A complete guide to India’s truly natural skincare brands – 1

Many of you must be interested in switching to natural/organic skincare and beauty products, but could be hesitant. One reason is that, the popular ones we all know of are mostly luxury brands (like Forest Essentials & Kama Ayurveda), which are obviously very expensive. Also sometimes people blindly buys products from brands claiming to be natural/organic, when in reality they might just have a very small percentage of natural ingredients and thereby end up having a bad experience. Sometimes even the most popular brands we know hides majority of their ingredients under the name ‘base’, eg: Biotique.

Handmade natural skincare products are safe and are multitasking ones. For eg: a handmade soap made with natural ingredients can be used as a hair, body and face cleanser.  Would you dare to use your shampoo as a face cleanser otherwise?

There are many Indian natural skincare brands that sells quality products at affordable prices. These brands are transparent about the ingredients used and gives all the ingredient info in the label. Here is the list of few such natural Indian skincare brands, that I have already introduced you through the different posts.

1. Juicy Chemistry

The first time I tried JC products was three years back when they had just the fb handle and some amazing products. Now they have grown to be a very popular organic certified brand with a store in Coimbatore and products extensively available through online sites.

The brand is started by a husband wife duo, Pritesh and Megha Asher. The products are pure and made of high quality ingredients and has 0% chemicals/preservatives. All their products smell amazing because of the exquisite combination of essential oils. So eventhough you might feel this is not very pocket friendly, let me tell you, it is worth the price.

Products I recommend:  Body scrubs, body butters, soaps, face mists.

Read my reviews :

Juicy Chemistry citrus and sage foot scrub

Decadent body scrubs for all skin types

Juicy Chemistry Rose Sandalwood Mask

Juicy Chemistry Hazelnut & Vanilla Latte Soap

My favorites and not so favorites from Juicy Chemistry

Spicy Apple Pie anyone???

Juicy Chemistry : Choco-Vanila Body Butter – Now discontinued

2. Gia bath and body works

This is the first natural skincare brand I tried. I wouldn’t call all products completely natural as some of them contains fragrances and safe food colors. The brand is run by Gayatri based on Mumbai. She takes into account customer suggestions and even customizes perfumes. Her soaps are a work of art and looks edible. The fragrances are so good that your bathroom will smell amazing.

Products I recommend: Chocolate creme silk soap, cup cake soaps, oats based face cleansers in various flavours.

Read my reviews :

Pomegranate facial cleanser from Gia 

Daily cleansing method for soft and glowing skin

A divine chocolate soap you will fall in love with

Butter Cream Whipped Soaps

My favorite hair cleanser from Gia

Mintensity Foot soak
3. Zofla

This is one of my recent finds. I have used just one product from this brand, which is the rose water face mist. Unlike many commonly available brands like Dabur that sells chemical solution in the name of rose water (check out the ingredient list next time you feel like buying this : Aqua, Fragrance, Rose Oil, Propylene Glycol, Propyl Paraben, Methyl Paraben, Bronopol.), this rose water is made by steam distillation of organic Kannauj rose petals.

The product comes in a plastic spray bottle and can be just sprayed on to your skin for a boost of hydration, freshness and can be also used to mix your face packs or to calm skin inflammations. I bought this from amazon and it costs only 160Rs for 100ml.
4. Greenberry Organics

Started by a Mom-son duo, this brand is the first ECOCERT certified brand in India. I have used their most popular product, MUDASH 3 In 1 Face Mask, Scrub and Cleanser. The particles are a bit too gritty and hence suitable best as a body scrub. The brand also offers many more skin, body and hair care products.

Read myreview : Best Skincare Finds : Multitasking products for all skin types

5. Blend It Raw Apothecary

Incase you wish to whip up your own skincare recipes or if you are an essential oil junkie, this is the best brand to buy all the flower powders, clays, oils, face mists and what not. I would always recommend getting the ingredients and making products like face mask, scrub, lipbalms, body butters on your own; because then you really know what goes into the product and also these are much cost effective but equally good. The brand is the brain child of my fellow blogger and skincare enthusiast Aarushi, based in Delhi.

Read my review : Dandruff free silky hair and soft supple skin with simple DIY skincare recipes
6. Krya

With roots strongly based on Ayurveda, Krya adhers strictly to the age old textual methods of product preparation. This is a lifestyle brand and apart from skin and hair care products, this brand has baby care and home care products as well that are 100% herbal, vegan & cruelty-free.

Preethi Sukumaran, one of the founders, always finds time to respond to customer queries. She prescribes a holistic approach where she suggests changes to lifestyle and food habits. She also posts videos in the Krya blog addressing the lifestyle issues of urban life and ayurvedic way of living.

Products I recommend: Hair oil and hair wash powder, hair color, detergent.

Read my review: 

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

All natural and safe home care products
7. Burst of Happyness

Baed on Pune and run by Shreya Sharan Pawar, this brand was started as a result of her quest to find remedy to the allergies brought about by chemical based skincare products. The brand offers vegan soaps, shampoo bars, serums and many more body care products.

Product I recommend: Natural deodorants in lavender and rose scents.

Read my review: All natural and vegan deodorant
8. Cape Of Good Hope

Manisha creates beautiful art in soaps. Her soaps looks so pretty and smells amazing as well. The last product she sent me was a geode soap customized with ingredients that are harmonious with my zodiac. She also customizes products based on customer needs.

Products I recommend: Let Manisha know your skin concerns and leave the rest to her. My favorites are the Rose wine scrub and Green tea soap.

Read my reviews:

CGH Pepper soap review and a little surprise

Take time to smell the roses

Teas Please from Cape of Good soap

Cape of Good Soap : Rosewood and Mint soap

9. Junaili

Can a product so simple and pure that it is a raw material in itself, be as effective as the skin care concoctions with many exotic ingredients?

Junaili carries the purity of the Uttarakhand mountains and mist. This himalayan apothecary run by a family, uses just one raw material : Apricot.

The cold pressed apricot oil is customized into hair, face and body oils and the kernals are processed into scrubs.

Read my review: http://flavoursofbeauty.com/junaili-apricot-body-scrub-simple-and-pure/
10. Ancient Ayurveda

This Kerala based brand works with Prajwala, the world’s largest anti-human-trafficking shelter based in India, to empower women. Wood ash soaps are their specialty and these soaps oozes of ayurvedic tailas. The soaps are so soft and melts easily.

Read my review: Ancient Ayurveda Woodash Soaps

11. Amara Organix

This Chennai based brand is by 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.

Recommended: Handmade soaps,  Brightening Face mask

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

Hope you liked this post. I have not included any luxury brands in this feature. I will be consolidating more products and introduce you to more authentic brands in the upcoming posts.

Comment below about your favorite natural skincare brands and the recommended products.

Best Skincare Finds : Multitasking products for all skin types

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

1. 3 in 1 Mud Ash by Green berry organics

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

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

2. Gravitale Revitalizing Skin Gel

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

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

Steps for that perfect glow:

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

TADAAAA….SOFT GLOWING SKIN

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

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

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

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

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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Decadent body scrubs for all skin types

Using a body scrub (or even a dry brushing technique where you use soft body brush to brush the body) is beneficial in many ways.
1. It sloughs away the dirt, grime and dead skin.
2. Buffs the skin and makes it smooth and soft.
3. Massaging the scrub on the body boosts circulation and helps in draining the lymph nodes.
4. It aids in the cell turnover that gets slowed down with age
5. Using a natural body scrub at the end of the day, is very relaxing and can even uplift your mood.

DIY body scrub

You can easily make a body scrub at home. You need to mix a scrubby/gritty ingredient like cane sugar/rock salt powder/oats/flax seed/coffee powder with a moisturizing base like olive oil,almond oil or honey. Add a few drops of essential oil like lavender,orange,rose for relaxing fragrance.

But if you are a lazy bum, you can just buy any of these amazing body scrubs listed below, based on your skin type. Make sure you don’t use much pressure while massaging the scrub as this can cause redness. Do a patch test to make sure the ingredients doesn’t cause irritation.

1. Oily skin : Vedic Line Choco Deli sugar scrub with Jamaican sugar

Price : Rs180 for 65g
Ingredients : Water, Cocoa Butter, Caramel, Cocoa Powder, Sesame Oil, Natural Granules and vitamin E.
This scrub is thick and creamy with a strong cocoa fragrance. It is brown in color with a golden shine to it. The particles are gritty and a small spatula full of product is enough for entire body. You might need to follow it up with a moisturizer as this scrub can be a bit drying. Fragrance is a bit heady.It spreads well on moist skin and is a good scrub at affordable price. Unlike other sugar scrubs, the scrubby particle doesn’t get dissolved easily on wet skin which is a plus.
Buy @ Nykaa


2.Normal skin : Junaili Apricot scrub and Juicy Chemistry Orange Cinnamon scrub


This is an amazing affordable scrub with just 1 ingredient and it ticks all the boxes for me. Read the detailed review here

Another option is the orange, cinnamon and honey sugar scrub from Juicy Chemistry. As rightly said, it smells like Christmas in a jar.It has a warm citrusy cinnamon fragrance and dry crumbly texture.Massage it directly on wet skin. The sugar gets dissolved on wet skin on massaging and hence don’t mix it with water before applying. It doesn’t dry out the skin. Read this post to know how to use it effectively for smooth skin.

Price: Rs 250 for 35g
Ingredients : Organic Demerara Sugar, Organic Cane Sugar, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter,Natural Vitamin-,Extra Virgin Olive Oil,Jojoba Oil,Sweet Almond Oil, Wild Forest Honey, Cinnamon Essential Oil,Sweet Orange Essential Oil

3. Dry/ Sensitive skin : Juicy Chemistry Rose Almond and Shea body scrub

This is the most moisturizing body scrub I have ever used. The nourishing butters and essential oils in this one makes skin moisturized and you don’t need to follow it up with a moisturizer. Hence it is suitable for dry to normal skin types. I can’t stop raving about the amazing fragrance of this product which is a blend of almond meal and rose and geranium essential oils.

As you can see, the scrub is like a dense almond meal paste, but it still does the job well along with nourishing the skin. This gentle scrub is suited for sensitive skin as well. It is priced on the higher side though.
Price : Rs 300 for 35g
Buy here or from Nykaa.com

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Right products with right ingredients for your skin type

What are we doing wrong???

It is quite easy to understand what product to buy. Say you need a cleanser, or a shampoo, all you need to do is go to store and get one. But how do we choose the product?

Mostly based on the ingredients you like, say you like the fragrance of rose or lavender. Your preference will always be to buy such products, those that appeal to you in fragrance, texture or those products that worked for your friends or your favorite blogger.

Even if we are in an outlet of  a particular brand, we don’t generally ask the staff on what might be right for our skin type. Or if we have any particular concern, we need to choose products accordingly.

How I realized this?

For example, I love pleasant natural fragrances like that of rose and lavender. So if I am buying a lip balm and there are three options, say mint, rose and vanilla ; I go for the rose variant. But after using it for sometime, I realize that it doesn’t make my chapped lips any better. But that might not be because the product is not good or the ingredient list is not impressive. It is simply that I did not choose the right product from the choices I had.

Whenever I see products with mint/peppermint, coffee, tea, pepper etc I instantly make up my mind that I wouldn’t like them. I don’t stop to think if my skin would disagree though. As one of my instagram followers rightly said, ‘It is like you really like certain kind of food, but your body might be allergic or wouldn’t respond well to it’.

Finally when I decided to try the Burt’s bees lip balm, which has peppermint as major ingredient, I did not expect a miracle. From childhood my major skin problem was my chapped lips. It was always dry and chapped and the skin gets so dry that even lip scrubs can’t remove the dead skin. I tried lip balms from many different brands and even those home made natural ones, but none of those worked for me. The major mistake I amde was, I always chose what I thought was best for my skin, lip balms with rose, vanilla, citrus and chocolate flavours or oils. None with mint.But when I finally did, that was the best thing I ever tried on my lips. It made my lips smooth, supple and matt without any dryness throughout the day.

This doesn’t mean all those lip balms I tried were bad, it wasn’t right for my skin condition. But for someone who just needed a mild daily moisturizer, all of them would have worked well.

Sometimes on my Instagram page I encounter questions like ‘How can you say that this product doesn’t work? It worked well for me and I loved it’. I correct them saying, see I never said that this product doesn’t work. I said this doesn’t work for me. Why? Because my skin condition, need and the climatic condition of where I live can be very different from yours. So something that works for you, may not work for me even if we are both oily skinned. There are many factors affecting the efficiency of a product and the best judge is you =, given you know your skin well.

How to choose the right products?

When I visited Kama ayurveda outlet recently, I decided to buy a face mist. As usual I went for the rose/lavender ones. Because so far on all blogs and reviews, I see the rose or lavender variants reviewed the most. Everybody praises these and not the earthy vetiver mist I came across there. The staff there suggested the vetiver mist instead saying, this is best for combination/oily skin types, as the other two might be a bit heavy for such skin.

Eventhough reluctant, I decided to try it. To my surprise, I loved the earthy natural fragrance of the mist. It was light on skin, kept me fresh and took away the oiliness from skin.

So first point is :

  1. Be clear on what your skin needs (not what you want).
    You need to understand your skin type first. Just because your face is oily doesn’t mean your body skin needs to be oily too. Most of us might be of combination skin types, that is oily in T zone and dry around mouth. So understanding the skin type is very essential in choosing the right skin care product.

Advice is mostly free.

      2. Always ask expert opinion, before you invest on skincare.

       3. Rather than spending your money on products to try, read multiple reviews on the same. Ping the blogger and get to know if this might work for your skin. Also when you are in any brand outlet, ask for testers before buying the full product, if you are not sure.

       4. When buying from artisans who make handmade skin care products, don’t blindly follow the reviews posted in the page. Chat with the brand person and get as much info about the product. Ask questions regarding your concern and skin requirement and choose wisely.

5. You don’t always need to have different kinds of products to take care of your skin. Keep it simple.

My beauty kit includes mostly of a good cleanser that provides mild scrub action as well (soap free mostly oats based), so I don’t need a separate scrub. I use homemade face masks mostly or if not I use face pack that has ingredients to address multiple skin problems at once, rather than buying different products for all needs. My body skin is dry, so I always need a good moisturizer and I have not come across the best one so far. Still searching.

6. Don’t go crazy on natural skin care products either. Basically all ingredients are chemicals if you think about it, natural or artificial. Just like how all artificial chemicals are not harmful for us, all natural products might not be safe for all skin types either. So be careful and keep a watch on changes happening on skin while using the product.

7. There is only so much these products we apply externally can do. Eat healthy, keep hydrated, rest well and have good thoughts. Healthy skin is a reflection of healthy life.

So even though I hate mint in food, my skin loves mint. Here are the current minty products I am using. mint.jpg

I have reviewed few of the products in this, and you will see more reviews in the coming days. Also I am enjoying the fresh feel of the vetiver face mist from kama ayurveda.

Let me know of your thoughts or queries on this post.