Take time to smell the roses

It has been a while since I reviewed products, so here is one that features the ingredient  ‘Rose’.

I was never a fan of the floral fragrances one often finds in perfumes or skincare products. But when you choose natural products, you will find that the fragrances are mild and natural. This is because the essential oils, flower hydrosols or distilled waters used in these products, carries only the natural fragrance of the actual flower, which is very mild. That is exactly why these natural scents fades away sooner than the chemical fragrances.

  • Rose and Wine Body polish from Cape of Good Soap

This product has a heavenly fragrance. It is sweet, divine and the product looks delicious (reminds me of Rooh Afza, but no you shouldn’t try  it).  I wish the brand made a body butter in this fragrance.

Ingredients: Organic rose, red wine, organic cane sugar, organic sea salt, organic honey, English rose essential oil.

The product comes in an interesting plastic pouch with nozzle. This makes it very convenient to use just the right amount of product and also travel friendly.

The body polish is mild and can be used by even sensitive skin types. It is very moisturizing and leaves the skin soft. The texture and fragrance combined makes the bath with this polish a very luxurious, spa like experience.

The only negative I can think of is that, the sugar and salt melts easily on skin. So this is not really a body scrub incase you are expecting one, but a buff thTat gently polishes the skin.

This is a great addition to winter skincare regime as it effectively helps in removing the dead skin without stripping the moisture off.

  • Ayca Rose and Bergamot Night Cream

This is a light night gel and not really a night cream. It would suit mostly normal to oily skin types and can be used as a day time moisturizer as well.

Key Ingredients: Essential Oil of Rose & Bergamot in an aqueous Extracts of Bay & Neem Leaf, Cinnamon & Cupressus Bark & GlobeThistle Flowers, Wheatgerm, Jojoba, Grapeseed, Almond & Lemon Oils in a plant derived base with Beeswax.

The cream keeps the skin dewy and soft. The fragrance has stronger notes of Bergamot than rose, but it is very pleasant. It will not brake out even oily skin and also, a little goes a long way

Negatives would include the steep price and the misleading name (I was expecting a cream and not a gel based formulation).The product comes in a small glass amber tub, which makes it not so travel friendly.

  • Tickled Pink Hand cream from Naturma

The product claims to be 100% natural and 77% organic. I find the name of the product really cute and it has impressive ingredients.

Ingredients: Organic Shea Butter, Organic Rice Bran Oil, Organic Sesame Oil, Organic Grape Seed Oil, Organic Mango Butter, Vitamin E, Essential Oils: Organic Rose, Organic Gardenia, Organic Lemon Extract & Natural Preservative Salinatural

I have tried many natural hand creams most of which leaves the skin slightly oily. This one is light, non greasy and gets absorbed very fast.

Just like the Ayca cream, this also has more of a gel like formula and hence has to be reapplied after few hours, incase you have extremely dry skin.

  • Organic Rose petal powder from Blend it Raw Apothecary

Eventhough you will find numerous benefits of rose essential oil and distilled rose water online, here are the reasons why I like rose petal powder the most.

  • It is a very versatile ingredient.
  • A tea from the powder, can be used as a toner, for mixing face mask powders or as a hair rinse.
  • The powder along with sugar/salt and honey makes an excellent body scrub.
  • The powder mixed with aloe gel makes an excellent mask.

Read this post for rose petal powder based recipes.

Incase you are looking for affordable & good quality rose water face mist, check out this post .

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

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.

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.

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.

Do subscribe to get updates on latest blog posts.

Cost effective natural lip tint with kitchen ingredients

All of you who follow my instagram page might be curious about the ‘guess what’ picture I posted yesterday. So here is what it is. It is a homemade skin balm for soft, supple and glowing skin. This can also be used as a lip and cheek tint for that natural subtle tint. This is easy to make, costs almost nothing and is very beneficial to the skin.


Ingredients needed :

1. Half of a small organic beetroot
2. Virgin coconut oil/Olive oil/ Ghee
3. Hot water in a bowl

This is a very versatile balm and you can add lemon juice, carrot juice, castor oil, honey etc in it for extra benefits.
My preparation has beetroot extract, virgin coconut oil (home made) and castor oil. I made the coconut oil at home, from left over coconut milk. Let me know if you would like the recipe.

Method to prepare the balm:

1. Grate the beetroot with a grater. You can also grind the beetroot in a foodprocessor, till there is a visible watery residue.

2. Strain the juice of grated beetroot by pressing it with a spoon.Make sure there are no bits and pieces of beetroot. Don’t add water to it. We only need the quantity we get from half a beetroot as we have to use this within 2 weeks and not let it go stale.

3. Now is the time to add virgin coconut oil/olive oil/ghee to the beet extract. Depending on your skin type and preference you can add any of these. You should add quarter to half tsp of the oil. It would be easier to add less at first and then increase the quantity depending on the consistency. Too much oil will make the tint sheer.

I transferred the beetroot juice to a small steel bowl, added quarter tsp of coconut oil (which was refrigerated and had hence solidified) and a few drops of organic castor oil from Juicy Chemistry. Castor oil is a thick oil which helps in moisturizing the dry lips. You can skip coconut oil and add olive oil or ghee instead. You can skip castor oil as well and add honey at the last step instead.

4. The balm is still a liquid. If you keep this mix in refrigerator at this point, the oil will separate and form a solid layer on top of liquid beet juice.

Inorder to make it thick and ‘balmy’, dip the smaller bowl with the mix, to a larger bowl of boiling hot water. You can boil the water and just take it out of stove for this step.It just need to be really hot. With a spoon or a whisk(makes the job easier), beat or whisk the liquid mix very fast. Now the continuous fast whisking on a hot water bath will make the mix to thicken and become the consistency we need. If liquidy you can add more coconut oil to it and repeat the process. You have to fast whisk it for atleast 15-20min for it to reach the right consistency.

Now since Iam quite lazy, I whisked it for around 10min. I got a slightly thicker consistency.

5. Once the mix cools down you can add few drops of lime juice or honey for that extra benefit. I transferred it to an empty lipbalm case. Now refrigerate the mix for it to set and solidify. Since there are no preservatives in this balm you need to refrigerate it to make it last longer.



How to use:

1. As a lipbalm : Just dab a little bit of the mix on your lips. It will give you that just smitten tint initially which oxidizes in a while to give a deeper tint.
When used regularly, this balm helps to reduce the pigmentation on lips. It also moisturizes the lips and makes it soft and supple.

2. As a face massage balm : Please do a patch test if you have sensitive skin. Take a small quantity of the balm and massage it well on cleansed face. Use circular upward motion to massage. Do this until the balm is absorbed on skin. Wipe off the excess with a warm face towel. Your skin will feel baby soft with a subtle glow. Do this regularly for lightening blemishes and dark spots.This is suitable for all skin types. I have combination skin and it did not cause any break outs. Just use a small quantity.

3. As a cheek tint : Dab a small quantity on your cheeks for that natural rosy cheeks.

4. As a lip scrub : Mix the balm with cane sugar/salt to form all natural lipscrub. Massage it gently on flaky lips to make it smooth and plump.

I used all organic ingredients as it is a face product.

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Hair free smooth skin

I am not a big fan of shaving. Not because of all the ‘myths’ associated with it like, shaving can make your hair grow back thicker, shaving makes skin rough and so on. It’s just that I am okay with hairy arms and legs. And if at all I want to remove the hair, I wax them off with store bought cold wax strips or I get it done from a beauty parlour. Wax strips eventhough convenient are really messy and time consuming. I hate it when the wax blobs just stick to skin even after a bath and it has to be removed with oil or the cleaning cloth. So well I thought, why not try shaving. And looks like I am a fan. It was easy, convenient, fast and well I am left with smooth skin. So here are the 3 products you need for a smooth hairless skin.

1. A good razor : I used the Gillette Venus Razor for women
2. Shaving cream : Natural shaving cream from Indian Earthy Naturals
3. Body scrub : Sweet Orange, Honey and Cinnamon Sugar scrub from Juicy Chemistry

Why I prefer this razor over it’s other counterparts : The Gillette Venus is very easy to use and gives a smooth shave. It is affordable and available easily.You can buy it in your local stores or online at about 200 Rs (here).
This razor has 3 blades and an oval head. There is an aloe, vit E strip on the head which is an indicator of the usability of the blades. The handle has a grip and is easy to hold and move around. Also the blue padding strip at the bottom of the head helps in safe and close shave.

Navrasa Herby Organic Shaving Cream

You might have seen this shaving cream on my instagram handle in my haul post.There was a sale going on and I bought it at a discounted rate. For those who are new to the brand, Indian Earthy Naturals is an Indian organic skincare brand that makes mainly bath and body products of high quality with all natural ingredients. I bought a couple of shampoo bars and shaving cream from the brand for my husband, but well doesn’t hurt to try it out on myself. As you can see, the ingredient list has all natural skin foods like cocoa butter, shea butter and essential oils. The notes of lavender, vanilla and patchouli gives the cream a herby and mysterious scent. The cream is off-white in colour and is very thick and dense. Also this cream does not dry out the skin. Only a small quantity is needed and this tub is sure to last me very long.
Price : Rs 900
Buy here

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you are no stranger to Juicy Chemistry. As rightly named, this orange cinnamon body scrub from the brand, smells truly like Christmas in a jar. It’s warm aroma has notes of cinnamon, orange and many other skin loving oils and butters. This scrub sloughes away all the dead skin. Eventhough it is not as moisturizing as the rose shea scrub from the brand, it is gritty enough to polish the skin well. you can also use the junaili apricot scrub reviewed here.
Price : Rs250 for 35g
Buy here

HOW TO SHAVE FOR A SMOOTH SKIN

1. Wash the area to be shaved with warm water : I usually soak a wash cloth in hot water and use that to cleanse.
2. Apply a liberal amount of shaving cream on the skin and lather it well. This shaving cream has a thick creamy foam, which makes it easy for the razor to glide and have a close shave.
3. Run the razor in short strokes along the skin, on the opposite direction of hair growth. Wash the razor head after few strokes and repeat. Donot run the razor in one long stretch, as this might cause nicks and cuts on the skin. Be gentle and careful.
4. Once done with shaving, rub the sugar scrub and massage it gently on the skin. Concentrate on the bumpy areas like elbows. Wash it off.
5. Apply a natural skincare lotion or body butter and enjoy satin soft, smooth skin.

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My favorites and not so favorites from Juicy Chemistry

Happy New year peeps!!!! Hope you all had a wonderful start of 2017. I am looking forward to introducing many more natural skincare products to you this year. Since I did not want to limit the post to a product review, I am listing out all my favorites from the brand Juicy Chemistry.

While reading reviews on natural skin care brands, I feel that rather than a constructive criticism and comparison, the posts usually just contain praises. Say you read the posts on body scrubs from these chemical free skin care brands, and every post says they are all good. So how do you choose. If all are good, how do you know which one suits your skin best? That is why you should know your skin well and know the skin type of the person who has written the post. Ask questions to bloggers and reviewers before getting a product.

Juicy Chemistry is a familiar name for my readers as well as natural skincare lovers. Based on Coimbatore,t he pure and totally chemical free products of this brand, provides effective skincare, in addition to making you smell so wonderful. Ohhh yeah, the fragrance of aroma oil blends in their products are so exotic.

I am not listing all the products I have used from them (yes there is a lot), but just a mini review of my favorites and not so favorites.

Moisturizers: Yay

I totally recommend body butters from JC, for normal to dry skin. They smell so decadent and pure. I even use it as a body pomade, for the fragrance is really wonderful. The ones I love are the Choco mint, Rose and Jasmine variants. The fragrance is not heady and the body butters melt to form oily films when applied on skin. Massage it well and the skin stays nourished throughout the day.

This one was my first buy, but they don’t make this variant anymore.Read detailed review Juicy Chemistry : Choco-Vanila Body Butter

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These are not for face or for people with acne prone/oily body skin.

Eye cream: Nay

The coffee and green tea eye cream from the brand is made of very impressive ingredients like green tea and coffee infused almond oil, mango butter, lavender essential oil etc. But this one failed to impress me. Can’t call it a cream, as it is in a condensed oil form.

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Take a bit and apply it under and around the eye area, and it makes the whole area very oily. So cannot use it if you are going to step out. Also if it goes in the eye (which is very likely as the oil spreads on massaging the eye area), it really stings. I used it regularly over a period, but it did not do anything for the fine lines under my eyes. I don’t have dark circles, so can’t comment on that.It can be very nourishing for the skin I feel, but somehow did not work for me.

Face masks: Yay

The two face masks I tried from the brand, Rose-sandalwood and Tea tree-Charcoal masks helps control the oiliness of oily-combination skin types. These masks are in powder form. The rose face masks feels warm on skin whereas the tea tree variant has cooling effect. These are made of essential oils and clays and doesn’t dry out the skin.

 

Read detailed review of the Rose- sandalwood mask here

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Eventhough it did not draw out any black heads from my nose, this really works in clearing out acne and scrubbing out dead skin. On making a paste of the powder, with water, the texture resembles that of paper pulp. It is soft and non gritty when wet. But on drying, this gets gritty and acts as a scrub. The cooling effect of the peppermint oil helps in calming the skin after a long tiring day in the sun.

Lavender Myrrh and wild forest honey Night Cream : Nay

Well this thick yellow cream for dry skin, obviously did not suit my combination skin. But  I wanted to try out a night cream and this is one of my early purchases from JC.This is very oily and it did break out my skin. I am not a fan of the fragrance of this one and also this is something that suits dry to very dry skin types.

Hair care products : Yay

The lavender shampoo bar and argan mango butter hair masque suits all hair types. These are very nourishing and conditions the hair well. These are 2 products I have used up pretty fast as I really liked them. Read about hair care in my post All about hair cleansers

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Lip Balms: Yay and Nay

Love the orange candy lip balm but not the rosy rose one. The lip balms came in tubs (now they have them in tubes as well) and I really liked the consistency of the balms. The orange candy one really worked for me as it was moisturizing and the taste was not bad either.

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The lip balms melts on applying on lips and forms a thin oily layer that really helps moisturize dry skin. But the rose variant disappointed me, as it stings and I did not like its taste either.

Soaps : Yay

The brand has in stock, a wide range of cold pressed soaps, each for specific skin types or addressing specific skin problems. Eventhough these are really expensive (yes you will get a  hole in your pocket), these are made up of high quality ingredients and are very decadent.

Read detailed reviews of my favorite soaps here :

Skin Rehab Soap

Juicy Chemistry Hazelnut & Vanilla Latte Soap

Spicy Apple Pie anyone???

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Foot care : Yay yay yay

Love the citrus blast of the foot scrub and pepperminty cooling effect of the foot cream.

Read more:

Juicy Chemistry citrus and sage foot scrub

Happy Feet, Peppermint & Tea Tree Hand & Foot Cream

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Day serum: Well…

The Argan and Rose day serum is made with oils of raspberry seed and carrot seed, containing natural SPF. It has saffron, rose oil and other effective skin care oil blends as well. Well I neither love nor hate this one. I didnot see any visible effects of the serum on skin, though i like to believe that it protects my skin from pollutants and UV rays.

Buy JC products from here

I hope you liked this post. Let me know your JC favourites and the products that really worked for you.

My winter skin care regime

Winter is on our door steps. Eventhough winter reminds me of all things ‘Christmasy’, it also comes with skin issues like dry flaky skin. Especially for people like me with a combination skin type, choosing the right product is of utmost importance. With oily t-zone and dryness in hands and legs, an overall lifestyle change is also required to address these climate related issues.

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The key is to use products that nourishes the skin well without stripping the skin of its moisture and natural oils.

1.Cleanse with mild soap free cleansers

Cleansing is of utmost importance and this is the major factor that determines the longevity of a healthy and youthful skin. Use mild cleansers that are soap free to clean your face so that it doesn’t strip your skin of all moisture.

I use body oil from Gia, as a first cleansing step to remove the dirt, sebum and pollutants accumulated over the day (read review here ). After this I gently massage my skin with Khadi cucumber and aloe cleansing milk. 

Pros:

This cleanser is soap, sulphate and paraben free. This white thick cleanser is like a puree of aloe and cucumber and has the goodness of shea butter for that extra kick of moisture. It is very mild and gentle and will suit all skin types. It refreshes the skin well and makes it soft. At just 100Rs for 210ml, this is quite inexpensive.

Cons: Doesn’t remove makeup or grime.

Other suggestions: Oats based cleansers from Gia here , Silksplash from justherbs here , mix of chickpea flour(besan) and honey.

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2. Exfoliate once a week

Kama Aurveda Kumkumadi brightening scrub and Greentea face and body scrub by Fuschia are my favourites this winter. Both are soap free and creamy. The Kama one has more gritty particles than fuschia one. Leave the scrub for a couple of minutes before washing it off, so that the awesome ingredients gets enough time to work on the skin.

3.Moisturize

If your skin gets dry, stretchy or flaky, with white patches especially on your knees and elbows, using just a body butter or lotion will not help in the long run. It would just keep the area moisturized for few hours. If you want soft and supple skin for winter, oil massage is a must.

I have been using the oils Sugandhadi (Buy here) and Jwalini (Buy here) from Kama ayurveda as massage oils, and let me tell you, I just love them. These have the goodness of sesame oil,coconut oil, ashwagandha, cardamom etc and have very calming and relaxing ayurvedic fragrance. I sometimes feel that it has a hint of warm peppery smell. These are not viscous or very oily and gets easily absorbed by skin. Priced at just Rs 350 for 100ml, these are affordable as well. Wash it off with ubtans or green gram powder for best results.

You can also use warm coconut or sesame oil instead. This process of ‘Abhyanga’ ensures that the skin is taken cared of during winters, relaxes the muscles and even gives a good sleep at night.

I also add a few drops of Lavender essential oil from Soulflower, to the bath water and the fragrance is so relaxing.

For face I use Kama Eladi Hydrating Ayurvedic Face cream (Read review here). This nourishes my combination skin, without making it oily.

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Swatches L-R : Gia body oil (transparent light one on the extreme left), Just herbs Silksplash(transparent thick liquid), Khadi cleanser, Fuscia scrub, Kama Ayurveda Kumkumadi scrub, Kama Ayurvedea oils Sugandhadi and Jwalini

Lip Balm :

Take extra care of your lips, as they tend to chap easily during winters. My favourite lip balms are The Burt’s bees peppermint lipbalm (reviewed here ) and the Aroma Essential’s  Orange vanilla lip balm (reviewed here).

In addition to using suitable skin care products make sure you keep yourself hydrated throughout the day and keep away from beverages like coffee and tea if possible.

Let me know what your winter skin care problems are, and I will include the tips and tricks in the next post for sure. Have a happy winter you all 🙂

Fuschia Green tea face and body scrub review

In today’s post I am going to introduce you to the brand Fuschia by Vkare

Fuschia was born out of its parent company Vkare Bio Sciences in 2013. Since its inception, Fuschia has come up as a natural, handmade Skincare products brand.” The products they make are free from SLS and paraben.

If you are my Instagram follower, you would have already seen the box of Fuschia goodies that the brand had sent me a couple of weeks back. I was very excited to try them out and has been using them for a while now. I feel the products came at the right time, as winter is already here and I needed to change products to suit the dry climate.

I tried the green tea face and body scrub first and I should say it is very different from the scrubs I have been using so far. Did I like this one?? Read along to find out.

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Product claims:

Enriched with catechins, this Green Tea scrub controls acne breakouts. This scrub not only tones and soothes your skin but also delays fine signs of ageing.

Free of SLS, parabens, phthalates, artificial tints &  synthetic  perfumes.

Ingredients : Aloe Vera, Olive Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Green Tea (only these are mentioned in the pack).

Price : 200Rs for 50g, 450Rs for 100g.

Buy it on offer here : http://fkrt.it/Jbh9MuuuuN

Packing: It comes in a very handy, travel friendly, cute plastic square tub. The product is very thick and dense. The screw in metal cap closes the tub tightly and is hence spill and leak proof.

Fragrance : Very pleasant and mild. I feel it must be mix of fragrance oils as it doesn’t smell herbal.

My experience using the product:

Green Tea is rich in antioxidants,which helps in fighting against free radicals responsible for causing ageing. I recently found out (after using green tea soap from Cape of Good Hope) that products with green tea really suits my combination skin.

This scrub has a very dense creamy texture with very mild green tea leaf particles for exfoliation. You can see the scattered green tea leaves throughout. With the goodness of potent natural ingredients, this scrub will suit all skin types. It is soap free and hence doesn’t lather. This makes it apt for winter, as soap often strips the skin of its natural oils.

A very small quantity is enough for the face, as it can be spread well on wet face.  Mixing a little water will help if this is too dense. Massage in circular motion as suggested by the brand and wash it off. The skin feels refreshed and moisturized, after.

On my combination skin, this did not leave any oily film after washing. So I believe this must suit oily and dry skin equally.

This light greyish green scrub can be used as a face pack as well. Leave it on for about 5min before scrubbing it off, to get that extra suppleness and softness of skin. It is very gentle and doesn’t irritate or stretch the skin at all.

Also this tub will last me really long, as the quantity required for each use is very less.

Cons ( if you really have to find some):

Complete ingredient list is not mentioned in the pack.

Even though the product claims to be a body scrub as well, I find the particles too gentle for dry body skin. This is best as a face scrub.

Ideal for winters but in summers, this can make skin a bit oily for oily skinned people, as it is soap free.

This definitely soothes the skin and makes it supple, but I am yet to experience acne controlling ability of the product.

Final verdict:

Even though this was sent as a review sample, I am fairly impressed by the efficacy and gentleness of this scrub. It took me a while to actually get used to the non-harsh particles of this one and thick texture. But I really loved it after. It is suitable for the dry and chilly winters and I sometimes even skip the moisturizer after using this.