Apr 27, 2011

Lotus Herbals Professional Phyto-Rx Herbocomplex Daily Protection Lotion SPF 15 (Review)

Some time back, Lotus Herbals Professional launched a new range - PhytoRx Botanical Prescriptions - potent organic formulations with higher concentration of active botanical ingredients in each product to provide safe and natural care effectively.  The products are free of chemical preservatives, artificial fragrance and colour.  I got to try out the Herbocomplex Daily Protection Lotion with SPF 15 from this range.

lotus herbals professional phyto-rx herbocomplex daily protection lotion spf 15 review
lotus herbals professional phyto-rx herbocomplex daily protection lotion spf 15 review

Ingredients:  True to the claims, Lotus has put in a lot of natural ingredients into the product - extracts of chamomile, rose, aloe vera, and wheat.  Liquid paraffin does figure quite early in the list, but I did not have any breakouts with this - so I am okay with it.  The sun protection agent used is titanium dioxide - a physical sun blocker - I much prefer this to chemical sunscreens with which I usually get pimples.

Here's what Wikipedia says on titanium dioxide:
  • Strong UV light absorbing capabilities and resistance to discolouration under ultraviolet light. This advantage enhances its stability and ability to protect the skin from ultraviolet light.
  • Sunscreens designed for infants or people with sensitive skin are often based on titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, as these mineral UV blockers are believed to cause less skin irritation than chemical UV absorber ingredients.
  • The titanium dioxide particles used in sunscreens have to be coated with silica or alumina, because titanium dioxide creates radicals in the photocatalytic reaction. These radicals are carcinogenic, and could damage the skin.  (I do hope that's taken care of by Lotus!)
lotus herbals professional phyto-rx herbocomplex daily protection lotion spf 15 review

Product Claims/Usage:  I have used it only in the day time, since it has SPF.  I have sensitive, oily-combination skin that tends to breakout for just about any reason.  Meant for normal-oily skin types, this left an almost matte effect on my skin with oiliness starting to show in about 3-4 hours and only if it's very warm.  I cannot vouch for how effective it is at healing, but this product seems so much like calamine lotion, I feel it would be soothing on irritated skin :D

lotus herbals professional phyto-rx herbocomplex daily protection lotion spf 15 review

The packaging consists of a pump for dispensing the lotion, and my problems with this lotion are all related to this!
  • There is no cover for the pump which leaves it open to gathering dust.
  •   There is a small white ring which goes in at the base of the pump, keeps the pump from getting accidentally pressed and leaking.  I am a very careless person, and even with making an effort to keep everything intact till I finish with the review, I have misplaced the ring at least twice! 
  • The pump itself - at least in the bottle I got - didn't work properly.  The first few days whenever I tried using the pump, the lotion would just leak out of the base of the pump instead of the nozzle.  It was messy and horrible and I started opening the cap and taking the lotion directly. After some time, though, the pump started working - no idea what solved the problem - it still is a bit stiff, but I am just glad I don't need to open the cap every time :D
lotus herbals professional phyto-rx herbocomplex daily protection lotion spf 15 review
 lotus herbals professional phyto-rx herbocomplex daily protection lotion spf 15 review

The product itself is a light pink lotion that reminds me of calamine lotion.  It smells like a herbal-rose water mix but nothing offensive.  It spreads easily enough, but perhaps because of my darker skin tone it leaves a detectable whitish cast that is not very obvious in natural light but more noticeable under artificial lighting and could cause a whitish cast in photos.  This is not a problem for me but might be something to remember if you are planning on spending some time under artificial lighting.

lotus herbals professional phyto-rx herbocomplex daily protection lotion spf 15 review
 lotus herbals professional phyto-rx herbocomplex daily protection lotion spf 15 review
lotus herbals professional phyto-rx herbocomplex daily protection lotion spf 15 review
The arrow is supposed to show the whitish cast/line between the portion where I
applied the lotion and rest of my arm - it didn't show up that well in the pic, though :|

Overall, I liked this lotion.  It didn't cause any breakouts, and it provides a good enough sunscreen for someone like me who does not have too much sun exposure on a daily basis.  Lotus does need to work on the packaging, though, and I would recommend anyone buying this to check if the pump is working properly while at the counter.  The availability of this product is limited to specific salons which makes it not so easily accessible (check availability here).  I think Lotus is working on a website for this range, and it would be great if they include an online shopping option.  If you have dry patches, this can make them more prominent - it is meant for normal-oily skins after all :D

Cost:  Rs. 225/100 mL

Product provided by brand.

Thann Sea Foam Cool and Refreshing Aromatherapy Salt Scrub (Review)

If you are not familiar with Thann, just a brief intro - the products from this brand, apart from featuring carefully chosen natural ingredients, follow aromatherapy principles to soothe the skin as well as the mind.  Bath and body care products mostly fall into one of these four ranges based on aromatherapy:

  • Sea Foam - cool and refreshing blend of eucalyptus, thyme, and peppermint oils.
  • Mediterranean Floral -   Soothing and revitalizing blend of lavender and rosemary oils.
  • Oriental Essence - Exotic and comforting with the scents of lemongrass and kaffir lime.
  • Aromatic Wood - Uplifting blend of nutmeg, tangerine, and orange oils.

I got a sampler of the Sea Foam Cool and Refreshing Aromatherapy Salt Scrub to try out.  I have not used this very many times since it is a smaller size, but a little goes a long way with this minty scrub.

This is not the actual packaging - is a sampler/trial smaller size pack.  The actual scrub
comes in a big tub - 450 g size.

The Sea Foam Aromatherapy Salt Scrub combines the goodness of rice bran oil and sea salt with oils of eucalyptus, rosemary, and mint to provide a cool and refreshing scrub that is perfect for the summers.  Rice bran oil is rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin E, and oryzanol - helps moisturize and protect skin from damaging free radicals.  The scrub smells very fresh and minty - quite strongly so in the tub/package but on the skin just leaves a faint freshness.

Directions for Use/Ingredients:  The scrub has no artificial preservatives/colour/or fragrance.  The amazing smell is only from the oils in it.

I was unsure about this scrub - firstly I would not have ordinarily picked up a mint-based product, somehow associate mint with toothpastes and mouth freshners only.  The smell of this scrub, though, is very natural and real - not an artificially fresh smell at all.  Secondly, a look at the scrub would show a scary amount of oil floating in it.  I was not planning on eating it, but I was worried about the oil slick all that oil would leave behind.

My experience with the scrub:  The scrub is easy to spread/use - just make sure to mix the oil and salt before use.  The salt granules are very small - quite similar to the size of table salt granules.  They aren't the least bit harsh on the skin.  The oil is very light, and the oil slick I was dreading - not really there.  It does leave a light oily layer on the skin, but that gets absorbed reasonably fast for an oil-based scrub.  Scrub, wash off, and you don't have to bother with any moisturizer.  What sets this apart from a regular DIY salt scrub is an amazing blast of freshness  - it's minty and cool and somehow it's more than just a smell.  I felt really cool and refreshed.  The actual smell left behind on the skin is very very faint, but I felt like I could smell the freshness for a good hour or two.  The only thing I was missing was a minty shampoo to complete the experience!

The not-so-good:
  • The two Thann retail outlets that I know of are in UB City and Zela, Richmond Rd., Bangalore.  As of now, no online shopping options are available in India.
  • The quality of the product is as expected of a luxury spa brand, which also means it comes with a higher price tag.  The scrub retails for approximately Rs. 2000/450 g ($49.50).  I do have to add, though, this is a generous quantity, and the scrub would last a long while.
Verdict:  An awesome scrub, especially for the summers.  Not a budget buy but absolutely worth the splurge.  Though I personally would prefer buying the scrub alone, another good option would be to pick up a travel set which has a couple of smaller size products including the scrub - a wallet-friendly way to try out a range of products :)  Even that would last a good while!
Product provided by brand.

Elle 18 Kajal (Review)

Elle 18 came out with a repackaged range of products some time back, and I had tried their Colour Bombs (nail polish) earlier - love those.  I got to try out the kajal recently, and I am beginning to think Elle 18 is the best value for money range I am ever going to find!

elle 18 kajal review eotd

I have only tried kajals in pencil form so far, so this twist-up cone packaging is quite new for me.  Right now I have no problems with the packaging, but I do wonder what happens when it starts wearing down to a more rounded shape!

elle 18 kajal swatch review

It's as black as any decent kajal could be - smudges easily enough if I rub the swatch - but stays on quite decently on the waterline.  Love that it smells of camphor and it does not irritate my eyes at all.  The packaging claims that it "contains almonds."  Not sure of the significance - it's probably almond oil.

At Rs. 65/3 mL, I would rate this GOOD!

I don't know if it's the summer, but I have been keeping my eye makeup absolutely bare minimal now - Elle18 kajal for tightlining and on the lower waterline, a generous amount of mascara, and my eye makeup is done.  This is me on one such hot irritating day - you'll agree from my expression :D :D

elle 18 kajal review eotd
To save some people the trouble of asking, yes it is UB city. 
The AC seemed to be working in only some areas, probably
because it's not a closed building - so was very hot after a while.

Is for Noofuuurrrrrr...me put proper pic :D
In the pic, the kajal has been on for almost 3 hours, and it stayed on when I reached back home too.  In about 5 hours, it starts a slow migration off the waterline, but nothing scary.  For a kajal, I think that's quite decent performance.

Related Post:  Elle 18 Purple Pataka Eyeliner (Swatch)
Product provided by brand.

Apr 25, 2011

The Dry Skin Rescue Plan

Since I claim my skin type is "oily skin" and "acne prone" in every other product review, me writing about dry skin might seem a little odd, but I have quite the mad skin - oily-combination skin for the face and crazy dry skin everywhere else!   In fact, that's how I started using Lush products - nothing else worked for my dry skin.  A bit wiser now, I thought I would list what I learned on dealing with dry skin.

The main reasons for dry skin (specifically for me, others could have a million other reasons):
  • Love taking long hot water baths.
  • The tap water supplied is hard water.
Some things that work for me, and I think would work just as easily for most other people:
  • Avoid hot water baths - but I cannot do that - so try to at least avoid long baths :)
  • Before a bath, give your skin a deep conditioning treatment like you would do for your hair - lightly heat up an oil like coconut oil/olive oil/sesame oil and massage into skin  - wait for at least 20-30 minutes before washing off.

  • Use milder soaps - ideally just use glycerin-based soaps or soaps that use natural ingredients.  Read the labels - the oils and other good stuff should be at the top of the list and not a part of "key ingredients."  There is no point buying an overpriced soap if the "extracts and oils" add up to less than 10% of the total ingredients.  It doesn't need a lot of brainpower or money - just pick up the transparent looking soaps even if you are shopping at the drugstore :)

  • Avoid soap-based cleansers and opt for cleansers such as gram flour or powdered moong dal.  This is not something I follow, but I have seen it recommended by doctors for a lot of people with dry skin problems.  Kama makes one - I bought and haven't tried it :|
  • Once a week, use an oil-based scrub or a gentle gramflour/dal based scrub to exfoliate the skin and remove any dry flaky skin.  Follow with a generous rich moisturizer.  At least in India, there are a lot of brands that make ubtans (herbal cleanser/scrubs), that are gentle enough to work great for dry/sensitive skins.
Kama Ayurveda Ubtan - bought
but haven't tried yet :P
Try a DIY oil-sugar-coffee scrub :D
  • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize - a good moisturizer (again, read labels) applied immediately after patting the skin dry with a soft towel - applying the moisturizer while the skin is still damp helps seal in the moisture present in the skin as well as helps the moisturizer spread better :)  If you aren't stepping out of the house and don't mind the smell, a light oil like the TBS Monoi Miracle also works great.  If you use an oil-based scrub, you can skip the moisturizer part :D

I prefer using a heavier body butter like
the ones from TBS or the trusty Nivea
cream for the winters (and for my hands
and feet all through the year).
For summers, a lighter lotions would work :)

TBS Monoi Miracle Oil
  •  A healthy diet helps fight dry skin from inside out.  Include a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts like almonds and walnuts, olives/olive oil, and fish (if you are the fish-eating kinds :P - but my granny gets skin inflammation with eating fish, so I suppose with diet at least there is no generalization) to help keep the skin healthy.
  • A brisk 30-minute walk a day apart from the very obvious benefit of keeping you thin also helps keep the skin healthy because of the increased blood circulation - I preach but am terribly lazy with doing it, might as well confess before the finger-pointing and snickering starts.
  • I find it helps to use cotton clothes rather than synthetic materials - keeps the skin less irritated.
So these were some things I found useful in solving my dry skin problem...do you have any helpful ideas?

I found a very useful comment from a blogger in one of my DIY trial/failure articles - an easy way to get the benefits of oats without the messy cleanup:
perfectskincareforyou said...
leaving oats as it is is a better idea instead of making them into a fine powder...milk and oats do make the skin fairer by removing the tan...even tomato helps... a better idea to use oats is to tie a handful of oats in a muslin cloth and soak it into hot water for half hour or an hour...the water would turn milky by then...squeeze the muslin wrap once to squeeze out all the liquid....add it to your bath water...it makes the skin extremely soft and no mess too...

Apr 24, 2011

Sunday Gupshup: What was in the bags? :D

So this is what I bought yesterday - by now you would know I am soap crazy, love organic/natural ingredients, and of course, it should smell good :)  The Thann outlet at UB City met all the criteria, and I picked up a soap for my mom and a scrubby soap for myself.

It's the first time I am trying anything from Thann, and I liked that the products use natural ingredients and aromatherapy.  The two soaps I picked up are:
  • Rice Grain soap bar with Charcoal (that's the black bar which seemed good to use as a scrub).
  • Oriental Essence Rice Grain soap bar (smells of lemongrass and Kaffir lime - love the combination) - hope my mom likes that one :)

Apr 23, 2011

Weekend Shopping: UB City, Bangalore :)

ub city bangalore vittal mallya road
ub city bangalore vittal mallya road
ub city bangalore vittal mallya road
ub city bangalore vittal mallya road
ub city bangalore vittal mallya road

ub city bangalore vittal mallya road

Touted as Bangalore's luxury shopping destination, the visit to UB City was mostly a lot of window shopping for me.  The Burberry store had the best gear for the rainy season - bright yellows and pink bags and umbrellas and rain shoes...sighhh..to be rich would be so much fun :D

I did do a tiny bit of shopping...more on that tomorrow :)  :)  So what was your Saturday like?

Apr 22, 2011

Lakme Cheek Arist - Kiss of A Rose

The easiest and most convenient blush of all time! Simply twist and apply directly on to cheeks for a radiant natural blush!

The cute twist-up cream blush stick from Lakme - I was very interested in buying the peach version of this, but as luck would have it, I got to try out the pink version instead. 

lakme fantasy collection cheek artist blush kiss of a rose review swatches

To start off, this is a very biased review - and not for reason that most of you are already thinking in your heads :P :P  It's biased because:
  • I am a blush dodo:  Blush + Me = Hi-Hello terms only.  Not going out for movies together kinds :P :P  I am very unsure of where to apply, how to apply, etc.
  • Kind of related to the earlier point, I feel most comfortable using a cream blush because they tend to be more forgiving of mistakes :D
So yes, of course, I am going to like this blush!

Now that the disclaimer is done with, here is the good and the bad for the Lakme Cheek Artist - Kiss of A Rose.

Good :
  • It's a cream blush  - easier to apply.
  • Twist-up packaging - the blush stick comes packaged in a tube - twist to bring up the blush - dab, dab, blend with clean finger - and you are done.  Yes, you can use a brush and everything extra to do it the "proper" way, but I do the dab-dab-blend routine :D
  • Perfect for carrying around in the bag.
  • This particular shade - Kiss of A Rose - has no shimmer and didn't leave much of a shine on my cheeks.  Would be great for anyone looking for a natural-looking blush to use in a more formal setting or anyone who just doesn't like bits of shimmer.
lakme fantasy collection cheek artist blush kiss of a rose review swatches

The bad:  Seems to me like a bit less of a quantity for the price (Cost:  Rs. 395/6g), though it does feature very convenient packaging and the blush itself is quite nice.

Swatches:  The shade is a natural pink which is almost lost on my darker skin tone.  Still, I prefer that it gives just a hint of colour rather than go the clown route.  The colour can be built up, so it really shouldn't be anything to complain about, especially for lighter skin tones where this would show up much more easily.

lakme fantasy collection cheek artist blush kiss of a rose review swatches
lakme fantasy collection cheek artist blush kiss of a rose review swatches
I have applied the blush quite heavily and not blended too
much either...if you stare long enough at the pic you might
be able to pick up some colour :P :P :P
Overall, I like the cream blush in stick form - anything so easy to carry around and apply is a winner for me.  The price does seem a bit on the higher side, but then again, if it lasts a longish while it's not something I would complain too much about.  Though if I were to buy it, I would like to try the peach shade.  As much as I am anti-shimmer in my lipsticks, I love shimmer in my blush :D

Product provided by brand.

Apr 21, 2011

Lakme Enrich Satins Lipstick (131)

The last of the lipsticks from the Fantasy Collection that I got to try out - Lakme Enrich Satins 131 - a light pink colour that would look great as an everyday lipstick for lighter skin tones.  For someone darker like me, I think this colour is a little difficult to carry off - perhaps best paired with a smokey eye since this would tend to wash the colour off the face quite a bit.

It's a cloudy gloomy day in Bangalore, and the light disappeared pretty rapidly towards evening.  Why am I telling you this - :D :D :D I am posting some ahemmmm..not so clear photos..that's why :D

lakme fantasy collection lipsticks enrich satins 131
lakme fantasy collection lipsticks enrich satins 131

lakme fantasy collection lipsticks enrich satins 131

My take on this shade:  Perfect for the lighter-skin girls.  Darker skin tones would find this a little difficult to wear and not look washed out.  The finish is non-shimmery and almost matte, and I wish Lakme would make more shades in this finish.

Cost:  Rs. 225

Product provided by PR.


Apr 20, 2011

Lakme Enrich Satins Lipstick - 137

The lipstick I am test-driving today - Lakme Enrich Satins 137 - a rust-brown-orange mixed colour with a generous dose of shimmer.  Part of the Lakme Fantasy Collection, this lipstick is one of the 8 shades (says the knowledgeable Rati) released some time back.

Cost:  Rs. 225

lakme enrich satins fantasy collection lipstick 137

Swatches:  I have taken a couple of swatches because the shade looks a bit different depending on the light - thanks to the shimmer present in it.

lakme enrich satins fantasy collection lipstick 137 swatches

lakme enrich satins fantasy collection lipstick 137

The colour, on it's own, seemed quite pretty.  Past experience with this colour, though, has convinced me that this just does not work for me :(  The lipstick looks a strange orangey colour on me, and not the orange that's quite the favorite among a lot of bloggers right now!

In my opinion, this is a great shade for someone with a lighter skin tone.  As for the consistency and staying power - no complaints.  It stays on about 2-3 hours, and does not dry my lips out.  My only complaint, I like a less frosty finish to my lipstick - but that's just my personal preference..

Product provided by brand.


What's On Your Nails Today?

Me, I am wearing Lotus Colour Dew Nail Enamel - Peach Perfect (99).

Apr 19, 2011

Clean-Up-the-Pantry Cake

Every once in a while, I have to clean up my kitchen - and then I find things very close to their expiry dates.  Yesterday's discovery was the Betty Crocker Pancake mix...and a bottle of strawberry preserve (jam?)...and some maple syrup.

I really didn't expect it to turn out into anything identifiable, leave alone edible, so I never did bother taking photos while making it.  There is no method to this recipe (if it can be called so!).

pancake mix box cake strawberry recipe

Abouth 3/4 pack of leftover pancake mix (Betty Crocker)
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Hardly any sugar at home - so about 1/4 cup powdered sugar and the rest I added maple syrup till the batter tasted sweet enough.
Strawberry preserve - had pieces of strawberry in it, so mashed that up a bit and added - about 1/2 cup
Milk - enough quantity to get this mix to a cake batter consistency.

Bake at 180 C for - okay it took ages to get done, so bake until the top starts to resemble a cake.  Insert a skewer or something to check if it's done.  Allow to cook a bit, slice, and wonder at how the thing ever got baked :D :D :D  It's more like a huge muffin rather than cake, but quite yummy..

Apr 18, 2011

Review: Lakme Enrich Lipstick - 138

Part of the Lakme Fantasy collection which came some time back, the shade 138 is a dark wine-like colour that I wouldn't really have picked up on my own.  That said, I guess it can be carried off by some people - I had this friend in office who is about the same shade as I am, and she used to wear these dark colours and look amazing!

lakme fantasy collection lipsticks enrich 138 review
lakme fantasy collection lipsticks enrich 138 review

The shade to me seems like a wine shade with a lot of silver frost/shimmer in it.  I am not a big fan of the frost finish.  It's a darker colour, but the swatches look different depending on how the light falls on my hand, mostly because of the shimmer.  It has a bit of a brown to it, and in fact seems a bit brown on my lips as it fades off.

lakme fantasy collection lipsticks enrich 138 review

I tried this shade twice.  It didn't dry my lips out and lasted about 2-3 hours.  Even when it did disappear after my lunch, it left a slight tint on my lips which was quite nice.  I am not very bothered by smells in lipsticks, and this has a slight fruity smell (it seemed fruity to me!) that is quite okay.

lakme fantasy collection lipsticks enrich 138 review

The only problem I had was, as I said, the shimmer.  It's not a finish I generally pick up, plus I somehow manage to get shimmer all around my lip area :|  :|  My personal likes/dislikes apart, the quality of the lipstick is quite decent.  It claims to provide sun protection and does not dry my lips out.

Cost: Rs. 225

Product provided by brand.