La Roche Posay Effaclar Serum

I always believed that turning 30 is something everyone else around me would do, but that I would bypass that route somehow. It's not that I think 30 is old, but it's something my 15-year-old self (I have the humor of an adolescent to prove this one) still has issues coming to grips with. Even my skin seems to be stuck in a perpetual acne-prone state that started when I was 15. Not only that, but my skin has become combination to oily, more dull, and more prone to clogged pores. As I grow older, I'm also noticing that I'm more prone to broken capillaries if I use physical exfoliants very frequently. In my 'homigod, homigod, homigod, I'm actually 30 but i still have crappy skin' daze, I bolted to CVS to browse one of my favorite skin care lines: La Roche Posay. I found their Effaclar Serum pretty noteworthy, and it is now a new addition to my skin care routine.

The Effakclar Serum is a clear liquid you can dispense form a dropper. The bottle retails at roughly $42.95 and I was able to get $10 off it with the help of a very nice sales lady at the La Roche Posay display. It contains 7.5% glycol acid and 0.5% LHA (which works similar to salicylic acid). The combination of the two seems to be working very well and I have noticed that my skin is brighter and softer. The brighter looking skin is a huge advancement for me because my skin has never regained its 'perkiness' from before my pregnancy. Maybe it's because I have much less sleep now, but I have yet to find a product that has helped as much as the Effaclar Serum in such a short time.

As for blackheads, whiteheads, and clogged pores, the serum hasn't gotten rid of the whiteheads I get around my nose, but it has made the area more smooth and the whiteheads smaller.  I haven't had any other clogged pores or breakouts since I've used the serum.

The serum doesn't tingle or irritate my skin when I put it on either, which I actually am very grateful for. I hate the sting of products with a high percentage of chemical exfoliants and not having the sting makes the application just that much more pleasant. For my entire face and neck, I use around 2-3 drops, so I can see myself using one bottle for a long time.

La Roche Posay's Effaclar Serum is my standout skincare item right now. It makes my skin, well, behave like an adult while retaining a youthful glow. Give it a go and let me know what you think!

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Diamancel Foot File # 11

This is a true story, none of it is made up. Once long ago, my husband had told em he had purchased a new comforter. I had come home that day from a particularly tough climb and I was delirious from sleep. A quick shower later, the only senses that were working touch and smell. I hopped into bed, my eyes already cemented shut, and I thought, "Wow, satin sheets! Awesome job hubby." I could have sworn my feet were encased in satin. Turns out, my feet were so rough our old sheets felt like satin. Again, none of this is made up or exaggerated. I have the most callous-prone feet in the world and every week I'm off to sand them off.

I've used many tools in the past, from the PedEgg (which is great, study, cheap, and effective) to something of a callous rasping device (the name escapes me but the memories of bleeding feet do not). In my quest to not have carpet fibers stick to the callous of my feet by the end of each week, I ordered the Diamancel # 11 Foot File.

It cost me $48, which made me expect a miracle. The PedEgg is always such a dramatic improvement that at first I was disappointed with the Diamancel Foot File. It felt less heavy duty. Sure, the head of the foot file is generous and I am able to really put some muscle into it. I use it on dry skin, as is recommended, and noticed that it needs to be built up. It seems to rasp away less than the PedEgg initially. But as I started to use it more, I noticed that the results are longer lasting and that it takes away most of the dead skin and leaves the non-calloused part alone. One major difference I notice with the Diamancel foot file is that I get less hard and jagged regrowth of callous compared to the PedEgg.

However, the big question is if it is worth the price. I would say that it is, simply because it removes the dead skin so gently that it has become my go-to callous remover. It is leaps and bounds better than any callous remover cream/gel I've tried and, if you want something gentler and more long lasting, better than the PedEgg.

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Working on New Blog Layout, Hence the Slow Updates

I'm trying to get together a new blog layout and a better camera and lighting. it's all taking a bit longer than expected so please don't abandon me yet. Shouldn't take too much longer now.

Lakme Absolute Baked Blush

I am back, or sort of (my cousin has informed me if life gets this bad during allergy season, it might be time to consider surgery). I bought a couple of Lakme items in India during my most recent visit that I've been meaning to blog about for a while.

I've had issues with the pricing, packaging, and yes even the quality of Lakme's blushes before. It felt overpriced for a blush that hardened and had zero pigment. It reminded me of the blush I used to borrow form my friend when I was a a teen. The only problem was my friend was very fair/pale. And so was her blush (I used to annoy her by layering on a bit more blush and asking "can you see it now?" for at least a full ten minutes). I was pleasantly surprised by Lakme's Absolute range and while I wasn't crazy about all the products, there are a few winners there too.

The packaging for the blush is bare and minimal, which suits me just fine. The plastic feels a bit flimsy and the lid doesn't shut firmly enough for my comfort and I'm not sure it would withstand much tossing about in my kit. The clear lid is a nod to efficiency as I like being able to pick up the blush I want to when I am in a rush.

One highly irritating drawback is that the blushes have no names. Note to Lakme, you can even number them sequentially. Or not. Either way, it's really simple to have an identifier on the blush shade. The one I bought is the third shade Lakme has available on their website.

The blush itself is beautiful. The texture is soft and very blendable and feels very high-end compared to the packaging.  The pigment quality is also very strong, and since I have been known to overindulge in my lost of blush, I build intensity with this one. I hope I don't upset the make-up gods (they have the power to make my lipstick go rancid prematurely) when I say that the texture, pigment quality, and wearability reminds me of my Chanel Joues Contrastes blushes.

The color I have/am reviewing is a orangey-brown shade with a hint of pink. It reminds me a bit of a deeper, more intense version of MAC Sunbasque. It's also very suitable to create a sun kissed look with as it pulls the warmth from skin tones.  The shimmer is present but very grown up. I can see this shade flattering a large range of desi skin tones.

Sinus Update, Should Have Posts up Tomorrow or So

I'm so sorry I've been away for so long without a word. I miss writing here. In fact, like i always keep saying, I have so many things to post about. Unfortunately, three or so years ago i developed allergies and I get them every spring and autumn and it is becoming worse every year. I haven't had a migraine free day since February and sometimes the pressure in my sinuses is so bad I figure these are my last days on earth (thankfully and hopefully not as it turns out). Last year I had a sinus infection that wouldn't go away (I was pregnant at the time) and the pain went into my jawline/teeth. I'm trying to not let it get that far and there is sunlight in sight. Since the neti-pot no longer does anything for me, I got a sinus irrigator. It seems promising. In fact I feel like writing a blog post and not finding more ways to lament the building pressure in my head.

Also, on a side note, I haven't forgotten about the foreign service thing. I had my interview and unfortunately I didn't pass. I'll write a post on the process for as much as I am allowed to.

Forest Essentials Madurai Jasmine and Mogra Light Day Cream

I was so impressed with Forest Essentials' Ubtan that I decided to test their other products. My mother had been raving about the smell of Forest Essentials' Jasmine and Mogra Day Cream that I cautiously decided to try it. Why cautiously you ask? While my mom is my hero she is also not one of the chosen ones in make-up terms. To her. pink and mauve are the same, reds and pinks are "almost the same," shimmer and matte are "somewhat also the same," and well, need I say more? So while I trust her judgement on 99.99% of things, beauty products do not fall into that large bucket. And I have one more feather in my cap now.

Let me start off wit the positives, the Forest Essentials Jasmine and Mogra Day Cream is very light, absorbs quickly, didn't clog my pores, and moisturizes well enough. The formula is great for those with normal to oily skin to use. It also has SPF 25, but I'm not sure what the ingredients are that make up the sunscreen so I can't evaluate that aspect properly. I used my regular sunscreen on top for added protection.

Now that the positives are out of the way, let me start with why I disliked this product so much. The smell is overpowering, strong, and does not fade for a long time. I would gladly buy a body butter that smelled like this. There is no artificial element to the smell, it really does remind me of jasmine (incidentally I hail from somewhere near Madurai). But it is too strong and long lasting.

The first time I applied the cream, I liked the smell but I was waiting for the smell to subside. It never did. I ended up getting a headache, which continued for the five days I used this cream. My aunt used to joke that the women in my family are goddesses who each represent a specific part of a headache. This cream made me realize there might be something to that idea after all. My headache led to painful sinuses and pain near my temples. The moment I stopped using the cream, my headache vanished.

Forest Essentials Madurai Jasmine and Mogra Light Day Cream is not a bad cream as far as moisturizing properties, texture, etc. But the smell is so overpowering and in too close proximity with my nose, which I why I say tread cautiously with this one.

Top 10 Products of 2011: Chanel Silhouette Rouge Allure

I'm a nude lipstick fiend. I don't get annoyed anymore by muggles who can't tell nudes apart, I've reached that elevated state of make-up nirvana. And in my nirvana I wear Chanel Silhouette lipstick (well most of the time anyways).

Chanel's Silhouette lipstick and I have had a torrid love affair since time immemorial. The formula is divine, and while I always have to use a balm under any lipstick the Rouge Allure formula and this lipstick in particular is very gentle on my lips. And I love the packaging. I always call it the James Bond of lipsticks. But that's not what Silhouette such a standout for me. 

Silhouette is a must have for the desi girl. I can see a lot of different skin tones wearing it, from very fair to my skin tone, to darker than me. It is a mauve and slightly brown toned pink and it veers on the cool side. It blends beautifully with any lip liners and glosses I pair it up with. But the true magnificence of this lipstick lies in its ability to look neutral but in a much less cadaverous and more adventurous way. Its cool tone gives it a bit of a fresh, unexpected touch to it. 

I will post swatches of it tomorrow and possibly a look with it as well. It is one of my favorite, timeless lipstick loves and a desi-look staple in my kit.

Top 10 Products of 2011: Forest Essentials Tejasvi Milk Facial Ubtan

Yes, I know I'm late getting the top 10 products up but right now, my goal is to have them by the end of this week. It's a more noble goal than having them up by the end of this year. I was unsuspectingly preparing for an interview when I got majorly sick and then my baby started teething. After having a breakdown as he's growing up way too fast, I had to put everything on the back burner as I went into the uncharted territory of discouraging biting while nursing. All in all, I feel like Xena, warrior blogger princess, who will finally get her tired butt to posting another product rave.

My aunt kept telling me about Forest Essentials and I kept doing the 'mmmhmmm' very politely. You know, where the other person thinks they've been heard but you know you're making the sound so you don't have to fully response. After all, how could a plebeian in terms of make-up possibly know of something that would make someone who's been there and tried it all interested. But it seems the universe conspired to teach me humility that fateful day last year (yes, 2011, which is where this post actually should be).

Forest Essentials' Tejasvi Milk Facial Ubtan comes in a big plastic jar, and the quantity that you get is very generous. However, I wish they had added a plastic stopper or something because when you open the jar, so much falls out if you're not careful. After the initial annoyance, the first thing I noticed was the smell. It is divine and reminded me of the face mask my grandmother would have made. To those who are sensitive to smells, be warned, it is strong and it lasts throughout the application.

The company website says the product contains "red sandalwood, wild turmeric, saffron and skin whitening herbs to make the skin tone several shades lighter naturally." I did voice my disdain to my aunt upon reading the "skin whitening" bit. She told me use it or loose it. So I used it. The company recommends making a paste by adding some milk to the powder, which is what I did. The powder is beautifully milled and becomes a thin, very easy to spread paste. The way the mask spreads feels much more luxurious than the other powdered masks you can get. I kept the mask on until it dried and was not prepared for the results.

I was blown away with the way my skin looked when I washed the mask off. It glowed. I stood there, in front of the mirror, still covered in baby food. But I glowed, despite the post partum hormones and lack of sleep. On top of that my skin was incredibly soft and didn't feel dry like it usually does after I try any herbal face masks. The glow and calm skin lasted a good day or two. It also did not make me break out at all. After multiples uses, I have decided to keep this as my go-to face mask.

All in all this face mask is excellent, pampered my skin, didn't break me out, balanced the moisture levels in my skin, and gave me one hell of a glow.  I now want to try out more things from this line.

On a side note, the Tejasvi Milk Facial Ubtan retails for INR 650 and you can buy it online as the company ships worldwide.

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