Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A tale of 9 Facial Oils -The Good' s and The So-So's (plus a bonus!)

I am going to skip the 1st and the best.
Not cos I am crazy, but cos I already reviewed it here

So thats Marula Oil out of my way.

I still have 8 left.
So lets start from left to right as per the picture.

Note: I am only going to briefly touch on the claims of the oil (cos you can just google them better than me saying all about it) and explain more about what benefit I personally got from using them. 

Baobab Oil:
Claims - moisturizing, useful for extreme dry skin and hair

My experience -> I find that this oil is easily absorbed into skin and good for sensitive skin like the one around my lips after an exfoliation. I am not sure what the natural fragrance of these oils are, but the Aura Cacia one I use is pretty okay for me. I find this oil both useful for day and night time use.
I haven't used it on hair and probably wouldn't.

Repurchase or Not? I am not sure. I may. I haven't seen any magic happening with this one like my experience with Marula. But then this is good for lightweight hydration. I haven't experienced any brightening effect with this. Cant comment on anti-aging effects as I am only on the early 30s.

Elixir De Beaute from Institut Karite
Claims - Beauty Oil

My Experience -> I bought this on a sale from UO and since most of the websites with review or info on this product was in French, I honestly didn't expect much from this oil. From usage, I find this to be a very general purpose facial oil for hydration and some nice fragrance. This is more of a body oil for me than a facial oil as I couldnt find much difference in skin tone from using this.
Because of its light weight texture, I use this for mixing with my foundation or as a prep for face before makeup.
Its best suited for day wear.

Repurchase or Not? Nah. I use this and TBS's moringa beauty oil for the same purpose and TBS's oil is much cheaper.

Carrot Seed Oil
Claims  - helps balance both oily and dry complexions, heals damaged skin, and helps aged skin

My Experience -> You need a weak nose to use this one. I am pretty tolerant of fragrances and I cant stand this one. Only the thought that this has helped me with my severe pigmentation and sun damage has sustained me so far! The medicinal almost bitter smell that this oil emits cannot easily be countered even by mixing with some beauty oils like the Institut Karite one.
This is best suited to be used at night, but cos of the smell, I would suggest using this after sun set as this oil helps with sun damage.
I have found that using this oil after a day in the beach helps reduce the pigmentation on my face.

Repurchase or Not? Definitely. But I will also be purchasing some nice-scented beauty oil I can mix this one with.

Neem Oil
Claims  -So Many! Anti-oxidant, disinfectant, healing etc etc

My Experience -> When I was younger and in the throes of the teen-acne pain, I used to apply a paste of neem leaves on my face overnight and it worked superbly well. I also used to wash my hair in water boiled and cooled with neem leaves in it, to treat dandruff.
So neem oil is no stranger to me.
I use it on a 'need-to-only' basis - when I have a stubborn pimple or when I have a case of scaly scalp.
Because of its medicinal smell, this oil is not something I want to use daily. It doesn't have any significant hydration or de-pigmentation benefits.

Repurchase or Not? Definitely.This is like a healing oil that I use on my face in case of breakouts, wounds etc, so this is like First Aid for Face for me.

Andrea Garland Violet Hydrating Facial Oil with Seabuckthorn
Claims - promote natural cellular regeneration, help reduce the appearance of fine lines and balance moisture levels to restore skin's healthy radiance

My Experience -> I am on the fence with this one. I've used it in sprints of 2 weeks for 2-3 times. Each time I get different results. Sometimes I can see a serious difference in how my skin looks and feels. Sometimes its Meh.
The only consistent result has been the good hydration it provides.
The oil is thicker than a usual facial oil like the TBS one, so I'd recommend using this at night. 
Because of the thicker consistency, I don't recommend mixing this with foundation or cream.

Repurchase or Not? I cannot recommend it nor can I not recommend it. Its confusing. So my suggestion is if you like vintage packaging and want to take a chance, you may want to try this to see if any effect.

Grape Seed Oil and Almond Oil
Claims - Antioxidant, emollient and prevents sun damage

 My Experience -> I use both these oils for:
- as carrier oils for essential oils like Neem or Tea Tree oil.
- Makeup removal including eye makeup (works fantastically well)
- Mixing with foundation to get a more 'dewy' effect
Repurchase or Not? Oh yeah!

The Body Shop Moringa Oil
Claims - gives instant hydration and a shimmering finish.

 My Experience - One of the rare instances when the benefits actually match the claims. This is a lightweight floral scented daytime oil, perfect for a quick prep of face before makeup. This gives a nice dewy finish and a sheen to the skin. On days when my skin looks pretty good, I just apply this and my sunscreen.

Repurchase or Not? I like this but I may also try a variant of TBS's oil.

Marula Oil still rules!

BONUS point:
I've been using oil all my life for facial skin care. I started with coconut oil (both pure & medicated versions) moved on to olive, castor, sesame and saffron oil and later to the essential oils.
After my trial and errors, this is what I found:

- For Hydration (all skin types): Coconut oil is the best. I suggest using coconut half an hour before bath so the more oily feel can be washed away. At night, massage in the oil and apply a warm wet-wash cloth over face for 5-10mins so the oil is absorbed.
Olive oil is the next best option.

- For Brightening effect: Marula oil has worked best for me. Another option is a medicated mix of Coconut oil and Turmeric (if you want me to explain this in a post, comment/message and let me know)

- For day-time sheen/shimmer/fragrance use: TBS's Beauty Oils.

- For mixing with foundation/creams: I suggest Grapeseed or Almond oil. Coconut oil would also work as well.

- Best Multipurpose Facial oil: You guessed it, Coconut Oil!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The One and The only Facial Oil you'd ever need..

And I am not kidding. Though I feel super stupid saying that, cos after all its not like I'm a certified "oil' expert or like I've tried all the facial oils ever. But this is a honest review from the heart and I've experimented with a bunch of facial oils and if it helps anyone, that's all the good I hope for!

Almost every brand seems to have one or other facial oil and I don't think one lifetime is enough to test all these and come up with the best.
But for me, if any facial oil could come close to being the one and only facial oil you'd need based on the effect it has, I believe it would be this one - African Botanicals Pure Marula Oil

Courtesy - African Botanics website
I had bought this a long time back and didnt really consider this one, till this Winter started.

Honestly I didn't expect much except for good hydration. I am an old hand with oils; I use oils daily on my face, body and hair. My go-to favorites are Coconut and Rose Hip oil.
I never really expected this one to work, cos a lot of the new oil-craze feels like hype to me.

But boy! Does this work!

I wish I'd taken some before photos so I could show you the difference it made.

But here is what I noticed after 2 weeks of applying this daily at night before sleep:
  • My skin feels super hydrated. I don't need any moisturizer except sunscreen (my skin type is normal, but in winter I tend to get dry patches around eye and nose area)
  • My face looks brighter and not the usual tired look I sport. Its like there is a sheen to my skin, which I usually try & achieve with a  subtle illuminator.
  • I'd some pigmentation on my face especially around mouth area. All gone now and that is the quickest that pigmentation has faded for me
  • I don't need much foundation or concealer now to make my complexion look even or bright
  • A lot more compliments and questions ! :)

Overall: I wish I hadn't spend so much money on de-pigmentation creams earlier! And I also wish Marula oil was a bit cheaper (its like 80$+, Ouch!) . But all is fair in the name of beauty, right? :(

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New in Town: Sephora Favorites "Give Me Some Nude Lip" lip color set

This kit has lesser # of products than the last Sephora lip kit which had 6. But this seems to have 2 full sized lippies, so YAY!

I like the shape of the box. Items from left to right - NARS Dolce Vita (full size), Marc Jacobs lip liner in Prim(rose), NUDESTIX Lip + Cheek Crayon in Whisper(full size), Tarte Tarteist Lip Paint in Namaste Nude and Laura Mercier Lipstick in Miky Way

I love all the shades in the set except for the lipstick which washes me out. Not a fan for the lip paint formula either. NARS lipstick also kinda disappointed me, cos its a bit too sheer. I like super excited for this one, but it was like MEH on swatch.

Formula wise, I liked MJ lipliner and Nudestix the best. Shade-wise, loved NARS Dolce Vita and MJ Lip liner.

Final Thoughts: Would I recommend this? Yes, if you are a newbie like me to all the products in the set and is planning to try them out. The 2 full sized products alone makes it worth the money!

Now Ranting: On What Bugs Me About Sephora...

And generally any other makeup counter with a helpful lady behind it, trying to give me 'useful' advise on foundation is -

They end pushing either orangey or too-dark foundations on me.
This tragedy can strike you even if you listen to all those MUA gurus in Youtube, who advises us on picking the right color foundation for our skin tone.

Note: This is probably a post for women of color like me, especially of South Asian origin or descent ( i.e. India etc).


Not saying everyone faced this problem. Not saying anything against orangey or dark foundation, if that is what you want and like. And lastly I am not trying to come off as 'pro-whitening' that is so vogue in Asian countries.

All am saying is - my face is a mosaic of skin tones and usually I find that most Sales Assistants in Sephora and other beauty department stores end up pushing foundations in the darkest of my skin tones at me, making my face, neck and decollete all in different colors. This has happened so many times. I try telling the SA that what I want is probably something that would not just match my chin or one small area of my face, but my entire face and neck and possibly lower, but they never seem to get it.

The last straw for me, was the nice lady at Sephora who tried pushing a Bare Minerals foundation at me. Let me be very honest - she was super nice. But she kept trying to tell me my 'perfect' shade was a foundation shade that only matched my lower chin, but was too orangey and dark for rest of my face.  In fact, after she did a demo, I looked so weird that she didn't argue much when I said, "Sorry No Way".

Weird? Is it just me who has this problem of having a mosaic skin tone and wondering which shade would go with most of the face? I dont think so, cos I've seen and heard similar problems from my other S-Asian friends, so I hope I am speaking for a good-sized population here.

I was discussing this strange phenomenon with my MUA friend when she explained it to me and it was like seeing the Light. And it made sense, so much sense!

Reasons are (as per her and as per me now):
1. Most white women go for a slightly tanned look and hence prefer a slightly darker tone for their foundation. Since a lot of SAs in Sephora and other dept stores and MUA Youtube gurus are of fairer even skin tones, their choices and way of choosing becoming a general guideline which the rest of us end up adopting.

2. We all suffer from pigmentation. But the way it affects us varies by skin tone. Fair skinned (white) ladies get freckles etc. Olive/Brown skin tones like mine gets dark patches which ends up making parts of our face in a different tone(like for me, my under-eye area is fairest while my under-chin is darkest). It is not targeted like a freckle and cant easily be covered by concealer.

Makes sense? It did to me.

So now what?

Now, you can chose to look at the foundations you bought and didnt work for you and see it in a new light.

What I do now? I find that I need to mix my foundations (I get a dark and a light shade in my fav formula and mix them to my right consistency) , apply a corrector around my darker patches and generally smile & ignore the shade advise I get from SAs here.

Another change I noticed was - I ended up using concealer much less and corrector (yellow and peach shade) more. 

And it works.  

Tell me what you think - did this make sense to you?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Review in Pics: NYX Matte Lipstick in Aria

Back again with another Review entirely in pics...

These lippies have the old black packaging..So happy NYX has the new improved colorful packaging now!

Matte? Hmm.. It looks satiny, it feels satiny, it finishes off Satiny...  Anyways, the transparent middle section is useful.

Swatched against what I thought may be a possible dupe, Milani's Sangria. But Nah, not a dupe.
This isnt matte in the truest sense of matte. It gives a beautiful lasting Satiny finish. Avg staying power but leaves stain. Easy to apply and I love the color.

Final Thoughts: Not a 'Matte' matte, but still a beautiful easy-on-pockets color for Winter. Love it and I will probably try to pick another shade if I find NYX on sale.

NYX is now available in Canada at

Friday, January 15, 2016

Review in 2 mins - Sonia Kashuk Perfecting Luminous Foundation

I'm finding it boring to read a long review about a product - mainly cos I read a review when I am about to purchase it and I just don't have much time to spare for all the stories I read.

So this is what I thought I'd try from now - a review entirely in 2 mins.
How you may ask?

My idea is to add my review as comments on the pictures cos after all a pic should be worth 1000 words and I could just add my few to finish it off.

So lets try!

Packaging - Easy to use, hygienic as less exposure to light and air

Formula - Easy to blend, contains shimmer particles, medium to stronger build able coverage

Finish - Luminous, can be a bit shimmery, better suited for Winter time for normal/oily skins.
Final Thoughts - A pretty good foundation if you're okay with some shimmers on face and fits within the narrow shade range.
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