Monday, December 28, 2015

Simple homemade mask for eczema or extremely dry and irritated skin

Once I got a really bad reaction to a clay face mask that I made using apple cider vinegar. It not only irritated my skin but also triggered eczema around my mouth. My skin was very raw and itchy, so my doctor recommended me a simple home remedy which worked wonders, and will hopefully do the same for you.
Oatmeal Yogurt Mask
The proteins in the oatmeal can help nourish the dry scaly skin, while the yogurt can add in the lacking moisture.
Oatmeal contains beta-glucan which has the unique ability to form a fine layer or a protective barrier on the skin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and can enhance healing process by stimulating collagen.
Yogurt contains calcium that facilitates cell renewal and heals dry skin. Also, it is rich in B vitamins that help regenerate the skin cells, and zinc which has anti-inflammatory properties.  
To make this simple mask, all you need is: 1 tbsp partially ground oatmeal + 1 tbsp warm water + 1 tbsp yogurt.
Mix the three ingredients and apply evenly over the affected areas. Wait for 10-15 minutes and wash with warm water.
You can use rose water instead of regular water as the rose is calming, but skip it if you are sensitive to rose or if you have extremely sensitive skin.
Also, yogurt can be replaced with milk. But when using yogurt, make sure it does not contain any additives or sugars. I personally only use home made yogurt on my skin.
Moreover, you can add some ground almonds and mashed banana like they do in Lush Oatifix Mask.
Have you tried this mask? Do you have any other recommendations?
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a great day!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Oatmeal Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Merry Christmas Everyone!
Its the holiday season and I love baking so I decided to bake some decadent but relatively healthy cookies.
The cookies turned out to be perfect, they were chewy and not overly sweet. They were literally devoured down within minutes.

So lets get started...
Yields 12 cookies.
1 cup flour [1/3 plain flour + 2/3 grinded instant oatmeal (I used 2 packets of regular instant oatmeal)]
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup milk (which is only about 3tbsp)
2 tbsp ground flax seeds + 6 tbsp water (used as an egg replacer)
handful of white chocolate chips and dried cranberries
*I felt that the dough was a bit dry so I added 1/4 cup of water.
1. Preheat the oven at 350°F.
2. Combine the flax seeds with water and put the mixture in fridge for about 10 minutes or in freezer for 4-5 minutes. This step is not necessary but it gives the flax seed mixture, egg like gooey consistency.
3. Mix all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder.
4. Add in the butter, vanilla extract, milk and flax seed mix to form a uniform dough. If the dough is dry, then you add a few spoons of water.   
5. Fold in the cranberries and white chocolate chips.
6.Divide the dough into 12 parts and make round balls.
7. Place them on the cookie sheet (after I placed the dough balls on the sheet, I pressed them with my fingers to flatten them out a little bit, but you can leave them the way they are) and bake for about 6-8 minutes or until they start turning golden brown on edges. Time may vary based on the type of oven or the size of cookies.
1. You can add spices like cinnamon and nutmeg but I didn't want anything to overtake the flavor of cranberries, so I skipped.
2. Some of you may feel that these are not sweet enough, but since I was adding white chocolate chips and cranberries, which add their own sweetness, so I used less sugar but you can always adjust as per your taste buds.
3. I do not use eggs in the baking and I find flax seeds healthier than other egg replacers so I use them but you can use anything that you have in your pantry.
Did you try this recipe? Do you have any tips to enhance the taste of these cookies?
Thank you so much for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Products I Regret Buying: Eyeshadows

This post is all about the eyeshadows that I regret buying. But before I begin, I would like to clarify that even though these products did not work for me, I am not trashing them in any way. If you have any tips or tricks to make these work, please leave them in the comments below. Also, since its already clear that I don't like these products, so I am gonna keep it short and sweet :)
So, lets get started...
Yves Rocher Quad Eyeshadow in 06 Brun Incandescent: This sumptuous color quad comes in beautiful rose gold packaging with a nice mirror and an instructions card. However, it lacks pigmentation and especially the two mid-toned shades barely show up on my skin. Retails for $20 CAD but is always on sale for $10.                                     
Rimmel London Eyeshadow Quad in 002 Smoky Brun: I bought it because everyone on youtube raved about it. However, the two lighter shades of the quad are almost invisible on my lids so I don't use it.
Shade placement in the quad is as follows: left, right, bottom, top
Yves Rocher Duo Eyeshadow in 23 Mauve et Kaki: The olive green shade is really nice and smooth, however, the cool toned purple that makes 2/3 of the palette is chalky and doesn't apply evenly. Also, the silver glitter kind of dilutes the purple and makes it appear more silvery.
Jesse's Girl Mineralized Baked Powder Eyeshadow in Graphite Frost: Looks beautiful in the pan but doesn't show up on the skin at all.  

Laura Mercier Eye Color Duo in Violet: This is a discontinued product which can still be found on some online websites. The dark plum shade has no pigmentation whatsoever. The swatch below has been done with several swipes back and forth. So, I would not recommend buying it even if it is insanely discounted.
Pacifica Natural beauty Duo 2: The packaging is kinda flimsy and the clear plastic lid separates from the base sometimes, which resulted in the damage that you can see in the picture below. But the main issue is the quality of the shadows. The purple lacks pigmentation while the gold looks uneven when applied.
Maybelline Color Tattoo in Painted Purple: I have several other colors from this line and they all work well, however, this particular one lacks the color intensity and looks patchy on application.
So, these are the few eyeshadows that did not work for me. I will share the face products I regret buying in an upcoming post. Also, you can click on the "regrets" in the labels below to check out my past makeup, hair and skincare regrets.
Have you used any of these products? Did they work for you? Do you have any tips?
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Have a great day!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

PCOS, Weight Issues, Acne, Fatigue & Other Issues - Women Health 1

I am not a beauty expert, and I do not have any background in makeup or fashion. I share the related content on this blog for fun. But today I am going to share something that I am qualified in, something related to my field.

Today's topic is something that I have dealt with for years, so it is going to be based on my personal experience. This post is going to act as a base for my upcoming posts on acne.

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It causes hormonal imbalance in women, which results in irregular periods, weight issues, hair loss, acne, excess facial and body hair (due to excess amount of the male hormones testosterone and androstenedione), depression, abdominal pain, fatigue and even infertility in some cases. However, with today's advancement in medical science, all this is treatable.

PCOS is more common than you may think, it affects a wide range of women from all different ages. Even though, it is so common, I personally feel that it is still not dealt with properly. I have been diagnosed with PCOS (through ultrasound and blood work) back in 2008 and had a lot of above mentioned symptoms that bothered me,  but none of the doctors I saw did anything about it, and I have been to at least 5 different GPs and 3 specialists. It has been only recently that I received help and that too  because I actively asked for the medication that I thought would work for me. And this is the reason I am writing this article. Even though I have health care background and knew all along what was happening, it still took me so many years to get what worked for me. So, I can't even imagine, how many women have to struggle with this all their life without getting the appropriate assistance. So, I am going to briefly go over some issues in this post, but not all.
So, lets start from the beginning. I always had irregular periods, but was told by doctors that as long as I get 6 a year, it is absolutely fine. And I was kind of fine with it, because just be honest, who likes dealing with cramps and bleeding every month? But I still insisted on getting the tests done to figure out the underlying problem, which showed what I was expecting i.e. PCOS. However, the doctor kind of brushed it off because I was having the minimum required number of periods.
 Acne is also a symptom of PCOS. I have struggled with acne on and off for almost 7 years. Most of my teenage years were relatively alright with occasional breakouts but the major struggle began after 20. So, even though I was diagnosed with PCOS, I was sent to the dermatologist, who prescribed me minocin, which is a popular antibiotic for acne. 
  • It worked for the time that I was taking it but my acne came back as soon as I got off it.
  • Dried out my skin really badly and triggered eczema, which I never had before.
  • Messed up my digestive system.
Obviously, since my issue was different so this antibiotic did not work for me.
Few years later, I was also prescribed tetracycline, which is another antibiotic but again it did not work very well.
  • It caused excessive hair fall, so much that I lost hair every time I touched them. They literally came out in clusters, it was really scary.
  • It also resulted in yellowing of my teeth.                                                                                                                                                            
I did not have this issue in the beginning, but as the time passed on, I started getting facial and overall body odema. My face used to swell up at odd hours on its own and then go back to normal. So, that was very weird, and it made me age by a good 5 or 6 years.
Also, I gained weight and had trouble losing it. I ate well, worked out but nothing really helped.
All of it was getting so out of hand, that I felt self conscious all the time. I lost confidence and self esteem because I had this constant thought embedded in my mind that I do not look good. No matter what makeup I used, no matter what I wore, it just did not look good. Because my skin did not look nice, my overall body did not look nice. I had tried everything from expensive facial masks to essential oils, but nothing at all worked because my issue was internal.
So, I did my own research and printed out articles. However, PLEASE NOTE: when I am saying I researched articles, I am not talking about google or Wikipedia. I am talking about the peer reviewed journal articles, they are the genuine research articles done by the scholars. DO NOT believe everything on the news sites or random blog posts (I know this is also a blog lol but then I am not talking about all blogs, right?).
I made a list of the possible medicines that had the probability to work. I took it my doctor and discussed it with him. First and most common prescription for PCOS is  birth control pills, which might not work for everyone, and it did not for me either. I gave it 6 months but I had weight gain, hunger pangs and excessive  hair loss. Also, it did not help my acne.
So, then I asked for the medication that is used for diabetes, because the insulin resistance is a common cause of PCOS. The body tends to produces so much insulin to control sugar that in order to curb that the ovaries produce excessive testosterone. So, if the root cause is controlled then everything can be resolved. And this is exactly what has worked for me. Also, since it is diabetes medication, it is very inexpensive, but you cannot get it without prescription.
  • If you think, you have PCOS because you are experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms, talk to your doctor.
  • If you are being prescribed a certain medication, and it is not working for your, ask for a revision and share your concerns with your doctor.
  • If you have acne, and nothing has worked out for you, get a check up done, you might have PCOS.
  • If you are on birth control pills for acne or irregular periods, and you are gaining weight or dealing with issues like hair fall etc. DO NOT compromise, discuss it with your doctor because there are other alternatives like different kinds of birth control pills (with different hormones) or other medications.
  • If you have tried everything to lose weight and  have other accompanying issues, get your checkup done for PCOS.
  • DO NOT let yourself suffer because of something that can be controlled.
  • Also, everyone is different, so what worked for me, might or might not work for you but the key is to be informed.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: take your doctor's advice because they know the medicine better but give your input because YOU know your body better.  
Have you dealt with PCOS? or Acne? or Weight Issues? or Irregular Periods? What did your doctor do? Did you get the appropriate assistance?
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Have a great day!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

December 2015: Julep Maven All That Glitters Overview

I have been a Julep maven for about two years. Its a great service with free shipping and new colors every month. This months theme was All That Glitters and I got the IT girl box. It came with three nail colors and a cinnamon flavored candy cane along with a coupon for free nail polish.
Chrissy, Beatrice and Omelia
Chrissy: Beautiful creamy green shade that leans a little bit towards teal. UPDATE: This polish stains both the skin and the nails really really bad during the removal process. Even repeated washing with soap didn't get the color off my skin. I will never use it again. I will share the pictures in an upcoming post.
Beatrice: Shimmery gold with a hint of copper. Its a difficult to define kind of shade so I may be wrong but to me it looks like the liquid form of Becca Jacyln Hill Highlighter.
Omelia: This is a special edition 2015 wonder maven polish. It's purple with tiny pink sparkles in it.
On the first look I thought I already have these shades in my collection so I have done a brief comparison.
Omelia (bottom) and Barbara (top)
 Barbara is a lot more pink while Omelia is purple.
Chrissy and Emilie
Chrissy and Emilie
 Emilie is true leafy green shade while Chrissy has some bluish undertones to it, which makes it look a little bit teal when placed close to a true green.

Sienna and Beatrice
Beatrice has a lot more copper to it while Sienna is more of a cool toned silvery gold. Also, Sienna has a creamy and smooth texture while Beatrice has some finely milled glitter.
What did you get in your Julep maven box this month? What do you think about Julep polishes in general?  Also, do you have any thoughts on Julep matte lipsticks because I really want to try them.
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Review & Swatches: Fleur De Force Eyeshadow Quad in Lunar Rose

The infamous you tuber Fleur De Force recently came out with her own makeup line, which is available exclusively on feelunique. In her collection, along with lip glosses and lashes, she has two eye shadow quads, Cosmic Bronze (neutral brown shades) and Lunar Rose (pink shades). I picked up Lunar Rose because I already have tons of browns and I am currently kind of obsessed with pink shadows. I paid $12.38 CAD for it.
Packaging: Nice sleek compact packaging; comes with a tiny brush instead of the sponge tip applicator, which does not really matter to me because I don't use either of them.
Shade 1: Completely matte pale pink shade. This is the only matte shadow in the quad, it has nice texture and pigmentation. It is creamy and soft with barely any fallout.
Shade 2: Shimmery pink shade that has some taupe in it. Again, very smooth, creamy and pigmented shadow that works really well as all over the lid shade. It is not overly shimmery by any means, the smoothness of the shadow makes it a cross between satin and shimmer. This was the shade that inspired me to buy this quad because it looked kind of rose gold in some swatches but its actually a lot more pink. Nonetheless, I still like it.
Natural Light
 Shade 3: Cream shade with satin finish. This is not a straight up plain cream shadow but has some dimension to it, which makes it really pretty.
Shade 4: Matte dark burgundy shade with multicolor glitter specks. Even though this is supposedly the darkest shade of the quadbut it has the weakest color payoff. It barely shows up with one swipe. The swatch in the pictures took a while to build up. So, it may be an issue for some but I personally do not mind it because I never wear dark shades.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, I am not sure why but all the swatches that I searched for before buying the quad, looked somewhat different, and I am talking about the swatches not the actual quad. So I am not sure if something is changed or it was just the lighting and how the pictures were taken.
Indoor with Lights On

 So, overall I liked the quad. Also I would like to add that even though $12.38 seems a little pricey for a brand that is marketed as drugstore but we need to keep in mind that it is released in the European market for £7.99, which is the perfect price range but it is the currency conversion that makes it appear a little expensive.
Have you tried Fleur de Force makeup line? What are you thoughts?
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a great day!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

NOTD: Festive Red & Gold

Red and gold are the perfect festive colors for the holiday season. But I came up with this combination while looking for something to go with my red Indian suit with coppery golden stone work as red nail polish alone was just not enough.
Side note: It was really difficult to take the pictures because firstly, the sparkly golden shade over red looks different from different angles and secondly, the shine made it hard to capture the real beauty of the combination. So, I would recommend you to try this combination once to see how pretty it is because the pictures are not doing it justice.
To get this look, I used a coat of coppery gold polish (Sally Hansen Coin Flip) over a deep red shade (Essence Fame Fatale).
Essence Color & Go in Fame Fatale: Gorgeous true deep red shade and one of my most favorite polishes of all times. I have gone thru two of these and will probably be buying another one soon. It has a nice big flat brush and gives full coverage in just two coats. Retails for only $1.99 CAD.
Sally Hansen Xtreme wear in Coin Flip: Beautiful shimmery coppery gold shade. It can be worn over other polishes or on its own ( requires at least 3 coats). This shade has a couple of exact dupes, which I will share in another post. Retails for $2.47 CAD.
How did you like this combination? What are some of your favorite nail color combinations?
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a great day!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

November 2015: Ipsy Bag

This month my ipsy bag arrived really late. Usually it is here in the second week but this time I got it almost at the end of the month. But anyways, for $20.21 CAD I received five products: Coolway Strong Hold Spray, Inspr Eyeshadow, Model Co Highlighting Trio, Trestique Lip Crayon and Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara.

Coolway Strong Hold Hair Spray: I personally did not feel that there is anything special to this spray. It holds well but so do my tressame tres two, which retails for under $5 CAD while coolway retails for $19.95 US.  

Inspr Eyeshadow in Carnival

Inspr Eyeshadow in Carnival: When I saw it online I didn't think I will like it but it is my favorite product from the bag. It is a beautiful shimmery taupe that has the slightest pinkish tint to it, which unfortunately is not showing up in the picture. The formula is very smooth and creamy so barely any fallout. I would definitely check out more shades.

Champagne, Peach Bellini & Bronze
Model Co Highlighting Trio in Champagne, Peach Bellini & Bronze: This is a cream product with somewhat thick consistency. It looks beautiful in the swatches but I find it to be very heavy and difficult to blend on the cheeks. So I would not recommend it.  

Trestique Matte Lip Crayon in Chile Red

 Trestique Mini Matte Lip Crayon in Chile Red: I am really into matte products these days but this lip crayon was quite disappointing. Even though it is in stick form, the formula feels very slick and watery. I am not sure how to explain that but its just weird. Also, it is quite sheer and it took me numerous strokes back and forth to build up the swatch in the picture. Therefore, I will not recommend it.
Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara: This is the only product that I have not tried yet so can't really say anything about it except that it has a huge brush.
Overall, this month's bag was kind of blah for me except the Inspr eye shadow. What did you get in your  bag? And what was your favorite product?
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a great day!

Friday, November 27, 2015

NOTD: Chocolaty Brown & Rose Gold

Today's nail look is mix of deep dark chocolaty brown polish topped with rose gold sparkle. Even though it does not look like it but for some reason it reminds me of Ferrero Rocher packaging, I know that's totally random but it does.
Revlon Hot Chocolate: Very deep dark chocolaty brown color that looks almost black at times. It is a very pigmented polish and gave me full coverage with just two coats.  
Julep Jane: Beautiful rose gold glitter polish. I have just one coat of it over hot chocolate on ring finger and it bought the whole look together.
Adding an accent nail is a really easy way to jazz up the look, especially for those who are not very proficient with  nail art.
I wore this dark chocolate brown shade after years and totally fell in love with it all over again. What do you think about dark brown polishes? What are some of your favorites?
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Covergirl LashBlast Mascara's

Covergirl and Loreal are my two favorite drugstore brands for mascaras. Especially, the Covergirl Lashblast is the one that I always have in my collection. Covergirl Lashblast line has around ten different varieties but today I will be talking about three of them: Volume (orange tube), Clump Crusher (green tube) and Full Lash Bloom (pink tube).

For some background information, I do not have very long, full lashes so mascara is a necessity for me.  Also, I like defined and separated lashes that look fuller but I absolutely despise the look of heavily coated and thick lashes. So, just keep that in mind as my review is based on those points.

P.S. I have issues with my camera so I couldn't take the pictures of my lashes for the comparison as it was either getting hazy or out of frame but I will add them later. I am sorry about it.

One quality that I truly love about the whole Lash Blast line is that even the non-waterproof versions do not smudge. I never buy waterproof mascara and always use one of these on my bottom lashes and it works like charm every single time. Also, these are really good at holding the curl.
Lash Blast Volume:
This is probably one of the most talked about mascara's of this line. It comes and in an orange tube and has a huge round plastic wand with tiny bristles all around. The bristles kind of tapper off towards the tip, which makes it easier to go over the tiny lashes in the inner corners of the eyes. It's wand looks very similar to the Fusion (purple tube), which I have used in the past. Fusion is targeted towards both length and volume while Volume is specifically marketed as a volumizing mascara and I personally found that the Volume version gave me more defined and fuller lashes as compared to Fusion. So, I would definitely repurchase it.

Lash Blast Clump Crusher:
It comes in a really nice vibrant green tube and has a curved brush. It has a plastic wand with smaller bristles on the edges and slightly longer in the middle. It does give nice definition to the lashes but not as much as the Lash Blast Volume. Even though, now I am used to the curved  brush but I found it a little bit odd in the beginning. Also, I really do not understand the point of having a mascara specifically targeted towards clump free lashes as none of the other Lash Blast mascara's give clumpy lashes due to the tiny closely placed bristles. So, it is not my favorite and I would probably not repurchase it.
Lash Blast Volume; Full Lash Bloom, & Clump Crusher

Lash Blast Full Lash Bloom:
It comes in a beautiful pink tube and has a slightly thinner and longer wand as compared to Volume. Also, the bristles are not as tightly packed so for me it takes a couple of extra strokes to get the desired volume. In addition, even  though there are tiny bristles on the top of the tip for inner corner lashes, but those  bristles are almost unusable because the stopper does not clean off the excess product from the tip so usually there is a lump of mascara there. Also, the main selling point behind this mascara is that even after putting it on, the lashes are soft to touch. But for me personally, that it is not a big deal unless a mascara is uncomfortable to wear or it is so dry and crunchy that it flakes off. However, with that being said, this is a nice mascara that gives me decent amount of definition but still it is not as good as the Volume, so I would probably not repurchase it.

You probably already know by now but my favorite is the Lash Blast Volume as it gives me volume and definition without clumping. Also, I use the non-waterproof version and it lasts all day without smudging, even on my lower lashes. So, I would definitely repurchase it and will always have it in my collection for my lower lashes.

What are some of your favorite mascara's?  Or do you have a holy grail mascara? I have been hearing a lot of buzz about the new Lash Blast Super Sizer, have you guys tried it? Do you think it is better than the Lash Blast Volume?

Thank you so much for taking time to read this post. Hope you have a wonderful day!