Relax, shop and enjoy the colors of the city of lake

From Jaipur, I took you to Agra and now I am taking you to Udaipur . We had stopped at the Pushkar fest for a day, but that story is for another day. I found the atmosphere of Udaipur very relaxing and slow paced, like in Hampi. Udaipur’s culture is strongly connected to the beautiful ghats and water bodies of the place .  We stayed for 3 and a half days here and rather than hustling around to visit all tourist attractions, we spent these last days of our 1 week trip, relaxing in the serene atmosphere.

We reached Udaipur early in the morning via train, after attending the Pushkar fest the previous night. The train was mostly occupied by locals who wore traditional Rajasthani attires.  It was great to see this cultural shift from Jaipur.  We were really tired and had missed a good night’s sleep. So we directly headed to Thamla Haveli, where we had booked our stay for the next 3 days. The haveli is an old but well maintained 3 storied building on the banks of Lake Pichola. But we were really disappointed when we saw the room. It was very small and cold,  with no ventilation and no opening for sunlight.  But we being too tired from the continuous travel,  just crashed in the bed and had a good sleep for the next 2 hours. Later we talked to the manager and luckily there was this one room available, with a lake view.  It was love at first sight.

It was spacious and beautiful with an ornate window, opening directly to the lake giving a great view of the Gangaur Ghat. The window area had a cozy cushion seating and an awesome view of the lake. The ambiance was accentuated by the tunes of traditional folk music from the opposite ghat. While tourists came from far and wide, to visit the ghat and enjoy boat rides, we could enjoy the beauty of the lake 24*7 for free.
This turned out to be my favourite spot for the days to come.

We had skipped breakfast, so we decided to have lunch in the open rooftop dining area of the building. Almost all the eateries around the ghat are rooftop ones, to take maximum advantage of the lake view. The food was delicious and filling.

The best thing about this hotel was every major attraction is at a walkable distance and we didn’t spend anything on transportation.

The most beautiful aspect of Udaipur (through my eyes), is that it is beaming with art and music in every nook and corner.

Apart from the streets with every shop displaying miniature art and colorful embroidered fabrics, every common house has beautiful doors and windows of the bygones and the street walls are decorated with detailed paintings.

Now let me list down some places we visited over the course of our stay. On many days, we spent most of the evenings in the Ghat or just at the hotel, relaxing and taking in the beautiful view of boats in lake Pichola.

Bagore ki haveli:

This is a must visit place. It is located on the banks lake Pichola in Gangaur Ghat, which is just at a 10min walk from our hotel.

This restored haveli museum holds rooms that displays settings of the rooms of royalties. One room is full of puppets in colorful silk traditional clothes, in a courtroom setting.

Another one displays the entertainment room of kids with the real board games made of wood and ivory. The doors are adorned by stunning colored glass work.

Dharohar Dance Show:

Apart from the museum, what I enjoyed most is the cultural show at Bagore ki haveli, late in the evening. It was amazing, better than any performance we saw at Chokhi Dhani(read here) . The show is from 7pm to 8pm everyday and the ticket is just a nominal 60Rs for Indians.

You should reach the place early to get the ticket, as there is going to be a long queue. We were directed to a courtyard of the haveli, known as the Neem Chowk. There is a big Neem tree in the center of the courtyard and hence the name. This small open terrace was lit with terracotta diyas and had benches and cushion seating on the floor  on all three sides, so that the audience gets a very close view of the performance. You need to take a separate pass for filming or taking photos.

The show started with an introduction given by a beautiful lady, in both Hindi and English. This was followed by drum beats and instrumental folk music. Then one dance followed the next with puppet shows and a folk drama in between. The dancers were clad in very festive traditional ghagras ornate with embroidery and mirror work. The reflection of the diya lights against the golden laces and ornaments added to the ambiance. The traditional folk dances included:

> Gavri Dance, which was more of a dance drama. It depicted a fight between Goddess Amba and Demon Bhiamwal

> Terah Taal Dance, where dancers played a musical instrument tied to their feet and hands.

> Ghumar Dance, where dancers performed in circles.

And the highlight of the show and the show stopper was the Bhavai Dance. The dancer was over 70 years of age and she came in gracefully, carrying a clay pot on her head. On regular intervals, she would move towards a corner where a member of their team would add consequently smaller clay pots on top of the existing one. And as the dance progressed, the number of clay pots reached around 10 and the lady danced beautifully, while balancing all these pots effortlessly and handsfree. Towards the climax, she started dancing on the edge of a metal plate and later on a bed of sharp glass pieces. The audience sat breathlessly and applauded wildly once the performance was over.

This show under a moonlit sky, is the perfect way to imbibe the colorful culture of Rajasthan.

We didnot take the camera pass here, so I don’t have any pics of the performance.

City Palace:

We walked to the palace around 10 in the morning, before it started getting too crowded. It was just 10min walk from the haveli. We hired a guide here and he explained the history of Udaipur and the stories of various royals of the place.

The palace displays all the precious artifacts of the royal family and the palace grounds are great for a walk, after.


Ravanahatha player of Gangaur Ghat :

The lake front opposite to Thamla Haveli, is called Gangaur Ghat. In the evenings, the Ghat is a popular spot for tourists as well as the young crowd, as it provides a picturesque view of the lake, colored by orange waves. We sat on the steps leading to the lake, feeding pigeons and listening to the alluring folk music from the Ravanahatha.

Ravanahatha is an ancient stringed instrument and you can find men in traditional Rajasthani attire, playing this in popular tourist spots. He was playing the same tune over and over again, and it blended in with the whole serene setting. The man was also selling CDs of his songs. You will also find locals selling handmade beaded jewelry and other curios here.

Sunset point at Karni Mata Temple:

Another great spot for getting a panoramic view of the city, is to visit the Karni Mata Temple at Machla Hills. There is a rope way leading to the hill and since the temple is at its highest point, we could enjoy the beauty of lake Pichola and the city soaked in the evening light.

The construction work was going on in the temple. So we didn’t go in. We just spent the evening there till the moon came up and changed shades of the city.

Shopping:

All the lanes near Gangaur Ghat has rows of small shops selling miniature paintings, hand painted jewelry, colorful clothes and home decor items. But two major shopping places nearby are ‘Hathi Pol’ and ‘Bada Bazaar’. These are located at a walkable distance from our stay and you will find traditional rajasthani clothes, leheriya and bandhini fabrics, Juttis, bags etc.

One of the wholesale shops here, Leheriya Bandhej, sells lehengas, traditional bandhani dupattas, and chanderi kurti materials at steal away prices.  Another store next to this is Apsara (if I remember correctly) which has much more options.They only sell these in sets of three and hence makes great gifting option.

On our way back from hathipol, I came across an old shop called Ashok Delights, displaying a variety of colorful window hangings. I just walked in to take a look at them and found them very old and dusty. But to my surprise, the shop turned out to be a treasure trove of wooden curios, some even antique. The owner of the shop was very friendly and interactive.

From small tricky puzzle boxes to intricately painted miniature hanging gods to even cute wooden carved earrings and wooden flats called methiyadi; this shop reminded me of the wizard shops in diagon alley from Harry potter. You could spend a whole day exploring the items that are loosely stacked till the roof of this old family owned shop.

The next great find was a small shop displaying handpainted meenakari earrings and miniature paintings. The owner of the shop is a famous miniature artist and he takes painting classes to interested tourists. He will give you a sketch of the miniature painting of your choice, on a silk cloth and will teach you how to do the painting using natural plant based colors and tiny handmade brushes.

We also bought camel leather bound diaries made of handmade paper. These comes in many colors and embossed patterns.

Cafes and eateries:

Unlike Jaipur, every lane in Udaipur has atleast one cafe or eatery. It’s all mostly small family run businesses and mostly serves pizzas, sandwiches and beverages.

We opted Cafe Satori for dinner. This is a small cozy cafe run by a lady and her son. We ordered coffee and pizza. The food took quite a while to be served, and we spent the time reading books available here. The cafes around the ghat are not cheap but the food tastes homemade. The owner lady was interactive and friendly. After dinner we all sat together and chit-chatted for sometime.

I had my eyes on Cafe Edelweiss right from the time I read rave reviews on this German eatery, in Zomato. So the next day’s breakfast had to be here. This is also a bakery and had some chocolate brownies and pastries on display. We tried tea and pancakes from here. The crowd is mostly foreigners and the food was alright.

For a light dinner we opted for  smoothies from Cafe Greenwood.  Owned by a young couple, the place is small but nice.

Our best and most affordable find was Lotus cafe. Hidden in a quaint corner, this is an eatery with no frills. The service is great and the food is very tasty. And the best part is that this is the most pocket friendly restaurant, we came across here.

We left Udaipur with colorful memories and I hope I could share some of them with you. Do comment below if you liked the post and follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more content.

You might also be interested in:

Day 1 : The grandeur of The Pink City
Day2 : A walk through the art, architecture and history
Day3 : The Majestic Taj

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

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

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

    The Skin Pantry

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

Almond and Aloe Whisper

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

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

Rhassoul clay face mask

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

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

Buy : The Skin Pantry

Amara Organix

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

    Brightening Face mask

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

    Price : Rs 250 for 25g

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

    Buy from : AmaraOrganix

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

    JivaVrksa pure herbal face pack powder

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

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

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


      Kama Eladi Moisturizer for combination to dry skin

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

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

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Eat healthy,live healthy : My favorite organic food stores

Our skin problems are mostly related to our lifestyle and food habits. What we eat directly reflects on our skin. Many skin related issues can be fixed by just eating right. So I have made it a habit to eat organic and chemical free food as much as possible.There are many online sites and local stores that sell chemical free produce and food products these days and here I am going to list down my favorite ones in Bangalore.

1. QTrove

Qtrove is a curated marketplace that exhibits and sells non-mass produced items from small entrepreneurs across the country. These products are natural, sustainable, not easily available elsewhere, enhance the well-being and social currency of today’s discerning consumer.

I regularly buy organic products from here. Few products I love are Gulkand,choco-chip pancake mix, fresh fruit preserves, organic ghee, hot chocolate blends, Caramel and chemical free detergents and dish wash liquid. They have an amazing collection of products covering food items, bath and body products, household items, pet care products and even a women exclusive collection.

The delivery is very fast, sometimes even the next day and products are packed neatly. Most of the food items are made to order and hence cannot be returned. There are frequent offers for particular products.

Check out my haul post for details here

I am sure that these days one can find organic food stores every where but you need to make sure that the products are certified organic and not fake. In Bangalore, there are two Organic stores that are my recent finds. Actually when I searches for an organic store near Indiranagar I found so many in the same area.

2. FRESH EARTH ORGANICS

You will almost miss this store in CMH road, unless you are looking for it in particular. This small store stocks groceries, veggies, bath and beauty products and even chocolates and nut butters.

Products I love : Pomegranate dark chocolate, organic eggs and ghee, Apple cider vinegar
Find them Near-Mayur Technologies, Chinmaya Mission Hospital Rd, Indira Nagar 1st Stage
Timings : 9.30am to 7.30pm


3. HAPPY HEALTHY ME

HappyHealthyMe is India’s first 100% certified organic food brand and grocery store. Our locally sourced products have been carefully selected to promote health for the mind, body and soul.

I love this store because the store itself is like a food boutique and it feels like each product is specially curated and put in packs with designer labels. The packing is so appealing and eco-friendly.

They have a wide range of products including super foods like chia and flax seeds,groceries, exotic herbs, spices and their special salads.

Read about the bamboo brush here
Products I love : Almond mylk, Cacao nibs, Bamboo toothbrush, Seeds from Super food range
Find them @ 660, 1st Cross, 11th Main road, Indiranagar
Timings :10:00AM – 8:00PM

Eating healthy organic produce that are seasonal, can bring great improvement in your health. Including greens in the diet helps in flushing out the toxins and improving the bowel movement. But having pesticide laden food does more harm than good. So even if you buy produce that are not organic, make sure you soak the veggies and fruits in vinegar+salt water for at least 2 hours before using them.

Hope you liked this post. Do subscribe to keep updated and like us on facebook and instagram.

Junaili apricot body scrub : Simple and pure

This is the review of the simplest and purest body scrub I have ever used.For those of you, who are new to this brand, here is a small brief.

Junaili makes cold pressed apricot oil with the finest apricot grown in Himalayas, maintaining high quality. They make pure cold pressed apricot face and body oil apart from the scrub. It is a family owned brand and the products are made in small batches.

Coming to the review, I am quite impressed at how a scrub from an Indian brand, made of one pure ingredient can be so effective, when compared to a whole bunch of other scrubs in the market boasting exotic ingredients from all over the world. For starters I am not a big fan of sugar scrubs. Mainly because the sugar tend to dissolve away in a jiffy when rubbed on wet skin.I like to massage the scrub for a while for maximum benefit and nut shell scrubs like walnut kernal ones tend to be harsh at times. If not any of these, the scrub can be a bit drying for my already dry skin.

But the junaili scrub doesn’t belong to any of the above category. Read the specifics below:

I received it in the December reverie box. You can also buy it individually from their site.

Buy from : here
Price : Rs 275 for 125g
Ingredient: Cold-Pressed Apricot Kernel Scrub
Texture and fragrance : This product reminds me of the classic malt horlicks. The smell is slightly similar as well, pure and ‘apricoty’. The scrub is a gritty powder.
Packing : The scrub comes in a travel friendly plastic jar with a metal screw cap. There is foil seal on the mouth of the jar for protection from spillage. I have just made a small hole in the foil, and all I got to do is shake the jar to get the powder. This ensures that the product doesn’t get contaminated with water when kept in bathroom.

How to use this scrub to suit your skin type


the scrub in its dry form and when mixed with Gia ginger lilly body oil

1. For oily/sensitive skin : Combine the scrub with water to make a paste.Massage it all over the body or on those dry areas. Water makes the scrub smooth and mushy like oats and hence doesn’t irritate sensitive skin.
2.For dry/flaky skin : Mix the scrub with body oil (any light body oil like almond, apricot,olive oils),it stays gritty and helps slough away all the dead skin without having to use more product (as oil doesn’t make the scrub mushy). Using a body oil also gives that extra boost of moisturisation. I generally mix it with Gia body oil (read the review here), which is a very light oil with mild floral fragrance. I wash the scrub off and without cleansing with soap, as this oil moisturises skin without making the skin oily.

Inshort why I recommend the Junaili scrub:

1. It is as pure and natural as it gets
2. So easy on the pocket and affordable for everyone
3. Is versatile and can be used as mentioned above to suit your skin type
4. Light weight, travel friendly
5. Very effective as a body scrub

My two favorite non-greasy, deep conditioning hair oils

Hair issues for me, is not season dependent. Hair fall issues started during my college days, when I moved to a different city and started washing my hair with water having high chlorine content. It hasn’t come down at all, unless I go back to my hometown. Somehow my hair only likes the humid atmosphere and water with salt content.

Anyways I have since experimented with a lot of hair oils, both home made ones and store bought ones. The ones that I really liked recently and has continued using are the Bringadi hair oil from Kama Ayurveda and Javakusum from Just herbs. One thing in common with both of these is that, they are non-greasy, serum like and highly conditioning.

Growing up in Kerala where Ayurveda is quite popular, I have heard a lot about Nilibhrigadi hair oil. This is the popular hair oil from famous Ayurvedic brands like Kottackal Arya Vaidya Pharmacy. Since Kama Ayurveda products like hair oil are manufactured at the arya vaidya sala factory, I believe the formula must be the same, eventhough Kama ones costs alot.

bringad

Coming to the efficacy, both of these are very light oils, non-sticky and spreads easily.

javakusum

Cost : Bringadi – 545Rs for 100ml, Javakusum – 445Rs for 100ml

Fragrance: Bringadi smells more ayurvedic and Javakusum has a pleasant fragrance typical of all Just Herbs products.

Ingredients : Indigo, Bringaraj and Amla are the main ingredients in Bringadi and this one claims to treat for hair loss, premature graying and dandruff.

Hibiscus, gooseberry, henna and other oils form the ingredients of Javakusum and claims the same as Bringadi.

Why I liked them?

The home made oils I use are generally very sticky and makes my face oily as well, on application to scalp. Also it takes a lot of hair cleansing product to wash this off.

These oils on the other hand are of the consistency of serums and spreads easily on hair. My hair feels conditioned, tangle free and  soft, on application of these oils pre-wash.

It takes very little quantity of hair cleanser to wash these off and I don’t feel the need to use conditioners after. As for the claims like hairfall, dandruff and premature greying preventions, I cannot vouch. I feel since the water at my place is hard water, I cannot control hair fall with just hair oils. I don’t have dandruff or premature greying, so no comments on that.

But if you are looking for conditioning hair oils that are free of all nasties, these are what you should buy.

Daily cleansing method for soft and glowing skin

Cleansing is the most important part of skin care. Our skin is always exposed to dust, dirt and pollution and thorough cleansing twice a day helps to refresh the skin and remove all the unwanted build up on the skin.

I like trying out different products and home made ingredients as cleansers. I usually use face wipes or my recent purchase, Khadi cleanser to remove kajal (even though it doesn’t do that well) and cleanse face in the evening. But this time, I tried this body oil on my face and I was really surprised by its efficacy as a cleanser. It made my skin extremely soft and made it glow in just one use.

Many of us have combination to oily skin and doesn’t prefer to use oils on face. But let me tell you, you will be amazed at how some oils nourishes your skin without making it oily. There are serums and oils that are suited for oily skin, which even helps in reducing skin troubles like acne.

Let me tell you how to effectively cleanse your face to get that soft dewy skin.

Gia Bath and Body works Ginger Lilly Body Oil

oil-01-01

Price : Rs 390 for 200ml

Ingredients :  Evening prim rose oil, Walnut oil, Argan oil, Extra virgin olive oil, sweet almond oil, Rosehip oil, apricot kernel oil, wheatgerm oil, vit E, essential oil blend

Texture : Light and non-greasy. If your skin is not too dry, you can use replace body lotions/butters with this oil. Gets absorbed easily on skin and doesn’t leave shine on skin.

Fragrance : I bought this oil to use as a pre-wash body oil as my body has dry skin. But this one is actually a post-wash moisturizing oil, as it is very light and has amazing fragrance (I think it has artificial fragrance as well).

How to Cleanse your face with oil :

I washed my face with warm water as this softens up the skin helps loosen all dirt and grime on skin. After pat drying my face, I took few drops of this oil and massaged it well on my face. This one stings if it goes in your eye, so be careful. Leave it for a minute.

Wipe off all traces of the oil with a soft tissue or a wet face cloth.

I used the Tea cleanser from Cape of Good Soap,  after this, to make sure my face is squeaky clean. You can skip this step in case your face feels quite clean already.

I went on to make dinner and did not give it a  second thought. After a while, I was surprised to see that my face had that dewy glow and did not feel oily at all. I am definitely making this a part of my skin care regime.

So why I love this oil :

  • Affordable
  • Excellent and highly effective ingredients
  • Non-greasy and light
  • Smells so good
  • Effectively cleanses face and doubles up as makeup remover as well.
  • Gives my skin dewy glow and makes it super soft.

You can try out other light oils like Jojoba oil and sweet almond oil  based on your skin type and let me know if it works as effectively as this.

 

 

DIY all natural mask for glowing skin

I have been getting messages from many of you asking to recommend a good skin brightening mask. Even though I have tried face masks from many brands including high end ones, none of them has given the glow and brightness to skin, as this simple home made mask. I have been using this since my school days and this was my one and only step for skin care. This is an all in one face/ body pack that offers many benefits like,

  • controls oiliness
  • reduces pigmentation
  • lightens sun tan
  • clarifies skin
  • combats pre-mature aging
  • scrubs away dead skin
  • softens skin
  • reduces acne

Are you ready to make your skin dewy and bright. So here we go.

Ingredients are simple and easily available in India:

  • half teaspoon sandalwood powder
  • half teaspoon red sandalwood powder
  • 1 teaspoon chick pea flour/besan
  • Quarter-half teaspoon on turmeric powder
  • Honey/Curd/Rose water/Milk to mix the ingredients as per skin type

I usually add a spoon of honey or curd for my combination skin. If you have dry skin milk/honey or milk cream will provide the extra moisture boost.

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How to prepare:

Simply mix all the ingredients to form a fine paste that’s not too thick. Adjust the quantities as required to get the right consistency. Adding more red sandalwood powder makes the mixture more coarse in my case as the red sandalwood powder I have is not so fine.

How to apply:

Wash your face with warm water and cleanse it well. Apply the pack using hand or a clean face brush. Don’t forget to apply it evenly on your neck as well. Two cucumber pieces for your eyes and relaaaaxxxxx.

Keep it till you feel a bit of stretch. Do not wait till mask is completely dry,as it can dry out and stretch the skin. Massage the still wet mask by moving the fingers upwards. Massage for 2 minutes and wash the mask off using a warm moist face cloth or simply wash it off with warm water.

Finally rinse your face once with cold/ water in room temperature and pat dry.

Admire your squeaky clean and bright face in the mirror <3 <3 <3

This can also be applied as a foot mask for soft and tan free feet.

NOTE : Make sure all ingredients are pure and of good quality. Buy from trusted vendors. Do not use the turmeric powder you use for cooking in this. Kasturi manjal or wild turmeric powder is what we need here.

I get it powdered in mill from raw turmeric. Also I use home made paste of sandalwood and red sandalwood by rolling the wood sticks on stone.

You can also buy these in stick/powdered form from online sites like EbayGiskaa and Amazon.

Hope you liked the post.

 

 

All about hair cleansers

Hi you all 🙂

Hair care products play a very important role in the quality and health of hair, along with other controllable factors like protein rich food, keeping hydrated and having stress free life. I had thick long straight silky hair as a kid but once I moved to a different city to do my college, my bad hair days started. Because of the change in water (chlorine rich water), my hair started falling off a lot and became thin and dandruff prone in no time. I used to use commercial shampoos then and it made my hair dry and thin day by day.

Once I converted to natural skincare 🙂 , I concentrated more on getting back my hair quality. Even though my hair is now back to it’s former silky texture and has grown thicker, the hair fall still has not reduced much owing to the hard water from pipes. When I am back in my home town, my skin and hair problems vanishes as the quality of water is much better their.

Many of you have written to me asking about hair care products and shampoos for different hair types. I thought rather than reviewing each hair cleanser separately, I will combine it all in one, so that you can choose what suits best for you.

Before going to the reviews, let me tell you how I wash my hair. Hehee yeah with water, but I always wash my hair post oiling. So I oil my hair atleast 30min prior wash, then gather the hair forward and wet it well. Take a coin size amount of shampoo and mix it with water well. If I use shampoo bar, I lather it well with water. Apply the lather on scalp and massage gently towards hair tips. Rinse hair and repeat the shampooing incase you have oily hair like mine. Apply the conditioner only to hair and not on scalp and leave it for few minute before washing the hair thoroughly.

The products I am writing about here are:

1.Hair cleanser from Gia bath and body works

2.Lavender,chamomile shampoo bar from Juicy Chemistry

3. 8 in 1 root nourishing amla-neem shampoo from Just Herbs

4. Onion cream shampoo from Aroma essentials

5. Beer coconut milk shampoo bar from Soaps by Sangi

6. Dhathri herbal shampoo

Some of this has already been reviewed in detail before, so I will add the links to those.

  1. The Argan oil and silk protein enriched hair cleanser from Gia is my favorite of the lot. The reasons being:

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Price : Rs 290 for 200ml

  • It has same consistency as that of commercial shampoos but with none of its cons.
  • Thick consistency and creamy and silky texture.
  • A little quantity goes a long way and the bottle lasted me many many months.
  • Most economical comparing quality, quantity and cost out of the lot.
  • Lathers well
  • Makes my hair soft, silky, oil free and clean in a single wash.
  • Convenient sleek packaging that is travel friendly.

Cons :

  • Only that this came with a screw on cap and I need to shake it to get the product out.
  • Availability needs to be checked with the owner on their fb page

Read detailed review here : My favorite hair cleanser from Gia

Buy it here.

2. The lavender and chamomile shampoo bar is a product I tried recently and it really impressed me. Reasons are:

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Price : I got it as a gift for a contest. But actual price is around 800Rs if I am not wrong.

  • Very impressive ingredients list
  • Heavenly fragrance
  • Removes oil and cleanses well in 2 washes
  • It doesn’t dry out the hair and makes hair soft and manageable.
  • No preservatives or chemicals.
  • Awesome packaging. The product came in this handmade pack that is so pretty and re-usable.
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Cons:

  • Very expensive.
  • Since it is a soap I don’t find it travel friendly unless packed well and kept dry.
  • Gets used up faster than liquid shampoo.
  • Availability needs to be checked with the owner on their fb page

The product seems to be out of stock now. The brand has launched some new shampoo bars instead. You can write to them to know about availability.

Buy it here

3. 8 in 1 root nourishing shampoo from Just Herbs

I used it for a while and then stopped as I was not as impressed by this product as the other hair cleansers I was using.

Price: Rs 525 for 200ml

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Pros:

  • Like all Just Herbs products, this one has a pleasant and nice fragrance
  • It is quite mild and lathers decently on wet hair
  • Doesn’t dry the hair
  • Impressive ingredients. Contains certified organic Gooseberry (Amla), Neem, Hibiscus and Henna
  • Can be bought from their website and shipping is free

Cons :

  • The consistency is very thin and I need to use a lot of product to wash away all the oiliness (my hair is short and straight). So the product, even though 200ml, gets used up very fast.
  • Expensive
  • The bottle did not come with a dispenser, even though they show one in site. So I have to just pour it on hand directly which is not convenient.

Buy it here

My only issue with this one is the texture. It is not exactly in cream form and the onion smell can be strong for sensitive nose. Also I need to wash hair multiple times with this one to completely remove oiliness.

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Buy it here

5. Beer coconut milk shampoo bar from Soaps by Sangi  : This was my first shampoo bar buy and I got it about one and half years back. This was just a solid bar of soap with no frills. Not pretty looking and no added fragrance, but it was a good buy.

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PC : Soaps by Sangi

Price : Rs 220-240 for 80-90gm bar

  • The product has excellent hair nourishing ingredients like beer and coconut milk and it cleansed the scalp extremely well leaving it soft and nourished.
  • Did not dry out my hair.
  • No strong fragrance
  • Mild on hair and can be used for all hair types

Cons :

  • Not travel friendly as it might melt.
  • My hair remained a bit oily even after 2 washes
  • Availability needs to be checked with the owner on their fb page

I bought almost 2000Rs worth items from them but this, a clay based soap and a detergent bar were the only ones that I liked. The body butters, gels and lotion bars didnot suit my skin at all and I did not like their consistency.

Buy here

6. Dhathri Herbal Shampoo : The most widely available herbal shampoo that you can find in any super market. This was my go to shampoo during my childhood and throughout college years. I have done a detailed review of this here, Dhathri Herbal Shampoos.

Pros: Easy availability, pocket friendly, chemical free.

Cons : Strong fragrance, Lime variant can be drying.

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I hope this post was helpful. Do let me know your feedback and also let me know names of any other hair cleanser that is worth mentioning.

 

 

 

Just Herbs 6 step skin care regime mini kit review

Hi all, I am back after a vacation and boy, did I really need the time off. Any way I have a lot of products to talk about, but I don’t want to do individual product reviews anymore. I am planning to compare multiple products in a single post or probably write about different skin care regimes. If you are my Instagram follower, you know about all the new products that came in my mail recently. Let me know what you want me to write about regarding skin care and I will for sure include that in my posts.

Today I am reviewing the 6-step skin care regime kit for combination skin by #JustHerbs. It has been almost 6 months since I made this purchase and I think it is high time I tell you about it.

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The brand has one set of curated products for normal/dry skin and another for combination/oily skin types.

What’s in the box??

A six step organic skincare regime tailor-made for oily/combination skin, this kit uses no creams and relies solely on cooling gels and light textured products instead to maintain an overall glow and nourishment for oily and combination skin types.

It includes the following products, none of which contain harsh cosmetic ingredients such as parabens, sulphates and mineral oil:

Step 1: Silksplash Neem Orange Rehydrant face wash (use daily)

Step 2: Livelyclean honey exfoliating face cleansing gel (use twice a week)

Step3:  Fagel Instant Glow All Purpose Beauty Gel  (use daily)

Step 4 : Fairever Milky White Protective Fairness Pack (twice a week)

Step 5: No Sun Jojoba Wheatgerm Sun Protection Gel (daily)

Step 6: Fair’e Mulethi Khus Skin Lightening Gel (daily at bed time)

*Jar quantity 15 g/ Bottle size 30 ml

I also bought the Petal soft face pack (Review) and a shampoo along with it.

Price : Rs 845. The full sized kit is available, that costs Rs2750. Also when I bought it, the miniature products came in a plain white box, where as now they have a much prettier box.

Ingredients : Please click on links of individual products listed above to read about ingredients. Not including as it would make this post really big.

Fragrance : All products has somewhat similar fragrance, which is quite pleasant and mild. It is not the ayurvedic smell or fruity/floral smells but quite refreshing and nice.

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My experience with the products:

Even though I already had a skin care regime, it was not products from the same brand. So I stopped using all those products and completely used Just Herb products from the kit daily.  As you know, my skin is mostly not a trouble maker and behaves well with most of the products. All the products from the kit suited my combination skin and was quite mild on skin. Because of the oil and cream free formula, the products are quite light and non-greasy.

  1. Silksplash face wash is probably the mildest liquid face ash I have tried so far. It doesn’t dry out or pull the skin and can be used by all skin types in my opinion. It is a gel based face wash that effectively removes dirt and oil (not makeup, it’s just a face wash) and keeps skin smooth and soft for long.Read about it here as well Daily morning skin care routine for glowing skin .
  2. Lively clean honey exfoliating gel : I already wrote about this product separately. Please read it here .

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3.Fagel glow day gel : This is a light green colored gel that can be used as a moisturizer. Again, light on skin, non-tacky and gets absorbed easily. I did not get any “instant glow’ as the name suggests but I find it a good all purpose gel for oily skinned beauties.

4.Fairever face mask : Well, I am not a fan of ‘fair’ on product names, still the products did not disappoint me. I did not use it much initially, as I was keen on getting my tan removed using the Petal soft face pack. But one day when I tried this pack, I found that it brightened up my skin after use. Also I like the facet that this is a wet pack, that can be directly applied on face (eventhough that means there are preservatives. Yes IAM LAZY).

Also I liked this face pack, better than the Petal soft one, as the latter caused a  bit of stinging sensation on my sensitive skin.

5. No Sun Jojoba Sun protection gel : Now this is the best non-greasy sun screen for all skin types. It is light, doesn’t form a white cast on skin, smells nice, gets absorbed in a jiffy and really moisturizes the skin without making it oily. But this one needs to be reapplied from time to time, if you are prone to sun exposure for long hours.

6.Fair’e night gel : Again, another one that says ‘fair’. Seriously brands!!! it’s great to be dusky as well. Anyway, this one has similar consistency as that of the day gel but is in a light saffron colour. The product claims to make skin fairer and brighter,fight sun damage, clear spot and dark patches and so on. I don’t think, the quantity was enough to test these claims, but I found it a good night moisturizer, that prevented dry patches from showing up in the morning, without making the skin oily.

Verdict

Overall I am very happy with this skin kit. If you are of oily/combination skin type and doesn’t want to experiment with different brand products, just get this kit and follow the regime religiously. It will definitely improve the quality of your skin over a period of use.

One suggestion to the brand,do add a lip balm as well in the kit as lip care is as important as tasking care of the rest of the face.

Also if you have tried out their normal/dry skin regime kit, do let me know how it was.