Hearty, healthy , easy and super tasty breakfast recipes

Breakfast is a very important meal of the day. A nutritious breakfast can get us going all day without fatigue or hunger pangs. So here are some quick but nutrient rich breakfast and snack option for people on the go.

1. Overnight oats/ Oats porridge:

Not everyone is a fan of oats but trust me this is quite tasty.

Benefits of oats :

Whole Oats Are Rich in Antioxidants, Including Avenanthramides
Oats Contain a Powerful Soluble Fiber Called Beta-Glucan
They Can Lower Cholesterol Levels and Protect LDL Cholesterol From Damage.
Oats Can Improve Blood Sugar Control


Ingredients for the porridge
: You can add or subtract ingredients from this as per your choice and availability. This is to just give you an idea of all the options possible.

Milk or Greek Yogurt(not sour)
Rolled oats: This is preferrable as it is the least processed variant and is fiber rich and is more tasty. Since instant oats is available easily, you can use that as well.
Seeds like chia, flax, sunflower, melon ,pumpkin,sesame.
Dry fruits and nuts : dates, raisins, almond, peanuts, cashew, walnut etc.
Fresh fruits like banana, mango, berries etc.
Optional : cinnamon powder, vanilla extract for flavour.
If necessary : Cane Sugar/honey/coconut sugar

Preparation:
There are 2 options to prepare oats: Either cook it in milk or just add milk/yogurt to a cup of oats and leave it overnight in fridge. It becomes soft and creamy in the morning, no cooking involved. Add vanilla or cinnamon powder for extra flavour. Fruits like mango and strawberry can be added along with oats and kept overnight.
In a bowl layer banana pieces, oats mix and any other fruits of your choice. I added mango pieces. Dry roast seeds and nuts till they become crunchy. Break the walnutsto small pieces. Soak raisins in some water.
Now top the oats bowl with all these and dig in πŸ™‚ This keeps you full for long and is a complete meal.

NOTE:
You can roast all seeds and nuts prior and store it in a jar for future use as well.

You will get these seeds in most of the normal provisional stores for as less as 20Rs for 100gms.Seeds are packed with dietary fibre, protein, good fats and antioxidants. They release energy slowly throughout the day.

Also if you like crunchy caramel oats, toast oats with cane sugar in a pan till it becomes crispy and store it along with nuts and seeds. This is your own home made muesli.

2. Oats pancake:

Far better and tastier than the maida pancakes and easier to make as well.

Ingredients :

Rolled oats,baking soda,milk.
Rest I leave it to you: any or all of the above ingredients for porridge can be used here as well.

Preparation:

Add the oats to a mixer jar and powder it. Need not be a very fine powder. Add milk to the powder in a bowl and whisk it with a spoon or spatula,to get a lump free smooth thick dough. It should be thicker than your dosa batter. Add a pinch or two of baking soda and keep it aside for 15-20min.

Once the dough has risen slightly(you will notice bubbles in it), add the other ingredients like seeds, nuts, choco chips, cinnamon powder etc as per your liking. Add half teaspoon of salt and incase you like the pancakes sweet, add 2 spoons of cane sugar or honey.

Pour a ladle full of batter to a hot tawa and flip it when one side is done. You can have this with peanut butter, jam, cut fruits sprinkled on top or honey drizzled on top.

3. Peanut carrot mix

This is an easy healthy snack that will satisfy you from the midday hunger pangs.

Ingredients:

Grated carrots, roasted peanut without skin, salt, lime juice

Preparation:

Add the peanuts and grated carrot to a mixer jar and crush it with two reverse pulse. We just need the peanuts and carrots to be crushed and not powdered or grinded. Transfer it to a bowl and add salt and lime extract for taste.

4. Banana peanut porridge

Ingredients:
Ripe banana, peanuts(soaked in water and dried), cardamom powder, honey

Preparation:
All you need to do is add the bananas and peanuts to a blender and blend it well till it becomes a porridge like consistency. Add cardamom powder and honey to taste.

5. Whole grain bread with sautΓ©ed baby potatoes, mushroom and coleslaw

You can boil and peel the baby potatoes on the previous night to save time in the morning. if the potatoes are fresh and clean, you don’t have to remove the peel.

Ingredients :

Whole grain bread ,gralic, button mushroom, baby potatoes, grated cabbage and carrot, yogurt(instead of mayo).

Preparation:

In a pan heat olive oil and add crushed/sliced garlic. Roast cut mushrooms and potatoes separately in the garlic oil till the potatoes turn brown and mushrooms are well cooked and glazed. Add salt and pepper to taste and keep this aside.

To grated cabbage and carrot add 2-3 spoons of plain greek side yogurt and add salt, pepper and a dash of lime to taste.

Have these with hot toast.

Hope you liked these recipes. Do try them out and let me know your feedback.

Simple Steps towards sustainable living

Read time: 5min

This is not a modern concept. For eg, our grandmas would have hardly gone to buy skin care things from store, but still they know all the tips and tricks using just kitchen ingredients.For eg. an oil massage before a bath (abhyanga) when followed religiously, will give you a healthy,resilient and glowing skin and can even cure the muscle pains and fatigue.This is the only anti ageing practice you need.Also they used to use wood ash and tamarind for cleaning utensils. They had no peeling skin or harmful chemical residue left on utensils.
But we prefer easy, less time consuming methods or preferably ready to use products that comes packaged.

One thing as consumers, we neglect to do is read the ingredient list of any product, be it your skincare product, food you buy from stores, washing powders, baby products, pet products…anything. We trust the advertisements, and our judging factors are the smell, flavour, cost, packaging of the product and if we are getting any free products when we buy them. In most cases, these factors hold a higher rank than whether we actually need the product?, whether it, in anyway harms us? or rather whether it is sustainable and aids to a healthy lifestyle?

Why should we use these natural products, when what we already use serves the purpose?

Right from the tooth paste we use, to the cosmetics and home care products, everything is just a mix of colours, fragrances, pertoleum by products, chemicals and preservatives. Our skin absorbs upto 60% of what we apply on it and these non-biodegradable chemicals, enters our blood stream or build up on our skin and can cause cancer,infections, fatigue, dizziness, irritate eyes, hormonal imbalance, respiratory problems and in the extreme cases even DNA damage.The fragrance you love the most about these products, are for masking the smell of concoction of chemicals that constitute the product.

Why is it that we have not heard about these ingredients or brands?

Because in our consumerist society advertisements, are the deciding factors for us and we don’t keep our eyes open. In India there are no strict rules or laws to maintain quality or to test toxicity of everyday products and we still rebound to instant noodles, brick powder mixed chili powder and cancerous baby powders eventhough some brands are caught red handed often. Fair and lovely still lures teenagers and there are barely any informed moms who could teach children to make better choices. We don’t have time to research on whether the products we consume are really the only things we consume with it. And later we wonder how that uncle, aunty or colleague who never drinks, smokes or eat outside, still fell sick.

Here are some image from web, that might help you understand how bad it is.


What is the difference between organic and natural?

Organic products have ingredients produced by organic methods defined by certifying bodies such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under its Organic Food Products Act. But for a natural product there are no regulations on how the ingredients are grown. It is a more generic tag where the product is devoid of artificial color, flavour, preservatives, hormones etc. All organic products are natural, but not vice versa. So be careful when buying products tagged as natural, unless they are from trusted brands. There are many known brands in market that boasts of natural ingredients but have preservatives and chemicals in them. The parabens and synthetic preservatives used in these products increases the shelf life of the product. But it can disrupt the endocrine system of your body. Natural preservatives used in organic products have shorter shelf life, but these freshly made products are like food for your skin. Your skin and body will thank you for it.

Where to start : Right at home. Ditch all your non-natural products at home for a week and see what you can make use of, from kitchen or your garden to replace them. See the difference it makes to your skin and environment. Let me give you some examples.

1. Use few drops of essential oils like lemon grass, tea tree oil mixed in water for repelling insects and bugs.
2. Other fruity or floral essential oils in water for cleaning floors.
3. Aloevera gel or almond oil as moisturizer
4. Green gram powder or crushed hibiscus mix as shampoo
5. Chick pea flour as cleanser
6. Soap berry powder as detergent
7. Use charcoal powder and salt mixed with coconut oil for cleansing the teeth

But are these always practical in our busy lives or do they always seem appealing?

That’s why we have these natural and organic brands that sell pre-made packaged products made of pure ingredients, handmade in small batches and hence has a shorter shelf life compared to products with preservatives..These are available everywhere as these brands sell via websites, local organic stores, social media like Instagram and FB and via online platforms like Amazon and Nykaa.
If you go through my posts,you will see that I always include the link to shop or mention where you can buy the products from.

What lifestyle changes can help your quality of living and the environment?
Do you ever wonder where, all the used plastic tooth brushes and sanitary pads go. In landfills. They don’t degrade and they stay there for ever. So does, the chemical laden water that seeps into the ground from our kitchens and bathrooms, thereby polluting ground water.

Just know that for every product you use there are alternative natural ones. Including your home care products, baby care products, cosmetics like lipsticks (Read the review here)or for men may be things like shaving cream, hair gels, natural deodorants etc.

The water from using the natural detergents, shampoo and cleaners can be reused for watering the plants as these are totally safe and biodegradable. The natural detergents are very mild on skin and cleanses the utensils without leaving any grease or dirt and uses much less water than the heavy duty chemical gels.

Also using sustainable cotton clothes with natural dyes makes huge difference to your lifestyle as well as the environment.

Organic food helps to flush out toxins from your body over a period of time and promotes overall well being.

Using menstrual cups can bring a huge change in women’s well being as well as help the environment .(Read more here)

Busting myths:
1. Natural products are not appealing :Many of you might think natural products means ones that smells very herbal, like ayurvedic medicines or something that is of good quality and zero appeal. Let me just bust that bubble now. The concoction of essential oils used in many of the products I have used smells out of the world and even freshens up the room with natural fragrance. Take a look at the soaps below if you don’t believe me. Unlike hot processed industrial soaps, these are cold processed, which means there is no loss of nutrients or quality of natural ingredients. Also these are rich in natural butters, oils, clays,fruit and flower extracts.


PC:Giabathandbodyworks


PC:Juicychemistry

2. Organic products are super costly : This is another myth. When you buy a mass produced product from store, you don’t realize that the product itself costs only one fourth of it’s MRP and that you are actually paying for all the marketing and fancy packaging.But for an organic product to be made it involves steps like ethically sourcing quality ingredients, an artisan making fresh batch of products by hand and send with love.

Also you just need a pea size of the product compared to the normal variants. The products are very concentrated and pure that a little goes a long way.There are affordable natural skin care brands as well as high end ones.It depends on the ingredients in the products and the process of making them. But every customer makes a difference for these people unlike the mass producing, cosmetic tycoons.Almost everytime I buy a product, I get hand written notes on how much they appreciate us buying from them. You can consult the makers to have products curated for your needs. They even customize products for your liking.

This is not an overnight change you can bring about in life. Start by reading more on this and make informed choices in life.
Going forward,read the ingredients in all the products you buy and make a conscious choice.Many of these chemicals that are listed might be alien to you. But in this age of technology,the answers are just one click away. Search the ingredient name in web and read about it. Infact you just take your tooth paste/ shampoo or detergent at home and just read about all the ingredients in them. I am pretty sure, you will think twice about using them again.

If you feel this is a tedious process, the alternative is to read my blog posts :)Hope this post was informative.

How you can save your hair from years of chemical torture

I think it’s time for another hair care post, as many of you have been asking me solutions for hair fall issues and the like. Let us get straight into the problem. Choose the methods/ingredients from this post, as per your hair type and need. You can ask your doubts by posting comments here.

The most common hair related problems are dandruff, hairfall, frizziness or oiliness.

Reasons:

The above problems can be inter related. And the reasons can be many. Incase you have moved to a different city, most probably you will face a high rate of hair fall. This can be due to chlorinated or hard water, pollution, or even different climatic conditions.
Otherwise it could be because of your diet. You might not be drinking enough water, eating your greens or you might be taking too much caffeine or alcohol.
It can also be due to hormonal changes, illness, reaction of any product, stress or even because of your favourite chemical laden shampoo.

So how can you fix it?

There is no overnight fix for anything when it comes to natural skin and haircare. You have to be consistent and ready to invest time in yourself. Our goal is to get a healthy and balanced scalp and that + a healthy diet will give you solution for your hair problems.

The first step for a healthy scalp is getting rid of all your sulphate laden hair care products. DON’T EVER TOUCH THEM AGAIN.This includes products from The Body Shop and few SLS laden cleansers from Kama Ayurveda as well. The brand name doesn’t matter. Check the ingredients. Google will provide you more than enough resources on what to avoid.

Dandruff:

Tea tree oil is what you need. You can buy it from brands like soulflower, juicy chemistry, blend it raw beauty,Nykaa etc. I am talking about the essential oil and not any blend.Other alternatives are Frankincense and Peppermint essential oil. You can add few drops of one of these or all in your coconut hair oil or which ever hair oil you use and warm it up a little before applying on the scalp. You don’t have to keep it overnight. Just half and hour to an hour is more than enough.Do this regularly, atleast thrice every week in the beginning.You can also add a piece of camphor in the mix while warming the oil.

Please don’t soak your hair in oil. Applying more oil not only won’t give any added benefits but might cause break outs, incase you have oily skin. Use just enough to condition the hair and scalp.


If you need a hair oil suggestion, I would recommend the Krya Anti dandruff hair oil. for no sticky hair oils, try Kama Ayurveda Bringadi oil and Just herbs Japakusum oil.

Cleansing: You will get all the info you need from this post (6 types of hair cleansers are reviewed here). Natural hair cleansers are mild and will not dry out the hair and scalp. So no need of conditioners. But incase you feel you need something for your unruly hair, a few drops of pure almond oil (Not the bajaj variant which is just a mix)will do the magic. Just 2-3 drops at the ends while hair is still damp.

You can get pure food grade almond oil from mitti.se.

Home made hibiscus cleanser:
For those days, you don’t oil your hair you can make this hibiscus hair cleanser. Best prepared with red small hibiscus.
1.Pluck few hibiscus leaves and flowers
2.Clean it well in water
3.Crush it with your hand in water until it turns thick and sticky/ you can also use a mixer but using hands gives best results.
4.Sieve it so that you get the sticky pulp with no leaves or flower matter.
5. Use it on wet hair and gently massage for a light lather.
6. Wash it off with water.

Hair Drying :
Please towel dry the hair and do avoid electric dryers as much as possible. Also don’t rub your hair vigorously with towel. Just tie it up and leave for sometime and then leave it open to dry.

Hair mask for strong, smooth and shiny hair:

Let your imagination fly high. It is always best to buy pure ingredients and whip up a fresh mask. You can buy clays like kaolin, bentonite, pure aloe vera gel and essential oils and prepare your own masks.

1.Curd, egg white, lemon juice,honey, clay, aloe gel, tea tree oil, mashed ripe banana > You can mix aany of these ingredients to get very nourishing hair mask.
2. Another very interesting hair mask is using flax seed gel. You can buy flax seeds from any provisional store. Add 1 and half to 2 cups of water to a spoon of flaxseed in a bowl and keep it in low flame. Keep stirring untill you get a slight gel like sticky consistency. Let it cool and then strain the gel using a muslin cloth or strainer.
This gel is rich in omega 3 and can be stored in fridge. You can also use it as a styling gel. It gives shine and softness to hair and also promotes hair growth. It can be used as an alternative to aloevera gel in masks.

Now incase you want to just use a premade hair mask, you can try the ones from Krya and Juicy Chemistry.But why spend alot, when you can use a aloevera gel and tea tree oil mix.

Rinse:

Now if your hair loss is because of the bad quality of tap water, you can use a hair rinse at the end. This will help in washing off the residue from the scalp. Some options are :

1.Tea water(you can boil left over tea leaves from making tea in water and use it)
2.Rose water mixed with purified water(drinking water)/ you can boil rose petals in water and use
3.1 spoon apple cider vinegar in a cup of water
4.Neem water(Boil few neem leaves in water)

Water and Diet:

No one drinks enough water daily. Most of you just forget and might utmost drink just 1 litre or so in a day. There is no point in doing anything topically, unless you are well hydrated and eat a protein rich diet. So keep away from very oily and spicy food. Eat less salt and sugar. Eat sprouts and green leaves. Drink buttermilk instead of using curd. Eat curry leaves and amla. All this will help in hair growth.

Health issues:

Consult a doctor or dermatologist incase your hair fall is due to health conditions, skin issues like alopecia or reaction to any medicine. Don’t keep experimenting until it is too late.

Tips:

The transition to natural cleansers might weigh your hair down in the beginning. That is because it takes a while for also the chemical residues to get washed off and for your hair to get accustomed to the product. So don’t stop using the product in between and switch back. Use it for a while, and your hair will thank you.

Cover your hair when spending alot of time in sun or dust.
Use a wooden comb instead of plastic one to avoid air breakage due to static.
Avoid brushing your hair when wet. Use a comb with wide teeth if necessary.
Pleat your hair before going to bed.

Throw away your chemical bottles and let nature take its course in giving life back to your hair.Finally, be happy and don’t let stress and pollution take away your beautiful tresses.

Other hair care posts that might interest you:

Dandruff free silky hair and soft supple skin with simple DIY skincare recipes

Summer hair care with natural hair wash powders : Featuring Krya and JivaVrksa

My two favorite non-greasy, deep conditioning hair oils

My favorite hair cleanser from Gia

Cheesecake for the soul : Quick no bake recipe

Since I posted the cheese cake pic on my insta handle, many of you have been asking me for the recipe. This is one recipe the man of the house loves. This one barely takes any time and will for sure impress your guests.

This is a recipe that you can play around with and change to suit the flavour you love. You can add more textures and ingredients like fruits, nuts, preserves etc to make it more yummy.

So here is the recipe. Also on a side note, I am not someone who follows measurements. I just go by the feel and taste. So just adjust the quantities accordingly.

Ingredients you will need for the basic recipe:

Cream cheese : I had the salted variant. Unsalted will be the best.
Full cream
Sugar
Gelatin
For flavour you can use any of these : essence, thick fruit pulp, icecream, fresh fruit
Plain biscuit like Marie or glucose biscuit
Butter – Melt it so that it can be easily mixed

How to transform the ingredients to a cheesecake :

Basically you need to mix all the ingredients(except the biscuit powder) together and keep it in refrigerator to set. That’s all. But let me break it down for you.

1. Crush the biscuit in a mixer and make a crumbly powder
2. Add melted butter to the biscuit powder and mix well
3. Take a flat glass or steel tray in which you are going to set the cake. Butter the tray so that the cake doesn’t stick to it.
4. Now evenly spread the biscuit mix in the tray and keep it in the freezer till we whip up the filling.
5. In a bowl take the cream cheese slab and whip it well with a spatula, or any whipping tool to form a creamy consistency.
6. Add full cream(half the quantity of cream cheese) to loosen up the thick consistency.
7. I did not add sugar to this mix, since I used mango icecream which was already sweet. If you are using essence or fruit puree, now is the time to add powdered sugar and whip the mix again to a smooth consistency.
So basically you can add sugar+any essence of your choice/ fruit pulp + fruit chunks or just keep it plain and add a layer of fruit pulp on top once the cheese layer is set.
8. Mix gelatin/agar-agar with warm water and keep it on heat to melt it completely. You can use a double boiler or just directly keep it in low flame.
9. Now add this to the cream cheese mix and again mix well. Say for 1 block of cream cheese, I used around 3 spoons of gelatin powder. This is what makes the cheese cake wobble and you know, essentially look like cheese cake. So incase once you mix it and feel like it’s too runny, you can again add more gelatin solution to the mix. You can do it even after you refrigerate the mix and feel like it has not reached the right consistency.
10. Now take out the tray and pour the cheese mix on top of the biscuit layer evenly. Keep it in freezer for 15 min and the cake will be ready.

If you want to add another layer of say fruit pulp or fresh fruits, wait till the cheese layer is set. You can add gelatin mix to pure fruit pulp and spread it on top of cheese layer for that extra flavour.

Eventhough it looks like there are lot of steps, it will barely take you half an hour to make this. So do try it out and let me know how it turned out.

Best Skincare Finds : Multitasking products for all skin types

This is going to be a short post on 3 of my current favorite skin polishes. I will be doing a detailed review of these in the upcoming posts.

1. 3 in 1 Mud Ash by Green berry organics

Tea tree oil is one of my go to things when it comes to break out or irritated skin and charcoal as well all know is highly detoxifying. So here is a great combination of both that can be used as a cleanser, scrub or as a face pack.

With impressive ingredients like bentonite clay, charcoal, tea tree oil, walnut shell powder and many more, this wet face pack+cleanser+scrub suits all skin types except for sensitive ones. I bought this from Amazon and it smells of tea tree oil. It has a cooling effect on skin when applied and has grainy scrubby powder that can be a bit harsh for sensitive skin types.

2. Gravitale Revitalizing Skin Gel

Sold exclusively on purplle.com, this grape based skin gel is nothing short of a luxury product. Gravitale is the world’s first integrated vinotherapy products company to exclusively grow their own grapes for skincare purposes. Imagine a vineyard with grapes used just for making pure skincare products.

Grapes are a source of phenolic antioxidants, alpha hydroxy acids, and Vitamin C. Even though there are no physical scrubby particles, this gel gives an exfoliated effect after use. It makes the skin soft, smooth and glowing.

Steps for that perfect glow:

1. Double cleanse your face with a light non sticky oil. Find the detailed post here
2. Wipe off the excess oil and apply a thin layer of the revitalizing gel
3. Wait for 10min and wash off with warm water.

TADAAAA….SOFT GLOWING SKIN

3. The cult favorite : Forest Essentials Narangi & Nagkesar Facial Ubtan

If you want to buy one product from FE that is multitasking and effective for your skin, this is the one. Also the rates have increased in the Forest Essentials official site for this but I got it from Nykaa.com, where the price was still not updated. I knew there might be an price rise after GST hits..so I was keeping a track on the prices in the FE site. So next time you buy an expensive product, check the same in other sites like Amazon and Nykaa because they might still have the old stock at reduced prices.

This is an ubtan that smells like an orange orchard. Mild on skin and is best when used with curd or rose water.

Detailed reviews will be up with more pictures in the coming blog posts.

July favorites : Afghani earrings, sari, juttis and many more

My last favorites post was in Feb (link) and it was mostly about skincare products. But here is an exclusive post on everything but skincare. Take a look at my favorite purchases for the month.

My favorite glass bottle from Home Centre

Home centre is running awesome offers this month and since I decided not to use plastic bottles anymore for storing water, I picked up this beauty for just Rs 200. Love the mechanism of the cap and Iam surprised at how much I look forward to drinking water these days. I add few mint leaves and a dash of lime to the water and it keeps you hydrated with a feeling of freshness.

This gorgeous cotton sari

I am not a sari lover but I fell in love with this one. I plan to make a dress out of it after I wear it once as sari. Margazhi designs, an insta store is one of my recent finds and I love their collection. Don’t you think this one is gorgeous?

Super comfy floral juttis

These look very classy and goes with all attires. Akaayra an insta store has a great collection of these comfy beauties.

Healthy snacks anyone?

Snackible is a healthy snacks company bidding to revolutionize the snacking industry by delivering unique, healthy, and tasty snacks, anywhere in India.I bought Oats & Chia Chocolate Bites,Oatmeal waaffle, Chilli Garlic Pita Chips, Herb & Cheese Makhana and Kale chips with bajra puffs. To give you a mini review, I loved everything except the waffles and Kale chips. Basically the waffles were not crisp and Kale chips was more of bajra puffs with kale leaf bits. I loved the cheese Makhan and oats chocolate bites.

Afghani gunghroo earrings

You all loved the afghani chandbaalis I got last time, featured in the Feb Favorites post. I bought this one from The Trinket Shop (another insta store). As you know, I share more tips and pics in Instagram and answer all your skincare queries there. And since I spend more time in Insta, I explore and find out these amazing insta stores. This one has awesome and affordable jewelry collection and the best part is you can block your favorites over a period and get them all together and thereby save shipping charge.

Rose and Shea Butter soap from Soap works

You would already read about this in my recent insta post but if not, hear hear. I got this sample in my December reverie box but I never used it so far. I actually kept it in my cupboard for the amazing fragrance. It has a divine rose smell, lathers lightly and looks so pretty with scattered rose petals in the transparent block.

Nykaa nailpaints

Lastly let me tell you about these beautiful and unique colors from the Nykaa nailpaints range. I bought 2 matte, (chia pudding & royal amethyst) and 1 normal nailpaint(marsala chai). The colors are amazingly pigmented and gives full coverage in a single swipe. Love the texture of the matte nailpaint. The only drawback is, incase you love doing nail art like me and paint design using one matte nail paint on top of another, it is likely to chip off fast.

As for skin care products there are many amazing ones I tried recently and I feel feature them one by one in my coming posts. Hope you liked this one and let me know if you have any questions. Also don’t forget to subscribe and leave your comments. See you.

Natural daily wear lipstick below Rs 150

Enough of skincare you say? For a change why don’t I introduce you to some safe makeup products. I know I know we should take care of our skin and hair and go out confidently flaunting the glowing skin and soft mane but well don’t we all love that additional glam the streak of lipstick gives. Some of us use it daily and some of us just for functions. Whichever it is, researchers say lipsticks and lip glosses may pose specific risks for consumers, because they are swallowed and absorbed little by little by those wearing them.

So what are the toxins that are commonly present in lipsticks and kohl?
Lead, Parabens, Phthalates, dyes, Parfum, Heavy metals, Harmful pigments,Mineral oils, Animal fats, Fragrance etc. These dangerous metals accumulate in the body over time, as they are absorbed through the skin.These can cause skin drying, allergies, and some of these are linked to cancer, may disrupt the endocrine system, or be toxic in other ways.

Why do we still keep using them?
Because we love our matte and glossy lipsticks and fade proof kajals and we don’t know of any alternatives. Even if we find alternatives they are usually from luxurious brands that are super costly. But I found a very affordable lipstick that is free from these harmful toxins.

1. ORGANISTICK LIPSTICKS

Company claim:

Organistick is one of its kind comprising of all natural and organic components that make it long-lasting. Even excess usage of Organistick won’t cause any harm because of the organic as well as natural ingredients.

Ingredients: Shea butter, Jojoba Oil, FD&C Colors, Beeswax, Castor Oil, Carnauba Wax, Natural iron oxides and Titanium dioxides.

Price: For a lipstick of this nature you might expect a minimum of 500 Rs right. Well get ready to be shocked. This one costs just Rs 149

Buy from: Amazon.in, Nykaa.com

Key Features:
-Goodness of shea butter and jojoba oil
-Moisturizes and smoothens your lips
-Natural and organic ingredients
-No animal fat

    My review

In total there are around 36 shades including pinks, reds, nudes and purple shades. I picked up two nude shades from the range called Nectarine and Confused brown. Actually both are similar shades, which I didn’t know and looks almost same on lips.

Nectarine is a nude shade with light pink undertones whereas Confused brown is just nude. The best part is that,their official site (link) provides hand and lip swatches which helps to determine colors in different skin tones. There are many more nude shades in the range.

The packaging is sturdy and travel friendly but could have been colour coded as well. The label at the bottom has the lipstick name. The pigmentation is excellent and gives full coverage even for pigmented lips like mine.The pigment sits comfortably on lips and doesn’t dry out the lips(Obviously with all these skin conditioning ingredients..duh!). It’s neither matte nor extremely creamy and has a shine free satin finish. It does transfer. I wore it overnight to test if dries out the lips (mine being extremely dry lips), but it didn’t. The staying power is like 3-4 hours but it leaves a nice tint on lips without completely fading away. They have some pretty mauves and pinks in the range which I would like to try next time. Love the fact that they have no added fragrance and it has no smell at all . the formula doesn’t enhance limes or dry patches on lips. Also these are affordable and easily available.

What I didn’t like:

I expected the shades I chose to be different nude shades eventhough both shades are just the same in swatches and on lips .Here is another swatch of both on a white tissue.

These are slightly pastel and if you have deeper skin tone this might wash you out. So choose darker shades instead of choosing lighter and peachier shades.

Also don’t expect it be extremely nourishing like a lip balm.

Blend it Raw Apothecary Product Review : Dandruff free silky hair and soft supple skin with simple DIY skincare recipes

It has been a while I made a detailed blog post, eventhough those of who following me on Insta is frequently getting DIY skincare recipes and tips.So this post is a small skin and hair care DIY post. These days I am not purchasing any pre-made products from market. I rather prefer getting pure ingredients.

Why make skin care recipes with pure ingredients when you can buy products with similar ingredients?

1. You can make multiple products with these ingredients at home
2. You can create your own DIY recipes to suit your skin type
3. When you buy products with your favourite ingredients, you don’t get any information on the percentage of this ingredient in the product.You might be paying more for say just 0.5gm of the ingredient in the product.
4. Which takes me to the point, saves money.
5. You can be assured of what goes into your skincare recipes
6. More effective as ingredients are fresh and pure

7. No preservatives, chemicals or parabens that can harm your skin.

Mini review:


PC: Blenditrawapothecary

I bought a couple of ingredients from Blend It Raw Apothecary. Aarushi, beauty with brains behind this new brand, is a natural skincare blogger herself.
The brand has come up with monthly beauty boxes as well in previous months. They have oils, butters, muds and clays,floral waters and other pure powders to name a few. I bought Aloevera gel, rose petal powder, charcoal powder, orange blossom water and an essential oil blend for hair.

The products come in a box(mine didnot have brand label though), packed well. The label on each product mentions the usage and ingredients list incase of a blend. The quantity is great and will for sure last me long.

The only disappointment for me was orange blossom water because I thought it would smell differently. If you think this one smells ‘citrusy’,you are wrong. I have never used orange blossom water before and to my surprise it actually has a mild fresh green chilly smell. Basically it is made from orange blossoms as the name implies and it doesn’t smell like orange peel or like orange essential oil.The spray bottle is quite handy and a few pumps makes you feel fresh. But I still prefer rose or vetiver water over this.

So here are some DIYs for smooth and soft skin and silky hair. Can be used by all skin and hair types.

Hair mask for silky soft hair

What you need :
Tea tree oil/Peppermint oil/Elevate oil blend
Aloe vera gel

You can use pure aloe vera gel from the plant or buy this if you don’t have a plant. The aloevera gels sold in drug stores are not pure and you will see a plethora of chemical ingredients in the ingredient list. The one I bought few years back from a drug store in Thailand even has parabens.

I bought the tea tree oil from Juicy Chemistry.

Just Mix:
Mix aloevera gel with few drops of the essential oil. Say 2 drops for a table spoon of aloevera gel. The essential oils are potent and shouldn’t be used more.Mix it well to get a slightly milky mix.Now apply this to the scalp if you have an itchy scalp or to the hair and hair tips incase you have dry frizzy hair. I don’t oil my hair when I do this but you can also try this after you shampoo the hair, as a conditioning mask. Keep it for 10min and just wash it with off with water. In case you have very dry and frizzy hair, you can mix curd, egg white or few drops of almond oil with the mix.

You can use the same blend for face incase you have acne prone skin.

Benefits:

Tea tree oil is anti septic and has the ability to soothe dry flaking skin, remove dandruff and even can be used for the treatment of lice.
You can even add a few drops to your hair cleanser, tooth paste,face wash for added benefits.

Aloevera gel is a versatile ingredient that soothes, calms, hydrates, conditions and overall just makes your skin super happy.

I have an oily and itchy scalp. But after using this mask a couple of times, it stopped getting oily oily for a few days after hair wash. The mask has balanced out my scalp. Also the itching just stops the moment you apply the scalp and helps fight dandruff as well.

The Elevate blend from Blend it raw apothecary has the following ingredients:
Organic essential oils of Lavender, rosemary,ylang ylang,cedarwood and peppermint.
Price: Rs 275 for 10ml

Mask for soft supple skin:

What you need: Now this one is a versatile mask and you can add ingredients as per your skin type.

For dry skin : Aloe gel, rosepetal powder, honey/lavender essential oil/Almond oil
for very dry/flaky skin : Oats, rose petal, honey, aloevera gel
For oily skin : Aloe gel, rosepetal powder, floral waters (rose water, orange blossom water, lavender water)
For irritated/acne prone skin: Aloe gel, tea tree oil, rose petal powder, rose water
For skin brightening: Rosepetal powder, wild turmeric powder, Gram flour,sandal wood powder, floral water

Price:

Blend it raw aloegel : Rs 250 for 200g
Blend it raw rose petal powder : Rs 350 for 100g
Blend it raw orange blossom water : Rs 475 for 100ml

For my mask I used orange blossom water, rose petal powder, aloevera gel and 1 drop of lavender essential oil. Use very less essential oil or it is going to burn your skin.I love the color of this mask and it is very gentle on skin. It makes the skin soft, glowing and hydrated on regular use.

Point to remember:
Patch test these blends in your hand and wait for a while to make sure it is not causing any redness or irritation.

Hope you liked this post. Let me know if you like to read more of skin care recipes. Do SUBSCRIBE and follow us on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM for more skin care tips.

Other posts you might like:

Summer skincare
Summer haircare
All about menstrual cups
Multimasking
Hairfree smooth skin
All about hair cleansers
How to choose skincare products that suits you

Summer hair care with natural hair wash powders : Featuring Krya and JivaVrksa

Temperature is soaring day by day and occasional rains are the only relief. This is also the time when oily skin gets extra oily and dry skin gets extra dry. Hair gets frizzy and untameable for some where as it becomes an oily mess for others. So you will be surprised to know that there is a common solution for this. That is to balance the sebum production of the scalp. Using silicone and sulphate filled hair cleansers and conditioners can be damaging in the long run.

The below ingredients in shampoo are the major culprits of your bad hair days.

Alcohol, for instance, does have the effect of removing oil, but it dries out your scalp and stimulates it to produce even more sebum. Alcohol types called β€œisopropyl alcohol,” β€œbenzyl alcohol,” and β€œdenatured alcohol” are especially damaging, since these are pure types of alcohol.

Silicone also shouldn’t be in your shampoo; it not only surrounds your hair, causing it to dry out from within, but also builds a non-water soluble layer on your scalp. Sebum production builds up and increases under this layer. Silicones are usually easy to recognize in a list of ingredients because they end with β€œ-cone,” β€œ-conol,” or – β€œsiloxane.”

Both Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and its close relative Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) are the major foaming ingredient in shampoos and detergents. The sodium laureth sulfate found in our soaps is exactly the same as you would find in a car wash or even a garage, where it is used to degrease car engines.
In the same way as it dissolves the grease on car engines, SLES also dissolves the oils on your skin, which can cause a drying effect. It is also well documented that it denatures skin proteins, which causes not only irritation, but also allows environmental contaminants easier access to the lower, sensitive layers of the skin.

There are many more harmful chemicals like Triclosan, Dimethicone and Phenoxyethanol, to name a few, in the common drug store shampoos.

Why should you switch to natural chemical and preservative free hair wash powders according to me:
,
1. It cleanses hair gently without stripping it of moisture or natural oils.
2. Repairs and conditions hair and cools your scalp.
3. Doesn’t make the hair dull and lifeless after 2-3 days of hair wash like synthetic shampoos.
4. Adds volume, shine and softness
5. Brands claim that it prevents hairfall, split ends, premature greying and dandruff when used regularly for longer periods.
6. Balances the sebum secretion of scalp and there by prevents scalp from becoming too oily or dry
7. Gives a natural refreshing herbal scent to hair.
8. Prevents itchiness of scalp
9. These powders can also be used as hair masks for that extra nourishment, by mixing with banana pulp, curd or egg white.
10. The water after hair wash is bio-degradable and eco friendly unlike its chemical laden counterparts. This can be used to water plants.

Well if the above list failed to impress you, I don’t know what would.

1. Krya Hair Wash Powder


PC: Krya.in

Krya is a completely natural and ayurvedic brand with a wide range of bath and body care products in addition to products like natural laundry and dish wash powders.In their blog and site, they have given detailed explanation of the different skin types as per ayurveda, the reason for various skin and hair problems and what lifestyle changes to stay healthy and beautiful. The ingredients used are mostly organic and they use traditional ayurvedic preparation methods that extracts goodness of each ingredient used.

This brand has separate products that caters to specific conditions like normal, oily hair types and dandruff prone hair. I tried this particular hair wash powder from them.


Ingredients:
Shikaki, Citriodora, fenugreek,vetiver, tulsi,triphala, soapberry. Key Ingredients are listed in the pack, as the ingredients changes depending on the season and availability of herbs
Price: Rs 300 for 100g
Packaging: Comes in a cardboard pack with paper labels. My only request to Krya is to have better packaging with clear labels. Because when I bought multiple products, after taking those out of the cardboard boxes it really confused me as to which powder is what.
Fragrance : Strong herbal fragrance

Buy : here

JivaVrksa Hair Wash powder:

To know more about the brand and reviews of skincare products from them, check out my post by clicking here

Ingredients :

Price : Rs 80 fro 75g
Packaging : Comes in paper satchets with clear labeling. There are paper pouches inside the satchet that holds the product. This makes it easy to store the product and not get confused with other similar powders.
Fragrance: Light herbal fragrance

This powder is much lighter and easier to spread. But this doesn’t remove oil completely from pre-oiled hair in one wash. Need to use 3-4 tsps of product to completely remove the oil but the price point and ingredients list is very impressive.

Buy: Amazon

How to use:

Take 2-3 tsp of any of these hair wash powders in a bowl and make a thin paste by mixing with water. Use this paste to wash the hair just like you use shampoo and rinse it off. Soapberry is the natural foaming agent in the cleanser that gently removes the oiliness from the scalp. Don’t expect any bubbly foams like your synthetic shampoos. I spread the paste on the scalp and hair and gently massage it from roots to tips. It can be easily washed off, if you were wondering and takes less quantity of water when compared to washing off highly lathering shampoos.


Keep in mind :

If you oil your hair, you might have to wash it multiple times with the powder to remove the excess oil.
Also if you are new to natural hair cleansers, it will take you a while to see positive results from these. This is because the powders would in the initial uses, be removing all the chemical build up in hair, during which you might feel the hair is a bit weighed down.
Store the powders in air tight containers and use dry spatulas to take them out. Avoid contact with moisture as these are preservative free.

Hope you liked this post.

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Why you need to convert from sanitary pads or tampons to Menstrual Cups

I know that not many of us are well aware of what menstrual cups are and will have quite a lot of questions about this. Through this post I intend to share my experience with using menstrual cup as an alternative to pads or tampons. I seriously wish someone had introduced this to me when I was in school.

How I was introduced to menstrual cups (MC for ease of typing throughout this post :P) :

I knew that this product exist as some of the organic brands I follow sells this. But it was when my colleague told me about how using MC has changed her life, that I felt like trying it out. Now coming to think about it, it’s not just that. Usually when we are at home, we don’t care much about waste disposal part as our moms takes care of it. But since I moved to an apartment where the waste disposal is really a pain, I have been conscious about minimizing the quantity of waste, be it bio-degradable or not. Also since choosing to live in an environmentally conscious manner, I was really disturbed about the amount of non-biodegradable waste in the form of sanitary pads, we dump every month.It comes to a bag full and just goes in land fills. So all of us women combined, really causes a huge impact in polluting the earth. But well, so far we could say that we had no choice. But now that I am aware of the alternative which is so much better that using pads or tampons for us as well as environment,this should be made aware to all. So let me start by telling you my learning curve of using a menstrual cup and how it has changed my period days in a very positive way.

What is a menstrual cup??

MC is a flexible bell shaped cup,which is usually made of medical grade silicone. It is worn inside the vagina during menstruation to catch menstrual fluid (blood). Some of you might find this gross already and feel that ‘No I am not doing this’, but trust me I have been through that and just read on, as this is a life saver and can just make your life so easy and comfortable.

Menstrual cups comes in different sizes, mostly medium and large (for this brand). Medium is for women under 30, who has not given birth vaginally and the larger size is normally recommended for women who are over 30, have given birth vaginally, or have an unusually heavy flow.

For some motivation, let me give you few reasons of why MC rocks!!!

1. Huge money saver > One MC can be used for upto 10 years depending on how you maintain it. So think of all the money you save by not buying tampons or padds.
2. No leakage what so ever, if you insert it correctly. Not even a drop on the days of heavy flows.
3. No wet feeling, actually you really have to remind yourself that you have this on. You may as well forget that you are menstruating,as you wouldn’t feel a thing.
4. No headache of changing pads regularly,as this can be used at once upto 12 hrs, depending on the flow. So you don’t have to sneak a pad to the rest room in office or school and can be carefree till you get home.
5. No problem of disposing waste. Incase you are sleeping over at a friend’s or relatives place at this time of the month, remember how awkward it feels to ask where to dispose the pad. Actually in my hostels girls used to flush it, and it was so gross to see it stuck there. So ya with MC there is no such worry. Just have to clean it with water or tissue.
6. Can be used while swimming or while in activities without having to worry. Trust me, I used to avoid long journeys on those days. But now I have no worries.
7. There is no known report of Toxic shock syndrome, where keeping bloodied pads/tampons for long time causes potentially fatal bacterial illness
8. Most important of all it is sustainable and helps the environment. Each year,billions of pads and tampons are discarded which typically end up in landfills or are incinerated, which can have a great impact on the environment. Most of the pads and tampons are made of cotton and plastic. Plastic takes about 50 or more years and cotton starts degrading after 90 days if it’s composted.
9. Easily available online and in stores
10. Great for those unsure days. Everyone wastes atleast 2 pads or panty liners a month, thinking it might start on a partiular day. Especially for us working women, we can’t take any risks while traveling. This one makes sure that you don’t have to wear the uncomfortable pads and waste them on those days.
11. And as an additional point, it just gives you a better understanding of your body and it’s cycle. It’s you blood and it is not gross.

In rural areas of the country, menstruation stops the education of girls and involvement of girls in social activities, due to lack of sanitation facilities,fear of leaking, or even the monthly expenses involved. The use of unhygienic alternatives causes infections and health issues. MC offer a longer-term solution as they do not need to be replaced monthly and ensures menstrual hygiene as long as there is access to clean water.

So if all the above points influenced you to move to MC, read about my learning curve using one. The mistakes I made will help you not to make them and to start using MCs immediately. But just take it easy and most likely no one gets it right on one go.

Journey of converting to MC from pads
I bought the WOW Eva cup for under 30 from Amazon. Now I can’t find the same brand in Amazon, so just linking from another site so that you get an idea Eva cup link
It comes in a storage pouch made of cloth and a bottle of gentle feminine wash an I bought it for around Rs 699.

First month :
Tried using it as per instructions from the product pack and failed miserably. I folded the cup into a C shape and tried inserting it, but failed as this felt quite big to insert inside. So I did not use it. Instead I watched many youtube videos and there are a few about different folds of the cup. So you can choose any fold that is easy and comfortable for you to help get this inside. This really helped me as I felt the C fold in the packet didn’t make any sense for a beginner. So I tried the shell fold/punch line fold and I was easily able to insert the cup inside. This time I just tried inserting it in and taking it out a couple of times, around the last day of periods.

Trying this when you don’t have periods might make it difficult to insert, as during periods the walls are not so tight and also the area is wet and hence easy to slide the cup in. Making the cup wet might help as well. Also it is very easy to clean it, just hold it under running water or clean it with tissue.

Second month :
Used it on the second last day of periods and found that it was slightly leaking. Big disappointment!!! But I found in a video that after inserting, we have to make sure that the folds have opened inside. So I had to just insert a finger and run it along the walls of the cup to make sure it is in the unfolded form. So it was still folded inside. So I just pulled the stem gently in and out to reposition it and voila no more issues.On pulling out the cup, direct it to the toilet and empty it immediately so that it doesn’t make any mess.

Also if you are not confident enough, use a pad after inserting the cup, until you get the hang of it.So that even if it leaks because of the wrong way in which you inserted it, there is an extra protection. Don’t worry, in a couple of tries you will know if the position is correct or not.

Third month :
Tried this from day one and did an overnight travel for 12 hrs in bus wearing this. There was a pad ofcourse for my confidence and I felt in the morning that it had all leaked and made the pad very wet. You know that sliding feeling of the pad. But when I reached home and checked, there wasn’t even a drop! That’s when I realized that it’s not all the bleeding that makes us uncomfortable, it’s the pad itself.

After this there was no looking back. I am using this every month and not rescheduling travels or vacations because of my monthly.

Things to remember :

1. Relax and take your time. Probably after a bath and at a time when you won’t be interrupted. You cannot rush through this until you get the hang of it.
2. Sit in a squat position to easily insert the cup.. Don’t try to insert it vertically. Always insert at an angle of 45 degree.
3. Follow the same rule while removing the cup. Pull at an angle gently and not vertically down.
4. You might over estimate how much you bleed. Mostly a medium sized cup will suffice.
5. Follow the instructions about cleaning and storing in the product box religiously.

I know you might still have a lot of questions. Feel free to comment below or DM me on my instagram or facebook handle. If you liked the post, do share it with your friends,daughters, sisters or cousins, especially the ones who goes to schools and colleges.

Here are a few links that might be helpful:

Step by step guide for first time
Different folds for cups


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