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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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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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.