Loreal Paris Elvive Fibrology Thickening Shampoo: Voluminous Hair in a Bottle!

Sometimes, Genies do exist in bottles, and if you do not believe me then try out this shampoo for evidence. The Loreal Paris Elvive Fibrology Thickening Shampoo lives up to its claims of providing a new-found volume to your hair. This magical potion contains the revolutionary ingredient called Filloxane which is supposed to penetrate the hair and provide them with a long-lasting thickness and bounce.

I have very fine limp hair that becomes extremely oily at the roots within a day of washing but this shampoo salvages my hair from all these problems. I could see a visible improvement in the volume at the roots from the very first wash and it further increased after a couple of washes. When I stopped using this shampoo I noticed a significant decrease in the thickness of the strands, so clearly this product does make a difference.

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The formula has the typical Loreal scent which does not linger on after rinsing. It is white and has a liquid (but not runny) consistency that provides great lather. It does leave the hair slightly dry and lacking in the moisture department, but with my oily hair, it is perfect.

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The range also includes a conditioner, a mask, a thickness booster and a leave in serum. I have tried the conditioner as well but feel that the shampoo is more potent when it comes to adding volume. Unfortunately, this range has not been launched in India and therefore purchasing it on amazon.com or eBay is the only way that I can get my hands on it. Although the range is available at drugstore prices in the UK (£3.50 for a 400 ml bottle), due to the import cost and shipping charges I have to shell out around INR 2000 for the same :(. I wish that the range gets released in India soon so that I can purchase the entire set of products without exhausting my bank balance! I highly recommend this product to add life to limp hair, this is indeed a game changer when it comes to volume.

Buy it here.

Nykaa Matte Nail Lacquer: Blueberry Sorbet

I finally jumped on the matte nails bandwagon with Nykaa’s Matte Nail Lacquer in the shade Blueberry Sorbet. This shade belongs to Nykaa’s Neon Matte Nail Enamel collection, although I am not sure if I would call this particular shade a neon blue, but I do love the color.

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This particular shade needs 3 coats for an opaque finish- I was a bit concerned as the first coat was very sheer, but after 3 coats it looked just fine. The formula dries to a true matte but the matte finish fades within 2 days to a dull glossy finish which chips on my nail in another 2 days.

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I would recommend this product to those who need a matte blue polish for a special day or a particular outfit because the matte finish does not last very long. This product can be purchased on Nykaa’s website for INR 199 for a 9 ml bottle. Personally, I still prefer an old-school glossy nail paint, what about you?

Buy it here.

Neutral Mauve Lips for Indian Skin Tones

When it comes to neutral lip colors, the right shade varies a lot based on different skin tones and I believe that very few mauve lip products are really neutral enough for Indian skin tones. This lip duo is my go to combo for achieving perfect neutral lips with a pinkish-mauve undertone. The duo comprises of the Wet n Wild ColorIcon Lip Liner in the shade 715 Plumberry and the Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in 180 Vintage Pink.

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This combination works together perfectly, giving a creamy, slightly glossy, mauvish look to the lips. The liner is a smooth, pinkish brown which can easily be worn on its own as a matte neutral color.

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The lipstick, on the other hand, is a slightly lighter pink with a mauvish undertone, which is a bit too light to pass off as a neutral shade for my lips on its own. The formula of the lipstick lives up to its name and is very moisturizing and comfortable to wear. The liner drastically extends the life of the lipstick to a good 6 hours although it does transfer on eating or drinking. The shade Vintage Pink has been hailed as an affordable dupe for MAC’s Velvet Teddy, but I haven’t tried the MAC shade so I can’t vouch for that personally. I also love the classic Rimmel shiny purple packaging because it adds a little something to the vanity.

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The Rimmel lipstick is available at a really affordable price of INR 500 whereas the Wet n Wild liner is not available in India as far as I know, but can be ordered from international sites like amazon.com for around $5. The price of the products is very reasonable and yet they provide the final finish of a high-end lipstick. I think this shade would look very flattering on a wide range of skin tones. I wear this combo on a regular basis but I am hoping to try out some more colors from these brands soon!

Buy Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Vintage Pink here.

Buy Wet n Wild ColorIcon Lipliner in Plumberry here.

Ride or Die Concealer:Loreal Paris True Match Concealer

When it comes to face products, Loreal products seem to work the best for me and the Loreal Paris True Match Concealer is no exception to the rule. It is my holy grail concealer for both spots and the under eye area; no makeup look of mine is complete without this product.

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I am the shade N4-5 (Light/Medium) but there is one darker and one lighter shade available in India so you can mix and match to your skin tone.

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I really like the fact that this product provides medium to full coverage and is extremely buildable and blendable with a brush or even fingers. The formula has a not too runny liquid consistency and isn’t thick and cakey like most full coverage concealers. I am a huge fan of liquid concealer anyway because stick concealers tend to settle into my pores, which completely defeats their purpose. The concealer stays put on my face for around 3-4 hours without any makeup spray.

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The packaging is a small tube-like bottle and depending on where I buy it from the applicator is either a doe foot one or a tiny brush. I personally prefer the brush applicator because it seems to apply the product more evenly and helps with blending it in seamlessly. The tiny packaging is easy to fit into a clutch or pocket and the formula is great for touch-ups throughout the day without making your skin look odd and patchy.

The product is priced at INR 945 for a 5.2 ml bottle but is usually available for around INR 700 on online portals. I would say that the price may seem a little high but a concealer can completely make or break any look so a reliable concealer is worth the splurge. This is the only product that I have been purchasing regularly for the past six years and have had no regrets at all 🙂

Buy it here.

Loreal Paris Liner Magique: Budge Proof Eyeliner

My hunt for the blackest black long lasting eyeliner ended when I stumbled upon this wonderful find at the Loreal counter. The Loreal Paris Liner Magique is indeed magical, it is the perfect glossy black eyeliner that stays intact on my lids for up to 12 hours!

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The formula is an intense glossy black that retains its glossiness throughout the day, it also lives up to its claims of being smudge proof and water resistant, which pleasantly surprised me.

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The applicator is a flexible sponge one that can be used for drawing a precise, thin line as well as a thicker cat eye look. The formula dries within seconds on the lid but retains its original consistency in the packaging for months. Once dry, the liner does not budge even after vigorous rubbing and also remains flawless underneath water (provided you do not touch it while it’s wet :)).  Despite being waterproof, the liner comes off easily on rubbing gently with makeup remover, which is a blessing for people like me with sensitive eyes.

The product is priced at INR 399 for a 3gm bottle, which I feel is quite good for Loreal considering that you need only a single swipe to get an opaque finish. I am very impressed that a drugstore liner can provide such longevity at an affordable price.

Buy it here.

Favourite Foundation: Loreal Paris Infallible 24H foundation

Can you tell that this is my favorite foundation? This is the only foundation I have used throughout 2016, it is the Loreal Paris Infallible 24H foundation in the shade 250 Radiant Sand (Sable Eclat). I have at least two bottles of this foundation lying around in my house at all times so that I never run out of this holy grail product.

Amongst all the foundations that I have tried till date, I feel that this particular shade is the only perfect match for my skin tone and I do not have to compromise or mix together two shades like I have to do with other foundations. I believe that the foundation is available in 11 different shades in India, both pink toned and yellow/brown toned so that almost everyone can find a near exact match. This is what I love the most about this foundation, the shades are on point and there is a wide range spanning all Indian skin tones, be it fair or dusky. With most foundations I feel that the shade that matches my complexion is always too orange or muddy looking, so I have to choose between either that or a lighter shade which is way too pink or pale for me. Radiant Sand, however, is a yellow toned shade that is such a blessing, I hope Loreal never discontinues this product or else I will have to resort to my color mixing skills again.

The formula is neither runny nor too thick, provides medium to full coverage and is very blendable and forgiving. You can use multiple layers for a flawless finish or go with a single layer for a more natural look. It blends seamlessly with the skin whether you apply it with your fingers, a brush or a sponge, I personally prefer using my Real Techniques foundation brush for easy application. The packaging is sleek and the bottle comes with a pump, the entire face and neck never need more than 2 pumps even for a fuller coverage. The only downside of the packaging is that the pump stops dispensing the foundation even though you can see quite some product still left at the bottom, but you can get around that if you are resourceful (keep the bottle upside down for a few hours :)).

The formula sets to a comfortable matte finish with a good staying power of at least 8 hours on my skin, although I need to powder around the 5-hour mark thanks to my oily skin. With a good primer or setting spray, I have been able to extend the wear time to up to 12 hours, which is great considering my skin tends to get rid of makeup quite fast anyway. It also contains SPF18 which is always an added bonus as we can’t ever get enough sun protection in India.

Different shades are available from INR 1,300 to INR 1,400 in various drugstores and online portals. Let me go and stock up on some more bottles now!

Buy it here.

Toni & Guy Heat Protection Mist: The Heat Protectant that Rescued my Hair

I have recently stopped getting my hair blow dried at salons because unfortunately none of the salons where I live uses a heat protectant before applying heat to the hair. As unbelievable as it may sound, these are all popular and well-established salons that are well stocked with all kinds of hair products ranging from serums to mousses, yet they either skip or are unaware of the benefits of heat protectant sprays.

In India, heat protectant sprays have made their entry into the market quite recently even though they are one of the most important hair products for healthy hair in my opinion. In an ideal world we would not subject our hair to any sort of heat, be it blow drying, straightening or even hot water baths, the reality, however, is that there are several occasions when we cannot wait for our hair to air dry or need to tame our mane with the aid of styling tools. A heat protectant is your best buddy if you find yourself in such situations from time to time. They not only protect the hair from the damage caused by high temperatures but also improve the efficacy of the styling tool and prevent frizziness.

I have been using the Toni & Guy Heat Protection Mist for over a month now and it has made a huge difference to the look and feel of my hair. The nozzle gives out a fine mist which I spray on to towel dried moist hair and then spread out with a wide toothed comb before blow drying my hair. My blow dries look much more professional when I use this product and have a sleek finish; it also has a soft fragrance that lingers on in my hair for up to 3 days. I have also used this spray on dry hair before straightening and am happy to report that my hair held the style for much longer as compared to when I straighten without using this product. It prevents my hair from succumbing to any kinds of frizziness or dryness that I usually suffer from, especially at the ends. The product claims to provide heat protection from temperatures up to 230 degrees Celsius and so should work fine with most styling tools.

I also love that it is quite affordable, priced at INR 750 for a 150 ml bottle (UK price is £6.39 for the same). There are usually some fabulous discounts and deals on this product as well (I purchased mine for 30% off from Nykaa). Toni & Guy Heat Protection Mist is a great option for all those on the lookout for a good heat protectant, particularly those with fine, frizzy hair and rough ends. I am looking forward to trying out more products from this brand in the future!

Buy it here.

Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment: An eye cream worth the buck

I suffer from extremely dry skin under my eyes, and of course the inevitable dark circles. On top of everything else, I have very sensitive eyes that tear up at the faintest hint of any chemical whatsoever.

I have tried several eye creams in the past but they either irritated my eyes or did not make any difference at all to my skin. I had heard rave reviews of the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado for a while but had hesitated in making the purchase due to the steep price.  One fine day, however, I decided that the under eye situation was going completely out of control and desperate measures needed to be taken, that’s when I took the plunge and purchased this eye cream and I am so glad that I did!

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From the very first application of this cream I could feel a difference and my under eye skin seemed well moisturised and not stretchy and itchy as it normally does. Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment contains Avocado oil which works wonders with dry skin and does not irritate my eyes at all. I have been diligently using it every night for a few months now and I can see a faint reduction in my dark circles as well. My under eye area doesn’t feel parched anymore, even on days when I don’t get enough sleep, this cream acts like a drink for my skin and leaves it looking hydrated and healthy.

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The cream has a very smooth and rich consistency and is extremely creamy. It has a pleasant mild scent (is it just me or does this actually smell like avocados on toast?) that does not linger post application. It seamlessly blends into the skin leaving behind a slightly glossy cast but no color. I usually apply it at night but have used it sparingly in the day time as well and makeup can be applied easily on top of the cream.

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The packaging follows the classic Kiehl’s apothecary style- a white jar with a green print that gives the bottle a luxurious feel yet promises to hold something gentle and pure. Although scooping into the jar might seem a little unhygienic but I like the old school jar concept and would suggest washing your hands before every use.

The only downside of this eye cream is the price, a 10gm jar is available for a whopping price of INR 2,450 in India and for $48 in the United States. A little, however, really goes a long way with this product and it took me more than 2 months to finish half a jar. I purchased my jar for around INR 2,000 during a sale on Nykaa.com and would recommend to look out for some discount when buying this cream. Although, even for the full price I would say that this cream is worth the splurge and I would rather invest in good skincare and sacrifice on a high-end lipstick instead!

Of course, time cannot be rewound and we shouldn’t just rely on such products to resolve our skin issues, a healthy diet and sufficient sleep is essential to achieve perfect glowing skin.

Buy this product here.

Gold Nails with Colorbar Metallic Nail Lacquer

The metallic trend that was all the rage in 2016 is here to stay this year as well, and I am not complaining. With tonnes of metallic shades to choose from, be it rose gold, silver, tungsten or even a metallic purple, I still place my bets on the classic gold.

Gold not only looks classy, it also complements a lot of different looks and outfits.  My favorite way to wear gold is on my nails, these nails take me from a soft peach dress in the day to a little black number at night. I also feel that gold looks particularly beautiful on medium to dusky skin tone and highlights a holiday tan perfectly.

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On my nails today, I am wearing my beloved Colorbar Metallic Nail Lacquer in 011 Treasure. This is a slightly muted gold without any over the top yellow undertones, which makes it more wearable on a daily basis. It is a gold metallic lacquer, with tiny micro shimmers in the same color that catch the light beautifully adding a more posh look to your nails.

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The formula is quite liquidy and glides smoothly on the nails; each coat takes around 7-8 minutes to dry completely. For a completely opaque metallic look, I usually need 2-3 coats. The brush is the old school thin variety which aides with precise application.

The staying power of this polish is quite good and it does not chip on me for a good 5 days, the color, however, dulls a little after 3 days to a more silvery gold. I love the fact that it does not contain any chunky glitter which makes the polish more elegant and also easy to remove without needing to rub vigorously with acetone.

Colorbar Metallic Nail Lacquers are available at a reasonable price of INR 250 for a 9 ml bottle, which I believe is great value for money. I would highly recommend this nail paint to all girls on the hunt for gorgeous golden nails.

Buy this product here.

Goodbye to Gel Manicures: Maybelline Super Stay 7 Days Gel Nail Color

If your new year’s resolutions include spending less time and money at the salon then you must read on. Today I will talk about the ONLY nail polish formula that lasts on my nails for an entire week without a single chip, the very appropriately named Maybelline Super Stay 7 Days Gel Nail Color. My nails are the worst when it comes to chipped polish; they seem to possess some magical powers that induce chipping but this formula is a holy grail favourite that comes to my rescue each time.

The formula is thick and has a gel like consistency, it is quite glossy on its own, but can be enhanced to a super shiny look with an appropriate top coat.The pigmentation is intense and opaque in a single coat; you will not need more than 2 coats for a perfect finish. The wide brush makes the polish super easy to apply, and although the formula has a slightly gel-like consistency, it spreads evenly on the nails. The drying time is pretty good too, it takes less than 10 minutes for each coat to dry, and so in 20 minutes you will get glamorous nails that last for days! Despite the formula being quite thick, it does not get gooey or stringy in the bottle and the shelf life is pretty good. Coming to the most important part, the longevity, the formula pleasantly surprised me when I wore it for the first time. I ripped open packages, shampooed my hair, washed utensils, but the nail paint didn’t budge at all for a whole week. I could even get away with wearing this for 10 days without any ugly chips (only tiny ones close to the tips).

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My favorite shade is 08 Rouge Passion (Passionate Red), which is a bright tomato red, perfect for the holiday season. This colour appears slightly orange in yellow light but is a true red in white light, it is well suited for all skin tones, and is a great shade for the toes as well! The formula and chip resistance is pretty consistent across all the shades (I have also tried and loved 460 Orange Couture, 270 Ever Burgundy, 635 Surreal and 869 Emerald Excess). The polishes are available in a multitude of shades and Maybelline seems to be bringing out new colors every season.

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The packaging is extremely sturdy and looks quite high end. The white caps look great all stacked together on the vanity, and the trapezoidal bottles have a luxurious feel to them. They are the kind of bottles that will not break in the suitcase when you pack them in your carry-on. This range falls around the 10$ price mark in the US, and is available in India for INR 375 for a 10ml bottle. Although the price is a little steep for a drugstore polish, I feel that it is justified considering the quality and wear time of the product.

This is my go-to polish when I go on vacation because I don’t need to bother with repainting my nails. In my opinion, it is a great DIY alternative to a gel manicure. This nail polish is ideal for lazy girls like me, who don’t want to invest too much time in the vicious cycle of painting and drying their nails and need a foolproof and quick solution to well-manicured nails.

To sum it up, Maybelline Super Stay 7 Day Gel Nail Color gets two thumbs up (and two big toes up?) along with a sack full of love from me. This is hands down one of the best drugstore nail paints out there and could give solid competition to gel manicures!

Buy this product at Nykaa.com