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!

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

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

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/-

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

Not enough for really dry climate

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!

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

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.

Jun 212012

Nivea Visage Oil-Regulating Toner

This toner is supposed to be a toner for mixed to oily skin. However, I found that it made my skin feel quite sticky and my face would start looking shiny and oily in no time at all. On the positive side, the fragrance is pleasant and it does not sting. Rather than being a toner for oily skin, it would probably do very well as a toner for someone with normal to mildly dry skin as it moisturises the skin so much that you don’t need to follow it up with moisturiser.

The key ingredients as printed on the bottle are:
Aqua, SD alcohol 9.15% v/v, glycerin, aluminium chlorohydrate, carnitine, aloe barbadensis, panthenol, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil.

Nivea Oil-Regulating Toner: Ingredients and price

Pleasant fragrance
Gentle on skin, no stinging

Too moisturising for oily skin, leaves a sticky film on the skin

In short, my only issue with this product is that it is categorized wrongly as a toner for oily skin. Otherwise, it is a very gentle toner as compared to others.

Jun 012012

Lakme Fruit Moisture Honey & Avocado Winter Perfect Day Creme with SPF 9

I bought this day cream with SPF when I was hunting for the strawberry cream that Lakme used to sell. I really loved the strawberry one; it was light, had a lovely fragrance and provided just the right amount of moisture. Since I couldn’t find it, I decided to give the Lakme honey and avocado day cream with SPF a shot. I realise now that that was a mistake since I have oily skin. So I would not recommend this cream for anyone with oily skin.
However, it would do quite well as a face cream for dry skin. It is a dense, lightly scented, heavily moisturising cream. It does not leave streaks on the face once applied and it gets absorbed into the skin pretty well. The packaging is quite cute. It comes in a little peach-coloured jar with a twist on lid. Overall, a good winter day cream with SPF for dry skin.

Lakme Fruit Moisture Honey & Avocado Winter Perfect Day Creme with SPF 9: Appearance

Lakme Fruit Moisture Honey & Avocado Winter Perfect Day Creme with SPF 9: Ingredients and price

Good moisturiser for winter
Suitable for dry skin
Pleasant fragrance
Easily absorbed
Dewy finish
Contains SPF

Packaging does not specify which skin type it is for, not for oily skin