Skincare, fashion, home decor and more

Christmas is over and I am all set to welcome 2018. But before we bid adieu to 2017, let me list out some of my favorite finds of this year.

Favorite color of the year:

Every year there will be one particular color I get obsessed about, and this time it was Cerulean blue for the first half of the year and Indigo for the second half of the year.

The Blue Guitar Project is something I took up this year(eventhough I didn’t completely finish it). So I turned this old guitar into a cerulean blue decor piece, and it now adorns this cozy corner.

The book shelf is upcycled from a wooden protective frame that came with an an online order of furniture.

Favorite Skin Care Finds:

I came across many new organic and natural skin care products and brands this year. Some of them are Gravitale, Junaili, JivaVrksa, Organistick and Burst of Happyness.

But this year I found out that whipping up skincare products myself is much more effective, fun and affordable. You can check out : Skin care recipes

So my favourite skincare finds are aloevera gel and tea tree oil. Make sure you buy pure aloe vera gel and not the one with added colour, fragrance and preservatives available in local stores. These are the two ingredients that can be used for almost all skin problems including dandruff, acne and dryness of skin and hair. These are the basic ingredients you need for silky soft hair and clear face.

You can buy them from Blenditrawapothecary or from Juicy Chemistry

Favorite Organic Food Store:

It is without doubt Happy Healthy Me Organics.

Check out my skin care and food recipes using ingredients from HHM store:
Super tasty breakfast recipes

Multi-mask with easy DIY anti-ageing and black head removing masks

Favorite Fashion Finds:

This has been the year when casual dresses made a come back to my wardrobe and also I have made an effort to buy only from Indian brands that sells sustainable fashion. You might have come across some of the dresses in my travel posts and many more on my Instagram handle. The block prints, Kalamkari, Ajrakh, Ikkat prints and natural dyes like Indigo and Madder has been on trend this year and I hope more and more Indian brands move to sustainable and ethical fashion.

My favorite fashion find of the year is The Khadi Cult. I love them for their quirky and original Indian prints on Khadi. But the most comfortable attire I caught hold of, is this Indigo block printed dress from Mogra designs.

It is so light weight and comfortable and has pockets which is super cool. So here are my attires from Khadi cult and Mogra designs.

Favorite Food Finds:

If you are my Insta follower, you will already know that I love exploring new cuisines and eateries.

The favorite food find of this year has to be malai lassi, specifically from Johari Bazaar of Jaipur. You can read more about it here.

I am not a fan of cold desserts but surprisingly the Italian Gelato store here in Bangalore Milano, converted me. The flavors are all natural and authentic. Eventhough the flavors keeps changing based on seasonal products, my favourite remains Pista. I despise the green colored pista flavors in ice creams and pastries but this one here tastes like roasted pista nuts.

Favorite Home Decor Find:

These handpainted wooden plates from Trove India and the hand made blue pottery magnets from Jaipur holds this position. Aren’t they really beautiful?

Favorite Jewelry Finds:

I am not a fan of anything bling and only prefer to wear small earrings. But this changed after I came across some stunning Afghani glass jewelry pieces. Here is one of my favorites, which was featured in July favorites post.

You can see tow other stunning pieces in this blog post: February Favorites

Favorite shopping site:

You are in for a surprise here. All the above favorites of this year has been bought from different Insta pages I came across over the year. So my favorite online shopping place currently is Instagram and incase you are interested to know the pages to follow, I can write a separate post on that. Let me know in the comments below.

Now let me add one more category, which is the Life changing product of the year:

This is something that I hope, all you ladies out there will give a try. It is the menstrual cup. This product will change your life for good, trust me. And this is the best thing you can do for the environment as well. So do read this post on Menstrual Cups and let this be what changes your life in 2018.

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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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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 “isopropyl alcohol,” “benzyl alcohol,” and “denatured 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 “-cone,” “-conol,” or – “siloxane.”

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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JivaVrksa : Earthy goodness for summer skincare

Summer is already here and Bangalore is getting really hot. Summer skin care products should be simple, light and refreshing. I have combination skin and summers brings that extra oiliness to skin. But using grain based products will balance out your skin keeping the greasiness at bay and making the skin look nourished and lively.

So let me introduce the Chennai based brand, JivaVrksa that has an all-natural personal care product line. I was very excited to try these handmade traditional skincare recipes, which are free from artificial fragrance, colors and preservatives.

As you can see the products came in a cardboard box with the brand label. I loved the fact that, eventhough a new brand, they really have put great efforts in the packaging.It is well organized with clear labels in eco-friendly handmade paper sachets.The product details and ingredient list is given in detail in a paper pamphlet. Kudos to the design team.

The brand has in market just 4 products : face, hair and body wash powders and a facepack.

All the products are in powder form with a light earthy fragrance, a mixed smell of all its ingredients. I am not new to powdered cleansers. None of the products have any strong herbal smell(which I sometimes dislike). Inside each brown sachet, is a translucent paper cover carrying the product, with the product label. All the products have somewhat earthy colors. So I keep them all in the same package and dry use wooden spatula to take the products out.

Face wash

Price : Rs100 for 75g which makes it one of the most affordable natural skincare product
Ingredients : Chickpea , Multani Mitti , Sandalwood , Rose Petals , Licorice , Aloe Vera , Avaram Senna Flower , Neem , Orange Peel and Basil.
Brand claims : Cleanses, moisturizes and protects skin. Improves smoothness and glow. Prevents wrinkles and acne

This product can be used by all skin types, even sensitive ones. It is a very mild powder which can be mixed with water to form a paste.Only about half a teaspoon of product (sometimes I just take a pinch) is enough to cleanse the face and so Iam sure this is going to last me a while. The paste spreads easily on wet skin. I have observed that when kept for longer time, it tingles lightly on the skin, which I feel is the ingredients working it’s magic.

It’s easy to wash off compared to gel or liquid face washes and takes less water for sure.Post wash the skin feels clean, soft and refreshed without making it dry or stretchy. It takes away the oiliness, dirt and grime and it surely brightens up my skin a bit. This will be well suited for acne prone and dry skin equally, as it balances the skin.It keeps oiliness away from my t-zone through out the day,when used twice daily.I don’t feel the need to use moisturizer after. Neem and basil are effective to fight and prevent acne.

Cannot comment on the ‘prevents wrinkle’ claim as I am not sure if a face wash is capable of doing it, but the ingredients might have those properties.

Body Wash:

Price :
Rs80 for 75g
Ingredients : Green G
Brand claims : Moisturizes and protects skin, Improves smoothness and glow, Gives natural fragrance and refreshes your body, Prevents skin diseases, Cleanses your skin.

As you know from my winter skincare post in Instagram (Read here), Abhyanga should be followed by cleansing with a grain based cleanser. I make a thick paste of the powder in a bowl and massage it well on the body. I have dry arms and legs and this body cleanser is gentle, it removes pre-bath oil effectively without making the skin dry or stretchy. Even when used without oiling the skin, it is non drying. I love the fragrance of vetiver but the earthy fragrance doesn’t stay on skin for long. It surely makes bath, a refreshing experience in this hot summer.

Buy from : Amazon
FB : JivaVrksa

Why i liked the products:

Simple and effective ingredients.
100% Natural, cruelty free and eco-friendly
Doesn’t have strong herbal smell
Gentle but effective
Affordable and easily available
Unlike soaps this doesn’t dry out the skin.Also the slight grittiness sloughs away all the dirt and not just the oil
Balances skin
Removes tan

Since the products are free from preservatives, I advice you to keep it in an airtight container if kept in bathroom. Also use dry spoon to scoop out the products.
The hairwash and face mask review will be up soon.

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