Thursday, May 31, 2018

#606 : Himalaya Facial Wipes : Review

Wipes have a permanent spot in my bag. The hot and humid weather combined with dusty rickety roads and the short but horrible commute to work place demands that I use stellar products to take care of my skin. Wipes seem to be the convenient solution if I'm running late and do not have time to wash my face once I reach work. Of course, it comes with it's own disadvantages - not Eco-friendly, spreads bacteria and so on, but one has no option but to use such products in times of dire need. 

The alcoholic smell combined with heavy perfume and the wetness by itself causes minor breakouts upon excessive usage. However that is purely the nature of the product. 

I've recently begun to avoid harsh chemicals and have started using organic or herbal products. Himalaya wellness is a brand I've been using for a quite a while now. There is indeed quite a big debate about the authenticity of the ingredients, but look at it this way - the brand  is at least working on incorporating natural products instead of using chemicals all the way. 

Stumbling upon Himalaya Purifying Neem Facial wet wipes has been one of the best things that's happened to me in recent times. The wipes are non-alcoholic and have a distinctive smell which can slightly be overwhelming if you are sensitive to strong fragrances. Upon application, the skin stings mildly but feels very refreshing once done wiping. I was quite worried because of the stinging sensation, but surprisingly nothing happened. It brought out all dirt and grime that stuck to my face leaving it fresh and visibly brighter. I've been using these wipes for a while now and it has not adversely affected my skin. I've also tried wiping of my make up with these wipes - needless to say, it's super effective. I've not used it on my lips or the area around my eyes owing to the stinging sensation. 

They also do have another line of wipes - The Moisturizing Aloe Vera Facial wipes. Again, this line is also non-alcoholic. Like the Neem one, this also has a mild pungent fragrance. Unlike the Neem one, this does not sting or react with the skin. Upon application my skin felt moist and supple. However this was not as effective as the Neem one in cleaning away the dust. As the product name clearly states, it is purely moisturizing and can be used in cold climate when your skin is all dry and cracked. 

The ingredients in both the products seems to be a mix of natural extracts and chemicals - of which I know nothing about. 

The smell and the packaging is something the brand really needs to work on. The packaging is quite typical, which means that the covering label eventually loses it's adhesive quality exposing the wipes to the environment. 

The edge that this wipe has over other brands is clearly its non-alcoholic composition. It's a better solution when compared to normal wipes. 

Note: Himalaya wellness in collaboration with Social beat media sent me a beautiful care package for review. However, this does not impact my opinion about the product in any way. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

#605 : Make-up for Rookies

I seem to be in that phase of life where everyone I know is either getting married or having kids or celebrating their kid's birthdays. Going around all decked up, is such a daunting task or so I discovered a couple of years ago. I never really cared for makeup at all. Wearing a Kaajal and a some odd color of lipstick was makeup for me. Fast forward to today, I managed to successfully hunt down for the perfect foundation with compact and the whole yard for my skin. It wasn't an easy journey, but it was something I wanted to do for myself. There are a couple of people who helped me to make sure I didn't end up looking like a clown - Sindhu JP - fellow blogger - she gave me pointers in picking the foundation.

So first, before I go on about the makeup, skin care has always been my priority. I never load my face with things. I keep myself hydrated and invest in taking care of my skin. I eat enough fruits and ensure to use herbal products. So the make up I do is rudimentary.

Pre-Makeup Routine

My skin is oily and the makeup tends to get all cakey and drippy in this blistering heat. To prevent that, it is important to cleanse and keep the face as dry as possible. I use Aroma Magic's White Tea & Chamomile Face wash which does a fairly good job of cleaning the skin and keeping it moist instead of oily. I follow it up with Pure Body Natural's Dead sea mud mask. I skip the mask if I'm in a hurry, otherwise I normally apply the mask 4 hours before I put on the make up. I do this if I stay indoors. The mask is way too good. It balances out the oil and removes all dirt and grit from the skin making it look visibly healthier.

The Make-up

This is by no way an expert advice. Just sharing my experience in wading through tonnes of products and millions of options. A one hour solo trip to Sephora Spain left me all confused and disoriented. I actually stepped into buy a Fenty foundation (The one formulated by Rihanna and had the world talking about it), unfortunately, they didn't stock my shade and more over, it was way out of budget for a some one like me who doesn't use make up daily.

Moisturize - After cleansing, the skin needs to me moisturized to ensure the make up slides over easily. A primer can also be used which would even out the skin tone and fill up pores/bumps on your skin. When I tried out my foundation ( I shopped for it on Lifestyle) the beautician used Maybelline's Gigi Hadid primer - It wasn't really a Primer. A primer is essentially supposed to blur pores and smooth things out, but this primer kind of contoured my face. So I decided to skip buying this. Instead, I decided to use my regular moisturizer - Sisbela Diamond  - Found this gold mine of a cream in my regular supermarket during my time in Spain. It is slightly greasy on application but dries out quickly, however when I finished applying the make up with the setting spray it seemed fine.


Foundation - This is the basic layer of the make up which one needs to get right. Picking the right foundation to suit your skin can be tricky. One tip here - you can either visit a beauty store without any research work about the shades and rely upon the skills of the sales person to help you pick one or you can follow youtubers with the same skin shade as yours. With way too many brands flooding the market it is really hard to choose and pick, especially for a novice. 

Here are some hacks I swear by,

1. Research Major Market Players - Segment-wise. I picked the lower segment - Lakme, Maybelline - Works just fine for Indian skin. 

2. Research Product line - Both the brands I mentioned have a large line of products with different bases suited for different skin types. Foundations can be liquid, powder or mousse type. I use liquid foundation. I've not tried the powder or the mousse ones. 

3. Cost - Make up can literally burn a hole in your pocket. There would always be a trade off between cost, finish and quality. I prefer to balance the cost and quality. Finish largely depends on what you are aiming for. I prefer to just ensure that my face looks bright. 

I use Maybelline's Dream Satin range of foundation, Shade O4. I blend it using my finger tips or at times use the brush I have for foundation. 

Compact - Picking the right compact is slightly easier if you get the foundation right. Again, it is better to go with the same brand as that of the foundation because they normally have a compact shade to go with the foundation. However, if you are planning to buy the compact from a different brand, same tips above apply. 

I use Maybelline's Dream Satin Skin P01 shade. The sponge given along with the compact is not really useful to blend in the powder. So I use a powder applicator brush for it. The box deserves a special mention. It's so compact, handy and also has a neat mirror. 

Eyeliner - I'm extra careful with eye make up products. It is recommended to throw away eye care products regularly simply because the area around the eye is sensitive. I picked up Lotus Herbal's eyeliner which comes with a solid liner tip. One just needs a little bit of practice to put it on. I wouldn't really recommend this one for various reasons but I'm making do with this until I find a better organic alternative 

Kaajal - A product I use almost daily. Gives volume to my teeny tiny eyes. I've been alternating between Biotique and SoulTree. SoulTree smells a lot like the natural Kaajal my grandmother used to prepare for us when we were kids. However, both unlike other brands,  are not smudge free. One ought to be conscious not to rub their eyes or turn their tear glands on to ensure that they don't end up looking like a cat with bogey discharge. 

Mascara - Again a product which ought to be throw away after 2 months. I'm genetically blessed with good lashes and eyebrows. Hence I don't really concentrate on this product. Again I use Lotus herbal's Mascara. 

Eye-shadow - A product I don't really focus on, but I do use it. I've been use Maybelline's Blushed Nudes. The pigments are so rich and the palette has instruction about various combinations which work well. 

Setting Spray - This product is totally worth the investment. Especially if you have oily skin. I use NYX's Matte finish spray. Gives that neat look. This is the magic product that you totally need to get that bright look. 

Lipstick - I recently splurged on a MAC - Mehr shade. The perfect pink nude according to me. Nothing really to elaborate here. I use a lip scrub made out of sugar and aloe vera an hour before applying the lipstick. Works like magic immaterial of the lipstick I use. 

I've not used contouring products and bronzers which are a rage these days. 

Hope this helps! What products do you use? Comment away, lets discuss good makeup :) 


Saturday, May 12, 2018

#604 : To Kill A Mocking Bird By Harper Lee : Review

BOOK TITLE:To Kill A Mockingbird

ISBN: 0061120081

AUTHOR: Harper Lee

GENRE: Literature


FORMAT: Digital (E-Pub)


REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: One of my Goodreads friends challenged me that I would stop hating classics if I read this book and I decided to humour him ! Found the book in iBooks.


I started hating classics after reading Tess of the d'Urbervilles. The boring classic narration drove me to a reader's block. I couldn't pick up any other book for at least a month. Since then I started hating classics and didn't read any more. Until my goodreads friend challenged me to read it.

I should admit, this book broke my “I won't read classics” stance.

The story is narrated by Scout Finch. Scout is a typical tomboy who adores her father and prefers wearing overalls to a frock. The kind of a character I can really relate to. It's this coming of age kind of story where a white man being a Black's lawyer (Tom Robinson's lawyer) is initially frowned upon. But when the whole town realizes that the black man (who is accused of Rape of a white girl) is actually innocent, perspectives change.

The whole white vs. black drama is beautifully written. The actual “Hero” of the book would no doubt be Atticus. For someone who has no idea of the extent of White vs. Black conflicts (Being Indian, I am a “Brown” technically!), the book has been a real eye opener. Such was the character of Atticus Finch, who not only taught Scout good morals, he taught me a lot of things too – Be kind, don’t be prejudiced. Accept people.

No wonder the book won a Pulitzer. All characters were well written and had that depth which is lacking in most of the books written these days. More importantly, the characters mostly had some good values. Except of course that of Bob Ewell (Father of the girl who was supposedly raped by Tom Robinson).

The book also brings out the ethics of a true lawyer beautifully. In spite of the whole town being against Atticus defending Tom, Atticus still defends Tom and does a real good job at it though he loses the case. But at the end of the Bob Ewell loses his honour. This makes him resolve to murder Atticus and harm his family. That's when Nathan “Boo” Radley comes to rescue.

Nathan “Boo” Radley live in scout's neighborhood but has never been seen by her or her brother (Jem Finch). So they taunt him in the beginning of the story yet, Boo Radley gives leaves them gifts in a tree, In the end Boo Radley saves Jem (When Bob Ewell attacks him), this changes Scout's perspective making her realize that she hasn't repaid Boo for his gifts.

Bob Ewell dies while attacking Jem. But the real twist of the story is when the Sheriff declares that Ewell fell over his own knife and died and neither Jem nor Boo are responsible for his death.

Overall, the book had that warmth and humor even describing about rather serious and cold issues like rape and racial inequality.

I am glad I didn't miss this book.

VERDICT: A book definitely to be read.

RATING: 4.8/5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nelle Harper Lee (born April 28, 1926) is an American author known for her 1961 Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, which deals with the issues of racism that the author observed as a child in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Despite being Lee's only published book, it led to her being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedomfor her contribution to literature. Lee has received numerous honorary degreesbut has always declined to make a speech.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Mass market paperback, Paperback, Hardcover

PRICE: Rs.175 (Paperback)

Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse