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.

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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.

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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.

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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 🙂

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:

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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:

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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.
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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

Aroma essentials multiple product review- part 1

Almost everyone who is crazy about chemical free skin care products will have heard about Aroma essentials. I have previously reviewed their onion cream shampoo. Check out that review, to know more about the brand.

This post is a review of the other products I got from them. Some are my favorites and some did not work out for me. This post has those that i really liked. So let us start with the best of the lot.

My haul mostly had hair care products

haul

Orange Vanilla Lip Balm:

Of all the Indian lip balms I have tried so far (trust me there is a long list), this is the only one that does so much with so little ingredients. You all know I love Burt’s bes peppermint lip balm and that works the best for my dry, chapped lips. Also I have not tried any Indian peppermint lip balms. But even without peppermint, this one with its very small list of ingredients, gives a burst of hydration to the lips. BEST INDIAN LIP BALM I HAVE TRIED SO FAR.

lipbalm

Price : 175Rs

Ingredients : mango butter, vanilla and orange oils,  vit e. No cocoa or shea butter like normal lip balms. Still the best.

Packing : Comes in a transparent tube unlike other natural lip balms. They have tub versions as well but most handmade lip balms comes in tub which is very unhygienic. I love the fact that even though this one is really soft and smooth, it holds its shape in the tube.

Yay points: Gives instant hydration to lips. Soft and smooth. Not oily or heavy on lips. I am sure it will suit almost all lip conditions. Comes with the added benefits of spf.

Nay point : For extremely dry, cracked lips like mine, this wouldn’t be sufficient. This doesn’t sink in fast and therefore doesn’t have that matte feeling, Burt’s bees gives.

But c’mon give it a break, this comes from a homemade, handmade, all natural brand for such a pocket friendly price, considering its efficacy. I can only say AWESOME. Also the brand offers lip balms in other flavours.

Madhurima (band owner), please make a mint based lip balm that would heal my chapped lips along with hydrating it.

Mint Mask :

mint

This came as complimentary gift from the brand.

Price : Rs 350

Ingredients :aloe gel, mint , vitamin b3

Packing: Product comes in a small white tub.

Texture : This is a gel with bright blue color. Something like basil seeds are scattered across the gel.

Yay points : Best cooling mask for summers. This is light and gets absorbed by the skin. Can be mixed with other powder masks, replacing rose water. Great for all ksin types as this doesn’t stretch the skin.

Nay points : Nothing much as there are no big claims by the product. This is not a necessary product in your kit but would really refresh your skin after a long day.

Eye corrector gel :

undereye

PC: Aroma essentials

Price : Rs 175 for about 15ml

Ingredients : curd water , saffron , German chamomile and English lavender

Texture : A yellow colored gel with saffron strands in it.

Yay points : The under eye cream or rather oil from Juicy chemistry I used before used to sting my eyes if it goes in while massaging the eye area. Also I was not a  big fan of oily texture. This one comes in gel form and I refrigerate it. Hence it is very cooling and relaxes the eye area instantly. It sinks in fast and takes away all oiliness from the applied area. Also you get a warm feeling when the gel is absorbed. This will be a good base for eye shadows or kajal, if you have oily lids.

Nay Points : Did not help with the under eye darkness. I don’t have any distinct darkness under the eyes, It’s more of few veins popping when I don’t sleep well or spend too much time infront of computer.

Can make the skin feel a bit tacky.

Chocolate Massage candle:

choco

PC : Aroma essentials

Price : Rs 450

Ingredients : cocoa butter , bees wax , sheabutter

Packing : Comes in a plastic cup. I am not a fan of the packing side of the brand, as I feel for the price, they can do a better job.

How to apply: I wanted to try this as I was intrigued by the idea of a candle as moisturizer. The candle wax is not hard as it is all natural. I got the chocolate variant and it smells like cocoa. I light the candle and let it melt the wax for a few minutes. I then put out the wick and apply the molten wax on dry areas like knees and elbows.

Yay points : Smells really good and it moisturizes the dry areas for a while.

Nay points : I feel this is quite expensive for the quantity and efficacy. I need to reapply this after few hours as this doesn’t moisturize my skin for long. Considering that, I would rather go for a body butter to minimize the efforts.

Buy the products from here

Let me know your yay and nay products from the brand.

 

 

 

 

 

Right products with right ingredients for your skin type

What are we doing wrong???

It is quite easy to understand what product to buy. Say you need a cleanser, or a shampoo, all you need to do is go to store and get one. But how do we choose the product?

Mostly based on the ingredients you like, say you like the fragrance of rose or lavender. Your preference will always be to buy such products, those that appeal to you in fragrance, texture or those products that worked for your friends or your favorite blogger.

Even if we are in an outlet of  a particular brand, we don’t generally ask the staff on what might be right for our skin type. Or if we have any particular concern, we need to choose products accordingly.

How I realized this?

For example, I love pleasant natural fragrances like that of rose and lavender. So if I am buying a lip balm and there are three options, say mint, rose and vanilla ; I go for the rose variant. But after using it for sometime, I realize that it doesn’t make my chapped lips any better. But that might not be because the product is not good or the ingredient list is not impressive. It is simply that I did not choose the right product from the choices I had.

Whenever I see products with mint/peppermint, coffee, tea, pepper etc I instantly make up my mind that I wouldn’t like them. I don’t stop to think if my skin would disagree though. As one of my instagram followers rightly said, ‘It is like you really like certain kind of food, but your body might be allergic or wouldn’t respond well to it’.

Finally when I decided to try the Burt’s bees lip balm, which has peppermint as major ingredient, I did not expect a miracle. From childhood my major skin problem was my chapped lips. It was always dry and chapped and the skin gets so dry that even lip scrubs can’t remove the dead skin. I tried lip balms from many different brands and even those home made natural ones, but none of those worked for me. The major mistake I amde was, I always chose what I thought was best for my skin, lip balms with rose, vanilla, citrus and chocolate flavours or oils. None with mint.But when I finally did, that was the best thing I ever tried on my lips. It made my lips smooth, supple and matt without any dryness throughout the day.

This doesn’t mean all those lip balms I tried were bad, it wasn’t right for my skin condition. But for someone who just needed a mild daily moisturizer, all of them would have worked well.

Sometimes on my Instagram page I encounter questions like ‘How can you say that this product doesn’t work? It worked well for me and I loved it’. I correct them saying, see I never said that this product doesn’t work. I said this doesn’t work for me. Why? Because my skin condition, need and the climatic condition of where I live can be very different from yours. So something that works for you, may not work for me even if we are both oily skinned. There are many factors affecting the efficiency of a product and the best judge is you =, given you know your skin well.

How to choose the right products?

When I visited Kama ayurveda outlet recently, I decided to buy a face mist. As usual I went for the rose/lavender ones. Because so far on all blogs and reviews, I see the rose or lavender variants reviewed the most. Everybody praises these and not the earthy vetiver mist I came across there. The staff there suggested the vetiver mist instead saying, this is best for combination/oily skin types, as the other two might be a bit heavy for such skin.

Eventhough reluctant, I decided to try it. To my surprise, I loved the earthy natural fragrance of the mist. It was light on skin, kept me fresh and took away the oiliness from skin.

So first point is :

  1. Be clear on what your skin needs (not what you want).
    You need to understand your skin type first. Just because your face is oily doesn’t mean your body skin needs to be oily too. Most of us might be of combination skin types, that is oily in T zone and dry around mouth. So understanding the skin type is very essential in choosing the right skin care product.

Advice is mostly free.

      2. Always ask expert opinion, before you invest on skincare.

       3. Rather than spending your money on products to try, read multiple reviews on the same. Ping the blogger and get to know if this might work for your skin. Also when you are in any brand outlet, ask for testers before buying the full product, if you are not sure.

       4. When buying from artisans who make handmade skin care products, don’t blindly follow the reviews posted in the page. Chat with the brand person and get as much info about the product. Ask questions regarding your concern and skin requirement and choose wisely.

5. You don’t always need to have different kinds of products to take care of your skin. Keep it simple.

My beauty kit includes mostly of a good cleanser that provides mild scrub action as well (soap free mostly oats based), so I don’t need a separate scrub. I use homemade face masks mostly or if not I use face pack that has ingredients to address multiple skin problems at once, rather than buying different products for all needs. My body skin is dry, so I always need a good moisturizer and I have not come across the best one so far. Still searching.

6. Don’t go crazy on natural skin care products either. Basically all ingredients are chemicals if you think about it, natural or artificial. Just like how all artificial chemicals are not harmful for us, all natural products might not be safe for all skin types either. So be careful and keep a watch on changes happening on skin while using the product.

7. There is only so much these products we apply externally can do. Eat healthy, keep hydrated, rest well and have good thoughts. Healthy skin is a reflection of healthy life.

So even though I hate mint in food, my skin loves mint. Here are the current minty products I am using. mint.jpg

I have reviewed few of the products in this, and you will see more reviews in the coming days. Also I am enjoying the fresh feel of the vetiver face mist from kama ayurveda.

Let me know of your thoughts or queries on this post.

 

Aroma Essentials Onion Shampoo

Aroma Essentials is a pretty known name among natural skin care lovers. I have been following them for last one year but never felt like buying the products. I had read all the rave reviews about the products in different blogs and on their fb page, all about how effective and great each product is, but was really sceptical. Let me tell you why,

  1. The brand has huge following and apparently the sale is also great, still I couldn’t see any improvement in their packing or labels.
  2. Usually I follow a brand for pretty long and try to understand their products well before trying them out. In all the AE product reviews, customers clearly complaints about not seeing full product list on labels but still I couldn’t that getting addressed.
  3. Also in their fb page they claim,

All our products are freshly handmade in small batches using the finest natural ingredients.we do not use harsh chemicals like petroleum or mineral oil.the colour and scent of our products occur naturally from our ingredients and essential oils.no artificial colours and scents are added.”

But I could find their soaps in bright colours which I did not think was natural.

4. Also customer claims that they could see changes and effects with the first use made me wonder if the products was 100% natural as it claimed.

Anyway their was only one way to find out, use the products.

So I ordered a couple of their products for hair and a few for skin as well. The products came with a pamphlet on how to use them. Atleast the ingredient list could have been printed here.

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I have used shampoo bars and to be frank I am not a big fan, only because it weighs down the hair a bit and I get that oily feeling even when I wash twice. So I had asked in particular for a liquid/cream shampoo and Madhurima the sweet lady behind the brand, suggested the onion cream shampoo.

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I was intrigued as this is not a familiar ingredient in cleansers. Also I had heard a lot about the benefits of onion juice on hair. So I decided to try it out.

Price : Rs 200

Ingredients : Onion pulp , shea butter , rosemary , cedar wood, lavender e/os 

Packing : As you can see, the product comes in a white tub which has an inner lid. It is leak proof as the product is quite thick and not runny.  No complete list of ingredients on the label.

Texture : Not very happy with the texture as it is not creamy. As you can see, the product is ivory coloured and is very thick in consistency. On scooping it out, we get scattered soap like pieces that has to be softened up in hand before applying to scalp.

Fragrance : Now this remains true to its ingredients. It has strong mixed smell of onions and the other ingredients. It is not pleasant and it stays in hair after wash. Still not that bad either as this wears out after a while.

Buy from : here

My experience using the product :

This is a gentle cleanser and very natural for sure. The product barely lathers but cleanses the scalp well. I need to wash my hair twice or thrice with the product to completely wash off the oil. Hair needs to be really wet for the product to spread well and cleanse. So scoop out some product, mix with a bit of water and rub it in hands to soften it as well as to lather.Spread it in the scalp and massage well. Wash it off and repeat until the oiliness is completely gone.

I have short hair, shoulder length. Still I need quite a bit of product for that completely cleansed feel.

This cleanser doesn’t make the hair dry and hence is apt for daily use. I wash my hair in the evening, so I don’t mind the smell. Even if you use a pleasant smelling conditioner after, the onion smell remains, as it is quite strong. I don’t mind this at all though.

Verdict :

This is a good gentle hair cleanser for daily use but I would like to try out other hair cleanser varieties, the brand has to offer. In comparison, I still prefer the Gia shampoo though as it is as good as the commercial ones in texture and fragrance, with no non sense ingredients.

PS : So I asked Madhurima about the missing ingredient list and she said since she had to rush from work to design labels and because of space problem, the complete list couldn’t be provided. But in the face book posts she mentions the ingredients. She gave the ingredient list of all products, when asked.

Also regarding the ingredient color, she said the colors used are FDA approved food grade colors.

She is also working on better packing. My main issue is with the products that comes in bottle, like oils, serums etc. So if that could be improved with better labeling, it would be great.