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

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 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 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.


Jul 082012
 

I found this amazing pencil eyeliner a few months ago. The L’Oreal Contour Kohl pencil eyeliner is soft and easy to apply. I bought it in 131, Jet Black. It gives a nice, even line which stays on for about 3 to 4 hours even without applying a base primer or eyeshadow. It can be smudged and I use it on its own to create a smokey eye.

It’s great as a basic black eyeliner and gives you a line that looks almost as good as one made with a liquid liner. I love this liner and I would definitely buy it again.

L'Oreal Contour Kohl

 

Loreal Contour Kohl applied on upper eyelid

Price: Rs. 299/-

Pros:
Smooth
Even application
Intense colour
The tip does not break easily
Affordable

Cons:
It is not smudge-proof (However, this was plus point in my eyes, I don’t like smudge-proof liners.)
I couldn’t find it in any fun colours like blue or purple

Jul 022012
 

L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes - Extra Black

I bought Volume Million Lashes by L’Oreal when I was still learning how to apply mascara quickly enough so it does not dry while I’m still applying it. Being a mascara that is not waterproof, it doesn’t dry up very fast and so I have the option of doing it slowly.

I love this mascara as the wand is very good for achieving an even application even if it is your first time with mascara. The wand is like a comb and so I don’t have to wiggle the wand through my lashes as much as otherwise to separate them. It is not a very volumizing mascara so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone looking for lashes you could sweep the floor with. Maybe it’s the wand type. However, as a basic mascara, it works just fine. I have rather sparse lashes and this mascara wand works very well for me. Also, it’s tapered so I can get to the lashes at the corners easily.

L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes mascara wand

My lashes without mascara

With 2 coats of L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes

The opening of the Volume Million Lashes mascara tube is designed in such a way that the excess on the wand is wiped off as you are pulling it out. That way you don’t have to mess up the neck of the tube by wiping off the excess. The only part that does need to wiped off is the tip of the brush.

L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes excess wiper diagram on tube

The one thing I regret is that it doesn’t seem to be available in any other colours besides black. I would have liked a blue or brown.

Pros
Good brush/wand
Separates lashes easily
Has an excess remover
Sleek tube

Cons
Not very volumizing
Comes in just one colour at least in most Indian stores

Jun 212012
 

I am constantly on the lookout for a moisturiser to suit my oily, acne-prone skin and let me tell you that it is a tough search. There aren’t too many Indian moisturisers that are made for oily skin. When you do finally find one, you find that it leaves your skin feeling sticky. And finding one with SPF is even more difficult. So I thought that when I did finally find a suitable product, I would put up a review of it.

Which brings me to the aloe vera facial gel from Forest Essentials.

Forest Essentials Aloe Vera Facial Gel box

I stumbled across this product when I was browsing through the shop’s collection with a friend. Forest Essentials Light Moisturising Facial Gel with pure aloe vera was recommended to me by the store assistant as a moisturiser suitable for oily skin, especially in the summer season. I am very happy that I bought it. I remember thinking that it was a tad expensive at approx. Rs. 600 for a 1.7 oz jar. Now I think it was worth it.

Forest Essentials Aloe Vera Facial Gel jar

It is a transparent gel. It’s light, easy to apply and very refreshing. You do need to massage it into the skin a bit or else it leaves a slight film on the skin. My skin does not feel oily in a hurry, nor do certain parts of my face feel dry. That was always my problem with other moisturisers: either they made my skin sticky or they did not provide adequate moisture.

The packaging of the Forest Essentials gel accentuated the whole ‘natural’ tone of the product and brand. The store assistant carefully couched the box in tissue that had been spritzed with some scented water and threw in a few bits of pot pourri before placing it in the Forest Essentials bag. Very good tactic, as it sent me home feeling soooo good about the product I had invested in!

Pros
Delivers results as a moisturiser for oily skin
Very good, refreshing moisturiser for the summer
Light gel
Pretty packaging
Light, unobtrusive scent
No sticky feeling after application

Cons
No SPF
Probably wouldn’t be enough for dry winters (I have yet to try it out in that season)

Note: Forest Essentials does have an aloe vera lotion with SPF which I have yet to try out.