Nothing Frivolous About ‘Em

“How much?”

My husband’s eyes flew open in disbelief when I gifted myself a designer handbag on my 35th birthday. “It’s not worth it! It’s not even leather!”

But when he saw me don this most powerful of accessories, his heart did a back-flip, and out of his lips slipped one sound. “Wow!”

Not for nothing this pricing.

Read on – My article in The Hindu 🙂

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/nothing-really-frivolous-about-them/article17529889.ece

19THBAG

Embrace your flaws!

“There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.” Francis Bacon Sr.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/why-you-must-always-pick-your-own-nose/article18714471.ece170604 -OpenPage-flaws

Enough About the Botox!

Every time Shobhaa De hurts anyone’s sentiments (which is pretty often), haters crawl out to target her age and surgical ‘interventions’ as if the fact that she’s had work done reduces her right to an opinion. One early instance that stands out in my mind is when a vibrant and bubbly Sonam Kapoor made fun of Shobhaa De’s ‘plastic-filled’ face, over a cup of coffee with Karan. Sonam justified her stand by declaring that her father has never gone under the knife and how good does he look?
How about hair weaving or transplant? Or that doesn’t count? Or perhaps he’s just never gone in for any procedure and hair just thins for Anil Kapoor at a different rate. God knows he’s always been blessed in that department. When the rest of us mortals start losing hair and pray to God to give us thicker locks, our prayers are purportedly answered when it starts sprouting on our chins. Science has thankfully come up with a solution and has installed Cntrl X and Cntrl Y keys in our hirsute programming. Everyone’s happy. Except maybe the guys who happily go bald.
Is it alright for bald men to criticize someone who’s gone in for weaving, just like those who have never had any plastic surgery feel entitled to criticize those who have gone in for it?
No. It’s not.
We need to stop giving ourselves medals for wearing the “embrace your age and be natural” tag. One time a seriously depressed and tired looking acquaintance said to me, “Oh I never wear make-up,” and preened as she waited for me to gush over her beauteous non-made-up looks. I stared at her in wonder. Does she even own a mirror?
There are some people who don’t wear make-up and still look fabulous, and those that look fabulous even without make-up but still choose to wear it for various reasons. Sometimes it’s just about making a statement. If we want to look bolder, stronger, more grungy, playful or glamourous, we turn to make-up as it helps us achieve these looks. The fact that is often helps us look better doesn’t hurt. So if we start feeling superior because we’re walking around without any make-up on, we really should get off our high horses and not talk about being au natural unless we’re sprouting a unibrow and handlebar moustache.
No one should tell us what an acceptable level of modification is. Our faces, our bodies. We get to decide how far we’re willing to go in this relentless pursuit of beauty. Some blowdry their hair regularly, some go in for chemical treatments. There are those who flaunt grey locks with pride, those who colour their hair just to hide the greys and those who regularly highlight their hair in varying shades of blonde and red. Can’t wait to get longer locks? Clip ‘em in. Don’t like your eye colour? Change it! It’s all good.
So where do we draw the line?
When I asked this question to my husband, he said he wouldn’t like it if I anything injectable done – being traumatised by a certain Bollywood actress’s lips – or went under the knife. Coloured contacts, highlights, lowlights… all else is fine. Of course, I don’t have to listen to him but if I do draw the line at fillers, that doesn’t give me the right to poke fun of those who don’t. A little less judgement, a little more kindness. Please!
Shobaa De recently posted a callous and shallow tweet about our country’s sportspersons. We are entitled to object or bristle, but constant references to her age and her “plastic-face” – things that have nothing to do with her tweet – is a little bit ridiculous. When a singer thinks it’s fair game to call her a “besharam budhiya” – well, that’s just disgusting. It’s not even true, because a “budhiya” is the last thing she looks like. In fact, if one wants to go in for fillers or face-lifts or whatever it is one does at a certain age, they should follow Ms De’s example. We’ve all seen horrific photographs of plastic surgeries gone drastically wrong. Shobha has done nothing very drastic. She looked good when she was young, and has managed to hold on to those looks with a little (or a lot!) help from science. She’s not blown her boobs out of proportion, she’s not fattened her lips to get a pout a la Angelina Jolie. She’s filled in the gaps, nothing more. If she puts her foot in her artfully-enhanced mouth, which she often does, feel free to disagree with her. But really, making fun of her because she’s older, pays attention to her looks, and doesn’t look like a “budhiya” should? Give it a rest.

Mustard Oil for Hair

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I stumbled across a bottle of cold pressed Mustard Oil, which I had picked up from Godrej Nature’s Basket, when cleaning up my kitchen cabinet this afternoon. A quick glance at the expiry date showed me that it had another month to go, but I still wasn’t very comfortable using it for cooking. It had been lying in the shelf, opened, for eleven months, and that called for automatic disqualification for consumption. But that didn’t mean I had to toss it in the bin!

When my elder daughter was born, I had a maid from Bengal who swore by the healing powers of mustard oil. Every time my daughter had a cold, she would apply mustard oil on her back and chest. It helped. Mustard oil is very heaty, and has been used as a remedy for cold for generations in India. I also remembered her massaging mustard hair into my daughter’s scalp, and into her own, and she had jet black hair.  But that of course could be genetic.

So I thought, why not apply it to the hair? Most oils undoubtedly provide intense moisturizing benefits to hair, and it stands to reason that different oils have unique properties. It makes sense to use different oils in order to gain varied benefits. Coconut oil is very cooling, and I stay away from applying it to my scalp in the winter months. Mustard oil is actually the perfect winter oil. In addition, the act of massaging the scalp is very beneficial in itself.

Although cold-pressed oils are expensive, they are a far better alternative to refined oils. In fact, cold-pressed oils can very easily take the place of expensive body lotions, which often contain carcinogenic chemicals. After massaging a generous amount into my scalp and on my hair, I applied a few drops of the oil to my heels, which are now encased in socks. It’s been a lazy day and I have all the time in the world to pamper myself – and that’s what I intend to do these holidays.

I plan to shampoo my hair after around three hours, later this evening. Here’s hoping that the oil will not be a nightmare to wash off. I do hope that the result will be soft, shiny locks!

Yaay for Olay!

For the longest time I cleansed my face using nothing more than a face cleanser, some water, and my fingers. That was all I needed, right?

Wrong! 

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Ever since I started using the Olay Pro-x. my skin has felt softer and smoother. It also looks clearer. I use it twice and day, morning and evening, and am super-thrilled with the results.

Because of the thorough cleansing, moisturisers and serums work better and are far more effective.

I am currently using the Korres Vitamin C Wild Rose moisturiser, which works wonders at diminishing sport, freckles and any discoloration, and evening out skin tone. I was using Hope in a Jar earlier but stopped as according to the Good Guide it ranks pretty low on ingredient safety.

Before buying any products, I recommend running them through the Good Guide, which lets you know whether that product uses any known carcinogenic products or not. I must admit, I don’t use this website as often as I should, but hope to change that in the future.

Okay, enough off-topic rambling. Back to the Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System.

It is fabulous! It is battery-operated, which is why it is easy to use often. I just keep it in my mug along with my toothpaste and tooth brush – that’s how convenient the battery system makes it. I’m glad that there’s no fiddly wire hanging about. This is a great plus, in my opinion, and makes it as easy as brushing your teeth.

You can also use it with any exfoliating product, unlike the Neutrogena’s Wave Sonic Spinning Power cleansing brush, which needs only Neutrogena cleansing pads. I am presently using the Olay exfoliator that came with the brush. I’m not a great fan of Olay products as they make me break out (the products themselves are fabulous; it’s just me), so I tried the exfoliator with some amount of trepidation and it’s been wonderful so far.

The Clarisonic retails at 200 dollars, and possibly cleans a little deeper, but as long as my face is getting a great cleansing, and my skin is looking better, I don’t really care about spending the extra moolah. It’s 6 times the price, for perhaps slightly better cleansing action if reviews are to be believed. But then again, there were a few reviewers who felt like the Olay cleanser was actually better.

The Clarisonic also has an automatic timer which tells you when it’s time to move on to another area of your face, and when to stop. This could be viewed as another pro in favour of Clarisonic, but I don’t even bother about that.  I just use my watch! That’s why I bought it after all.

Although the Clarisonic may have a better technology, for now, if you simply cleanse your face with your fingers like most of us do, perhaps its time for an upgrade. Try the Olay Pro-X, and there will be no looking back! It’s a great product, at a great price. Don’t buy it in India though, if you have a choice. I ordered it online at Amazon.com and had it delivered to a friend, who brought it with him when he visited Bangalore.

 

 

 

 

Naked!

I just got myself the Naked palette, by Urban Decay, and I’m in love! I must confess that I wasn’t really an eyeshadow kinda gal. Where’s the time? But it just takes one or two successful experiments to become a convert. I had an ancient eyeshadow palette of 4 shades that had been hanging around in my makeup case for ever. I had tried applying it randomly before, with not the best results, and then one fine day, after browsing through a couple of articles on eyeshadow application, I got it right.

I started applying eyeshadow regularly, and realised that I needed a new palette. My current one was at least 7 years old, and although my eyelids didn’t react in any unsavory way, I wasn’t about to push my luck. Sephora to the rescue!

I browsed through the website, and it didn’t take me long to realise that I had to get the Naked palette. So there’s Naked, and Naked 2. The reason I opted for Naked is that they seemed to have warmer shades, while the Naked 2 shades are more pearly. Another reason I opted for the Naked palette was that it came with an eyeshadow primer – something I didn’t have. Naked 2 comes with a lip gloss, and well, I have enough and more of those buggers! So for me it meant a little more value for money.

My husband, who was in the United States for work, brought the palette back for me. Ohh, excitement!!

The Naked palette has 12 eyeshadows, and can be used morning or night to create a number of different looks and shades. It has two matte colours, and the others are all shimmery.
This palette suits all skin colours as all the shades are neutrals. It’s not cheap at 50 dollars, but it’s going to last and last, so I figured it was a good buy and worth the money. I use it almost everyday, and I feel ‘naked’ without it! When applying at night I don’t bother applying primer as I don’t need it to last beyond a few hours of partying. But when I apply the eyeshadow during the day, I apply the primer – and it lasts and lasts! If you’re a working gal, I’d recommend you wear the primer daily so your eyeshadow stays on all day and you look gorgeous from morning to evening.

I use the brush that came with the palette. It’s perfect for me, and I’m not going to bother investing in another eyeshadow brush as long as this one lasts.

If you don’t apply eyeshadow, you’re missing out. You know it. I knew it too, but I didn’t bother earlier, because, as I said, I never got it right. But work at it – its worth it!

Nars Blush

Nars Blush

I picked up a Nars blush some time ago – colour Mata Hari. I chose it because it seemed to be rather matte in the reviews – I’m not too gung-ho about sparkly blush although it does lend a glow to the face. It’s just a matter of personal choice.

So anyhow, I picked up this Nars blush, and its a lovely rose-petal pink colour. However, it just didn’t seem to spread well on my cheeks, and they always ended up looking kinda blotchy after application. I tried a number of brushes, but nothing really seemed to help, and I’d always rub my face with a bit of tissue to remove the excess blush and just blend the remainder in, until there was almost nothing left on my face.

Then finally I went online and tried to look at some youtube vidoes that tell you how to apply the Nars blush, and while I didn’t find what I was looking for – maybe I didn’t search hard enough – I did come across a great tip that worked like magic.

Use a kabuki brush and buff it in.

Now why didn’t I think of that! I have a fabulous Guerlain kabuki brush that I use everyday with my Bare Essentials mineral foundation. I buffed the blush in with my kabuki and voila, I was gorgeous. I had an instant, lovely, pink glow on my cheeks, that stayed put for the better part of the day. Nars blushes have amazing staying power, so no surprise that! So now I’m finally thrilled with my purchase.

I live in Bangalore, and my (what else?) IT professional hubby makes a trip to the US almost every month. My shopping list consists mostly of Sephora products, so I unfortunately don’t have the luxury of returning them if they don’t suit me. I just try to make the best use of what I have in such cases. So if a moisturiser makes me break out – it goes on my neck! I thought my Nars blush was going to be relagated to daily wear for random stuff like grocery shopping, and for lunches out or parties I’d use this Clinique sample that I love and I’m planning to buy next. Clinique Sunset Glow. What a blush! I love it. I’ve been using it forever, but without going into details let me just say the Nars blush is formulated with better ingredients, and has more staying power. I have wanted to try it out for a while now and now that I’m using my kabuki, I’m Happy! 🙂