The Body Shop Tea Tree Toner Review

Girls, I’m going to share my favourite toner with you today. It is the Tea Tree toner from The Body Shop.
To begin with, let me tell you that I have very oily skin. Even in the harshest of Delhi winters, I need to use a toner on my face to control oil and sebum, and to feel fresh.

About The Body Shop Tea Tree Toner:Features a new shake to activate refreshing formula to effectively tone the skin, remove traces of impurities while leaving skin looking matte and without drying out your skin.

Claims: Sweeps away traces of impurities for clearer looking skin. Leaves skin looking mattified.

Main ingredients:

·         Community Trade organic tea tree oil from Kenya – an ingredient renowned for its anti-bacterial benefits, an infusion perfect to help blemished skin

·         Tamanu Oil from Madagascar – traditionally used to promote healthy-looking skin and has fantastic skin moisturising properties

·         Lemon Tea Tree from Kenya – Anti-bacterial to give the products a zesty fragrance

Instructions: Dampen a piece of cotton pad with Tea Tree Clearing Toner and wipe it gently upwards and outwards without dragging your skin.

Price: I bought it for Rs. 595 in October 2011, but now the price has been increased to Rs. 620.

Quantity: 250 mL.

All the above information has been sourced from The Body Shop‘s Indian website. 
Packaging: The bottle is a clear to translucent bottle, mostly covered with the label. It has a flip-top cap, with a rightly sixed hole for dispensing the toner. The cap does not open while travelling, but since it has a liquid inside, you may want to be extra carefull while travelling and pack it properly to avoid any spilling, just in case.

Consistency and color

Consistency: The Body Shop tea tree toner has corn starch in it, which settles onto the bottom of the bottle, forming a white layer. The toner is otherwise a green, clear liquid. You need to shake the bottle to mix the corn starch and the liquid, which gives you a light green cloudy liquid. On a cotton ball, it comes as a very light green liquid, nothing to worry with the color.

Before shaking the bottle (note the layer of corn starch at the base)

After shaking the bottle (note the cloudy green mixture)
Odour/ Smell: This toner smells quite strongly of tea tree, but the smell fades 1-2 minutes after application. First time users may find the smell too strong, though.

I have been using various toners on my skin for more than 2 years now. I religiously follow the CTM routine for skincare. I had previously been using the Lotus Herbals Basiltone Toner, and it wasn’t doing much to control oil on my face. It was way too mild for my very oily skin. I happened to research online for good toners for oily skin, available in India, and The Body Shop Tea Tree toner seemed to be a big hit. This was my first purchase from The Body Shop, and I’m totally happy with it.

Since I so love this toner, I am only going to write my experience with it, instead of the pros and cons.

·         On first few applications, the toner led to some mild tingling sensation, which stayed only for a few seconds. Another friend of mine also reported the same to me. But within 2-3 days, my skin got habituated I guess. Same happened with my friend too. So, I guess this shouldn’t be a big deterrent.

·         With practice, one can judge how much of the toner should be used each time. I place the cotton ball on the lid, invert it 4 times, and that’s exactly how much I need every time. If I go overboard, it makes my skin a bit stretchy.  

·         This toner has really helped in clearing out my skin. It leaves the skin feeling refreshed and matte, and it helps in reducing the size of minor pores around my nose. It keeps the skin mattified for some time, and helps in reducing breakouts.

·         Since a very small amount is needed for each application, one bottle will last me for more than a year. I have been using this toner twice a day for the last 7 months, and you can see how much of it is still left in the bottle. I wonder when this will get over.

·         I also use it for spot treatment for acne. Just take 1-2 drops on a cotton ball, and place it on the eruption for 1 minute. This helps in quicker healing of the eruption, and helps reduce the redness.

·         You will need to use a moisturiser with this toner after each application (even if you have oily skin).

·         It also picks up any last traces of make-upleft on your skin, even after removing make-up and washing your face.

·         The price may be a deterrent for some, but trust me, this can be the best investment for your skin, if you have oily skin. Plus, it will last you for atleast a year.

Verdict: I absolutely love The Body Shop Tea Tree toner, and I am definitely going to repurchase it, once this bottle gets over, that is. I strongly recommend this to girls with oily, acne prone skin.


Till next time, take care!
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Sunday Pamperings (on Monday): DIY hair treatment

Hello girls! Sorry, I missed posting this article yesterday due to a very hectic schedule, but I’m still uploading the ‘Sunday pampering’ article for this week, so that you are ready in time for next Sunday, to pamper yourself.

This week, we’ll discuss some methods of taking care of your hair at home.

Due to excessive exposure to pollutants, imbalanced diet, hormonal changes, dehydration, etc., the hair quality gets poor, and we start suffering from numerous hair problems such as hairfall, split ends, thin hair, dandruff, etc. most shampoos and conditioners contain harmful chemicals, which spoil the hair quality in the long run.

Let’s see how to take some extra care of your hair this Sunday.

Below are some of the ways in which you can take care of your hair:

·        Hair Oil: oiling the hair is the best thing you can do to your hair.

When I was young, I remember my mother used to oil my hair after every wash. As I stepped into adolescence, I started hating going to school with oil in my hair daily. So I had to convince my mom to stop applying oil to my hair. Mom got convinced after a long long time. She oils her hair till date (lightly), and she has thick, jet black hair till now.

Anyways, coming to the point now. Oil can be applied in the following ways to the hair:

o   Warm some oil, and dip a cotton ball into the oil. Squeeze out excess oil, and gently dab this cotton ball onto the scalp to apply oil.

o   Warm some oil, and directly apply it to the scalp with your fingertips, massaging gently.

o   You may apply oils to your hair overnight, or 1-2 hours before you shampoo your hair.
o   I’d advice you against going out of home with oiled hair, as oil will attract more dirt and dust to the hair, and you’ll end up with dirty hair.


The following are the effects/ uses of different oils for hair:


o   Almond oil:it is a rich source of Vitamin-E and helps in reducing hairfall. It also makes the hair long, strong, thick and shiny. It nourishes the hair, and helps smooth hair cuticles.

o   Olive oil:it nourishes and conditions the hair, and improves the hair elasticity and strength.  Pure olive oil has anti-bacterial actions. It destroys the bacteria on the head and promotes the growth of strong hair.

o   Coconut oil: it is an excellent hair conditioner, and has the best moisture-retaining capacity amongst all oils.

·        Hair masks/ packs:

Hair masks/ packs are aimed at deep conditioning the hair strands, and to provide nourishment to the hair. They help in repairing damaged hair, and to add shine and lustre to lifeless hair.

You may prepare hair masks at home, or buy readymade ones. Apply the pack to hair strands generously and uniformly, leaving out the scalp, and leave it on the hair for 10-15 minutes. Then provide moist heat to the hair by wrapping a hot-towel on the head. This will aid in better penetration of the nutrients into the hair, and give you shiny, healthy hair.

Some DIY hair-mask recipes, using easily available ingredients, are:


o   Banana hair mask-1: Blend together 1 banana, one egg, 3 tablespoons honey, 3 tablespoons milk, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a blender. Spread the mixture through your hair and leave it on for 15 to 30 minutes.

o   Banana hair mask- 2: Mix a banana with half a teaspoon of almond oil, and apply to the hair.

o   Mix together 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 tablespoon on apple cider vinegar. Apply onto the hair and leave for 15-30 minutes, then wash off.

o   Blend together 6-8 strawberries and 1 tablespoon of Mayonnaise. Apply this pack to the hair, and wash off after 15-30 minutes.

o   Fenugreek (methi) anti-dandruff mask: soak a handful of fenugreek (methi) seeds in water overnight. In the morning, blend in a blender to get a thick paste. Apply this paste to the hair and scalp, and wash off after 15-30 minutes.

o   You may also use readymade hair masks, but since this article is all about DIY/ at-home remedies, I’ll not discuss them here.

Some tipsfor home hair remedies:

·        Try to treat your hair atleast once every week to maintain its shine and strength

·        Try avoiding excessive use of heat styling equipments such as blow dryer, hot irons and curling rods on your hair as much as possible.

·        Your hair will love being treated with a hot-towel, after you have applied oil/ hair mask.

·        To get rid of any split ends, get your hair trimmed every 2-3 months.

·        Don’t ever step out of home with oil on your hair. It will only attract more dust to the hair.

I hope you liked this post.

Sorry for the delay again. I will try and be regular from next week.

Take care..


Image sources: [1][2][3][4][5]
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Maybelline Lip Smooth Color and Care lip balm-Mandarin

Hey girls. Here is the review of the Maybelline lip smooth lip balm in the shade Mandarin.



About the lip balm: Maybelline Smooth Lip balm revitalizes dry & dull lips and gives moisturizing shine, softens and smoothens lips with SPF 16. Maybelline Smooth Lip balm is dermatologically tested.

Price: Rs. 99 for 4g.

Availability: Easily available in India

Packaging: the Maybelline lip balms come in a tube, with a rotatable mechanism. You just need to rotate the lower part clockwise or anti-clockwise to take out the product or put it back in. Thus the packaging makes the balm very hygienic.

I got this lip balm free with a Maybelline haul some time back, and this is my first lip balm from Maybelline. Prior to this, I used to use Vaseline or Nivea lip balms. Only when I started using the Maybelline lip balm did I realize what my lips were missing!

Effects: The balm provides very good amount of moisture content to the lips. Now my lips never feel dry. Just a single coat of the balm is sufficient to provide enough moisturization for 3-4 hours.

Texture: The lip balm is smooth, and you can apply it to the lips very easily.

Color: These balms come in a range of colors, and the color of the tube corresponds with the color of the balm inside. This particular shade, Mandarin, is orange in color. Yes, you read that right. It is orange. Although the color does not show up on my pigmented lips, I am sure it will look good on girls with non-pigmented lips.


Below are the swatches (on the back of my hand, since the color was not showing on my lips): sorry for the crappy pictures, they were clicked from mobile phone camera


Pros:

·         Very easy to apply

·         Moisturising formula. It will be good for girls with dry lips too.

·         Adds a subtle hint of color to the lips (the color may not show up on pigmented lips, though)

·         Has SPF-16, so your lips stay protected in the sun

·         Hygienic tube packaging. I do not like potted lip-products.

·         Easy to carry, 
      Can be worn under lipstick too, to keep the lips moisturized for long.
·         Affordable price and easy availability

Cons:

·         Maybelline tests on animals. No other con.

Verdict:This lip balm does what it claims, and it is a good buy!!! IMO, its a must buy for its price!

Rating:9.5/ 10

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Lakme Cheek Artist-Kiss of a Rose Review and swatches

Hi girls… Have you ever picked up a make-up product at the spur of the moment, knowing it will not suit your skin? I’m sure most of you have. I do it quite frequently.

Today I am reviewing a cream blush in a stick (the only one I have, because I have super oily skin). It’s the Lakme Cheek Artist in the shade ‘Kiss of a Rose’. This blush has got mixed reviews from different people. Read on to know how I found it.



About the blush: Lakme Cheek Artist multi-purpose stick glides magically over your cheeks for a natural blush. Feminine and fun, these colors blend beautifully on all skin tones.Get those dreamy rose-kissed princess cheeks.

Availability: easily available in India. It is available in 2 shades.

Price: Rs. 395 for 6g.

Packaging: The Lakme Cheek Artist is a stick blush, hence it comes in a screw-to-reveal-blush form. It comes in a pink and green cardboard box (I do not have the pics). The blush comes in a mauve-pink case, with golden inscription on it. On removing the lid, the blush has another small, clear lid to keep the blush safe. On removing this second lid, you get the blush.

This was one very random make-up buy for me. I have very oily skin, and I always ensure I stay away from cream blushes, or the ones that come in stick forms. I still don’t know why I bought this blush in the first place. BUT.. I like it… Yes, I do. On the occasional days that I wear it, it does an ok job.Despite the fact that it is creamy, it stays on my skin for quite some time, around 3-4 hours, after which it starts fading slowly, but does not disappear. I was not expecting it to stay on my skin even for an hour, but it stays. When I need to wear it for the whole day, I just brush some powder blush in a similar shade on top of it, and it again stays for 5-6 hours, before starting to fade.


See the swatches below:

Color: The color of “kiss of a rose” is true to its name. Its a rosy pink blush, suitable for daily wear or office wear. It is a matte blush, devoid of any shimmers/ glitters.

Texture: the blush spreads on the skin easily, but spreading it with a blush-brush may be a problem. I usually dot the blush on my cheekbone, and spread it with clean fingers.

Staying power is good. I have already said a lot about it above.

Pros:

·         Decent color payoff

·         Creamy texture

·         Staying power is good. If it can stay on my oily skin, it can stay on normal/ dry skin too.

·         Easy to carry stick form

·         Spreads easily


Cons:

·         Since the blush is in stick form, you need to dot it on the cheek and spread with your fingers. I find this a bit unhygienic at times. I prefer using a brush for my blushes. This may especially be a problem for acne-prone skin.

·         I did not find any other major con with this product, but I just somehow don’t love this either.


Verdict: This is not my favourite blush, and I am not going to re-purchase it. If you have dry/ normal skin, and if you like cream blushes, you may buy it. But I think there are better products available in the same price category. This one is not a must-buy. I do recommend the shade for dusky skin-tones.

Rating: 6/10

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Lakme 9 to 5 lipcolor Almond Ice Review and swatches

Hey girls… Today I’m reviewing Almond Ice lipcolor from the Lakme 9 to 5 range. Read on to know how it has fared with me.


About the lipcolor: Lakme Nine To Five Lip Color is creamy lipstick that combines amazing comfort with staying power and keeps you looking fresh for hours.

Price: Rs. 375 for 3.6mL

Availability: easily available in India

Packaging: The Lakme 9 to 5 lipcolors come in a metallic pink case, which looks quite good to me. The shade number is written on the bottom of the case. It shuts properly, so you can easily carry this lipstick in your handbag.

This is one of the very few products which I have from Lakme. I grew out of the brand some years back, because at that time, Lakme had been increasing their prices without improving on the quality. But of late, I think the brand has shown some improvement, and it is slowly getting back its market share. But it is still not what it used to be.



Coming to the lipcolor now. Almond Ice is one of those everyday shades, which goes well with almost all outfits. Its a light brown lipcolor, with a very subtle hint of pink, and also has shimmers, which are not too apparent. You can see the shimmers in the lipstick itself, but they are not so visible on the swatch or on the lips. This gives the lips a hint of shimmer, without any apparent shimmer (I hope I’m making sense here).

The lipcolor goes on smoothly ont he lips, and it stays for around 3 hours, with coffee in between. It starts fading after that, and it leaves behind a tint.

It smells like a mixture of vanilla and chocolate, but the smell doesn’t linger beyond 10-15 minutes after application.

Pros:

·         Excellent pigmentation

·         Good color payoff..

·         Almond Ice shade covers pigmentation on lips effectively.

·         Lipstick glides smoothly on lips

·         Does not settle into fine lines

·         Moisturising formula. No need of additional lip balm

·         Lipcolor does not bleed from the lips

·         Staying power is around 3 hours on average

·         Sleek packaging, easy to carry

·         Can be removed with any make-up remover (no need of a separate make-up remover, as with some long-stay lipcolors)



Cons:

·         Some of you may find it expensive for a Lakme product, although for the quality, I think the price is justifiable. But that’s a personal opinion.

·         Does not stay from 9 am to 5 pm, as it should be..

·         Transfers to coffee mugs.

·         Has a vanilla-chocolate smell..some of you may not like it. But the smell doesn’t stay for long, so its fine with me.

Verdict: I do recommend the Lakme 9 to 5 Almond Ice lipcolor, especially for dusky beauties with pigmented lips.

Rating: 9/10

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Maybelline Hyper Curl Volume Express Waterproof Mascara Review

Hey girls, today I am reviewing the Hyper Curl Mascara from Maybelline.


About the mascara: This mascara has two effects – it instantly builds 3X volume of lashes and curls them for more dramatic effect. The exclusive curl-lock formula holds lashes for upto 18 hours and it is clump free. Its ultra waterproof formula ensures long lasting wear.

Price: Rs. 175 for 9.2mL

Packaging: The mascara tube is a glossy black tube, with the product name written in pink color. The cap/ handle is metallic silver.
The applicator of this mascara is slightly bent at the centre, thus being curved. It helps in easy application of the mascara as the shape of the applicator aligns with the natural curve of the lashes.

The Hyper Curl mascara is not the best mascaras that I have used. It is an average mascara with very average effect.
I have used the Colossal Mascara from Maybelline, and I like that too. This mascara (hyper curl) is a bit toned down in effect, i.e. the eyelash lengthening and volumising effect is slightly lesser than the Colossal mascara, but I prefer Hyper Curl to Colossal for day wear. It never looks OTT (over-the-top) during the day. It adds just the right amount of drama to the eyes for day wear.
The shade that I bought is black (that’s the only one available), and the color payoff is good.
It is also available in the washable version, but I always use waterproof mascaras only, so I bought this one.
Being washable, you cannot remove it with plain water. A separate oil-based make-up remover is required.
Below are the before and after pics:
Before

After
Some other pointers:

·         It is easy to carry mascara
·         Easily available
·         Affordable price
·         Stays on till you remove it with a make-up remover
·         Does not clump
·         It does not add too much volume or length to the eyelashes
Verdict: Buy the Hyper Curl mascara if you need a mascara for office/ day wear on a budget.

Rating: 9/10
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Maybelline Colorsensational Lip Liner 775 Copper Brown Review and swatches

Hey girls… This is a quick review of the Maybelline Colorsensational  lip liner in the shade 775 Copper Brown.

About the lip liner: Keep your lip color looking beautiful with coordinated lip liners that won’t smudge, smear or bleed.

Price: Rs. 210 for 5g.

My experience: I bought this lip liner pencil with the 630 Velvet Beige lipliner from the same brand and range, and this one is just as good. I use this to line my lips, or to fill them with this lip liner, to achieve perfectly defined lips.
The texture is smooth, and it glides easily on the lips. This shade has no shimmer, unlike Velvet Beige. This shade goes well with brown lipsticks/ gloss. It can be used to outline the lips, or as a base for lipsticks or glosses.

Below is the swatch:

Also see comparative swatches of Copper Brown and Velvet Beige lip liners from Maybelline:
swatches with flash

swatches without flash

Pros:
·         Smooth texture, lines the lips easily
·         Suitable for day wear
·         Stays for 3-4 hours
·         Color pay-off is good
·         Easy to carry
·         Will last for a long time
·         Affordable price and easy availability
Cons:

·         Needs to be sharpened with a sharpener.
·         Maybelline tests on animals
Verdict: This is a good lip liner for its price.  
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Sunday Pampering: DIY Pedi-spa at home

It’s Sunday Ladies!!
I love to pamper myself at home on Sundays…. I like to dedicate a few hours to myself on Sundays, and I have come up with a schedule for DIY (do-it-yourself) pampering for myself on Sundays.

I am starting a new series of ‘Sunday Pamperings’ on this blog. I would like to share my Sunday routine with all of you. I have been following these routines since 4-5 year, and they are quite safe and effective in the long run.

We begin with a pedi-spa this week. A pedi-spa or a spa pedicure to keep the feet lovely, refreshed and relaxed. Also, I find parlor-pedicures a bit too unhygienic. I mean, they use the same quipments for everyone, which freaks me out (even if they sterilise them, I don’t like the whole concept).
I prefer doing my own pedicures at minimum cost and minimum risk of infections.
The advantagesof a pedi-spa are:
-you and your feet get relaxed
-all dead skin is removed
-it leaves you with soft skin
-removes tan and brightens skin
Things you’ll need: a big tub (full of warm water), 1-2 cups of milk, handful of rose petals (or rose water, if petals are not available), foot soak/ shampoo, foot scrub, heel buffer/ pumice stone, nail polish remover, nail clip (nail cutter), foot file, nail buffer, foot cream, nail filer, nail polish (clear and coloured)
Procedure:

1.       Remove nail polish from the nails (preferably do it on Saturday night itself. That way, your nails will get some time to breathe!)
2.       Trim your nails and file them to get the desired shape. Remember, toe nails should not be filed round, as that increases the chances on ingrown toe-nails.
3.       Take the tub and fill it with warm water..add milk and rose petals to it, to get that SPA feeling at home. You may also add some foot-soak solution/ mild shampoo in the water.
4.       Sit on a chair and dip your feet in the water for 15 minutes, and relax.
5.       After 15 minutes, take your feet out from the water and wash with plain water.
6.       Scrub your feet with a foot scrub and the heels with a heel buffer/ pumice stone to remove all dead skin. Clip any dead skin from around the nails.
7.       Push back cuticles with a q-tip while the cuticles are still wet.
8.       Wash your feet again and towel dry them properly.
9.       Now moisturise your feet generously with a foot cream. Wear cotton socks and go about your daily activities for some time now (this is optional. It really depends on how much time you have at hand).
10.   When you again have some spare time, buff your nails to get a smooth canvas for nail paints. Apply a clear base coat on your nails. This ensure that nail polish will uniformly glide on the nails, and it prevents the yellowing of nails.
11.   Apply 2 coats of your favourite nail color, and you’re good to go for the whole week!
I hope you liked the post.
Please go ahead and try this for yourself. I do it regularly, and I just love this pedi-spa.
Please leave comments below.

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