Moisturizers and face masks curated for summers : Introducing The Skin Pantry and Amara Organix

Skincare products should suit your skin type as well as the current climate. In summers it is best to you light skincare products with simple and all natural ingredients. Hope you enjoyed the last two posts on summer skincare and haircare. Here is anther one featuring the best chemical free products from Indian brands that you must try this summer for a happy smiling skin.

    The Skin Pantry

Whipped up in the pantry of Mumbai based graphic designer Collette, this brand has a lip smacking range of skin food made of certified organic, natural and pure ingredients. Skin smoothies, creme brulee, honey dew melon and citrus mousse is sure to give you dessert cravings, but these are just some of the skin care goodies from The Skin Pantry. The price range, quality of ingredients and packaging makes it a luxe skincare brand.

Almond and Aloe Whisper

I really love the names of the products and they are apt as well. This one the simplest, mildest and purest of moisturizers and can be used even by the most sensitive skin.
Ingredients : 100% organic cold pressed sweet almond oil, 100% organic apricot seed oil, pure aloe vera gel, pure vitamin E oil.
Price : Rs 1250 for 50ml

My take on the product :
This is everything I imagine a ‘whisper’ would be in the physical sense. Light, fluffy and white this one smells of pure apricot oil. Reminds me of Junaili apricot scrub. A little goes a long way and spreads easily on skin. It makes my skin look a bit dull immediately after application but keeps them moisturized for long without being oily. Apt for summers and suits all skin types.

Rhassoul clay face mask

Ingredients : Jojoba oil, apricot oil, vit E oil, organic rose hydrosol, organic rose otto essential oil and the star, Moroccan Rhassoul clay.
Price : Rs 850 for 50ml

My Take on the product : Suits normal to oily skin types. Smells like a rose garden. Comes with a cute test tube of solution that can be mixed with the clay when it dries up. The face mask comes in a cute little jar with screw cap. It has a mousse like texture and can be easily spread on face. The product can be taken out using the spatula provided or with clean fingers. It is directed not to bring the product in contact with metals as this can strip the clay off its mineral ions and hence its goodness. It dries in a jiffy after application and makes skin smooth, tight and controls oiliness.

Buy : The Skin Pantry

Amara Organix

    This Chennai based brand is the brain child of the lovely lady, Mehar. You name it and they have it, a wide range of skin care, bath and body products and exotic soaps that caters to all kinds of skin care needs.

    Brightening Face mask

    Ingredients: French green clay, french pink caly, moroccan rhassoul clay, sandalwood powder, turmeric powder, licorice powder, spirulina and lavender essential oil

    Price : Rs 250 for 25g

    My take on the product: Suits all skin types. It is in a powder form and has an earthy natural smell. Less than a tea spoon is surprisingly enough for the face and the product works best when mixed with rose water. I tried the mask by making the paste with water, curd and rose water and I could see the brightening effect of the mask only by using with rose water. Otherwise the mask just made my skin soft, smooth and supple. Unlike other clay based masks this doesn’t make the skin dry and on mixing with water you can see the green and pink streaks of spirulina and pink clay.If you have different textures in your skin, this mask will effectively even out the skin making it smooth and soft.

    Buy from : AmaraOrganix

    I used the zofla rose water to make this powder into a paste and this one is by far the most affordable organic rose water I have come across.

    JivaVrksa pure herbal face pack powder

      I love this simple and effective face pack from the brand Jiva Vrksa. I have reviewed the other products from the brand in my previous posts here and here. This is one is by far my favorite product of all.

      Ingredients :
      Multani mitti, sandalwood, rosepetals, orange peel
      Price: Rs150 for 75g

      My take on the product : Made with simple natural ingredients, this face pack smells predominantly of sandalwood. Apply a thick paste of the face pack powder by mixing with water. On washing off, the skin feels cleansed, toned and soft. It balances the oiliness and can be used by all skin types. This one doesn’t dry out the skin and is apt for summers for a refreshed and rejuvenated skin.


      Kama Eladi Moisturizer for combination to dry skin

    This is one of my favorite moisturizers and by far the only one that suits my combination skin well. This is thick but gets absorbed easily on skin without making the skin greasy. Read the detailed review here.

    In addition to this, make sure keep yourselves hydrated and do apply sunscreen before stepping out. Happy summer peeps.

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JivaVrksa : Earthy goodness for summer skincare

Summer is already here and Bangalore is getting really hot. Summer skin care products should be simple, light and refreshing. I have combination skin and summers brings that extra oiliness to skin. But using grain based products will balance out your skin keeping the greasiness at bay and making the skin look nourished and lively.

So let me introduce the Chennai based brand, JivaVrksa that has an all-natural personal care product line. I was very excited to try these handmade traditional skincare recipes, which are free from artificial fragrance, colors and preservatives.

As you can see the products came in a cardboard box with the brand label. I loved the fact that, eventhough a new brand, they really have put great efforts in the packaging.It is well organized with clear labels in eco-friendly handmade paper sachets.The product details and ingredient list is given in detail in a paper pamphlet. Kudos to the design team.

The brand has in market just 4 products : face, hair and body wash powders and a facepack.

All the products are in powder form with a light earthy fragrance, a mixed smell of all its ingredients. I am not new to powdered cleansers. None of the products have any strong herbal smell(which I sometimes dislike). Inside each brown sachet, is a translucent paper cover carrying the product, with the product label. All the products have somewhat earthy colors. So I keep them all in the same package and dry use wooden spatula to take the products out.

Face wash

Price : Rs100 for 75g which makes it one of the most affordable natural skincare product
Ingredients : Chickpea , Multani Mitti , Sandalwood , Rose Petals , Licorice , Aloe Vera , Avaram Senna Flower , Neem , Orange Peel and Basil.
Brand claims : Cleanses, moisturizes and protects skin. Improves smoothness and glow. Prevents wrinkles and acne

This product can be used by all skin types, even sensitive ones. It is a very mild powder which can be mixed with water to form a paste.Only about half a teaspoon of product (sometimes I just take a pinch) is enough to cleanse the face and so Iam sure this is going to last me a while. The paste spreads easily on wet skin. I have observed that when kept for longer time, it tingles lightly on the skin, which I feel is the ingredients working it’s magic.

It’s easy to wash off compared to gel or liquid face washes and takes less water for sure.Post wash the skin feels clean, soft and refreshed without making it dry or stretchy. It takes away the oiliness, dirt and grime and it surely brightens up my skin a bit. This will be well suited for acne prone and dry skin equally, as it balances the skin.It keeps oiliness away from my t-zone through out the day,when used twice daily.I don’t feel the need to use moisturizer after. Neem and basil are effective to fight and prevent acne.

Cannot comment on the ‘prevents wrinkle’ claim as I am not sure if a face wash is capable of doing it, but the ingredients might have those properties.

Body Wash:

Price :
Rs80 for 75g
Ingredients : Green G
Brand claims : Moisturizes and protects skin, Improves smoothness and glow, Gives natural fragrance and refreshes your body, Prevents skin diseases, Cleanses your skin.

As you know from my winter skincare post in Instagram (Read here), Abhyanga should be followed by cleansing with a grain based cleanser. I make a thick paste of the powder in a bowl and massage it well on the body. I have dry arms and legs and this body cleanser is gentle, it removes pre-bath oil effectively without making the skin dry or stretchy. Even when used without oiling the skin, it is non drying. I love the fragrance of vetiver but the earthy fragrance doesn’t stay on skin for long. It surely makes bath, a refreshing experience in this hot summer.

Buy from : Amazon
FB : JivaVrksa

Why i liked the products:

Simple and effective ingredients.
100% Natural, cruelty free and eco-friendly
Doesn’t have strong herbal smell
Gentle but effective
Affordable and easily available
Unlike soaps this doesn’t dry out the skin.Also the slight grittiness sloughs away all the dirt and not just the oil
Balances skin
Removes tan

Since the products are free from preservatives, I advice you to keep it in an airtight container if kept in bathroom. Also use dry spoon to scoop out the products.
The hairwash and face mask review will be up soon.

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Decadent body scrubs for all skin types

Using a body scrub (or even a dry brushing technique where you use soft body brush to brush the body) is beneficial in many ways.
1. It sloughs away the dirt, grime and dead skin.
2. Buffs the skin and makes it smooth and soft.
3. Massaging the scrub on the body boosts circulation and helps in draining the lymph nodes.
4. It aids in the cell turnover that gets slowed down with age
5. Using a natural body scrub at the end of the day, is very relaxing and can even uplift your mood.

DIY body scrub

You can easily make a body scrub at home. You need to mix a scrubby/gritty ingredient like cane sugar/rock salt powder/oats/flax seed/coffee powder with a moisturizing base like olive oil,almond oil or honey. Add a few drops of essential oil like lavender,orange,rose for relaxing fragrance.

But if you are a lazy bum, you can just buy any of these amazing body scrubs listed below, based on your skin type. Make sure you don’t use much pressure while massaging the scrub as this can cause redness. Do a patch test to make sure the ingredients doesn’t cause irritation.

1. Oily skin : Vedic Line Choco Deli sugar scrub with Jamaican sugar

Price : Rs180 for 65g
Ingredients : Water, Cocoa Butter, Caramel, Cocoa Powder, Sesame Oil, Natural Granules and vitamin E.
This scrub is thick and creamy with a strong cocoa fragrance. It is brown in color with a golden shine to it. The particles are gritty and a small spatula full of product is enough for entire body. You might need to follow it up with a moisturizer as this scrub can be a bit drying. Fragrance is a bit heady.It spreads well on moist skin and is a good scrub at affordable price. Unlike other sugar scrubs, the scrubby particle doesn’t get dissolved easily on wet skin which is a plus.
Buy @ Nykaa


2.Normal skin : Junaili Apricot scrub and Juicy Chemistry Orange Cinnamon scrub


This is an amazing affordable scrub with just 1 ingredient and it ticks all the boxes for me. Read the detailed review here

Another option is the orange, cinnamon and honey sugar scrub from Juicy Chemistry. As rightly said, it smells like Christmas in a jar.It has a warm citrusy cinnamon fragrance and dry crumbly texture.Massage it directly on wet skin. The sugar gets dissolved on wet skin on massaging and hence don’t mix it with water before applying. It doesn’t dry out the skin. Read this post to know how to use it effectively for smooth skin.

Price: Rs 250 for 35g
Ingredients : Organic Demerara Sugar, Organic Cane Sugar, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter,Natural Vitamin-,Extra Virgin Olive Oil,Jojoba Oil,Sweet Almond Oil, Wild Forest Honey, Cinnamon Essential Oil,Sweet Orange Essential Oil

3. Dry/ Sensitive skin : Juicy Chemistry Rose Almond and Shea body scrub

This is the most moisturizing body scrub I have ever used. The nourishing butters and essential oils in this one makes skin moisturized and you don’t need to follow it up with a moisturizer. Hence it is suitable for dry to normal skin types. I can’t stop raving about the amazing fragrance of this product which is a blend of almond meal and rose and geranium essential oils.

As you can see, the scrub is like a dense almond meal paste, but it still does the job well along with nourishing the skin. This gentle scrub is suited for sensitive skin as well. It is priced on the higher side though.
Price : Rs 300 for 35g
Buy here or from Nykaa.com

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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.