Today, I’m doing a basic round-up of all the bath, body and hair products that have been my holy grail of treasures for the past few years. Some have become available for purchase in India only recently, but others have been around forever. I never tend to talk about these because I assume that these already might be everyone’s favourite products. However, I realize I have some first graders in my gurukul, and wanted to do a post dedicated to that audience.
Also, to be blatantly honest, sometimes I enjoy doing the typical beauty post where you can leave your mind aside, and read with your heart.
Almost everything I mention here is easily available, affordable and extremely functional in its category.
Sally Hansen Salon Formula Polish Remover (for artificial or sensitive nails)
I’m not sure what this is ‘enriched’ with (maybe Chamomile), but this thing is a miracle. If you often wear dark-coloured matt nail polishes, then you know how annoying it is to be left with stained cuticles even after your polish is swiped off. Also, it takes a Herculean effort to get it all off neatly. This remover does the job in two easy swipes. It is quick, efficient and doesn’t leave cuticles feeling dry. The bottle is large and will last you ages. The pricing is almost too cheap for the quality (and often, it is on discount). Complete no brainer; get it now!
In perfect honesty, this is the only body butter that hydrates and keeps my skin silky smooth till bedtime. It’s the one that I stock up on at half price sales; it sits in my bed stand drawer and doubles up as hand cream or foot cream when I’m too lazy to get out of bed to fetch one. However, it doesn’t last very long (quantity-wise), especially if you lather on the layers as generously as I do. The body butter in Olive used to be my favourite (not an easy one to love, but one that grows on you), but since the launch of the British Rose body butter about two years ago, I’ve changed teams. I also own the British Rose Eau De Toilette and the British Rose Petal Soft Hand Cream; the fragrance happens to be my most worn fragrance for 2016-2017.
If you prefer a different fragrance among the body butters, you know you are spoilt for choice with The Body Shop. There is one for every mood, every skin type and every girl. Without a doubt, one of my most repurchased products of all time.
I had this gang of girls at work who were my Body Shop haul buddies. They were my ‘social influencers’, if I can call it that. Almost every single pay cheque during sale time was swiped clean at The Body Shop, and often a mental wish list of what the current pay cheque couldn’t cover was diligently maintained.
At the time, ‘white musk’ was a highly sought after collection from The Body Shop. I’ve bought them all — the perume, the body lotion and the body talc. With its pastel lavender packaging, buttery smooth texture and sweet musky fragrance, the talc was something I always went back for. The only drawback was the small quantity of the product (100g) for the price you pay. But, with somethings, you just pay because you can’t not have it in your life. Tell me this hasn’t happened to you!
The Body Shop now do a ‘white musk smokey rose’ collection for women and a ‘white musk sport’ collection for men. I prefer the original; musky but feminine.
I know this post is beginning to sound like a sponsored Body Shop rant. But, it isn’t. They truly deserve all the love.
So, if you are just starting off with makeup, look elsewhere. Although cleansing oils are the best for removing make-up (waterproof as well), they take a tiny bit of time, effort and organization. I was introduced to this helluva cleansing oil by one of the most darling beauty bloggers of the UK, Amelia Liana (her blog is called Liana Beauty). I started following her a couple of years ago and she continues to be my favourite person to watch. When I’m watching her, I’m in my beauty zone and I’m feelin’ good. Her videos, pictures and recommendations are all really well captured, almost like a story.
I bought this cleansing oil to see if I could manage the whole drama of warm flannels. But, once I tried it, there was nothing else that was as effective or felt as ‘CLEAN’ as using this beauty.
So basically, with cleansing oils, you take two pumps of the oil in your palms and gently massage it onto your face and eyes. Then, you run a soft flannel under warm water and rub off the makeup with the flannel (you also have to wash the now-kaleidoscopic flannel). You repeat the process if you have a lot of waterproof makeup on. Then, you move on to your skin care. I’ll admit I stopped using this product after my son was born because I just didn’t have the time or the energy at the end of the day for all the extra drama. But, last year, I bought a fresh bottle and I’m back in the game.
If you really want to go to bed sans makeup, bring home a cleansing oil. However, if the SOP is putting you off, do the next best thing — micellar water. See an older post for more information and recommendations on these.
By now, you know that if it’s got Rose in it, I’m all over it.
My first bottle of this perfume was a present from my Dad for my birthday. The first time I sprayed it on me, I knew that I had found my fragrance soul mate. This scent has subtle notes of the Japanese Nashi pear, sweet notes of pink peony and lingering accords of musk (yes, I googled it). I am pathetic at describing fragrances but I can tell you that it takes me to a hidden valley of flowers in a forest. It takes me to a happy place. I’m already on my second bottle and I’m worried it’s half empty.
Finally, finally available in India, Batiste is the best drugstore dry shampoo available for retail in India. I know a lot of reviews complain about the dry shampoo leaving a white cast on the scalp, but that’s only going to happen if you don’t spray it from far enough or if you spray too much of the product in one place. Moreover, working it in with your hands makes the white powdery residue disappear. I know Batiste has a coloured version of the dry shampoo (Divine Dark), but ladies that’s gonna get on your clothes and will create a mess when you finally wash your hair clean. I prefer the original. You just need to know how to use it the right way.
Sometimes, I go five days without a hair wash (I’ll admit I don’t like the feeling of fake clean scalp), but can still go to a party looking great with a high ponytail.
The dry shampoo does make my scalp very dry and I have to oil my hair, wash, and condition generously the following day. But, it is such a saviour on bad hair days that I don’t mind the mild inconvenience.
If you have never used a dry shampoo, this is a great place to start. I have tried some products from the BBlunt hair range (including the dry shampoo) and I’m sorry to report that they do nothing to my hair. Just a lot of hype, not a lot of good.
I realized that not a lot of people know or talk about this product, and I don’t understand why. This is the conditioner that is used in salons for the L’oreal hair spa treatments and it is THE BEST conditioner I have used so far. Not as expensive as Kérastase or other luxury brands, L’oreal is always a brand you can blindly trust when it comes to hair products, be it their hair serums, setting sprays or studio shampoos.
The only secret with this product is that you need to leave it in your hair for at least 15 minutes to feel the magic. Apply generously on the lengths and ends of your hair and wash off in LUKEWARM water. Please do not wring your hair, furiously tug or beat it blue with your towel. Use your man’s softest tee to gently press and drain the water from your hair. Apply hair serum of choice and allow to air dry or blow dry.
As unbelievable as this might sound, this stuff rocks. I would never have put it in my hair, if it wasn’t for a free sample that I received and had in my handbag when I stayed overnight at a friend’s place and needed something to tame my freshly washed locks.
I didn’t brush or blow dry my hair that morning and kept wondering why my hair felt so light, smooth and flowy! I couldn’t believe that something that costs 50 bucks (INR) can tame my frizz. So, just as an experiment I bought a bottle and started alternating this one with my usual L’oreal Absolute Repair serum. And, the results were mind-blowing! I can’t explain why or how, but I love this stuff. Take one pump of this potion, rub it into your hands and run it through towel dried hair. Style as desired. Try it and tell me if this is a freak discovery or what!
Most times, you don’t need money to buy you happiness. Proof’s in the pudding. Try it. The serum, not the pudding.
If you heat style your hair often, then it is absolutely essential that you use a heat resistance spray before any heat treatment. There are a lot of great options in the market, but this one has been a personal favourite forever. Recommended to me by a stylist at the Toni & Guy Salon where I once went for a haircut, this spray does what it says and does it well. I’m already on my third bottle and I will buy a fourth. Pleasant smelling, does not weigh the hair down, does not leave an oily residue, doesn’t make hair clump, protects it from the ill effects of heat styling — it’s everything you need in a heat resistance mist.
I also love the Batiste heat protection spray (Shield my locks), but have been using this one even before Batiste started retailing in India, so my loyalties lie with T&G.
I’m a sucker for all things lavender. Sometimes I just type lavender in the search bar of Nykaa and see what I can find. Not only does it smell like heaven, it is such a handy multitasker. Use it in your bath, use it to soak your feet, use it mixed with water and placed on top of an evaporating tea light candle stand, or mix it with coconut oil and apply it to your face. It has calming and soothing properties, that make it so ideal for spa days at home. And, who doesn’t like coming home to the smell of lavender fields?! Instant relaxation therapy.
So, yesterday my two-year old dropped my bottle of lavender essential oil (to my utter surprise, it didn’t break!) and my babysitter was really worried that the whole house was smelling of it. Although I was a little stressed looking at the ghastly mess, I didn’t mind the lingering scent of lavender filling my entire home.
On that note, I hope you find something that you would like to try from my list of favourites. Are there some holy grail products from your bath and beauty stash that you think I absolutely need in my life? Tell me in the comments down below!
Until next time, XOXO