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.

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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.

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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.

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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

My favorites and not so favorites from Juicy Chemistry

Happy New year peeps!!!! Hope you all had a wonderful start of 2017. I am looking forward to introducing many more natural skincare products to you this year. Since I did not want to limit the post to a product review, I am listing out all my favorites from the brand Juicy Chemistry.

While reading reviews on natural skin care brands, I feel that rather than a constructive criticism and comparison, the posts usually just contain praises. Say you read the posts on body scrubs from these chemical free skin care brands, and every post says they are all good. So how do you choose. If all are good, how do you know which one suits your skin best? That is why you should know your skin well and know the skin type of the person who has written the post. Ask questions to bloggers and reviewers before getting a product.

Juicy Chemistry is a familiar name for my readers as well as natural skincare lovers. Based on Coimbatore,t he pure and totally chemical free products of this brand, provides effective skincare, in addition to making you smell so wonderful. Ohhh yeah, the fragrance of aroma oil blends in their products are so exotic.

I am not listing all the products I have used from them (yes there is a lot), but just a mini review of my favorites and not so favorites.

Moisturizers: Yay

I totally recommend body butters from JC, for normal to dry skin. They smell so decadent and pure. I even use it as a body pomade, for the fragrance is really wonderful. The ones I love are the Choco mint, Rose and Jasmine variants. The fragrance is not heady and the body butters melt to form oily films when applied on skin. Massage it well and the skin stays nourished throughout the day.

This one was my first buy, but they don’t make this variant anymore.Read detailed review Juicy Chemistry : Choco-Vanila Body Butter

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These are not for face or for people with acne prone/oily body skin.

Eye cream: Nay

The coffee and green tea eye cream from the brand is made of very impressive ingredients like green tea and coffee infused almond oil, mango butter, lavender essential oil etc. But this one failed to impress me. Can’t call it a cream, as it is in a condensed oil form.

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Take a bit and apply it under and around the eye area, and it makes the whole area very oily. So cannot use it if you are going to step out. Also if it goes in the eye (which is very likely as the oil spreads on massaging the eye area), it really stings. I used it regularly over a period, but it did not do anything for the fine lines under my eyes. I don’t have dark circles, so can’t comment on that.It can be very nourishing for the skin I feel, but somehow did not work for me.

Face masks: Yay

The two face masks I tried from the brand, Rose-sandalwood and Tea tree-Charcoal masks helps control the oiliness of oily-combination skin types. These masks are in powder form. The rose face masks feels warm on skin whereas the tea tree variant has cooling effect. These are made of essential oils and clays and doesn’t dry out the skin.

 

Read detailed review of the Rose- sandalwood mask here

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Eventhough it did not draw out any black heads from my nose, this really works in clearing out acne and scrubbing out dead skin. On making a paste of the powder, with water, the texture resembles that of paper pulp. It is soft and non gritty when wet. But on drying, this gets gritty and acts as a scrub. The cooling effect of the peppermint oil helps in calming the skin after a long tiring day in the sun.

Lavender Myrrh and wild forest honey Night Cream : Nay

Well this thick yellow cream for dry skin, obviously did not suit my combination skin. But  I wanted to try out a night cream and this is one of my early purchases from JC.This is very oily and it did break out my skin. I am not a fan of the fragrance of this one and also this is something that suits dry to very dry skin types.

Hair care products : Yay

The lavender shampoo bar and argan mango butter hair masque suits all hair types. These are very nourishing and conditions the hair well. These are 2 products I have used up pretty fast as I really liked them. Read about hair care in my post All about hair cleansers

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Lip Balms: Yay and Nay

Love the orange candy lip balm but not the rosy rose one. The lip balms came in tubs (now they have them in tubes as well) and I really liked the consistency of the balms. The orange candy one really worked for me as it was moisturizing and the taste was not bad either.

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The lip balms melts on applying on lips and forms a thin oily layer that really helps moisturize dry skin. But the rose variant disappointed me, as it stings and I did not like its taste either.

Soaps : Yay

The brand has in stock, a wide range of cold pressed soaps, each for specific skin types or addressing specific skin problems. Eventhough these are really expensive (yes you will get a  hole in your pocket), these are made up of high quality ingredients and are very decadent.

Read detailed reviews of my favorite soaps here :

Skin Rehab Soap

Juicy Chemistry Hazelnut & Vanilla Latte Soap

Spicy Apple Pie anyone???

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Foot care : Yay yay yay

Love the citrus blast of the foot scrub and pepperminty cooling effect of the foot cream.

Read more:

Juicy Chemistry citrus and sage foot scrub

Happy Feet, Peppermint & Tea Tree Hand & Foot Cream

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Day serum: Well…

The Argan and Rose day serum is made with oils of raspberry seed and carrot seed, containing natural SPF. It has saffron, rose oil and other effective skin care oil blends as well. Well I neither love nor hate this one. I didnot see any visible effects of the serum on skin, though i like to believe that it protects my skin from pollutants and UV rays.

Buy JC products from here

I hope you liked this post. Let me know your JC favourites and the products that really worked for you.

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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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

CGH Pepper soap review and a little surprise

This post has a surprise. So keep reading till the end.

You must be familiar with the brand Cape of Good Soap, if you are a regular reader of my blog. I had previously reviewed products from this brand,Teas Please from Cape of Good soap , Cape of Good Soap : Rosewood and Mint soap , Look what came in my mail today!

They offer wide variety of soaps, that not only smells heavenly and looks like a painting in itself, but has very unique combination of ingredients to suit specific skin types.
When we think about ingredients in skin care we usually look forward to those with soothing aromas like floral, herbal fragrances or refreshing ones like citrusy, minty ones. But Manisha’s mind works in a different way. She makes products with ingredients that surprises us for it’s efficacy and unique aromas.So I was fairly surprised when she sent me the Black pepper & Bergamot soap to review.
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PC : COGP
What the product claims:

 Black pepper works to detoxify your skin back to its natural state with all its nutrients. This soap will work as a mood uplifter after a long day relieving you of stress and anxiety.

Ingredients:
Crushed black peppercorn, bergamot extract powder, Black pepper & Bergamot essential oil, white soap base

Price: 275/- for 120g.

My take on the product:
As you know, the really liked the Tea’s please soap as it really helped in controlling acne. But this one I saved for the last, as I was not quite sure whether I would like a peppery smelling soap. But to my surprise, this one has a very mild, warm and soothing fragrance which has prominent notes of Bergamot than pepper.
You can see crushed pepper spread across the soap and this really sloughs away dead patches. Also this one, in my opinion, will suit all skin types as this is not drying and is quite mild on skin.
I couldn’t find any con as such, because this one does its job as a soap well :P.
But if I dig deep, maybe I prefer this for the body and not face as it doesn’t control oiliness as well as the green tea variant. But well different products does differ jobs, so no complaints.
Buy it here
So here’s the surprise. We are all familiar with the brands and products, but not always with the brains behind the brands. So here’s is a small interview with the brand owner (or rather artist, as her soaps looks amazing) of Cape of Good Soap, Manisha Dutta.

1. How did you get inspired to start soap making and how did you learn to make skin care products?

I owe a lot of my handcraft to the craft lessons that we used to detest in school.  There are things for which we just rush to the aisles of the mart and pick them up without pondering that these two can be made at home. Like soaps, cosmetics or even Clothes. Most of us never think about it or resist the effort. I did too, but then seeing my own creation shaping up in different shapes, colors, fragrances and concepts is too big a thrill to be stashed away.  While I had learned about soap making way back in school, I got more comfortable experimenting it when i decided to make homemade bath products myself. Being a chemistry graduate, it came naturally to mix and experiment with different ingredients. I did a course to polish my skills before talking them to the clients.
 

2. Which is your favorite ingredient in skincare product(if any particular fragrance , oil or flavour you prefer)?

 I usually like all the ingredients that make the soap different from other handmade soaps that you get, now that there are many players in the market. My addition of choicest of herbs, dried flowers, spices etc. I actually like the natural aroma that come out of these. EO for their properties and fragrance are added, but these natural fragrance of spices and herbs that attract me to my soap.
 
 

3. Do you make the soaps from scratch(in relation to the soaps you sent). Are they cold processed?

I follow all the three processes- hot, cold and M&P made either by me or my trusted vendor, however, this depends on the order and the time available in hand to deliver it.  The soaps that were sent to you were M&P from the bars made by me as that allowed me to customize it for you at the shortest possible time, ensuring that i retain the quality and the ingredients. 
 

4. Where do you seek inspiration for designs?

All my designs are original and I would attribute them to the creative streak in me that has egged me always to  churn out something new and different every single time
 

5. How do you ensure the quality of products you use?

I purchase almost all the ingredients myself. They are handpicked from my travels in India and abroad or I ask my sister to ship them if I run out of some exotic ingredient that we don’t get here in India easily.
 
 

7. What are your future aspirations in this field?

There is a big project in the pipeline. i would love to tell you about it but allow me sometime before i can talk about it. 
 
I hope you all loved this post. Let me know what you would like me to write about next. Happy weekend 🙂

Just Herbs 6 step skin care regime mini kit review

Hi all, I am back after a vacation and boy, did I really need the time off. Any way I have a lot of products to talk about, but I don’t want to do individual product reviews anymore. I am planning to compare multiple products in a single post or probably write about different skin care regimes. If you are my Instagram follower, you know about all the new products that came in my mail recently. Let me know what you want me to write about regarding skin care and I will for sure include that in my posts.

Today I am reviewing the 6-step skin care regime kit for combination skin by #JustHerbs. It has been almost 6 months since I made this purchase and I think it is high time I tell you about it.

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The brand has one set of curated products for normal/dry skin and another for combination/oily skin types.

What’s in the box??

A six step organic skincare regime tailor-made for oily/combination skin, this kit uses no creams and relies solely on cooling gels and light textured products instead to maintain an overall glow and nourishment for oily and combination skin types.

It includes the following products, none of which contain harsh cosmetic ingredients such as parabens, sulphates and mineral oil:

Step 1: Silksplash Neem Orange Rehydrant face wash (use daily)

Step 2: Livelyclean honey exfoliating face cleansing gel (use twice a week)

Step3:  Fagel Instant Glow All Purpose Beauty Gel  (use daily)

Step 4 : Fairever Milky White Protective Fairness Pack (twice a week)

Step 5: No Sun Jojoba Wheatgerm Sun Protection Gel (daily)

Step 6: Fair’e Mulethi Khus Skin Lightening Gel (daily at bed time)

*Jar quantity 15 g/ Bottle size 30 ml

I also bought the Petal soft face pack (Review) and a shampoo along with it.

Price : Rs 845. The full sized kit is available, that costs Rs2750. Also when I bought it, the miniature products came in a plain white box, where as now they have a much prettier box.

Ingredients : Please click on links of individual products listed above to read about ingredients. Not including as it would make this post really big.

Fragrance : All products has somewhat similar fragrance, which is quite pleasant and mild. It is not the ayurvedic smell or fruity/floral smells but quite refreshing and nice.

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My experience with the products:

Even though I already had a skin care regime, it was not products from the same brand. So I stopped using all those products and completely used Just Herb products from the kit daily.  As you know, my skin is mostly not a trouble maker and behaves well with most of the products. All the products from the kit suited my combination skin and was quite mild on skin. Because of the oil and cream free formula, the products are quite light and non-greasy.

  1. Silksplash face wash is probably the mildest liquid face ash I have tried so far. It doesn’t dry out or pull the skin and can be used by all skin types in my opinion. It is a gel based face wash that effectively removes dirt and oil (not makeup, it’s just a face wash) and keeps skin smooth and soft for long.Read about it here as well Daily morning skin care routine for glowing skin .
  2. Lively clean honey exfoliating gel : I already wrote about this product separately. Please read it here .

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3.Fagel glow day gel : This is a light green colored gel that can be used as a moisturizer. Again, light on skin, non-tacky and gets absorbed easily. I did not get any “instant glow’ as the name suggests but I find it a good all purpose gel for oily skinned beauties.

4.Fairever face mask : Well, I am not a fan of ‘fair’ on product names, still the products did not disappoint me. I did not use it much initially, as I was keen on getting my tan removed using the Petal soft face pack. But one day when I tried this pack, I found that it brightened up my skin after use. Also I like the facet that this is a wet pack, that can be directly applied on face (eventhough that means there are preservatives. Yes IAM LAZY).

Also I liked this face pack, better than the Petal soft one, as the latter caused a  bit of stinging sensation on my sensitive skin.

5. No Sun Jojoba Sun protection gel : Now this is the best non-greasy sun screen for all skin types. It is light, doesn’t form a white cast on skin, smells nice, gets absorbed in a jiffy and really moisturizes the skin without making it oily. But this one needs to be reapplied from time to time, if you are prone to sun exposure for long hours.

6.Fair’e night gel : Again, another one that says ‘fair’. Seriously brands!!! it’s great to be dusky as well. Anyway, this one has similar consistency as that of the day gel but is in a light saffron colour. The product claims to make skin fairer and brighter,fight sun damage, clear spot and dark patches and so on. I don’t think, the quantity was enough to test these claims, but I found it a good night moisturizer, that prevented dry patches from showing up in the morning, without making the skin oily.

Verdict

Overall I am very happy with this skin kit. If you are of oily/combination skin type and doesn’t want to experiment with different brand products, just get this kit and follow the regime religiously. It will definitely improve the quality of your skin over a period of use.

One suggestion to the brand,do add a lip balm as well in the kit as lip care is as important as tasking care of the rest of the face.

Also if you have tried out their normal/dry skin regime kit, do let me know how it was.