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.ย 

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 (reviewedย here ) and the Aroma Essential’sย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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, Lotusย  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 reviewย 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.ย  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.

 

 

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 ofย  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.

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

ย ย ย ย ย ย  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.

ย ย ย ย ย ย  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.

 

Burt's bees beeswax lip balm

The only thing I look for and hoard whenever I come across a new chemical free skin care brand, is the perfect lip balm for my dry, parched and chapped lips.

I have tried it all I should say. They are either waxy, oily or heavy on lips. If not any of these, it just doesn’t help my chapped lips beyond an hour or as long as my lips are coated by the balm.

This one had caught my attention last year when I had been to USA but well, I did not think it would be worth a try. Recently I read a few more positive reviews and finally decided to give it a try.

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Price : 4.8$ for .15oz tube in USA or 599Rs for 4.25gm in India.

Buy from :ย here

Ingredients: beeswax, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, peppermint oil, lanolin, tocopherol, rosemary leaf extract, soybean oil, canola oil, limonene.

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My experience with the product :

I FINALLY FOUND THE PERFECT LIPBALM FOR MY LIPS.

The experience has been nothing but surprisingly incredible. I did not have high hopes on this one either. This being 100% natural, I thought it would be similar to other natural lip balms I have tried before.

The first time I applied it on my dry lips, I was surprised by the burst of freshness from peppermint. I did not quite like it as it felt like the menthol or to be exact Polo candy feel on the lips. It gave a cooling sensation to the lips without being tingly. But that subsided in few seconds and I couldn’t even feel anything on my lips. It did not feel like I have applied lip balm as my lips had a matte kind of feel to it but it felt really hydrated. No more dryness, no more chapped feeling or bleeding because of the chapped dead skin.

The lip balm is refreshing.

Hydrated my lips without being waxy or greasy on application.

Extremely light on lips and made a perfect base for lipstick.

Also I don’t have to peel away my Kip’s skin when it gets too dry and flaky even for lip scrub. This lip balm is potent enough to moisturize dry skin.

Kept the lips moisturized for almost 2 hours and I couldn’t try it for longer as I would either drink water frequently in between or wash my face.

It doesn’t melt in tube even though completely natural.

Vit E and beeswax conditions the skin and leaves the lips smooth and supple.

Other variants and flavours of the lip balm are available as well.

ย Inshort I am a firm believer now and will not switch to another brand for lip care until it proves to be better than this.

LOVE BURT’S BEES ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜