Formula Botanica Review : Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation Course

Formula Botanica

Hi folks. Today I will give you a brief idea about the Diploma in Organic Skincare Course by the online formulation institute, Formula Botanica. Many of you who follow natural skincare bloggers might already have come across this institute, but for those who doesn’t know, let me tell you about it.

Formula Botanica

This is an accredited online organic skincare school based in UK. The courses they offer are self paced and they have students from all over the world. The courses include Certificate, Diploma and Advance Diploma in streams like skincare, haircare, cosmetic preservation etc, to name a few.

Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation

This course is for beginners in formulation and is divided into 8 modules. Each module has two or three submodules. Apart from the course material, the website also provides a student librabry which has study resources and, an online classroom hosted in Facebook. This online classroom is where the students interact with other students and feature their products for suggestions. The course duration is 2 years and the final project has to be submitted within this time frame.

What does this course offer

Formula botanica provides a framework for us to get started, in the Diploma course. So don’t expect to be spoon fed on formulations. The course in itself is quite basic and simple. Each module needs to be unlocked by passing an online test of previous module. You get three attempts to pass this quiz. You can finish all these course material in no time. Each submodule has a basic formulation video, course notes, video notes and any additional info documents.

The real work starts when you start researching on ingredients and for mulations. Formula botanica facilitates the students to start exploring more on the topics. Google is the real guru here and the amount of information you research will be directly proportaional to the progress in the course.

The final test will be the only time you submit a formulation to the tutors and it will decide whether you pass the course and get the diploma certificate. The best students and their work will find a place in the Student Hall of Fame.

This course doesn’t give you the license to sell in shops and it doesn’t equip you to test the products yourself. It is all about how to approach natural skincare formulation, in a systematic manner.

Who should take this course:

If you are someone who is looking for DIY skincare recipes or want to take formulation as a hobby, I would suggest you check Youtube videos and blogs. There are so many recipes and information online that you can try successfully. You can also sign up for the Certificate courses offered by Formula Botanica or take up the course by School of Natural skincare.

But if you want to take it up as a profession you should definitely go for the course. Incase you are already a formualtor and would like to learn in depth, go for the Advanced diploma. But incase you like specifically to learn about product preservation, face mask formulation etc, they offer certificate courses.

Time, space and investment : These three factors are essential to successfully complete the course. Researching about ingredients and formulating, will require alot of time. Then you need to buy the raw materials and equipments, and as you know organic ingredients are expensive. Then you need to set up a small lab in your home and start your formulation experiments.

My experience with the course:

I went through many months of procastination before signing up for this course. I reached out to many students of Formula Botanica to get a better idea of the course. I have been into natural skincare for about 5 years now and I have been blogging for more than 3 years.  So for me, this feels like a natural progression. Having used natural skincare products of many many brands over the years, I know the existing gaps and I hope to fill them with high quality skincare products one day.

Since the course is self paced, I take it up over weekends mostly. Each student approaches the course differently, so there is no hard and fast way of learning. I have a full time job and family responsibilities. So I take it up mostly when I have enough time to spare.

Formulating a product is a tedious process. You end up wasting most of these expensive ingredients initially. A slight temperature change, measurement variation, pH variation can all affect the quality of the end product. Documenting all these observations is another task.

You can find my formulations on our Insta . I also share easy formulations with the blog subscribers.

So far the tutors have conducted two video live sessions. In these sessions we interact with other students, all over the world and share our views on certain ingredients, formulations or products.

Coming to starting a business, from what I understand getting a license is a costly affair. Some people go for it and some of these licensed formulators even demotivate other home based formulators from selling their products. So this path obviosuly comes with hurdles, but there is also a strong community that supports you when in need.

Some things I learned:

  • If a product is hydrous(containing water), preservation is essential for the safety of the consumer.
  • An unpreserved natural skincare product containing water content, pose safety issues to the user. Preservation is essential for product stability and shelf life.
  • The formulation process can alter the characteristics of ingredients. The benefits of ingredients might not be transferred to the end product. Hence the claims by skincare brands may not hold true for the end product, if the right formulation method, temperature requirements are not followed.
  • No skincare brand in the market is supposed to make claims of their products having healing effects.
  • These days most products, lists the ingredients not present in the product, to attract customers. ‘No parabens’, ‘No fragrance’ etc are common in Indian market. This is banned in EU, which has one of the most stringent laws on cosmetics. Brands should rather be transparant about the ingredients present in the product and as customers, we should read the label and avoid the ones that doesn’t display all ingredients.
  • A transparent brand claiming to be natural will disclose full ingredient list including the list of allergens in the Essential oils (if present in the stated proportions) and not just the active ingredients.
  • Essential oils are not to be messed with. They can do more harm than good, if used directly on skin and not within the dermal limits. This varies for each essential oil.
Now let me answer some questions you folks sent me in Insta about the course:
  • I did their sample class, didn’t find it intriguing. So is the course worth it.

The community feeling and the exposure to all the wonderful formulators around the world, is the best part of the course. As I said, the course material is pretty simple and straight forward. The video classes are going to be similar to the sample class. So it is upto you to decide, what you are looking for and choose accordingly.

  • Are ingredients and equipments easily available in India?

Again, it is upto you to decide what ingredients and equipments to work with. Basic ingredients used in the course material like oil, hydrosol, waxes etc are available in Amazon and with many other suppliers. Incase the ingredients you are looking for are not available, you can get it imported from some other place.

  • How is the level of diffculty in teaching method? Can someone with no experience in formulation actually formulate with this course?

As I mentioned, the course is very simple and apt for a beginner. Yes, this course is especially designed keeping beginners in mind.

Formulation is not an easy task. Many successful products in the market are a result of years of experiments and lab tests. The consumer safety should be given utmost priority. Your interest, patience and effort is what matters to successfully complete the course.

Incase you have any further doubts, please comment below and I shall reply soon.

Homemade grape wine in 3 days

Grape wine recipe

Make wine at home

It’s the season of grapes here and what better way to enjoy grapes than make wine out of it. The traditional wine preparation method takes months and extensive processes throughout. The recipe I tried takes just 3 days of preparation and the wine gets stronger with each passing day.

Grape wine recipe
Homemade grape wine

Recipe

Black/pink seedless grapes – 1kg

Sugar – ½ to ¾ kg

Clove – 4

Cinnamon – 1 small piece

Cardamom – 3 pods

Water – 1 litre

Yeast – 1 tsp

How to prepare the grapes

Soak the grapes in water overnight with a tspn of vinegar.

Wash it well and strain.

Boil about 1.25 litres of water and keep it closed until it reaches room temperature.

Preparation

In a pressure cooker, add the grapes, water, sugar and spices.

NOTE : If grapes I sweet you can reduce sugar to half kg or less as per taste

Do not put the weight on the cooker. Keep in medium flame until it steams. Turn off heat. Open it only after 24 hours.

Next day same time, open the lid and add 1 tsp yeast. Stir it once and close and keep for another 24 hours.

Open it next day and strain it in a big sieve or muslin cloth. Mash the grapes with spoon or hand and make sure the pulp passes through the sieve.

Strain it again in a muslin cloth and pour the wine in a well dried glass or ceramic jar with tight lid. Keep it in a cool dark place.

The wine will not be very strong at this point. So it is suitable for kids and people who likes the sweetness. The more days you keep it, the stronger it gets.

NOTE: Don’t shake it before you open.

You will get around 2 litres of wine with this measurement. I added cane sugar instead of regular sugar.

 

Best summer moisturizer : Indulgeo Essentials Squalane Face Oil

Let me introduce you to a new brand, Indulgeo Essentials. I always a headache to find the right moisturizer for summer, that doesn’t slide off with humidity and sweat.  If you have oily skin it is quite difficult to find the one, that doesn’t make the skin extra oily. Indulgeo Essentials has one of the lightest face oils in the market, that is quite apt for summer.

Squalane

             Summer moisturizer

Squalene is a naturally produced in human body. This natural sebum helps in retaining moisture and maintains elasticity of skin. But with time, the amount produced by skin reduces. This depletion in natural sebum production is one of the reasons why ageing is accelerated and wrinkles and fine lines starts to appear on skin

Squalane is plant derived especially from sugarcane and olive. Inaddtion to Squalane, this moisturizer comes with options to choose extra ingredients based on the target issue.

Squalane with ROSE OIL for natural Hyaluronic Acid

Squalane with FRANKINCENSE natural Retinol

Squalanewith NEROLI, ORANGE & CHAMOMILE OILS Natural Hydroquinone

I bought the third variant.

Moisturizer review :

 

This is the lightest face oil I have tried. It gets immediately absorbed on application, especially when applied to wet skin. So I usually follow it after using face mist. It will suit sensitive and oily skin. The oil comes in a smallsmall  dropper bottle. The fragrance is light and is predominantly of neroli.

Face oils generally doesn’t interest me. I prefer creams to oils. Oilsmostly forms an occlusive layer over skin to prevent loss of moisture but creams with water part, helps in adding hydration as well.

But this face oil is lighter than most natural creams as it is not weighed down by butters. I use the Indulge witch hazel face mist or any hydrosols before applying this, so that skin remains hydrated and healthy during summer.

I bought it during offer time and got it at a great price. There is 10% discount for the first purchase from their website but I would suggest you wait for an offer, to save more. 

Hope you liked this post. Do comment what your summer favourites are.

Korean Skincare Products : The textures in skincare

Korean skincare products are quite different from our Indian skincare products interms of the ingredients and texture. More and more skincare brands across the world, are trying to implement similar formulations in their product line owing to the popularity of Korean skincare.

Korean Skincare Products:

We are familiar with creams, oils, gels, balms and powders and all these have different textures and penetration capabilities on skin. Toners are the lightest of all as they are herbal waters and balms are at the other end of the spectrum.

But when it comes to Korean skincare product texture and its feel on skin is equally given importance. Serums (not just oil based ones), ampoules, essences and sheetmasks come into picture and even within these, the textures differ greatly from product to product. Also chemical exfoliation is preferred over physical exfolication and the AHAs, BHAs and PHAs are loved by most. Terms like glass skin and honey skin came about with the nourished, hydrated, smooth and supple skin which gives a dewy look, achieved with the right products and commited routine.

Textures in Korean Skincare:

Korean skincare gives immense importance to hydration. The layering of products is aimed at retaining the moisture for longer periods, which would eventually help in plumping up the skin and thereby delaying the signs of ageing. The lighter product texture makes it ideal for layering multiple times based on skin type and needs.

A little goes a long way with these products. A drop or two is enough for the face. Also I prefer emulsion and products with water instead of balms. Especially because balms even though concentrated, forms an occulsive layer on skin to prevent lose of moisture but it doesn’t provide any hydration. So if your skin is already dry, it will make it overly parched and oily.

Since this post is on textures, I am not going for a detailed review of these products. I am only including the products I have tried and liked.

Slimy : CosRX Advanced Snail Mucin Power Essence

This essence has a texture similar to aloe extract, semi liquid, viscous and is somewhat slimy on touch. Eventhough it has 96% snail mucin as the major ingredient, it is not sticky on skin but takes a little time to get absorbed completely. No color or fragrance.  Snail mucin is known to heal acne, pigmentation, scars and marks and moisturize the skin well.

Watery : Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence

Unlike CosRX snail mucin essence, this one is watery. No color or fragrance and is extremely light (just like water). If not for its efficacy, the texture would have been a let down for the price. What makes this product popular is the high percentage (93%)of naturally fermented ingredients. It is like a skin tonic.

Watery gel like Emulsion : Skin Food Yuja Water Serum

I don’t even know the right words to explaing these textures. When I say gel, you might imagine something like aloe gel, which is not the case.

This serum is not as watery as Neogen essence, not slimy as CosRX essence but not as thick as a lotion either. It is light emulsion with no oiliness and has organic Yuja (a citrus fruit) extract as the major ingredient.

Light serum : CosRX Triple C Lightning Liquid

This antioxidant rich serum contains 20.5% pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and 72% black chokeberry. This serum is lighter than water, in the sense that it gets absorbed as soon as it is applied. The texture is so light that it just have to be pushed lightly to skin as it won’t remain in skin periphery to massage in. Also it has a faint ascorbic acid smell. This is a cult product as it has fresh Vit C from natural ingredients as well as pure vit c which helps with pigmentation and full skin. 

Apart from these, even the sheet masks comes in different textures. Some are gel like and wobbly, some are like fabrics drenched in essence, some have dispersed ingredient particles in it and so on.  Many of the Korean and Japanese sunscreens also have a light milky gel like texture unlike the common ones that leave oilines or white cast on the skin

So that’s it for this post. Hope you liked it.

Let me know what else you would like to know about Korean skincare regime.

How to buy Korean skincare products in India

Korean skin care has been popular for while now and the Korean skincare products has a huge consumer base in India. Korean 7 skin method, double cleansing, sheet masks, layering of products, fermented ingredients, glass skin and honey skin have all been and remain in trend.

For those of you who are already familiar with the Kbeauty products, the major concern is where to buy these products from. There are many re-sellers in India, who stock up these products and sell them at a higher price in India, especially via Instagram.

This blog post is about how I bought products directly from websites without paying any extra charge on price or customs.

Jolse | Korean Cosmetics Online Shop

Jolse is an Online cosmetics platform, where you can purchase Korean skincare products at a cheaper price. They run offers for most of the popular brands like Cox Rx, Etude House, Skin Miso, Missha, Innisfree, Neogen to name a few. In addition to this you get a discount when you first sign up.

It has been almost an year since I purchased from Jolse, and I have not used up wither of these products yet. These days they have better offers. Currently there is a free worldwide shipping + free gifts offer with every purchase.

How I purchased products without paying Shipping charge or Customs charge:

If you keep your purchase to within 35$, you can skip the

You can find the billing info below:

In total for a 41.82 order I payed 30.96 USD including shipping charges.

To give you context, Indian sellers like Beautybarn sells the CosRX product for 1450Rs, where as here I paid around just 1060Rs for it.

I got the products within 2-3 weeks and I faced no issues with the order.

So if you want to get hold of the products fast, you can go for trusted resellers in India. But if cost is your concern, you can go for sites like Jolse.

Some other sites you can check are TesterKorea, Koreadepart and Sweetcorea. You can add to cart all the products you wish to buy and see which of these sites provides the cheapest option.

Soko Glam

Soko glam and Charlotte are the most familiar names in Korean skincare. I have watched almost all her Youtube videos on Korean skincare and products.

If you are a beginner in Korean skincare, you can get curated skincare products for your skin type or concern from Sokoglam. Also most of the high performing products available here are exclusive to Sokoglam. You will not find them in other sites.

Charlotte is also involved in creating highly effective skincare products by teaming up with popular skincare brands. Two of such products are the Neogen real ferment micro essence which ahs 93% fermented ingredients and CosRx Triple C lightening liquid, which has 20.5% pure vit C.

I have been eyeing these products for a while, but Soko glam is a site where there is rarely any shipping offers for international shipping. And then came Black Friday sale last October and I purchased these two products. So it is best to wish list the products you like and wait for such special days, if you are not in a hurry. You can save up a lot this way.

But it took around a month for the products to reach me. Actually the first batch of products got stuck in Delhi and didn’t reach me. Sokoglam offered to refund the amount or send the products again. I opted for the products and they reached me within a month. I did not pay any custom for these either.

Their customer support is incredible and there is nothing to worry about incase your product is taking longer to reach you.

That’s it for this small post. Do comment your queries below incase any and also follow us in Insta for more on wellness. Let me know if you would love a detailed post on Korean skincare or review of products mentioned in this post.

My first tattoo experience

In case you are someone who is planning to get a tattoo done or contemplating on it, do read this blog post to know my experience and suggestions.

The story:

I got a tattoo done recently. For someone like me, who doesn’t even visit a salon for shaping eyebrows(owing to the pain of course), getting a tattoo done is supposed to be a well thought out decision. But to be frank, it was quite impulsive.

I love body art and I have always been fascinated by Theyyam, Kathakali and similar art forms in which face painting and body painting plays a prominent role. But in my early adult life I never contemplated on getting any thing permanently drawn on me.

Image courtesy: Google

How I found the artist:

A graphic designer I follow in insta, posted about her new tattoo and the tattoo artist was Sahana. That’s how I came across Sahanatattoos and I loved her drawing style.

I contacted her and came to know that she is in Mumbai. Also she was visiting Bangalore soon for a guest spot. Even then, I did not think I was going to get something immediately. If at all I got a tattoo in the future, I thought I would get it done by Sahana. After few days, she messaged that if I am still interested,  she can draw for me. So I gave her an abstract on what I needed and we discussed it over chat.

Tip: Wear comfortable and loose clothes on the day, so that it wouldn’t rub against the skin and cause irritation. Have a good meal before you start. Keep a bottle of water with you.

Design decision:

My concept of a tattoo was always something small, minimalist and simple. But the essence of the concept I gave, was not something that could be captured in a small and simple design.  I took around an hour to think about it and select one of the two final designs.

I feel that incase you are seeing the design for the first time on the day of tattooing, it is really important to take the time to understand if you are ready for it. Especially if it is a big tattoo, all the more reason to take it slow.

Always go for a unique tattoo designs, something designed just for you, even if it is a simple and small design. If you don’t have any unique ideas, ask the artist to create a new design by taking inspiration from the favorite designs you have come across.

Tattoo
Sahana at work

*Once she started tattooing the outline

The folks at Sculp studio seemed as happy as Sahana that I chose this design instead of the other options.

In total it took around 6 hours for the entire process (It took around 3 hours for deciding the design, resizing the design based on placement and adding details) and many customers came and got small tattoos done with the artists at Sculp studio, in the meantime. I was at ease throughout the process. I spent the time talking to my husband who was there with me throughout the process and watching funny youtube videos when things got real 😛 .

Cleaning the canvas

Once the tattoo was completed, Sahana cleaned it up with a foam cleanser, applied a moisturizing balm and covered it well with a plastic film. There was left over ink over the skin which I cleaned up the next day using a mild cleanser.

Girl with a girl tattoo:

Taken on the next day
Love the details

Sahana incorporated all the details I asked for, in the design. The redness is quite visible in these pics. I shall update new pics once it has healed.

I am very happy with the experience and I like to believe that the universe conspired to make this happen in the best possible way.

Some final thoughts:

People get tattooed for different reasons. Some folks think it is cool, some might want it for emotional reasons or just for the beauty of it. Be very clear about why you want to get one and then it would be easy to choose what you want to get. This is going to be a part of you for the rest of your life and hence is a big commitment.

If you have any questions, do comment below.

Bangalore to Dhanushkodi road trip via Thanjavur

You all have already seen the pics from our road trip from Bangalore to Dhanushkodi via Thanjuvur,  in insta. So here is the detailed story of our road trip.

We usually spend our Onam and Christmas at home with family. Christmas especially is my favorite time of the year, because in my hometown Alappuzha it is the time of festivities. I have written about  Mullakkal chirappu in explore Alappuzha post. This time we decided to drive to Alappuzha after exploring some new places on the way. So we planned for a 4 day trip.

Day1:

We started from Bangalore around 6 am and reached Thanjavur around 1pm. The only stop in between was at Anand Bhavan, for breakfast. We had booked our stay at Ram’s Inn . The hotel had an adjoining restaurant and we had tamil thali lunch from there. Generally the tastes of Kerala and Tamil Nadu cuisine are similar in many ways, but one new dish we tasted here was the sesame chutney served with rice.

We returned to the hotel which had a well decorated reception, especially with the famous dancing dolls of Thanjavur. Our room was spacious and had wooden paneled floor. We took a nap and after tea decided to explore Thanjavur.

Bhrihadeeshwara temple

Brihadisvara Temple

Bhrihadeeshwara temple or the Big temple is the first search result you will get for places to visit in Thanjavur. It was just 1.5km from our hotel. There is a free parking ground opposite to the temple, where we parked our car and walked to the temple grounds. The temple is one of the largest in South India and is  UNESCO world heritage site.

Sculptures of Bhrugadeshwara temple

This temple build under the reign of Rajaraja Chola is an exemplary example of Dravidian architecture.

The gopurams are huge and ornate with intrinsic stone sculptures. The ceiling of the Nandi mandapa, near the temple entrance, has stunning mural paintings in vivid blue color.

Mural paintingv

The seated Nandi, facing the shrine is also one of the largest statues made of single stone.

Brihadisvara Temple

The scale of the whole temple is mind blowing. This temple has one of the largest Shiv lingas of India. The temple complex was not overly crowded and devotees spend a lot of time relaxing in the temple grounds, which is well kept. The evening there was quite lovely and we could see the sun set slowly behind the monumental gopuram.

There is a government shop near the temple gate, where devotees can leave their footwear and shop for dancing dolls and murals. We found the price there to be a bit higher than what was quoted in shops for the dolls, so we didn’t purchase the doll.

Thanjavur dancing dolls

We then walked towards the market near the old bus stand for buying the Thanjavur special Ashoka halwa. In the market also you can find doll sellers and you can get it at a cheaper price. We explored the market, got halwa from a bakery and had dinner from Vasantha Bhavan(the food at Ram’s Inn is the best we had in Thanjavur, eventhough this one had great reviews online). I wanted to checkout the government handicraft store called Poompuhar Handicrafts. We found handicrafts from all over India in the store, but we were interested in the dancing dolls. By the time we were selecting the dolls, the staff started leaving for the day and noone attended to us. So we also dropped the idea and returned to the hotel.

Day2:

Breakfast for the next day was included in the stay. We explored the city a little more before leaving to Rameshwaram.

Our next stop was at the Pamban bridge. Strong winds, clear green water on both sides and anchored boats throughout the sea made a great view. The original Pamban Bridge next to the passenger bridge, is a railway bridge which connects the town of Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland India. After spending some time at the bridge, we continued to Rameshwaram.

Pamban bridge
Pamban bridge

We reached our hotel, ‘Temple tower’ which is very near to the Rameshwaram temple. We had lunch got ready to explore Dhanushkodi, which is around half an hour journey from Rameshwaram. The hotel staff said that the Dhanushkodi entry closes at around 4.30pm. It was already 3.45 pm when we started, but we made it since it was a weekend and traffic was less. The road to Dhanushkodi is like a narrow strip between the vast ocean and the drive is beautiful. There were barely any other vehicle on road and the strong winds, sound of waves and white sand makes it all the more beautiful.

Dhanushkodi beach

We passed the check post just in time and continued to the tip of the Pamban Island, beyond which it is water and Srilanka. We parked the vehicle on the road side and took a walk in the sands. Guards were restricting people from getting into the water.

We spent just 10 min there when the guards started asking people to leave. Since it was quite crowded and we didn’t want to spent the evening there, we drove back to Dhanushkodi beach which we passed on the way.

Dhanushkodi beach
The church ruins at Dhanushkodi

You will see the ruins of this abandoned town, scattered all over the place. There are barely any inhabitants here apart from the family of fishermen. You can see shacks on either side of the road displaying the curios and jewelry made of sea shells.

Dhanushkodi beach
Shells at Dhanushkodi beach

Rameshwaram

Once back at the hotel, we got ready to visit the famous Ramanathaswamy temple. we entered through the East gate and it was not as crowded as expected.

Rameshwaram temple

This Shiva temple also has one of the longest corridors of any Hindu temple in India, with huge pillars adorned with sculptures on both sides. The whole temple complex is painted in bright colors and the corridor and pillars are not like  in old pictures of the temple anymore. The temple has many theerthams or water bodies nearby where people do poojas early in the morning. We were right in time for the evening arathi, where the diety is carried by devotees in huge wooden poles on their shoulder and walking through the corridors, chanting and stopping at main gates for pooja.

We bought some laddoos and other prasad from the temple complex to take home.

Day3:

After the eventful first day at Rameshwaram, we decided to relax a bit. We had a late breakfast and spend some time at the Agni theertham, watching the devotees make offerings to ancestors.

Agni Theertham
Agni Theertham Rameshwaram

We drove to Sri Abdul Kalam’s residence next. It is a humble two storied building in a narrow alley. One floor displays his accolades, photos, books etc and we get a sneak peak of this eminent personality’s fulfilled life and contributions. The top floor is now a shop selling curios. We also went to Ramar Padam, which is a temple on a hill with an awesome view.

Ramar Padam Rameshwaram
View from Ramar Paadam Rameshwaram

Next stop was the Panchmukhi Hanuman temple which is back at the town. This small temple is famous for the floating stones.

Dhanushkodi:

Dhanushkodi beach
Dhanushkodi beach

In the afternoon, we again went to Dhanushkodi. This time we stopped at the solitary beaches on the way and spend the time walking on the beige sands populated with tiny crabs and shell fishes.

You can see many shacks with a big round pan at the entrance,  with sizzling fish on big iron pans. We talked to an old lady from one of the shacks and she invited us to try the fish there.  Eventhough she offered to fry a fresh one, I didn’t want to waste much time there. So I asked her to serve the already fried one and it was surprisingly very tasty.

Fish fry

We walked to the beach afterwards and spend the evening there watching the  beautiful sunset. The police guards didn’t appear till later that evening to ask people to leave as the sea was not as rough as the previous day.

We had dinner on the way and went to bed early.

Day4:

We started to Alleppey, early in the morning around 5 am. On the way we made up stories about how at night, the abandoned town of Dhanushkodi might come alive with the spirits of people who lived there. They might live on as if nothing happened and have their prayers at the now ruined church and probably enjoy the sea and have a party, who knows!

As we approached Kerala, we decided to stop at the Thenmala Dam. It was just a slight deviation from the route. There is an eco park and adventure zone here and we chose to visit the eco park. Next one hour was spent walking up the narrow pavements of the hill, displaying stone sculptures and murals all the way. Hidden in the lush green plants and trees were sculptures of dinosaurs, elephants, dancers etc. There is also a hanging bridge, which amused many of the students who came for picnic from their schools.

Alleppey
Alappuzha

This was our last stop before we left for Alleppey. The drive through Changanasherry to Alleppey is quite picturesque and eventhough I am born and brought up in Alleppey, the lush green paddy fields, the islets in lakes and the beautiful landscape always manages to add  a wisp of freshness to the mind.

Do comment below your road trip experiences and suggestions for trips.

The Ordinary : Buffet review

The Ordinary, a Canadian skincare brand is from the parent brand DECIM. The Ordinary range of skincare line has been a huge hit across the world. Mainly because this line focusses on offering clinical technologies in its purest and simplest form. There are no frills in any of the products and hence the price point is quite attractive.

Let me give you an example. A skincare brand might be marketing their moisturizer with the claim that it has hyaluronic acid or vitamin C. But the actual product will have many many other ingredients including a base, preservatives, colorants, fragrance or in case of a natural product i might have oils, butters, plant extracts etc. The percentage of hyaluronic acid or Vit C could be very less. But The Ordinary range provides you these hero ingredients by itself in simple dropper bottles or tubs, which allows the brand to cut down on other costs, hence making the range affordable.

So this line mainly targets specific skincare problems like hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, dark circles, dullness, dryness etc and is for an informed consumer, who has researched on these ingredients. The range includes Exfoliating Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Cold presser oils, Vit C, Peptide complexes in Antiageing formulas, Moisturizing formulas etc.

Today I am reviewing the multi peptide anti aging formula from The Ordinary, called Buffet. I did not want to get an active strong ingredient from the range as such products require special care in skincare and should be used with caution. For eg: if you are starting with an acid exfoliator like AHAs, you need to make sure you start at a lower concentration first, say Lactic acid 5% + Hyaluronic acid. Once your skin is accustomed to this, you can increase the concentration gradually or move to stronger AHAs like Glycolic acid. Also since AHAs makes the skin photosensitive, one needs to apply it during the night ideally and use sun protection for the following days.

Eventhough I am a skincare enthusiast, I like it to be a relaxing experience rather than an exhaustive one. So I chose Buffet because it is already a soup of acids, peptids and probiotics and also is a starting point for targeting signs of aging.  I didn’t want to step in to proven solutions like retinoids and Vit C in the beginning. Baby steps.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Pentapeptide-18, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Acetylarginyltryptophyl Diphenylglycine, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Trehalose, Fructose, Glucose, Maltose, Urea, Sodium PCA, PCA, Sodium Lactate, Citric Acid, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethoxydiglycol, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

I know! It doesn’t make sense to most people and I am not going to explain it all. In short these ingredients targets at collagen production, restoring firmess and elasticity, moisturizing etc.

Description : Like an opulent feast for the skin, The Ordinary’s “Buffet” serum features an impressive array of anti-ageing wonders – at a surprisingly tiny price tag. Multiple peptide complexes combine in this lightweight serum to offer a multitude of benefits, including Matrixyl 3000 to stimulate collagen synthesis and hyaluronic acid to offer the heroic hydration that ‘plumps up’ fine lines and diminishes depth of furrows. Working in synergy with 11 skin-friendly amino acids, with regular use this ultra-smoothing serum will reveal nourished, youthful-looking skin.

Packaging : It comes in a translucent glass bottle with simple label and a dropper.

Price : 10.83 pounds (It says 12 pounds on the site but that includes taxes in EU. once you add it to cart and checkout, you will see the final price for your country).  This is not at all pricey considering the ingredients and actives in this. If you find this pricey, the peptide based serums in market from US and K Beauty brands costs anywhere between 14$-35$ atleast.

Their lesser ingredient formulas are much cheaper.

Buy fromCultBeauty website. They have worldwide free shipping offer often (there is one today).

My review:

I have bought The Buffet last year and I almost finised using it. It is a water based serum with a runny consistency (not as runny as water) and three drops is enough to cover the face. There is no color or fragrane and the solution is slightly hazy. I liked how easily the serum gets absorbed into the skin during winter months. But when humidity is high, it feels slightly tacky for 5 min after which it gets absrobed completely.

I have combination skin type and my skin doesn’t break out often. This serum has to be applied right after cleansing and will last you quite long eenthough you get just 30ml.

Will I repurchase Buffet : No

I didnot find any incredible changes on using this product. It is a great serum especially for oily skin and is moisturizing without making skin oily. It does improve the quality of skin while you use it but no drastic improvements that would make anyone want to repurcahse this. But this is a great serum to include if you want to follow the K beauty 5 skin or 7 skin layering method. It can be layered based on your skin’s need and will for sure smoothen out skin if you have dry patches.

So incase you are new to this brand, I would suggest you read about the products in depth (there are many many detailed reviews and articles on each product and what skin type it suits) and make an informed decision based on what skin problems you want to target. Their hyaluronic acids, AHAs and Vit C suspensions are in great demand and is concentrated enough to show visible results.

The snail mucin from K beauty brand Cos rx has been another cult favorite and do comment below if you would like a review of the same.

Hope you liked this post. Do follow us on Insta and Facebook for more skincare, holistic lifestyle tips and healthy food recipes.

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Winter Skincare

 

Homemade mayonnaise without a blender

I recently made an Instagram post on my first attempt to make mayonnaise and even though I thought it’s not going to come right, it wonderfully did. Here is a little post on how homemade mayonnaise can be made without a blender.

I was lazy to cook dinner and wanted to just have the seeded sourdough bread from Happy Healthy Me. Usually it is accompanied with just peanut butter, jam or eggs. There was just one egg left and I wanted to figure out how I can make it sufficient for a dinner for two. So I browsed through some mayo recipes but all where with an electric blender which barely took any time in preparation. I don’t have a blender, so I switched to recipes using whisks and combined tips from a couple of them in this recipe.

Since most of you showed interest in this one, I am writing is down asap. I have just made it once and it was a trial, and I am never a person who notices exact quantities. It is always a matter of instinct. So please feel free to experiment with this base recipe.

Why you need to try this recipe:

It came out absolutely delicious. Homemade mayo is far healthier and devoid of preservatives. It is much more luscious and tastier than store bought one.

Ingredients:

1 Egg : I used free range egg

1 tea spoon Dijon Mustard paste (as per original recipe) : I detest the taste of mustard paste. Also I have never bought it. So I used miso paste for flavor. You can skip this step if you just need classic plain mayonnaise.

Pepper powder and salt for taste : if you add miso paste please skip the salt as miso is already quite salty.

Sunflower oil : Or any oil without any oil without a distinct flavor, like any vegetable oil or olive oil.

Citrus : Can be lemon or white vinegar. i used Apple cider vinegar for the extra flavor with a hint of sweetness.

Now to the recipe: 

Eventhough the ingredients are simple and few, the preparation needs your full attention as it is very easy for this to go wrong and for the mayo to split.

But you can save a split mayo incase it happens. So let me know if that is the case and I shall tell you what to do.

Now, take a big round bowl. I used my beautiful blue ceramic bowl for this. Separate the yolk from the white of the egg and place it in the bowl. Combine it well using a hand whisk until it is slightly creamy. Now add some pepper, salt and vinegar. I used about a teaspoon of vinegar. if you use lime extract/ white vinegar please add it moderately in the beginning and adjust later based on taste. Whisk away until the mix is well combined. I always tilt the bowl and whisk it towards a side.

NEXT ONE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP:

Adding oil. Now you need to be really careful here. You will have the urge to just add it all at once or in higher quantities but NO, YOU SHOULDN’T.

Drop by drop add the oil, while whisking the mix. The oil(ironically) is what makes the mayonnaise thick. If you add it all at once, the oil will not get emulsified and will just split the watery mixture. So add it in very small amount when you start and whisk away. So I kept adding oil in thin drizzles in the beginning and whisked the mix for about 15-20 min. The mayo was still watery and didn’t look anything like a creamy mayo. Eventhough in the videos the amount of oil used was quite high, I was trying my best to make do with as less as possible. I almost gave up before I decided to add more and try a little longer. So here went a good quantity of oil and I whisked it quite rigorously for a min. And magically the mix started getting thicker and thicker. I whisked for another 5 min and the mayo turned glistening smooth and fell in slow ribbons on lifting the whisk.

You can add more lemon/salt/pepper at this point to balance the flavor.

I made a salsa with tomato, onions, kale and lime juice to go as topping. Toasted the bread, spread the mayo on it and topped it off with the salsa and scrambled egg white. Quite tasty, I should say. Do keep this refrigerated and consume within a week.

Do try it and let me know if you liked it. Also a shout out to Happy Healthy Me . Everything for this meal is organic produce bought from this store.

 

How to get glowing skin for Diwali : Rose quartz roller and 108x washed ghee review

Hi readers, it has been a while since I posted something. Since it is Diwali and festivities are starting, here is a detailed post on how to get glowing  skin this Diwali.

If you are an avid skincare lover, you will know that gemstone face rollers are in the lime lights now, eventhough these skincare tools have been around for centuries (supposed to have originated in the Chinese skincare routine). The popular tools include the Rose quartz and Jade face rollers and Gua sha.

What is the use of face roller:

Face rollers are skincare tools that helps in massaging the skin. This inturn helps in draining the lymph nodes, de-puffing, improving circulation and toning the skin.

  • Boosts circulation and oxygenates the skin
  • Brightens the complexion
  • Tightens pores
  • Reduces wrinkles
  • Plumps up the skin
  • Promotes Product penetration

How to choose the right roller:

The options I know of are Jade, Rose Quartz and Black obsidian rollers. All three serve the same purpose but what makes them different is the properties of the crystal with which they are made. I will just put down basic properties of each:

Rose Quartz face roller : Calming the skin. Best used in the evening/night. Oily skin.

Jade Roller : Energizing and rejuvenating. Best used in the morning. Dry skin.

Black Onyx: Healing and energy balancing. All skin types.

Moolit 108x Washed Ghee:

Before I review the roller, I want to introduce you to a new multi purpose product, the 108x Washed Ghee. This is from the the brand Moolit Beauty by Utkarshini and I had reviewed her Seabuckthorn Cleanser before. Do check it out, as I have added updates of recent batch of cleanser as well.

I am not a fan of face serums and I prefer thick creams for night time skincare.

A roller can be used with serums and creams for massaging and also it helps the product to penetrate better into the skin. So I got the 108x washed ghee infused with rose absolute.

According to Ayurveda, washing cow ghee makes it so light that it can penetrate all 7 layers of the skin. I tried washing organic cow ghee ofter watching Utkarshini’s youtube video and got a creamy end product which was not  oily. It is a tedious and time consuming process though. Also to get the right consistency one has to use copper vessels. I didn’t have one and so I tried in ceramic bowl.

The product comes in an amber glass jar and smells pleasantly of roses. There is also a rose quartz crystal stone inside the jar. The cream is thick and can be used as a cleanser and a moisturizer. Unlike serums and oil based butters, this cream makes the skin feel damp(for lack of better word) and not oily when you first apply it and gets absorbed easily on massaging. Hence it is the perfect consistency to use with the roller.

If you use it in double cleansing, massage the face well with a pea sized quantity before washing it off with another cleanser.

My experience using the roller:

I got my Rose Quartz roller from the insta handle happiness_unlimited_. Dr Poonam who runs the handle is a crystal healer and regression therapist. I decided on the Rose quartz roller because I don’t have time for elaborate skincare routine in the morning and a calming and relaxing face massage at night is something I can try. I bought it when there was a launch offer.

The tool has two roller heads. The bigger one can be used for face, forehead and neck and the smaller one for the eye and nose area.

The stones are cool by nature. So when you roll it on your skin, it really calms and cools the skin. But to enhance the experience I place the roller in the refrigerator for few minutes. I apply some washed ghee dots on my face and massage it in using the roller.

You can find many Youtube videos explaining how to use the nose as a focal point and move the roller outwards. Each area needs to be concentrated for a while before moving further. Also don’t apply much pressure on the tool.

Also as per Poonam, the crystal needs to be cleansed regularly. There are many methods for this like holding it in the sage leaf bundle smoke, or in running water or under a full moon covered in salt. You can read about this further in her insta handle or in general from google. I haven’t done all that but I simply hold it under tap water after the use.

Also another great way to use the roller is on top of sheet masks. This helps the essence to penetrate better and also makes the experience better.

I don’t use the roller everyday but I try to include it often in my regime. My skin feels toned and gets a subtle glow after. With regular use you will find a considerable improvement in the quality of your skin. For m it is more or less like meditation, where I  spend some ‘me’ time before bed and it gives a very good vibe.

NOTE : I think Utkarshini has stopped making washed ghee. If interested, you can try one from happiness_unlimited_ itself.

Follow my insta handle for further tips and updates.