Book Review: Shalini Vadhera's Passport to Beauty

I have been hearing a lot of good things about Shalini Vadhera's book Passport to Beauty and I was very curious. Growing up in my family meant that you learned your abc's, 123's, and herbs beneficial to maintaining a glow simultaneously. At school I was quizzed about the alphabets, at home I would be drenched in cod liver oil to make sure my skin would glow (This is a long and horrendously stinky but true story. Eventually the stench convinced people to take action and they used sticks to keep me and my fish-avatar self at bay). Suffice it to say I know a thing or two about ayurvedic beauty rituals and that this has made me a tough critic on the subject.

Shalini Vadhera's book provides wonderful little excerpts from her travels and encounters. I think this is what makes the book such a fun read. You get some very nice recipes for skin care with a charming back story. It provides a broad range of skin care recipes. Some, such as the yoghurt and honey mask I already knew of. Others, such as the Careyes Body Smoothie or White Tea Anti-Aging Mask I did not know about and found it a delight to read. What I really appreciated about the book was the range of things she talks about. You get a lot of recipes and information on natural remedies for a wide range of skin and body areas.

I spent one afternoon trying out a bunch of recipes and it was a fun and very girly experience. One good thing about the book that I didn't have to go hunting down ingredients such as unicorn tear drops that women in other countries had readily available to them but I would have to use witchcraft to magically obtain. Most of the ingredients Shalini talks about were pretty much in the kitchen and if not they're readily available. One thing to remember is that like with face creams, remember your skin type when concocting anything in the kitchen. If you're looking for a fun read that gives you a lot of recipes you can make in your kitchen, I'd really give Shalini's book a try.

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Zara Adams: The Answer to the Desi Bond Girl

While we have the countless rumours of Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta, and Shilpa Shetty(post Big Brother of course) being poised to be the first desi Bond girl, they never seem to pan out. However, it appears that we're finally getting a desi Bond girl. Here's where we throw confetti celebrating us spicy brown people.

Zara Adams is apparently a British actress who is half Iranian and half Pakistani and is supposed to be a Bond girl in the next movie. To me she's gorgeous and, maybe I'm biased after Shilpa's numerous chicken-related dramas in Big Brother but I really can't think of a Bollywood actress who would suit the role. I don't know much about Zara Adams, but she really screams Bond girl glamour to me.

And to keep it beauty and style related, apparently Archana Kocchar will be designing her wardrobe, making it the first time a desi designer has produced the western wear for the Bond movies. As soon as the movie trailers come out I will do a breakdown of her make-up.

What do you think?

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L'Oreal Glam Bronze Bronzer in Dazzling Sunlight

Another little sale at the drugstore had me completely foaming at the mouth with excitement. I got the L'Oreal Glam Bronze bronzer in Dazzling sunlight a few weeks back and I have to blog about it while the sale is still going on. It was (and still is as of today) 75% off at CVS and they are still there, waiting for a fellow bronzer obsessed make-up junkie to strike.

The texture of the bronzer is very smooth and this has the same texture as the Blush Delices that L'Oreal sadly discontinued. It's shimmer is also very soft, and fear not you will not look like you swallowed a light bulb. Instead it gives a sunkissed glow. The bronzer lasts all day and I only used pressed powder (no foundation) to set it, so it is as tenacious/long lasting as Neha Dhupia trying to prove she is a serious actress (I had to make that dig, don't kill me for it).

The only thing I wish were different is the deepness of the colour. It won't function on skintones much darker than mine as a bronzer. I also have to put a little effort to make the bronzer work as it transforms when you add a bit of blush to the apple of the cheeks. Alone, it is a pretty enough bronzer but it takes to colour so beautifully. Adding a pop of colour to the bronzer transforms the entire look. I find that the overall effect is something that gets me a lot of compliments on my 'healthy glow' and I always get asked what I'm wearing.

If you're in the market for a nice summer bronzer that gives a soft glow and takes to colour well this would be a great one. And keep a lookout at CVS since they're at 75% off right now. In the pic above, I'm wearing the bronzer with Bobbi Brown pot rouge in Pink Triffle on the apple of my cheeks. I also have the bronzer dusted on my temples, bridge of the nose, jawline, and forehead.

Get It While You Can: Revlon Midnight Swirl Lipgloss in Lick-orice

I went to Walgreens the other day and saw the Revlon Midnight Swirl lipgloss in Lick-orice on sale. The cheesy name didn't make me giggle or turn away and I figured for $2 why not. I've been seeing these lipglosses everywhere and wasn't really excited by them. A make-up sale changed that but I still didn't expect to love it this much.

Lick-orice looks like a very dark, slightly reddish plum with some funky greenish glitters swirled about. The way it looks in the tube is deceptive and on the lips it is a beautiful, sheer (but not the kind where you curse the heavens in anger realizing you might as well have worn vaseline instead), warm red brown colour. It's a very wearable licorice colour (the marketing geniuses at Revlon knew this I suppose) with a wonderfully plush texture that cushions my lips. It is fairly thick but it's not as sticky as MAC lipglasses. At first there is a hint of a scent but it is very light, pleasant, and vanishes quickly.

The reason I say this is a must have is because it is so versatile. Worn sheerly, it enhances the natural lipcolour. You can also layer it to get a more intense licorice shade. The best thing is how it transforms my lipsticks. It deepens any lipstick beautifully, adding a warm plummy brown touch to them. This is a shade that I think many skintones could wear. I think this would look incredibly flattering on a wide range of skintones. However, I'd really recommend it for us darker ladies (ranging from medium to dark, about NC40 and higher).

I know Revlon is trying to get these out of the stores so they can sell their next collection, so now with the price cut I would run to get this lipgloss.

How to Read the Ingredients on a Cosmetic Item Part 1

Before enlightening you with my wisdom let me just tell you how much I'm enjoying being on vacation after just recently finishing my exams. It's been a while since I've been able to blog or even do my daily beauty rounds. And while writing this post I decided to see if Beth had any reviews for the movie (Tashan) I will be seeing soon with a friend. Not only did she have a review, but her post has me laughing hysterically.

Back to beauty it is. I used to get suckered into advertising where companies used to promise extracts of exotic items. Companies pretty promise some magic extract that was taken from an almost extinct species of tree that produces a pearl-like (but it's not a pearl, that's why it's so special) substances only one a year and that too only according to an ancient Maya calendar. With their magical promises companies might as well be advertising this. So here's the first post in a series on how to interpret the marketing and understanding the ingredients.

Order of Ingredients:
When you read the ingredients of a product, look at the ingredients at the beginning of the list. The ingredients are listed in the order of their percentage. Take for example the ingredients in Cosmedicine Health Cleanse:

  • Water/Eau, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Cyclomethicone, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben.
As you can see, water has the highest percentage in the formulation, followed by sodium lauroamphoacetate.

I usually look for where ingredients are placed after the basic formulation of whatever it is I'm trying to buy. In the Cosmedicine cleanser, the witch hazel extract is placed right after the foaming agents. This means that I have a decent chance of the witch hazel having an effect on the way the cleanser works. If the cleanser had a lot of different ingredients and witch hazel was placed towards the end of the list, chances are the witch hazel extract wouldn't have made a skin altering difference.

So when companies promise special extracts, look at where they are placed in the list of ingredients. Since companies often advertise these ingredients, the common term for them is usually listed in parentheses next to its Latin name. If not, I like checking up on ingredients here.


Knowing the complex terminologies is very hard but there are a few basic patterns I look for. For example, ingredients that end in '-cone' usually indicate some type of silicone product. A good idea is to check a cosmetic ingredients database if you have any doubts (I will compile a list of common and recurring patterns of ingredients used in skin care soon and post it).

Isolating Irritants:
The best thing about reading ingredients is the potential power (yes it is power to not have cystic acne because of a new cream) in identifying and avoiding ingredients that might irritate your skin. When I am trying out new products and can feel those suckers rising from under my skin (I'm talking about zits in case I wasn't clear), I first eliminate products that I know I do not break out from. After this, I compare the ingredients of the potential products and look for a recurring ingredient. I then check with my skin-friendly products to see if I could tolerate the ingredients or not. If the ingredients are not listed in any of my skin-friendly products, I check them out here. I now have a basic idea of what is causing the irritation.

Video Tutorial on Miss Sri Lanka 2006's Eye Make-up

I loved Jacqueline Fernandez's eye make-up in the pic I came across so I decided to endure my computer's shenanigans to bing you this tutorial.

My Summer Skin Care Routine

You're not going to believe this but the surprise is that it features LRP's sunscreen. Also, don't ever think I will ever be able to stop preaching about castor oil. I've been using it for so long it's absorbed into my bloodstream. I need to preach about it. Since Indian Girl requested my summer skin care routine, here it is.


  • Garnier Detoxifying Gel Cleanser. For some reason my skin loves this.
  • Clinique All About Eyes. See the castor oil part for explanation. You didn't think I was going to stop preaching about it, now did you?
  • La Roche Posay Dermo Pediatrics SPF 50+ sunscreen. This is my staple sunscreen that I've been using for about 2 years without break.
  • Carmex. If i don't have this my lips are a bleeding mess.

  • La Roche Posay Dermo Nettoyant and/or Jojoba Oil as make-up removers.
  • Garnier Detoxifying Gel Cleanser.
  • Castor Oil. I pat this on my under eyes, lashes, and brows. It makes my brows grow in so fast, my lashes much thicker and stronger, and my under-eyes moisturized. In fact, this moisturizes my under-eyes so well that I can get away with using pretty much any eye cream during the day. I had a sample jar of the Clinique eye cream which I loved anyway so I've been using it. I have been preaching the benefits of castor oil since I was 14. There has literally not been a single night that I haven't used it.
  • Alpha Hydrox AHA Souffle. I was mistaken, this has 12% glycolic acid. That just makes it all the more amazing. I use it once every two days or every other day depending on the clog-level of my pores.
  • Cetaphil Lotion. It's my holy grail. I will never not use this.

Spot Treatments
  • Bio Oil. I will have a review of this out soon. It is a surprisingly good spot treatment.
  • Fresh Umbrian Clay Mask. A staple for me.
  • DDF Sulfur Mask. Pimple-killing, rotten egg-smelling goodness. On a side note, I used to put raw eggs in my hair and shampoo it. The water used to be so hot that I could have sworn it cooked some of the egg in my hair. Why am I indulging in this charming little tit-bit? Because the egg smell could always be worse. The mask is awesome.

Easy Eyeshadow Tutorial Part 2

Here's a video tutorial I made illustrating the points I mentioned in my previous post.

Easy Shadow Tutorial Part 1

I had a request for a tutorial on how to apply shadow and to explain what I meant by crease, lid, etc. So here's a little explanation on the jargon.

Also, don't think I can't hear you snickering away at my primitive and sophistication-starved graphics. For some reason my computer isn't working optimally and so I can't open up too many programs. That's why I went into paint. This is the truth, plain and simple. I always have a spear made out of flint to whack you with if you disbelieve me.

The Lid:

The part contained within the yellow lines is the lid area (I think I deserve an award for this proclamation). It's pretty basic and this is where the 'main' shadow colour goes.

The Crease:

This part is where the eye socket meets the brow bone. The area that's enclosed by the lighter blue lines is bigger and I find it the easiest to manipulate without looking weird. In this area, I feather out the crease shadow and make the space designated to softening out the crease. The area is also bigger and I can get away with applying more colour here. For me, that's a good rule to follow I'm just going for the lid-crease-highlight combo.

In the area that's enclosed by the darker blue lines, I have less space to spread the crease shadow out. I like applying darker shadow in the inner crease area for different effects but if you're not familiar with it, I suggest you just familiarize yourself with your 'blending areas' first.

Blending Out:

After feathering out the crease shade in the designated areas, depending on the look, I blend the crease shade outward and inward. You can bend the crease deep into the lid or make it dip slightly into the lid shade. The same goes for the brow bone.

The Brow Bone:
This is the area under the brows and ends when it its the socket. I like to keep the shadow heaviest right under the brows and blend it into the crease.

Aishwarya Rai's Make-up from Cannes

I know you ladies requested a breakdown of Aishwarya's make-up at Cannes. Since Kohl Girl already did one on Roop Cafe, I decided to do a breakdown of another one of Aishwarya's look at Cannes. Here, Aishwarya has cool violet shadows on her lids, neutral lips, and a surprisingly warm blush.

Recommended Make-up:

  • NYC Translucent Powder
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • Maybelline Define-A-Brow Gel
  • MAC Nocturnelle eyeshadow
  • MAC Shadowy Lady eyeshadow
  • MAC Shroom eyeshadow
  • L'Oreal HiP cream liner in Black
  • L'Oreal Panoramic Curl mascara (my newest love by the way)
  • NARS Gina blush
  • MAC Midimauve lipstick
  • Sephora Sugar 'n' Spice lip gloss
Aishwarya's look is glowy but not in a 'Shweta Salve's ode to the oil rig' kind of way. Rather, it's very subdued and so I really recommend applying a satin finish foundation to achieve a flawless base. I purposely don't recommend using a dewy finish because that would take away from the sophisticated feeling of this look. Keep the glow as the finishing touch.

Conceal problem areas and any under-eye circles with a concealor that matches your skin tone. Set with translucent powder.

A really good base is necessary for this look. I find that purples are tricky to wear if your lids have even a little purple in them naturally. Apply the Primer Potion on lids and pat it out.

The brows should be very neat and manicured so tweeze away any stray hairs and set the brows into place with the Define-A-Brow gel.

Apply Nocturnelle from lash line to crease.

Define the crease with Shadowy Lady and blend mostly into the lid. Then, blend the shadow slightly outward from the crease. Do not bled too high up to the brow bone.

Apply Shroom on the brow bone and blend into the crease.

Apply the HiP cream liner along the top lash line. Start from the inner corners and thicken the line slightly while keeping it fairly thing as you get to the outer corners. Do not extend the liner past the outer edge. Line the bottom lash line but keep the line very thin and and as close to the lashes possible

Curl lashes and apply the Panoramic Curl mascara on both bottom and top lashes. It looks like Aishwarya is wearing false lashes, so if you'd like to create the same drama apply a full strip of natural looking false lashes.

For a warm, peachy glow dust Gina on the apple of the cheeks and blend towards the temple.

Apply the Midimauve lipstick on lips and top it off with the Sugar 'n' Spice lip gloss.

Overall Glow:
To get Aishwarya's covetous glow, apply the Glistening Flush highlighter on top of your cheekbones, (very lightly) on the bridge of your nose, on the brow bone, and cupid's bow. Blend out until you get her imperceptible glow.

Nic's Sticks. A Fun Idea, but Didn't Bowl Me Over

With all the mention Nic's Sticks have been getting lately (I could be wrong but the hype seems recent) and with Oprah's Favourite Things for the Summer featuring them it was high time I did a review.

I have two Nic's Sticks and I thought the whole concept was ingenious. The nail polish comes in a little click-pen that has a brush applicator. The positives for this product are obvious: easy to use, great for travel, and overall very quick. The polish also dries fairly quickly and you don't have to wait hours before touching it lest your get those annoying fingerprints on your nails.

All positives aside, I'm not too fond of these. The polish is very thin and the pen can dispense too much polish thereby flooding the applicator and nail. The amount of polish that you get for the price isn't going to break some record either. Shockingly enough, you are much better off investing in a conventional pot of polish.

The biggest problem I have with the Nic's Sticks is the application. Applying two coat of polish is hell as the bottom coat seems to get a slush like texture no matter how quickly or late you reapply. The polish covers pretty well in one coat but the fact that it gets gloppy when I try to intensify the colour is no excuse.

The staying power of the polish is also very inadequate. Since the polish is so thin, or so I hypothesize, it chips off very quickly. By the end of the day, the polish had worn off at the tips of my nails. I was very disappointed in these as I thought they'd make a great essential for when I'm pressed for time. I'll continue to use them until I find something better, which I am more than confident is available.

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Interview with Celebrity Make-up Artist Vipul Bhagat

I contacted Vipul Bhagat a while back and he was incredibly nice and helpful. He has over 14 years of experience in the industry and has a large celebrity following, among which are Svetha Jaishankar, Malaika Arora, and Madhu Sapre. Here are a few pics from his portfolio: pic 1, pic 2, pic 3, pic 4, pic 5.

Me: Are there any products that always feature in your kit?
Vipul Bhagat: MAC and Kryolan products.

Me: What brands do you rely on for foundation? Which brands do you prefer for darker skin tones and which would you prefer for lighter skin tones?
Vipul Bhagat: MAC for lighter skin tones, Bobbi Brown and Kryolan for darker skin tones. I don’t like MAC foundations too much for darker skin tones because they can go on a bit grey on the skin.

Me: For a professional look for work, what are the products and what kind of a look do you recommend?
Vipul Bhagat: I would do a beauty-shot type look where the skin is central. Or western dark eyes and pale lips.
Note: I’m guessing he means a smokey eye. Just making sure make-up jargon is universal.

Me: For weddings, what are some products you feel a bride should look into?
Vipul Bhagat: For weddings mainly the foundation, lipstick and kajal pencil are important. If you can, try to make all these things waterproof as Indian brides tend to cry after their wedding they become emotional. MAC Blot Powder is also good to keep your skin matte and looking good in photos.

Me: What are some mistakes you see women making with regards to make-up and what would you suggest as opposed to what they currently do?
Vipul Bhagat: They don’t cover their dark circles, they use kaajal pencil which at the end of the day is spread all over the eye region and looks like dark circles, and always carry a chapstick and then their lips become very dry and cracked.
Note: I am so guilty of doing the last thing.

Me: What are some of your favourite MAC products that you use often.
Vipul Bhagat: Stripdown and especially Spice lip liners. For lipglosses I like Lust, Love Child, and Chai. Blushes like Pink Swoon and Peaches are wonderful.

Me: Are there any specific creams you like using to prep skin for make-up?
Vipul Bhagat:
I use MAC Studio Mositure Fix. I use other creams from the Body Shop and MAC

Me: And last but not least, can you name any of the products you used on Shveta Jaishanker for her wedding?
Note: If you have no clue who she is (which I didn’t, I had to Google her), she is a former Miss India and is a model.

Vipul Bhagat: I used Kryolan foundation. Then, I used Spice lip liner to outline and then filled it in with Cosmo lipstick. I lined her eyes with Smolder eye kohl and finished with a L’Oreal mascara. For blusher, I used Pink Swoon.
Note: except the foundation, they’re all MAC products in case you were feeling lost. Also, this is my personal recommendation since he doesn’t specify the exact mascara, try voluminous. It is my all time favourite mascara.

Will Have New Updates up on Thursday

I have a bunch of things I want to post soon. I just finished my huge essay and I have one more to go after that. I am going to spend 24 hours sleeping non-stop after that. I'll finally be refreshed and will post the promised things.

Shalini Vadhera's Look for Emmanuelle Chriqui

Edit: I got an email with a breakdown of Emmanuelle Chriqui's look from a rep for Shalini Vadhera. I asked her to keep me updated with such breakdowns and hopefully I will get a chance to talk to her and bombard her with questions. And yes, I'm still trying to finish my huge 25-page long single spaced paper tomorrow (just reread the page length again and imagine what kind of a state I am in now). Also, it feels great not to be known as the 'crazy make-up breakdown stalker lady.' For once, I didn't hound anyone until they cried.

I know Emmanuelle Chriqui isn't technically desi, but her make-up would look beautiful on a lot of desi ladies. Also, she is of Moroccan Jewish ancestry. I guess if I can get asked what part of Saudi Arabia India is in, she can qualify for being brown too (I'm being sarcastic, but I have been asked this a few times).

As the weather warms up I am sure you’re considering makeup looks for spring & summer! Shalini Vadhera, celebrity makeup artist and author of Passport to Beauty, recently created a stunning beauty look for actress Emmanuelle Chriqui (HBO’s “Entourage”) before she walked the red carpet at a Beverly Hills event.

Shalini Vadhera calls this look "a chic, natural but sexy." Here's how to get the look.

Step 1:

Shalini prepped and brightened Emmanuelle’s skin with Global Goddess Beauty Upgrade Complexion Face Primer and then applied Complexion Perfection Foundation to give her skin a flawless finish.

Step 2:

South Pacific Shimmer Bronzer served a dual purpose as an eyeshadow base and to warm up her cheeks. It’s one of Emmanuelle’s personal faves!

Step 3:

The Sizzling Serengeti Tribal Quad Eyeshadows in Mombasa helped to make her eyes pop. A layer of black and shimmery brown Cairo Eyes Liquid Liner and Exotic Eyes Blackest Mascara set the look.

Step 4:

Lastly, Shalini applied Sandstorm Lip Veil to gloss up Emmanuelle’s lips and Floating Diamonds Face & Body Shimmer for an all-over glow.

Follow these simple steps and you too can achieve Emmanuelle’s gorgeous Global Goddess look!

To view the products listed, you can go to the Global Goddess website.

Great Make-up: Priyank's Simple Look

I got a request for a breakdown of Priyanka's look. I seem to have forgotten which exact breakdown was requested of Kajol's and Rani's so just remind me. I'm so sorry about my rather disorganized state.

This look requires a very minimal eye make-up and the cheeks are warm and tan. The lips are mauve-rose toned which is very unexpected. So when the skin is flawless, the various elements can come together. It sounds cheesy but it will make a world of a difference when your skin takes center stage. Make sure you moisturize your skin and under-eyes and then apply a medium coverage satin finish foundation. Conceal problem areas if necessary with a creamy concealor that matches your skintone. Apply translucent powder to set the make-up.

I checked this picture under various lights and have zoomed in another couple of hundred times. She doesn't appear to be wearing any shadow on her lids. It seems that foundation was applied on her lid. So do the same and pat some of your foundation from your lid to your crease and set with translucent powder.

In keeping with Priyanka's minimal eye make-up, ther brows look flawless and frame her eyes beautifully. So pluck away any stray hairs and emphasize eyebrows with a deep brown eyebrow pencil. Remember to keep the brows as natural looking as possible and don't overdo the eyebrow pencil. Brush brow gel through your brows to keep them in place.

Recommendation: MAC Stud, Ardell Brow & Lash Growth Accelerator

There's hardly crease definition here and if you choose to, you can skip this step. If not, apply a matte medium brown in the crease very lightly and blend outward.

Recommendation: MAC Cork

Apply a shimmery champagne on the brow bone and blend into the crease. It's going to lighten the area under the brows and emphasize the natural colour of the lids without being too obvious. If you don't want to use a shimmery champagne a good matte shadow will do the same trick.

Recommendation: MAC Ricepaper, Bobbi Brown Banana

This is where the emphasis of the eye make-up is. Use a black liquid, cream or gel eyeliner and follow the natural shape of the eye from the inner corner to the outer corner on the top lid. Increae the thickness of the liner as you go outward but be sure to not exceed medium-thickness when it comes to the line.

Recommendation: L'Oreal Hip cream liner in Black

Mascara and False Lashes:
Curl lashes and apply a volumizing mascara on top and bottom lashes. Brush out any clumps with a lash comb and add another coat. Make sure the lashes look plush and thick. For added drama, apply a full strip of false eyelashes.

Recommendation: L'Oreal Voluminous, Clinique Lash Building Primer

Priyanka seems to be wearing a bronzer rather than a blush. Dust a slightly shimmery bronzer on the apple of the cheeksthe same way you would a blush and blend towards the temple .

Recommendation: Vincent Longo Copper Kiss Bronzer is amazing on darker skintones, Too Faced Carribean in a Compact in sun Bunny is beautiful on lighter to medium-dark ladies

Apply a mauvey-rose lipstick to finish off the look.

Recommendation: I know I didn't have elaborate steps for this look because I can get the same look with MAC Cosmo lipstick alone.

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Deepika Padukone Ad for Maybelline

I found this ad that Deepika did for Maybelline and I thought I would post it. The shade she is wearing, according to the ad anyway, is the Shine Seduction lipcolour in 720 Sun Kissed. I personally haven't tried out the line of colours from Maybelline, but do let me know if you have and whether you liked it.


Little Update

I will email you wonderful ladies back and return your comments tomorrow. It's been a really hectic few weeks and I've finally started catching my breath right now. Thank you all so much for the wonderful support.

Secondly, I know some of you requested a breakdown of Kajol and Rani's looks. Just leave a comment on exactly which movie etc. you'd like the breakdown to be of.

Also, I am trying to make a video tutorial of Megan Fox's eye make-up. I know there was a request for this but let me know if you'd like me to do a tutorial of Lara's eye make-up too (pic below for reference).

Sorry for the long wait.

Fresh Umbrian Clay Mask

My face currently resembles a pepperoni pizza only I'm brown but the zits on my cheek look very pepperoni-like. Angry and red. Why am I sharing this bit of charming information with you? Well, because I am reaching yet again for my trusted Fresh Umbrian Clay mask.

Something in this mask does an amazing job of cleaning my clogged pores and it's a must as a spot treatment for blemishes. I'm not sure what it is about the ingredients in the mask, but it doesn't dry out my skin like most clay masks. True it is drying as all clay masks are, but my skin isn't parched and about to crack when I wash it off.

The instructions say to put it on over a damp face and leave it on for 5-10 minutes and then wash it off. I sometimes leave it on for a good half hour and I use it ovenight as a spot treatment on blemishes. Blemishes usually stay very long for me. To speed healing time means in my life to reduce the length of a zit's lifespan from 6 weeks to 4. If your zits are as persistent on face-domintion as mine, then this clay mask is a wonderful weapon in your arsenal. The gigantors that now grace my cheek have been getting regular attacks from this face mask and I can already tell the difference. It does a good job of reducing inflammation. Of course, you're going to have to wait for the zit to die but the Fresh Umbrian Clay mask does a good job of reducing the time a zit is alive and thriving.

I've also noticed that with regular use I can curb many blemishes from really rising to becoming a full-on zit. The bump just dies out without becoming a zit. Of course, those persistent bumps are going to get through my mask-attack but for the most part this mask seems to stop bumps from becoming bad problems.

I know this is a fairly expensive clay mask but for me it is completely worth it (sadly the Queen Helene Mint Julep mask did nothing for me so I was forced to get this) but it is such a staple that I cannot be without it.

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