Stephanie

Nov 202016
 

Okay, I’ve been waiting for a long time to write this post. It is one of the main reasons why I started this blog in the first place. This article is for all women (and men, if you happen to visit this makeup blog) who have deep, dark skin tones. Especially, Indian women.

If there’s one thing that really puzzles me (and quite frankly, irritates me), it’s the way women in India keep wanting to make their skin fairer through the use of either makeup or skin care products. Why on earth would you want to do away with that beautiful, dark brown skin tone?!! Where did we get this idea that fair skin is beautiful while dark skin needs to be corrected in some way or other?

I really have no idea where this prejudice against dark skin started. But I know what perpetuates it: advertisements showing only fair women when they want to depict beauty, a mind-boggling number of skin care products to achieve fair skin, discriminatory comments from the people around you and so on. Sound familiar?

For me it was any number of jibes at my skin colour when I was very young. I used to wish that I’d wake up one morning with fair skin, foolishly thinking that the jibes would stop and I would be termed as beautiful.

Thankfully, I had an extremely sensible mother who consistently made sure that I felt proud of my skin colour. She’d keep telling me to respond to people who called me ‘black’ by agreeing with them and replying that I was a ‘black beauty’. She’d look at me when I’d just entered my teens and keep telling me that I looked great or that she’d seen some boy admiring me. Who cares whether it was true or not? The fact is that, by using subtle and constant positive messages, she was helping to battle the widespread prejudice against dark skin in our country. She was also helping me to deal with all the insecurity and awkwardness that came with being a teenager.

And I am ever grateful to her for that because today, I am proud of my skin colour. I love it and have no wish to change it to any shade besides the actual shade of my skin. I scorn fairness creams and I now wish to pass on some of the confidence in dark skin that my mum instilled in me.

My dear dark-skinned beauties out there, instead of trying to make your features and your skin colour fit in with somebody else’s notion of beauty, look at your face every day and tell yourself that you are beautiful. You will be beautiful because YOU believe that you are beautiful.

When you go shopping for clothes and cosmetics, look for shades that celebrate your skin tone. One of the things I have noticed about makeup brands sold in India is that, for some reason, they never keep foundation shades that suit the darker skin tones even if that brand has darker foundation shades in other parts of the world. Even the so-called ‘deep’ shades are really meant for those with a medium skin tone and are very limited in shade range. So our dark-skinned beauties often end up buying foundation that is too light for them because darker shades are simply not available!! Honestly, until our makeup brands in India come to their senses and start stocking a wider range of darker shades, it would be best to avoid using foundation altogether rather than using one that is too light. Your natural skin colour will look any day better than that strange greyish tinge that too-light-foundation gives dark skin. Care for your skin instead so that you have no need to cover any unevenness with foundation. That is what I do, and I still declare that I love the way my naked skin looks much more than the way it looks with foundation and/or compact powder.

I believe that we are all born with the skin colour that looks best for our particular features and personality. The fire of beauty is there in all of us; covering our true colour will only serve to dampen that fire. Love your skin colour, celebrate your skin colour, let your fire burn!

Nov 202016
 

This has been my all-time favourite nail polish for many years. The Lakme True Wear nail polishes come with a very good applicator brush. It holds enough paint so you don’t need to keep dipping the brush many times for each nail, and not so much paint that it clumps up on the nail. The brush also spreads well when applied to the nail and distributes the paint well. The consistency of the polish is good and it spreads evenly on the nail, not patchy at all. It also lasts pretty well on the nail and does not chip for at least 4 days. I like the fact that it dries quite fast. Lakme True Wear nail polish comes in many beautiful wearable shades to suit every occasion and mood.

The only drawback is that it doesn’t have a high shine finish like some other nail polishes I’ve tried.

However, I have repeatedly been willing to compromise on the shine factor simply because of all its other good qualities. Overall, it’s a great nail polish for the price (I think it is presently Rs. 90 to 100).

My favourite shades: 103 (a lovely light purple with a little shimmer) and 202 (Wildflower Mauve)

Lakme True Wear Nail Polish: Shades 103 (L) and 202 (R)

Lakme True Wear Nail Polish: Shades 103 (L) and 202 (R)

Pros
Good applicator brush
Even colour coverage
Wide selection of shades

Economical

Dries fast

Cons
Not much shine

Jan 262013
 

You know, in the days when I’d first started applying makeup, I didn’t know where to get my makeup from, which were the good places, how to figure out if it was good and so on. I ended up buying eyeliner pencils that exfoliated my eyes :-) or made them burn, lipsticks that made my lips break out because they were old and foundation that I never used once I’d bought because it just looked so awful! Needless to say, I wasted a fair amount of money in those initial trials. I wish that I’d had someone to guide me at the time. So here’s a little advice for all of you who are experimenting with makeup for the first time. This article is written keeping in mind those who live in India.

Tips for choosing makeup

Learning how to choose makeup is one of the makeup basics for beginners that is quite essential. Those who have never worn makeup before or who don’t want to use too much of it usually won’t have the patience to go through a lot of trial and error before finding the right makeup. Landing up with unsuitable makeup can be very discouraging. You want to make sure that you buy a few, very suitable and very versatile products.

The most important thing you need to remember when shopping for makeup, is to decide what you want in terms of type of makeup and colour BEFORE you enter the store.
The reason I’m saying this is because the store assistants or makeup counter girls will pull out twenty items and shades before you can explain anything to them, and you will get confused. They are not wrong; they are just showing you all your options. But that is the problem – there are loads of options available. You can’t buy all of them. They will try to make you feel that you really need a whole bunch of things that you could really do without.

So, calmly decide what you want to buy before setting out for the store and then ask for those specific items and colours at the makeup counter.

It is also a good idea to go makeup-shopping when you have enough time and you’re not in a big hurry.
Shopping with your mind on the time often leads to purchases that you regret later on.

Do figure out your undertone before choosing makeup.
Matching the colours to your undertone is one of the most important factors in getting makeup right. You will find helpful information and a reference link in the following article: Makeup For Dark-Skinned Women: Determining Your Undertone.

And finally, go with your instinct, not what the store girl tells you to do.
The shade you are buying must make you feel all happy inside. Unfortunately, most makeup counter assistants in India are not trained well enough to help you choose the best product for yourself.

Where can you buy your makeup from?

Any mall or shopping complex in your locality should have a few makeup counters. Avoid buying your makeup from a chemist or any stationery shop because the turnover of these items in such shops tends to be low. You may end up buying a really old product. When choosing makeup it is best to invest in a few good products that may cost a little more rather than buying many products that are of poor quality. After all, all this stuff goes on your face and you want to avoid skin reactions. Brands that I recommend for your first makeup kit are Revlon, Maybelline, L’Oreal, Lakme (for eyeliner). I like Avon as well but the problem is that the shade card doesn’t give an accurate idea of the actual colour. This makes things difficult since you can only buy Avon from Avon representatives and not from makeup counters.
Now for a look at the makeup itself and what to buy……..

Eyeliner

If you are on the fairer side, brown eyeliner will suit you better as a daily liner. Black may look too stark and unnatural. It’s nice to keep the made-up look as close to your non-made-up look as possible with just a few perks here and there.
Those with a medium skin tone can wear both brown and black eyeliner.
Those with a dark skin tone can use black.

*What are the characteristics of a good eyeliner?
Buy your eyeliner from a known brand. You will be given a tester to try out on your hand. It must glide on smoothly and the colour of the line you’ve drawn must be even. Also, you should need just one swipe to get a clear line on your hand. If you need to keep going over the line to get the colour, then avoid it. It will be a pain to apply on the eyes.

*Waterproof, smudge-proof?
Since you’re trying makeup for the first time, go for the pencil type that can be smudged. I think the pen types are usually smudge-proof. The ones that can be smudged are easy to remove, correct and experiment with. Don’t worry about eyeliner spreading all over your eyelid by the end of the day. There are ways to avoid that like dusting a little powder onto the lid before applying the liner and checking your liner regularly for smudges which can then be wiped away with a cotton bud.
Avoid liquid or gel liner until you become comfortable with eye pencils.

Lipstick

This is a very subjective one because ultimately, it depends on taste. However, I can provide a few pointers on choosing a fool-proof colour for those who are completely new to lipstick.

*Shade and texture?
Whenever you’re choosing a lipstick, don’t decide on the basis of a shade card. Often the shades in the shade card are not the same as the actual shades of the lipsticks. You can use the shade card to narrow down your options but always test the lipstick on your hand before buying it.

If your skin is fair to medium in tone, a pale pink shade or a light brown shade in a cream-finish lipstick   is a safe bet. Make sure it has hints of gold, bronze or orange in it if you have a warm undertone (you’ll know if you are a warm-toned person if warm colours like golden yellow, orange, brick or light brown make you positively glow).

For fair skin tones: Pink shade for those with a warm undertone

For medium skin tones: Brown shade for those with a warm undertone

Make sure it has hints of blue, plum, purple or cherry if you have a cool undertone (you are cool-toned person if you find that cool colours like cool blues, purples and pinkish/purplish reds make you look radiant).

For fair skin tones: Pink shade for those with a cool undertone

For medium skin tones: Brown shade for those with a cool undertone

As mentioned before, you will find information on undertones in Makeup For Dark-Skinned Women: Determining Your Undertone.

If your skin is darker in tone as is the case with many Indian women, the same rules of undertone apply to you. Do not assume that just because you are dark-skinned, you have a warm undertone. It may be either way. You should use a dark cream-finish lipstick for a start. Make sure it has hints of gold, bronze, brick or orange in it if you have a warm undertone. A great shade for dark skin with warm undertones is deep wine. Maroon looks good too.

For dark skin tones: Maroon for those with a warm undertone

Make sure it has hints of pink, plum, purple or cherry if you have a cool undertone. A great shade for dark skin with cool undertones is grape.

For dark skin tones: Grape shade for those with a cool undertone

Maroons can suit both warm and cool undertones in dark skin. Avoid deep brown for now as it is a neutral shade and needs colour in other aspects of your appearance to balance it out.

Remember that the above suggestions are only for choosing your first ever lipstick shade. You can use these guidelines until you become comfortable enough to try out other shades. This is strictly for those who enter a makeup shop and don’t know where to start. Don’t worry about the darker shades. If you feel they are too bold or loud, you can always use them as lighter stains by dabbing just a little onto your lips with your finger.

*What are the characteristics of a good lipstick?
The assistant at any makeup counter will apply strokes of lipstick shades onto the back of your hand. A good lipstick must glide on smoothly. It must feel like a caress as it is applied onto your hand. The colour must be even and preferably, intense.
Unlike cream and matte lipsticks, sheer lipsticks or lip-glosses will not appear intense. But they too must glide smoothly onto your hand.
The ease with which the lipstick or lip-gloss glides onto your skin, usually indicates the moisturising level of the lipstick. Choose a lipstick with moisturisers in it. Most brands will have a range of highly moisturising lipsticks.
Remember, cream-finish lipstick is a safe bet for your first experiments with lipstick as opposed to any of the other finishes.

These were just makeup basics for beginners. Once you become comfortable using these few products, you can read the many other websites on makeup for more information on the other makeup products not described here.

Note on products for evening out your skin tone:

If you want to use makeup to even out blemishes or uneven skin tone, try a BB cream. BB creams or Blemish Balm creams are creams that do the work of a moisturiser, foundation and sunscreen. There are many more benefits which these creams offer. But since we’re talking about makeup I’ll just tell you why they are useful as makeup.

They are lighter in texture than foundations and provide a more translucent coverage than most foundation formulas. Maybelline counters in India have one called Clear Glow. However, it comes in a limited number of shades which are all too light for those women who are medium dark to dark. Garnier has also finally launched their BB cream here. I’ve not checked out the shades as yet. The Body Shop has one as well but there are no shades to choose from: at least there weren’t any when I checked it out. Unfortunately, the Body Shop one is too light for most medium to deep skin tones in India and leaves a whitish cast on the skin.

You could also try a primer. Primer is worn under foundation to even out the surface of the skin and provide a base for the foundation. It is a very light-textured product. Since it evens out the surface of your face it makes the face appear smoother. A smoother face reflects more light and therefore looks brighter and reduces the appearance of any acne pitting. You also get some primers which are colour-correcting ones. I have one by Revlon. It’s the Photoready Color Correcting primer. It provides the added benefit of blurring any blemishes or imperfections in skin tone. I have blemishes and uneven skin tone yet I don’t feel the need for foundation when I use this. It seems to take care of any dullness or redness in my face.

The other option (and the best in my opinion) is to just follow a good skin care routine which will allow you to make the most of your skin’s natural beauty.

All the best for your first experience of makeup! I hope this article helps you to embark on your makeup journey with a little more confidence than I started out with :-).

For tips on how to use your new eyeliner pencil and lipstick, take a look at my post on Quick Makeup: Using only pencil eyeliner and lipstick to create different looks. You may also find Non-Fussy Makeup: Quick & Easy Look no. 2 and Makeup Application For Beginners:Non-Fussy Makeup in 5 min useful.

Oct 252012
 

I finally tried Maybelline’s Watershine range of lipsticks and was quite pleased with my purchase. The colours I tried were Rose Jam, a lovely light pink shade, and Mochaccino, a nude, brownish beige.

Maybelline Watershine lipstick

First of all, look at that gorgeous pink colour! I love seeing these pretty lipsticks in my bag or pulling them out of my bag and having girls around me go, “Ooooh! Which lipstick is that?!” Don’t worry, I’m not one of those ‘girly’ girls with pink in everything I wear. I don’t like it in my clothes but I do love it in my accessories. One of my little eccentricities. However, I understand that this is the old packaging of the Watershine lipsticks. I think the packaging is silver now.

The Watershine lipsticks are sheer in finish and glide on very smoothly. The colour is fairly long-lasting for a sheer lipstick and gives a kind of plump appearance to the lips. The lipstick sits very lightly on the lips. It also has a sweet fragrance like that of the candy, Skittles (the melon flavour). If you like the smell of melons then you’ll enjoy wearing this lipstick. If not, you may find the smell too strong to be ignored. For Rs. 230/-, the Maybelline Watershine lipstick was a very good buy, in my opinion. This a great lipstick to try if you want to use lipstick but don’t want your lips to look too ‘made-up’.

So let’s take a look at the shades I had picked up: Mochaccino and Rose Jam.

Mochaccino and Rose Jam

The Rose Jam can be worn by women with a dark skin tone whether they have cool or warm undertones. It would be a little more suitable for those with a warm undertone. On dark skin, this lipstick gives a sheer, pink tint which is quite pretty especially if you want to keep the look subtle, yet rosy.

Maybelline Watershine in Rose Jam: As it looks in the bullet

Swatch of Rose Jam against a white background

Maybelline Watershine in Rose Jam

The Mochaccino is not very suitable for those with darker skin tones but they can use this colour as a nude lipstick. It can be used with a lipliner in a darker tone to give it more definition. It would look great on those with lighter skin tones. It does not show up at all on medium skin tones.

Maybelline Watershine in Mochaccino: As it looks in the bullet

Swatch of Mochaccino against a white background

Maybelline Watershine in Mochaccino: Considering that my lips are dark brown in colour, the Mochaccino actually gives me a pretty, nude, light brown hue.

I often use it as a nude lipstick and line my lips with a deep burgundy shade of liner. I also sometimes add a dab of a purple or deep red lipstick over it for a hint of colour. Gives a lovely, subtle look for the daytime.

Pros:
Good texture
Light on the lips
Pleasant fragrance
Affordable

Cons:
Fragrance is a little strong


Aug 292012
 

Hi! I know it’s been quite a while since my last post. The power adapter of my laptop decided to conk off and getting another took some time :-(.

So, now that I’m back, I have another remedy for you. I love making up remedies and sharing them.This one is a favourite of mine and, unlike the acne remedy, it’s a rather old one which I’ve used for years on myself and my loved ones. I swear by it as it’s always given great results.

This remedy is for all you people out there who wish that they didn’t have emery boards for feet. Know what I’m talking about? Feet that catch on the fabric of your bedsheet, feet that you are ashamed to show off in strappy sandals, feet that you want to cover up with socks and sneakers when you go to the beach. After using my remedy for dry, rough feet and cracked heels, you will confidently wear those strappy, sexy slingbacks that you’ve been avoiding, you will happily wear flipflops to the beach and play footsie with that special someone without giving him or her a shave in the wrong places ;-).

The key product in this remedy for dry, rough feet is an amazing Avon cream called Footworks Rough Skin Remover/Sloughing cream. I think the product exists under another name, Avon Footworks Healthy Pumice Cream, on the Avon (US) site.

Your best friend for dry, rough feet: Avon Footworks Rough Skin Remover cream

This is essentially an exfoliating cream. It has little gritty particles in it that help to slough off the dead skin.

The Avon Footworks Rough Skin Remover cream has fine, gritty particles to help smoothen dry, rough feet. But don't worry, it's not harsh on the skin at all!

However, the directions given on the tube do not help you to get the full benefit of this awesome cream. The directions tell you to use it on dry skin but I’ve found that this is not effective and can be rather harsh on the skin. My method involves softening the skin first with a foot soak and then using the Avon sloughing cream.

This remedy is very safe for your skin and is not at all harsh. However, if you already have relatively soft and smooth feet, I don’t recommend trying it out because it may be too harsh for skin that has no dead skin to slough off. This remedy is strictly for those who have really dry feet or cracked heels.

You will need:

  • 2 tubs or buckets of warm water to use for the foot soak (enough water to submerge the feet in)
  • hand towel
  • Avon Footworks Rough Skin Remover cream
  • Nail brush or foot brush
  • Nivea Creme (blue tub)
  • Optional: Vaseline petroeum jelly and a pair of cotton socks

So here it is:

  1. Soak your feet in warm water for about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove and pat with a towel so that your feet are no longer dripping, but are quite damp.
  2. Apply a generous amount of the Avon Footworks Rough Skin Remover cream onto the problem areas (dry skin, hardened heels, cracked heels, rough skin) of your feet. DO NOT massage the cream into to the skin. Just allow it to sit in a layer on your feet. Leave it on for about 5 minutes.
  3. Now start massaging the cream onto your feet in small circles. If it feels too dry, moisten your fingers and massage the feet. There should be just enough moisture to allow your fingers to slide along your feet. Moisten your fingers only initially and not later on. As you massage and the cream starts to dry, the dry skin will start to fall off your feet in little shavings. Keep massaging the feet all over the problem areas until the shavings have stopped falling. I’ve found that using the heel of my thumb is most effective for massaging the cream towards the end.
  4. Now rinse your feet in a small tub of warm water. Brush them with a nail brush to remove any remaining dead skin and particles of the Avon Footworks cream. Pay attention to the toenails and spaces between the toes if you have used the cream on the toes.
  5. Pat your feet dry and immediately slather on Nivea creme (the blue tub).
  6. If you have really, really dry feet, I suggest that you do this exercise just before bed and apply some Vaseline petroleum jelly to your feet after applying the Nivea. Put on a pair of cotton socks and go to sleep.
  7. Hello, soft and smooth feet!!

Note:

  • Those with cracked heels may need to repeat this procedure about 3 to 4 times. Wait at least a week before repeating it. If you have cracks in the heels that are so bad that they are bleeding, first treat the bleeding and allow the cut to close up before you follow this remedy. If the skin is actually broken and bleeding, the exfoliating particles from the scrub may get into the skin and irritate it.
  • Do not use a metal foot file to get rid of dry skin or cracked heels. This is especially important in the case of cracked heels. Metal files tear the surface of the skin and actually damage it. Dead skin needs to be gently and lovingly nudged off. I know that lovingly massaging dead skin off your feet is not exactly what you have in mind when you see deep, ugly cracks in your heels. But I believe that skin (or nails, hair etc.) behaves well when it is treated with love. If you wage war against it with things like metal foot files, it will wage war against you.
  • To help your feet remain soft after using this remedy, always massage Nivea Creme into your feet after a bath and use footwear of some sort when walking on dusty surfaces.
  • You could add some conditioner, almond oil or olive oil to the foot soak to further soften the skin.
  • You could also add aromatic oil to the foot soak just to enjoy the fragrance and pamper yourself.
Aug 082012
 

The Revlon Colorburst range of lipsticks come in some really delicious shades. I have 015 Grape.

Revlon Colorburst Lipstick

 

Revlon Colorburst - Grape (Sorry, I know the pic is rather dark but this was the only shot that showed the actual colour accurately.)

The texture is smooth and creamy. The colour is intense and the coverage is even. It feels very light and moist on the lips almost like you’re not wearing any lipstick. Also, I like the design of the tube. It is black with a criss-cross pattern etched all along two sides of it – subtle yet not ordinary. However, this is not a long-wearing lipstick. You need to touch up every couple of hours.

Swatch of Revlon Colorburst Grape against a white background

 

Revlon Colorburst - Grape

In short, I would definitely recommend this lipstick and would buy it again myself. I think it’s a great cream finish lipstick for the price. I know that the price may seem a bit high but considering that the coverage is good and the colour doesn’t bleed, I think that it is a pretty good deal.

Price: I don’t remember the exact amount that I paid for this lipstick but I think it was around Rs. 550/-.

Pros
Smooth texture
Moisturising
Light feel
Even, intense colour
Lovely shades for all moods
Attractive tube
Does not bleed

Cons
Not long-wearing

Aug 042012
 

I have noticed that there are many people struggling with acne marks and scars and so I thought I’d share a solution for getting rid of acne and acne scars that I kind of put together for myself. I hope some of you find it helpful :-).

From the age of around 14 to 21, I suffered from acne on my face. It left me with scarred and pitted cheeks that remained with me for the next 9 years. Then at the age of 30, I suffered from another bout of acne leaving me with a few more scars.

Unfortunately, my skin does not heal very well. Most of my skin injuries leave me with a visible, dark scar. As you can imagine, I did not appreciate having a face that looked like the surface of the moon – pits, dark spots and all. I set about doing some research on the Internet about how to get rid of these vestiges of my teen and adult acne. The solution I came up with did not remove the pitting to any great extent, but it certainly stopped the pimples, almost completely cleared the dark spots and improved the overall texture of my facial skin.

I have included a couple of snaps here to show you what I looked like before and after starting my remedy. The ‘Before’ snap is the only proper snap of my face that I have from the period before starting my acne remedy. It was taken with my camera phone and so it’s not a good quality one. The ‘After’ snap was taken with an SLR camera and is, therefore, of much better quality. However, I would like to point out that the poor quality of the first snap should have blurred my scars and made me look better :-), whereas the high definition of the second snap should have made all my spots painfully obvious. In spite of this, you will see that my face in the second snap looks considerably better than that in the first snap.

Before (A): Scars before starting my acne remedy

Before (B): Scars before starting my acne remedy (scars circled)

This snap was taken when I was going through my second bout of acne or my adult acne at the beginning of this year. I’ve circled the marks in the second snap since this is not a good quality snap and you may not be able to distinguish the marks easily. They were a dark, dull brown at the time of this snap. At least if they had been black, I could have passed them off as beauty spots :-).

Update: Okay, so I managed to find another clearer snap of my acne scar face. These were taken with the SLR camera so every blemish is painfully obvious. Even so, I’ve circled the marks in case you can’t see them. Here they are:

Before (pic 2): Scars before starting my acne remedy

Before (pic 2): Scars before starting my remedy (circled)

And now here’s a snap of me after 2 months of using my acne remedy:

After: My face 2 months after starting my acne remedy

See? Loads better! The scars have either gone or faded and the texture of my skin is way better than before.

My solution:

  1. For internal skin repair (dark spots, uneven skin tone) I started taking 2 capsules of Seven Seas cod liver oil and 1 capsule of Evion Vit E (400mg) daily.
  2. I switched to a face wash that contained salicylic acid (beta-hydroxy acids or BHAs). The one I’m using now is Garnier PureActive Pore Unclogging wash. I also have Clean & Clear Morning Burst which is another face wash suitable for oily skin that contains salicylic acid. I used the facewash only twice a day.
  3. I stopped using toner. If I felt my pores needed tightening, I’d just use ice all over my face.
  4. I found a good moisturiser for my oily skin. It was an aloe vera gel by Forest Essentials. It works fine in the summer. I need a slightly heavier one for winter.

The above routine started showing results within the same week. By the end of a month, all my dark spots had faded to almost nothing. Only the really dark and stubborn ones were holding on for dear life. And now, in the 3rd month since I started this routine, even the stubborn ones are fading away. As for the pimples, they’ve disappeared altogether.

Why did this routine work?

  1. The cod liver oil provides the extra Vit A that acne-prone skin needs. This works in conjunction with the Vit E. Therefore, they have to be taken together. There is an optimal proportion of Vit A to Vit E. For details on the role of these vitamins in fighting acne and the quantities, you can read http://www.acne.org This is just my simplification of the information given in the website. Basically, these 2 vitamins reduce the scars and improve the texture and appearance of your skin. If you have issues with consuming cod liver oil capsules, the above-mentioned website suggests intake of certain quantities of butter or palm oil.
  2. The salicylic acid in the face wash is a kind of non-abrasive exfolliant which cleans out the pores. It removes the dead skin and sebum (oil secreted by the skin) which cause whiteheads and pimples. Apparently, this process happens naturally for people with normal, acne-free skin. However, those with acne-prone skin have sebum glands that work overtime and so these people need a little outside help.
  3. I found out that toner and astringents can dry out the skin more than necessary. This is especially the case if you’re already using a drying facewash like a scrub or one with salicylic acid (which is an exfolliant). More dry skin means more dead skin getting into your pores and mixing with the sebum to create whiteheads and pimples. Frankly, I found that my pores reduced in size a bit after I stopped using toner.
  4. Moisturiser is necessary for your skin even if it is oily or acne-prone because those pimples are not formed ONLY from the excess sebum. They are the result of a combination of dry or dead skin cells and sebum. The cleansers that help acne tend to be drying so you need to replenish the moisture (NOT the oil) lost during cleansing. Therefore, a good OIL-FREE moisturiser is essential. If you don’t follow this step, all the other steps in this skincare routine are rendered useless.

I also continued my routine of going for a facial once a month. However, I do recommend going at least twice a month initially until all your whiteheads and blackheads have reduced significantly. The only reason I didn’t do it was because I didn’t have the time. Perils of being a mummy :-)! Do make sure that your facial is done correctly. A bad facial can put all the scars back onto your face.

Sunscreen made its way into my skincare routine at the same time that I started the solution described above. This is because I realised that I was not really giving my skin a chance to recover if I kept exposing it to harsh sunlight that would damage it further every time I went out. Find one that has a high SPF and that is oil-free or at least light in texture. I am using Biotique’s Carrot sunscreen lotion at present.

I’m sure you all know this tip but I’ll repeat it anyway because it is so vital: don’t pick at pimples or at the scabs left after the pimple has burst. And lastly, lots of water, a good amount of sleep, limited intake (not absence) of oily food are all obvious parts of any acne-fighting routine.

Aug 032012
 

Garnier PureActive Pore Unclogging Wash

I found Garnier PureActive Pore Unclogging face wash when I was searching the shelves of our Indian malls for the Neutrogena face wash for acne that contained salicylic acid. The Garnier PureActive face wash also contains salicylic acid according to the ingredient list and I’ve found it to be quite effective in treating pimples and whiteheads.

Ingredients in the Garnier PureActive face wash

I’ve been using it for a while now and I’ve found a great reduction in the number of whiteheads in my skin. My pimples have stopped altogether (although I do also treat my acne with a set of vitamins that I shall discuss in a future post). I’m not saying that this face wash will make your acne disappear but it will certainly help you along. The salicylic acid is just the thing needed to clear out those clogged pores that cause pimples, whiteheads and blackheads.

I use it just twice a day, never more because that would be too harsh for the skin. The one thing I don’t like about this face wash is that it is not soap-free. Soap-free is always better when it comes to cleansing the face.

It is a blue gel and comes in a squeezy tube. The smaller tubes have a screw-on cap which I find a bit irritating. The gel itself is runny, and trying to get it out of the tube without making a mess and wasting any of it becomes difficult. Especially when you’re trying to twist the cap back on with one hand while holding the gel you’ve dispensed for your face in the other hand. The larger tubes have a flip-top that is certainly easier to use.

Garnier PureActive face wash: Appearance of the gel

 

Garnier PureActive flip-top tube

Right now this face wash has pride of place on my washstand. I would recommend it to anyone battling acne. It is a good product. Just make sure you follow it with moisturiser.

Price: Rs.150/- for 100 gm

Pros:
Quite effective in battling acne
Improves texture of the skin
Reduces scars
Affordable

Cons:
Screw-on and flip-top tubes lead to the product running down the side of the tube when you try to pour it into your hand; would have been better with a narrow, protruding nozzle instead
Not soap-free

Jul 232012
 

Nivea Fruity Shine: Pomegranate

As lip balms go, the Nivea Fruity Shine lip balm is a rather good one and it is also reasonably priced. It got me out of my chapped lips phase with regular use after cleansing my face. This balm was more than enough as long as I lived in a humid climate. However, it will not do for really dry weather. It is a lighter alternative to Vaseline if you want to treat dry lips and it gives the lips a hint of colour depending on the variety you buy.

The balm also has a slightly sweet taste and a fruity fragrance. I’ve tried the strawberry, cherry and pomegranate. I found that the cherry and pomegranate colours suited my dark skin much better than the strawberry.

Nivea Fruity Shine Pomegranate bullet

Me wearing Nivea Fruity Shine Pomegranate

It is quite glossy for a lip balm and I’ve often used it as a gloss over lipsticks either to give them a shine or to give them a different hue. For example, I use the cherry one over a brown or purple lipstick to give it a reddish hue.

Price: Rs. 129/-

Pros:
Good balm
Light texture
Pleasant fragrance
Gives a hint of colour to the lips
Can act as a lip gloss
Sweet taste

Cons:
Not enough for really dry climate

Jul 222012
 

The Body Shop Delipscious Sheer Lip Colour

The Body Shop Sheer Lip Shine is a cream finish, soft lipstick. The lipstick itself is easy to apply (no dragging, pulling or pressing required). I bought no. 7. It is a pretty, pale pink with orange tones. However, it does not deliver intense colour. You need to apply at least 2 to 3 coats of it for the colour to show especially if you have dark lips like I do. This is a very beautiful, discreet, nude colour for you if your lips aren’t pigmented and you’re a fair to medium-dark skin tone.

The Body Shop Delipscious, shade no. 7

 

The Body Shop Delipscious, shade no. 7 swatch

 

Me wearing Delipscious shade no. 7

I did not like the way it felt on my lips: it was rather cakey and heavy and did not last long at all (it was nearly all gone after 1 glass of water). It felt greasy and when I did a swatch of it on paper for this blog post, I saw that after a few minutes it actually leaked more oil than my lip balm swatch. The colour coverage was uneven. I did not care for the scent of the lipstick and I found that it has a bitter taste that kind of spreads into your mouth after a while. Overall, I was not too pleased with this product. I have bought better lipsticks at lower prices.

The packaging is very pretty. It’s a silver tube with a frosted design of fruits on the bottom half. The lettering on the tube is in a bright pink. Basically, a nice, girly look.

The Body Shop Delipscious: Pretty design

 

Price: Rs. 620/-

Pros:
Soft texture
Pretty shades

Cons:
Heavy on lips
Uneven colour
Not long-lasting
Unpleasant smell
Not many shades (I saw just 4)
Unpleasant taste that kind of leaks into your mouth after a while

Overall, this was not a good Body Shop product for me.