved to a different city to do my college, my bad hair days started. Because of the change in water (chlorine rich water), my hair started falling off a lot and became thin and dandruff prone in no time. I used to use commercial shampoos then and it made my hair dry and thin day by day.

Once I converted to natural skincare 🙂 , I concentrated more on getting back my hair quality. Even though my hair is now back to it’s former silky texture and has grown thicker, the hair fall still has not reduced much owing to the hard water from pipes. When I am back in my home town, my skin and hair problems vanishes as the quality of water is much better their.

Many of you have written to me asking about hair care products and shampoos for different hair types. I thought rather than reviewing each hair cleanser separately, I will combine it all in one, so that you can choose what suits best for you.

Before going to the reviews, let me tell you how I wash my hair. Hehee yeah with water, but I always wash my hair post oiling. So I oil my hair atleast 30min prior wash, then gather the hair forward and wet it well. Take a coin size amount of shampoo and mix it with water well. If I use shampoo bar, I lather it well with water. Apply the lather on scalp and massage gently towards hair tips. Rinse hair and repeat the shampooing incase you have oily hair like mine. Apply the conditioner only to hair and not on scalp and leave it for few minute before washing the hair thoroughly.

The products I am writing about here are:

1.Hair cleanser from Gia bath and body works

2.Lavender,chamomile shampoo bar from Juicy Chemistry

3. 8 in 1 root nourishing amla-neem shampoo from Just Herbs

4. Onion cream shampoo from Aroma essentials

5. Beer coconut milk shampoo bar from Soaps by Sangi

6. Dhathri herbal shampoo

Some of this has already been reviewed in detail before, so I will add the links to those.

  1. The Argan oil and silk protein enriched hair cleanser from Gia is my favorite of the lot. The reasons being:

IMG_20160503_204359

Price : Rs 290 for 200ml

  • It has same consistency as that of commercial shampoos but with none of its cons.
  • Thick consistency and creamy and silky texture.
  • A little quantity goes a long way and the bottle lasted me many many months.
  • Most economical comparing quality, quantity and cost out of the lot.
  • Lathers well
  • Makes my hair soft, silky, oil free and clean in a single wash.
  • Convenient sleek packaging that is travel friendly.

Cons :

  • Only that this came with a screw on cap and I need to shake it to get the product out.
  • Availability needs to be checked with the owner on their fb page

Read detailed review here : My favorite hair cleanser from Gia

Buy it here.

2. The lavender and chamomile shampoo bar is a product I tried recently and it really impressed me. Reasons are:

img_20160706_185339-01

Price : I got it as a gift for a contest. But actual price is around 800Rs if I am not wrong.

  • Very impressive ingredients list
  • Heavenly fragrance
  • Removes oil and cleanses well in 2 washes
  • It doesn’t dry out the hair and makes hair soft and manageable.
  • No preservatives or chemicals.
  • Awesome packaging. The product came in this handmade pack that is so pretty and re-usable.
  • img_20160706_185606-01

Cons:

  • Very expensive.
  • Since it is a soap I don’t find it travel friendly unless packed well and kept dry.
  • Gets used up faster than liquid shampoo.
  • Availability needs to be checked with the owner on their fb page

The product seems to be out of stock now. The brand has launched some new shampoo bars instead. You can write to them to know about availability.

Buy it here

3. 8 in 1 root nourishing shampoo from Just Herbs

I used it for a while and then stopped as I was not as impressed by this product as the other hair cleansers I was using.

Price: Rs 525 for 200ml

img_20160628_193919-01

Pros:

  • Like all Just Herbs products, this one has a pleasant and nice fragrance
  • It is quite mild and lathers decently on wet hair
  • Doesn’t dry the hair
  • Impressive ingredients. Contains certified organic Gooseberry (Amla), Neem, Hibiscus and Henna
  • Can be bought from their website and shipping is free

Cons :

  • The consistency is very thin and I need to use a lot of product to wash away all the oiliness (my hair is short and straight). So the product, even though 200ml, gets used up very fast.
  • Expensive
  • The bottle did not come with a dispenser, even though they show one in site. So I have to just pour it on hand directly which is not convenient.

Buy it here

My only issue with this one is the texture. It is not exactly in cream form and the onion smell can be strong for sensitive nose. Also I need to wash hair multiple times with this one to completely remove oiliness.

BeFunkyCollage

Buy it here

5. Beer coconut milk shampoo bar from Soaps by Sangi  : This was my first shampoo bar buy and I got it about one and half years back. This was just a solid bar of soap with no frills. Not pretty looking and no added fragrance, but it was a good buy.

soapsbysangi

PC : Soaps by Sangi

Price : Rs 220-240 for 80-90gm bar

  • The product has excellent hair nourishing ingredients like beer and coconut milk and it cleansed the scalp extremely well leaving it soft and nourished.
  • Did not dry out my hair.
  • No strong fragrance
  • Mild on hair and can be used for all hair types

Cons :

  • Not travel friendly as it might melt.
  • My hair remained a bit oily even after 2 washes
  • Availability needs to be checked with the owner on their fb page

I bought almost 2000Rs worth items from them but this, a clay based soap and a detergent bar were the only ones that I liked. The body butters, gels and lotion bars didnot suit my skin at all and I did not like their consistency.

Buy here

6. Dhathri Herbal Shampoo : The most widely available herbal shampoo that you can find in any super market. This was my go to shampoo during my childhood and throughout college years. I have done a detailed review of this here, Dhathri Herbal Shampoos.

Pros: Easy availability, pocket friendly, chemical free.

Cons : Strong fragrance, Lime variant can be drying.

1466003269903

I hope this post was helpful. Do let me know your feedback and also let me know names of any other hair cleanser that is worth mentioning.

 

 

 

Green tea mask, desi sandals and best matte lipstick

This month I did a bit of quirky shopping and well everything turned out to be amazing (usually I return most of the stuff I buy online). So here is a sneak peak.

Skincare:

I found out about this brand called #skinyoga recently and I got a sample sized green tea face mask to try via the app Smytten.

Skin Yoga is a luxury skin care brand that provides 100% plant based products. The green tea face mask came in this cute little wooden box. The mask was enclosed within a tiny glass bottle with a cork stopper. Head over to my instagram feed (Here), to see the cute video I made unpacking the product.

mix

The product is simple but very effective treatment for oily and acne prone skin. I will be doing a detailed review of the product soon.

Blue sandals :

I came across this fb page 22.2accessories few weeks back, and I loved their funky and quirky handcrafted products. Richa, the brand owner was a doll and helped me choose these awesome pair of handcrafted leather sandals. Really comfortable to wear and best for daily use. I love all those colors that adds life to otherwise unnoticed feet.

1472564877503

Peachy little liars :

I am not a big fan of makeup and I don’t generally use anything but kohl. But it has been a while since I wanted a perfect natural lip shade that can make my otherwise dry and lifeless lips, look a bit healthy on occasions. My search has now ended successfully, after my purchase of Peachylittleliars from Sugar cosmetics. #sugarcosmetics

FDA approved, this lipstick is free of mineral oil and parabens. Love!!!

PC : Sugar Cosmetics

Screenshot from 2016-08-31 17-58-00.png

This dusky pink shade is exactly same as my natural lip color, and hence evens out the color of my lips. It brings that subtle glam to my otherwise dried and washed out lips. Quite happy with the shade even though this being matte, does dry out my lips after a while.

So that’s it, these are my favorites for this month. Let me know if there is a brand or product, you think I should know of. I will surely try it out and review it here.

How I got rid of forehead acne in 3 days

My skin hasn’t been behaving well this monsoon.Big painful acne pops up one after the other on forehead and cheeks mostly and I who always had clear, spot free skin, was really concerned about the sudden outbreak.

Similar issue happened last year, when I was in US. I had dressed up for Halloween and had used face paints from my nieces. I had a very bad allergic reaction later and rashes and acne started spreading on my face. I had to really take good care of my skin for few months before I could get rid of them.

Anyway this time, I was well equipped to fight acne as I had researched a bit about the reasons for acne and ways to control it.

DO NOT SQUEEZE THE PIMPLE. Popping a pimple can cause scarring and make your acne spread further.

  1. Understand the reason for acne

Now you would have always had acne growing up or you might have had a sudden acne outbreak on skin. The first one might be hereditary, hormonal or may be because of your lifestyle or environmental problems. If it is the latter, you need to figure out what changed in your lifestyle or eating habits in the immediate past. Probably you started using new skin care products or eating lots of oily food, exposed to sun for most part of day, excessive sweating or eating lot of chocolates. May be it is time to change the pillow covers, face towels, you tried a new makeup product or you are exposed to pollution more. The reasons could be many, but try to understand what might have been the cause.

For me I realized that my hair is getting too oily recently and the fringes are falling a lot to forehead. Also I started having dandruff as well. No wonder acne was just on the forehead.

2. How I fought the acne

When the first pimple was up, I did not think much about it and left it to heal by itself. But as soon as the first one disappeared (leaving a mark behind), the second one popped up. That is when I took it seriously and started with the new skin care regime.

  1. I started combing my hair back without letting it fall to my forehead.
  2. Every other day, when I felt my hair was getting oily, I washed it well with my favourite Gia shampoo  (Review)that took away all the oiliness from my hair without leaving it dry and frizzy.IMG_20160503_204359
  3. I made sure I washed my face well thrice a day, in the morning, evening (after office) and before bed, using tea cleanser from Cape of good soap (read review here). I gave special attention to my T-zone, keeping the product there for a while, before washing it off. This particular soap, is great for combination to oily skin, as it keeps oil at bay for a long time. Also I was careful not to touch my face, without washing the hands thoroughly with soap. (Remember bacteria is one of the leading causes of acne, along with excessive oil and dead skin cells.)1468589403856
  4. I used clay based face masks every day for 3 days after office, applying a thick coat on the problem areas. I did not use a face scrub on these days, as this can irritate the skin and cause further break outs. The masks I used were the Gia french green clay mask (read review here) and Juicy chemistry black head buster mask.

Clay based masks helps in absorbing the oiliness and detoxifies the skin by pulling out dirt and clearing the pores. These two masks are excellent and did a great job in clearing my skin off all impurities.

acnemask

5. I used Kama vetiver toner  (Kama Ayurveda haul post) pray after the mask, which helped tighten the skin and provide just enough splash of moisture. I did not apply moisturizer to my acne areas and left them alone for most part of the day.

6. At night after cleansing the skin well, I took Listerine (yes the mouth wash) in a cotton swab and rubbed the acne area with it. I had read some where that mouth wash has ingredients that can kill acne causing bacteria and can dry up the pimple.

listerine

A word of caution, this can also make the area irritated, dry or scaly for some people who are has sensitive skin. So do a patch test and try this only if you are sure, your skin won’t respond badly to this.

Anyway this worked well for me and it really shrinked the pimples overnight. Please do patch tests before trying something new as all skin types won’t respond in a similar way.

7. If you do not want to try the Listerine step you can use dilute apple cider vinegar after patch test. Also, try getting facial steam with few drops of tea tree essential oil or basil essential oil in water.

Three days of these steps, and the acne was gone. But yeah it left a spot that is getting lighter with my daily skincare routine. (read about daily skin care regime here)

Let me know if this helped and your effective skincare methods to fight acne.

 

 

Kama Ayurveda store visit and haul post

Kama Ayurveda, started in 2002 in India, is a luxury skincare brans that sells authentic ayurveda based skin care products. According to the brand,

 Our treatments are 100% natural and use plant-based ingredients, prepared from organically – grown plants and herbs or collected by India’s tribal communities from natural habitats. This means – No artificial colours. No artificial fragrance. No animal ingredients. No petrochemicals, parabens, urea, propylene glycol or sulphates. All our organic products are internationally certified.

I had always wanted to try their products but felt they are too expensive. But recently, I came across many product reviews of the brand and wanted to check out if it was worth the hype.

They have two outlets in Bangalore, one at the V.R Mall and another at 1 M.G mall. I got a chance to visit both the branches and I bought few of their products.

First of all, I loved their store decor. The tranquil Indian instrumental music and pure fragrance from the incense, transports you to a peaceful state of mind. There is an ‘Indianness’ in the store that is so refreshing fro a change. I had done my research on the brand before visiting the stores. They partner with Arya Vaidya Pharmacy to ensure the quality of products. As per the store staff (who was very helpful), their labs are in Kerala but unfortunately, no stores there. From the reviews of many bloggers, I already had an idea of their best sellers (the kumkumadi face serum, scrub and hair oils)

V.R Mall store

1468742100952.jpg

The small store offers products ranging from face care, body care products to authentic ayurvedic oils and incense sticks. I walked around smelling and trying out all the products and even my husband, who is not into the skin care madness like me, enjoyed the music and decor of the store.

I had already read rave reviews on the kumkumadi oil and face mists. I, being not a fan of face oils, did not feel like getting that. Even though I was not planning to buy anything, the store staff spent a good amount of time, explaining the usage of products I showed interest in and I ended up getting the vetiver face mist, as suggested by the staff (for combination skin). He said rose and lavender mists can be a bit heavy for oily/combination skin types.

Also the range of soaps were amazing, most of them smelled really good, especially the rose and red sandalwood ones. So I got the rose, cinnamon,orange soap that had a heavenly fragrance.

Loved the packaging of products and the paper bag I got. I don’t know where the French connection is from, as all the products have details mentioned in French as well.

1 MG store visit

Mohnish and Reema, from the brand arranged my second store visit. The 1 MG outlet of the brand, has an ayurvedic doctor for clients to consult. But to my disappointment, the doctor was not available on the day I visited. Nevertheless, I spent quite some time, checking out the products and finally bought eladi hydrating day cream. This branch actually lacked the music and space of the first outlet and the staff did not look that interested about the customers either(probably because it was quite late in the evening).

I got sample tubes from both the stores and i started using few of them. Samples included hand and foot cream, night cream, face masks, face scrub, bringadi hair oil and tiny bottles of body oils. Also I got a book let with all their product images, % of natural ingredients and a small description.

First impressions:

1468742248549

All the products, smells so pure and are quite light on skin. Even the creams ,inspite of being thick, gets easily absorbed and doesn’t leave oily cast or residue. The face mist is very earthy and refreshing. The ingredient list and quality are really impressive.

The ingredients are very pure and formulated in the best of quality, that only a small amount of product is required for each use. Hence it lasts longer and I feel that the price is justified. Even the 5g tube of face cream, lasted me a week and more, with daily use.

Also I feel a huge difference in the quality and efficacy of the product, even within 2 weeks of use, compared to other pocket friendly alternatives I have tried so far. Wait a second, I don’t think the price difference is much (for the products I bought), as most of the natural brands available, sells products at a comparative cost these days. The face toner for eg, cost only 175Rs when many other handmade natural brands I know, sells it for more.

Also I did not buy the very costly products, that I felt I did not really need in my skin care regime.

The brand also offers pure essential oils, lip balms, body lotions, scrubs, plant based masks and ubtans.

I will be reviewing the products after using it for a while.

Do check out their store when you get a chance and let me know your thoughts.

Daily morning skin care routine for glowing skin

Hello All, if you are my instagram follower, you will know that this is my 100th post there. Apart from skin care, I talk to you about my recipes, awesome eateries I have been to and I make sure I answer all your queries. I just wanted to make this post a special treat to you all.

In this post I will tell you everything you need to know about a skin care routine and products that are affordable as well as effective.

Why do you need to have a skin care routine??

The word routine might make it sound tedious, but it is not. All you need to do is keep your skin clean and moisturized, but not whenever you feel like it. Following the routine in the morning and before bed is important, as it keeps your skin healthy and helps to rejuvenate it and helps in cell turnover. A good skin care routine, however simple, will bring a drastic improvement in skin health, tone and texture.

Morning skin care routine:

Many of us have full time jobs and keeping aside time for a routine in the morning may not be possible. But the steps I am going to give you is simple and this will not take much of your time.

  1. Cleansing

Use a good quality natural/organic cleanser. Cleansing is the first and most important step in skin care and the effectiveness of later steps depends on the quality of your cleansing. YOU CANNOT SKIP THIS. Do this once in the morning and once in the evening after work.

Besan (chick pea flour)/Green gram powder are the best natural cleansers for all skin types.

Cleansers I suggest:

Khadi Cucumber and Aloe cleansing milk with Shea butter: The cheapest and the mildest cleanser of all, this one feels like cucumber puree on face and it comes for Rs 150 for 210g. You can massage face with a coin size amount of this cleansing milk and wipe it off with cotton.

Gia bath and body works :If you want to go soap free, and also nourish your skin with a cleanser that has oodles of goodness, go for oats/coffee/orange peel powder based face cleansers, depending on your skin type. Check out the review here .This is very affordable and will last you for several months (8 for me) as you need only a very small quantity to cleanse the skin.

Best thing about soap free, powdery or crumbly cleansers is that, you don’t need a separate face scrub.These provide gently scrub action and hence helps you rid of dead skin.

Just Herbs Silksplash Neem-Orange Rehydrant Face Wash& vit E face wash from Gia : If you like liquid face cleansers, these are good choices as they do not strip your natural oils but still cleans the face well. Gia vit E one is really thick and you need only a pea size amount to wash entire face and neck. Just herbs one is bit more diluted.

Eventhough it is not a dedicated face cleanser, I loved using the Teas Please assorted tea soap from cape of good soap (Review). this helped a lot in keeping oil at bay and making my skin soft and smooth.

Almost all natural skin care brands offer wide range of cleansers, but I have listed just the ones I have tried and liked.

Dry skinned people do not wash your face with warm water, as it can strip your skin of natural oils and make it more dry. Also make sure not to miss the neck area while cleansing.

Also do not rub your skin with towel, to dry it. Pat dry your face with a soft tissue or face towel.

2. Moisturizing:

You must be wondering why I skipped toning and exfoliating. As I said, incase you are gripped for time you can add those to your night time skin care routine. Also if you are too lazy to use a sun screen after, choose moisturizers with sun screen.

The best natural moisturizer is aloe vera gel/milk cream for oily/dry skins respectively.

Choose a gel based moisturizer if you have oily skin and a cream based one if you are prone to dry skin.Dot the moisturizer on the forehead, chin, cheeks, nose and neck and gently press and spread the product through out the skin. Don’t massage face rigorously or use harsh strokes.

For my combination skin type, the below moisturizers have worked well.

Initially I was using the Fab India vit E cream for oily skin, before I realized that it had parabens.

Bio Organics and Natural aloe vera gel with papaya and saffron is a pocket friendly option for oily skinned beauties. Read the review here . The brand offers many versions of aloe gel.

Gia daily moisturizer with SPF : This white moisturizer is quite light and fluffy. A tiny amount of this can moisturize the face and neck well. Comes with the added benefit of sun protection. Suits all skin types.

Just herbs FAGEL instant glow beauty gel : My favorite gel based moisturizer that has a very pleasant fragrance. best for combination to oily skin types as it keeps the face oil free for long.

These two below have prices around 450-480 Rs but this is a great investment for the skin, considering the awesome ingredients and its quality.

Also if you love using serums, try the Juicy Chemistry Argan and Rose day serum with sun protection.

I have recently started using the Kama Ayurveda Eladi Hydrating cream, as it feels heavenly on skin. But it is quite expensive and I found out that Kottakkal Arya Vaidyasala has one that is much cheaper. Will right a comparison review after I get hold of it.

Make sure you moisturize and sun protect your hands and feet as well with a good hand and foot cream. Also use a lip balm to moisturize and protect your lips. My one and only favourite out of the many many ones I tried, is the Burt’s bees lip balm (Review). Also lip balm from Aroma Essentials with spf, is really awesome. (Read review here)

USE A GOOD SUNSCREEN BEFORE YOU STEP OUT OF THE HOUSE IRRESPECTIVE OF THE CLIMATE.

I have used Biotic, Lotus  and lacto calamine sunscreens, but these make my skin oily after a while. The one that suited my combination skin best is the Just herbs No Sun Jojoba gel.

For all those of you, who has that extra few minutes to pamper yourselves in the morning, use a scrub twice a week and a toner daily.

3. Toning and Exfoliating:

Cleanser should be followed by scrub and toner before moisturizer, if you are going for the full routine.

Toner:

You don’t need to buy a toner, as it can be made easily at home. Rose water, green tea water, cucumber juice, aloe-vera gel etc are all great toners. You can easily make these at home and store it in fridge or make ice cubes with them.

Apply the toner with a cotton or spray it on face for even application.

If you are particular about buying one, get one free of alcohol or any harmful chemicals.

I started using the Kama vetiver toner, few weeks back and I have really enjoyed the refreshing spritz of earthy goodness on my face. I got the 250Rs bottle and I feel it will last me long. Before this I was using the rose water from K-Organics which is only Rs 130 for 100ml. Read the review here

Rose water and lavender toners etc suits normal to dry skin the best. Vetiver and aloe based toners are great for oily to combination skin types.

Many brands like Aroma essentials, Oil craft naturals, Juicy chemistry and Organic mills sells chemical free toners, but I have not tried any of those.

Scrubs :

Rice flour, coffee/tea powder, almond powder, oats powder, green gram powder, sandal wood powder etc are great natural scrubs.

I always prefer soap free powdery cleansers as it has added advantage of scrub action as well. If not, I go for face masks, that ex-foliates the dead skin, on massaging it before washing it off. Also use a scrub at most twice in a week. Be gently when you scrub your face, as it is the particles in the scrub that should do the action and not your force. Avoid area around the eyes.

The simplest of all and the best scrub I have used so far is the K-Organics, Honey Rose scrub. As the name suggests, it just has these two ingredients and it is affordable, gentle and very pure. Read the review here

Juicy Chemistry Black head buster and Just herbs honey exfoliating face cleansing gel are all great scrubs.

Face masks, like toners gives you all the extra benefits but need not be a part of daily skin care routine. So not adding it here.

This post has been really long. So I will keep the bath time skin care routine (where I will talk about awesome body scrubs and body oils) and night time skin care routine for another post.  Also I will be updating the review links for all the products in this post, I have not yet written about.

Hope you all enjoyed the post. Do add your favourite skin care products in the comment.