Seven Amazing Hair Oils For Healthy Hair & How To Use Them

Hair oiling has its benefits when done right and it has gained attention in the recent past. It is food for the scalp and it conditions the hair strands. While it may not be the trend in every other country across the globe, it certainly is popular in many parts of the world, particularly in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. In India, for example, hair oiling is a common practice that has been passed down for generations. Research and opinions are still divided on the subject and it is a work-in-progress, but peoples’ ‘live experiences’ tell the story of its efficacy.

Apparently, the hashtag #hairoiling has garnered more then 62.4 million views on TikTok, and international celebrities like the trendsetting Kardashian sisters, Nicole Richie, Zoe Kravitz, Priyanka Chopra, Eva Mendes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mindy Kaling, and many others have made hair oiling a part of their hair care. So, there must be some merit to it.

I, personally have seen great improvement in my hair quality in the recent past. One would think being an Indian, I would be attuned to oiling hair from babyhood, but no, I hated it back then. I didn’t get to choose the hair oils or the shampoos in my childhood – mom and grandmas made those decisions. Teen-time was a different story – fads ruled the roost and several wrong choices sucked health out of the hair!! Now wiser with age and beauty-care education, I can vouch for hair oiling as an effective regimen for bouncy, silky tresses.

Oil The Scalp Or Oil The Strands?

Both benefit from hair oiling and I am breaking them down to list the advantages of each:


  • It increases blood flow to the scalp due to the gentle massaging during oil application
  • Relaxes scalp muscles and reduces anxiety, again due to the massage and the inherent relaxing properties of certain
  • Certain oils have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties and hence the scalp remains protected
  • Protects from UV damage
  • Fatty acids in the oils nourish hair follicles

Hair Strands:

  • Certain oils form a coating over the hair shaft, hence they seal the cuticle and trap the moisture inside
  • The oils act as lubricants. They provide increased slip between the hair strands and help avoid tangling
  • Oils flatten the cuticle surfaces, smoothen the strands and improve their health and appearance
  • Oils like coconut oil, penetrate the hair shaft due to their low molecular weight and prevent the loss of protein from
    hair. This can lead to improved elasticity.

Which Oils Are Most Beneficial?

The oils of coconut, almond, castor, argan, olive, amla (gooseberry), fenugreek, sesame, linseed, and mustard oil. Most hair oils are obtained from the nuts and seeds of plants. Each of these oils has a consistency of its own and is to be used to cater to specific hair health needs. Most often, these oils are warmed mildly before application which helps in relaxing the muscles as well as provides for easy absorption by the scalp.

  1. Coconut oil:  It’s great for moisturizing and reducing protein loss in the hair. It’s especially beneficial for those with dry, damaged, or frizzy hair.
  2. Argan oil: Rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, it nourishes and repairs damaged hair. It also helps to tame frizz and add shine.
  3. Jojoba oil: This oil is similar in composition to the natural oils produced by the scalp, making it great for balancing the scalp’s natural oils. It’s also lightweight and non-greasy, making it a good choice for those with fine hair.
  4. Olive oil: This oil is rich in antioxidants and healthy fats, making it great for moisturizing and strengthening hair. It also helps to soothe a dry or itchy scalp.
  5. Castor oil: This oil is rich in ricinoleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It’s great for promoting hair growth and reducing hair loss.
  6. Rosehip oil: This oil is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, making it great for repairing damaged hair and promoting healthy hair growth.
  7. Tea tree oil: This oil has antifungal and antimicrobial properties, making it great for treating dandruff and other scalp conditions.

To sum it up, when done right, a hair oil massage can: 

  • Increase blood flow in your scalp 
  • Nourish the scalp  
  • Reduce hair fall 
  • Promote hair growth 
  • Make your hair bouncy, shiny, and smooth 
  • Relax your muscles and ease stress and anxiety 

How To Oil Hair The Right Way 

The benefits of hair oiling are probably one of the most talked about topics within beauty practices. Backed by science, hair oiling is a common cultural tradition practiced by South Asian women. The steps to oiling your hair are pretty straightforward: 

  • Brush your hair to smoothen it out 
  • Section your hair 
  • Gently massage warm oil on the scalp 
  • Keep the oil on for at least 30 mins. Longer the better, but certainly not overnight.
  • Wrap a damp towel around your head for faster oil absorption (optional)

From the face of it, hair oiling comes across as a pretty simple process. And it is! 

Yet, unknowingly, more often than not, we make mistakes that can nullify the benefits or worse – have an opposite impact than what you expect to derive from oiling your hair.    

Are You Making These Hair Oiling Mistakes?  

Using a generic hair oil 

Oiling your hair should always be concern specific. Determine why you need the hair oil massage. Is your oil massage for treating hair fall, dandruff, or simply to hydrate your hair? Whatever the reason, the hair oil ingredients matter.   

Excessive oil usage  

More oil on hair does not translate to greater hair benefits. In fact, it can be counterproductive!  

Excessive oiling of your scalp can clog the pores, may cause boils and dandruff accumulation. There is also the possibility of over-shampooing to remove all the oil, and this is likely to dry the hair strands by stripping them of their natural moisture. Your hair doesn’t have to soak and drip in the oil; it is enough if the oil just about coats the strands. A few pumps or a palmful of oil is sufficient to keep your hair healthy, but you be the best judge. Depending on how long and thick your hair is, choose an amount that will cover your scalp and strands lightly.

Oiling your hair more than once or twice a week is not advisable either.

Vigorous oil massage 

We don’t really need a vigorous hair oil massage – it can actually damage the hair follicles. A gentle but firm massage with your fingertips helps better penetration of nutrients into the scalp. An ideal hair massage can last up to 10-15 mins. Work in circular motions, focussing more on dry patches and areas of hair thinning. Enjoy the massage and let the muscles relax. Oiling hair in a hurry is a waste of your time and it is likely to pull weak hair out of the follicles. Work your way down from the scalp to the hair strands and their tips. Leave the oil on for at least 30 mins, or longer if possible (maybe 2 hours), and then wash it off.

Applying oil to wet hair 

This is a no-no. Wet hair is far weaker than dry hair. If oil is applied to wet hair, there are two things that happen. Oil and water do not mix and hence the very purpose of oiling the hair is lost. Second, the strands are likely to be pulled and tugged at while oiling and it can result in hair breakage. Wetness in the form of sweat on the scalp is even more damaging. Sweat when dried deposits salts on the scalp, thereby clogging pores and causing inflammation. It is best to wash off the sweat, dry your hair and then apply oil if you have to.

Tying up hair tightly

If you need to tie your oiled hair, do so in a loose braid and not in a tight bun.

Hair oiling can be quite a me-time experience if done right. Do you guys oil your hair and has it worked for you? Is there any specific oil that you wish to share with us all? I would love to hear from you in the comments.


Featured Image Credit

Image by Freepik

Everything You Need To Know About Acne And How To Care For It With Natural Skincare

Acne is a stressor and stress triggers acne. Does that sound like a loop? Well, yes it is! Can skin be cleared of acne fast is a question that is often asked, and it has its answers in two parts. Yes, it can be cleared, and no…….not fast! But some acne facts first before we delve deeper.

I am tempted to quote these lines “Be in love with your acne, they have taught you patience in life“. Whoever coined this is wise. If you hate your acne, it gets you with a vengeance. Acknowledge, accept, and heal – now that’s a good mantra! Couple it with an anti-inflammatory lifestyle and a few high-performance skincare products and you should be good to go.

But What Is Acne?

Is acne pimples? Or blackheads? Or whiteheads? Or breakouts? Well, acne is all of these. Acne is a medical term for blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, pustules, cysts, and nodules (pimples that don’t come out on the surface but just seem like hard bumps inside the skin). Acne is usually diagnosed in stages and here you go :

  • Grade 1: Whiteheads and blackheads
  • Grade 2: Pus-filled pimples
  • Grade 3: Large painful pimples that look like cysts
  • Grade 4: A mix of all of the above plus those red bumps which never come out.

A simple acne fact – it is a pore that’s clogged with sebum. When it oxidizes or collects dirt and particulate matter, it turns into a blackhead that later gets inflamed causing pus.

What Causes Acne?

Several factors and that’s what makes it so hard – to diagnose and to treat. The first task is to identify what causes acne in a person and I am hoping this list will help :

Hormonal imbalance is the most common cause of acne, in both males and females with puberty topping the list. Menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, or PCOS are other predominant factors in females.

Stress, the second most common cause.

Intake of certain drugs like steroids, bodybuilding supplements, and other hormones.

Improper skin hygiene and by that, we mean usage of wrong skincare products as well as inadequate daily cleansing. Includes makeup removal. Listing a little later in the blog ingredients to be avoided.

Lifestyle – Junk food like fried and fast food. Dairy products, and food with a high glycemic index.

Genes – it can run in the family.

Picking zits and pimples can flare it up further and leave behind scars and pigmentation.

Acne can be mild, or stubborn. Yet, it can be managed and cared for with the right lifestyle and effective topical applications. Diet plays a major role in managing acne and hence, before you begin your deep dive into skincare, give your food choices a thought.

It seems that for many, the cure to acne is at the end of a fork, not in a prescription pad” – Unknown.

Good food for the skin

Ingredients You Should Avoid

Synthetic Fragrances The words fragrance, perfume, or parfum are to be viewed with suspicion when it comes to acne. They are skin irritants that you can do without and they can cause breakouts and inflammation.

Essential Oils These oils are extremely concentrated compounds and can cause havoc when applied directly to the skin. Those with acne-prone skin can avoid them completely. Other types of skin too need to be cautious – always dilute the oils in suitable carrier oils.

Carrier oils that work well are jojoba oil, hazelnut oil and hemp oil. Coconut oil and cocoa butter are a no-no for acne skin. 

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate SLS is a surfactant and hence an irritant to sensitive, or acne-prone skin. It can disrupt the skin barrier leading to inflammations of the skin. Choose sulfate-free cleansers over the rich foaming ones.

Sodium Chloride In simple words, this is sea salt and is often used in cleansers for its exfoliating properties. It also helps thicken formulations. But, it can cause breakouts.

Coconut Oil & Cocoa Butter Though it has gained in popularity amongst those with dry, parched skin, acneic skin can do well without it. Coconut oil contains saturated as well as unsaturated fats and by now we should know that they are bad news for acne-prone skin.

Algae Extract It may be a universally loved ingredient, but it can also be comedogenic as per skincare experts.

Now for some Acne Friendly Ingredients – Apple cider vinegar, baking soda, turmeric, honey, tea tree oil,

Cleansing For Acne Prone Skin

Cleansing and ‘appropriate cleansing’ is the key to managing acne. Earlier in the blog, I brought to your notice that the root cause of acne is pore-clogging.

Is there one ingredient in face cleansers that can alleviate acne? Yes, and that is BHAs – beta hydroxy acids, more specifically Salicylic Acid. Salicylic Acid is derived from the bark of White Willow and Wintergreen leaves. It works as an anti-infective and anti-fungal agent, thereby protecting the skin from microbes.

Time to look at the next step in skincare – moisturizing. Does oily skin need moisturizing is probably one of the most searched topics on the net, and the answer is yes, it does. Oil or sebum secretion is a continuous process in all types of skin. Sebum is what keeps skin hydrated and looking healthy. Drier the skin, a) darker it gets, b) faster it ages, c) itchier it gets.

Why Does Oily and Acne-prone Skin Need Moisturizing?

There is an oft-quoted misconception that people with oily skin should skip moisturizing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every type of skin needs moisturizing because there is a constant loss of moisture from our skin due to TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss) and weather conditions. The natural tendency of skin is to produce sebum every day, every minute. In the mistaken notion when you deprive the skin of external hydration, it produces even more oil to compensate for the lack. So, the wise ones choose an oil-free, non-comedogenic, and water-based moisturizer to keep their oily skin hydrated.

An important ingredient we all must look for in a moisturizer is Hyaluronic Acid. It is sometimes called the ‘moisture magnet’ because it attracts moisture and retains it in the skin, keeping tissues lubricated and plump.

Are Toners & Face Mists Good For Acne?

Yes, yes, and yes! Toners do oily and acne-prone skin a good turn. They lend a hand in some additional cleansing. They unclog pores and dislodge makeup more easily. Often, toners and mists can be substituted for moisturizers when skin feels dry. Air-conditioned spaces and dry and cold weather can dehydrate skin. Work, travel, sports, or even leisure sometimes is not conducive to frequent application of moisturizers. That’s when toners and mists are so convenient! Just a spray all over your face and neck, and skin feels hydrated.

Bonus Tip :

And before we move on to another skin topic in our next blog, I wish to remind you to stay clear of sugar, all refined foods, eat a nutritious diet, sleep and exercise adequately, meditate to keep stress at bay, and stay happy. Show acne the backdoor with these great lifestyle habits.

If Dark Circles Disturb Your Mental Peace, Learn How To Manage Them

Dark circles can be as dark as they sound! Not a great sight to say good morning to from the vanity perspective! If you are one of those that have never had dark circles, trust me, you are one of the luckiest humans on this planet. At one time or the other, we all go through dark circles under the eyes for different reasons. Feel fortunate if they are only temporary, but if chronic, then there are loads of things we need to do to avoid them or treat them permanently. But, can they be removed permanently? Well, you need professional help for that, but if you want to manage them at home, let’s look at first things first.

What Causes Dark Circles?

Also referred to as periorbital hyperpigmentation in medical parlance, they can be caused due to multiple reasons. Anyone can have them, no one loves them and many are clueless about how and why they appear, and what to do about them. Let’s look at some of the simplest causes of dark circles.

Lack Of Sleep: It’s true, lack of sleep is one of the reasons for developing dark circles, though not the only one. When we don’t get enough sleep, the blood vessels under the thin skin of the eyes tend to dilate, creating a dark tint.

This can be easily remedied by getting enough shut-eye. While the right amount of sleep varies from person to person, on average, adults ideally need 7-8 hours of sleep. If that’s hard, at least 6 hours. And how do we achieve that? Well, that’s an entire topic by itself and we shall keep it for another time.
Puffy eyes caused by several reasons cast shadows in the under-eye area and can make them appear like dark circles. Cold compresses in such cases can help if the puffiness is due to minor reasons like tiredness or over-sleeping.

Low Hemoglobin: Anemia, caused by iron deficiency is one of the most common culprits behind dark circles. Low iron levels in the body mean poor supply of oxygenated blood to the periorbital region, which can then appear bluish-black.

Do check out iron levels through a blood test and your family physician could help you out with food and supplement suggestions to remedy the same.
Eat foods rich in iron such as spinach, okra, sweet potato, whole grains, brown rice, prunes, raisins, figs, fortified cereals, tofu, soybean

Smoking: Smoking depletes the skin, of oxygen and nutrients, and that can cause smokers look pale or even develop a gray skin tone, if you are a heavy smoker.

Kicking the habit will bring back the healthy look on your face and that will reflect in your under-eye area also. So time to take action, then and quit smoking.

Poor Lifestyle: This involves many wrong habits. Could be late nights, frequent alcohol consumption, eating processed foods, fat burners, prolonged use of certain medications, lack of exercise, lack of nutritious food which can lead to many vitamin deficiencies and so forth.

Incorporate a healthy lifestyle and your dark circles are likely to disappear and your skin to get a healthy glow.

Excessive Sun: My pet subject. Excessive or unprotected sun exposure will surely age your skin, have no doubt about it. You may get dark spots, blemishes, uneven skin tone and all these can be grouped under the topic pigmentation. Fine lines and wrinkles are also a fallout of sun exposure, as also sagging skin, because the harsh ultra-violet rays break down the collagen and elastin fibers in our skin. Once collagen starts breaking down or depleting, skin aging gets accelerated.

To prevent such skin aging, please cultivate the habit of wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Encourage your kids to start wearing sunscreen at an early age – yes, even while they are in school or even earlier. It's never too late. If you are one of those that haven’t worn sunscreen so far, start now and you will see a big difference in the health of your skin. 
Apply the sunscreen in your under eye area every day, even if you are indoors. Particularly if you are going to be in front of your desktop or laptop, never, never forget your sunscreen. Blue light can be damaging to your skin and your delicate under eye area.

Liver Abnormalities: Fatty liver, overworked liver due to excessive alcohol consumption, or viral infections can lead to dark circles. Liver issues can also be hereditary. Getting a liver function test and treatment can resolve not just dark circles, but other health issues as well.

Hay Fever, Asthma & Allergies: Next time your eyes itch persistently, avoid the temptation to rub them. Let me tell you why. Inflammation from allergies that affect the eye is called allergic conjunctivitis and is also termed “allergic shiners”. Frequent rubbing of an itchy eye can lead to broken blood vessels which can leave dark marks under the eyes. Sometimes, the inflammation can cause dark circles even in the absence of rubbing the eyes. A visit to an ophthalmologist should take care of the issue.

Cosmetics: We all like to do up our eyes and add oodles of brightness to our face. But eye makeup is meant to stay for long and needs to be water-proof. Those who wear eye makeup know why it is so. Taking off the layers of mascara, eyeliner and eyeshadow can be tricky and has to be done with care. The very choice of eye makeup remover and the act of rubbing it vigorously can damage the capillaries under the eyes, and by now you know what broken capillaries can do to our eyes.

The trick is to use a gentle makeup remover formulated specially for that purpose, or use good quality coconut oil. Whatever you do, do not tug at the skin.

Genetics & Ageing: This is something none of us have control over, but we can certainly age better! The first sign of aging seems to show up under our eyes. Dermatologists all over the world tell us that as we age, the tissue around the eyes gets thinner and weaker as a result of collagen breakdown. This causes the fat to shift to the lower lids creating dark shadows.

How do we remedy this? Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do ourselves. The best we can do is to use good quality under-eye creams and keep the area well-nourished and hydrated. Moisturize the eye area twice a day and do not forget the upper lids. As a night cream, get something that has these ingredients like Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Hyaluronic Acid. That’s about it. 

If you want to reverse the aging to some extent, the solution is to go in for clinical procedures like the Q-switched Nd Yag laser treatment, microneedling, or Hyaluronic Acid fillers. But make sure you go to a reputed and certified aesthetician. You could also consider glycolic acid or lactic acid peels at the clinic.

Tips from the kitchen

Crush 2 almonds, make a paste. Add 3-4 drops of milk. Apply the paste to under eye, wash after 15-20 mins. Almonds with Vitamin E hydrate, milk, and almonds lighten skin.

Prepare cucumber juice, keep it in the fridge for 15 mins. Soak cotton pads in juice and place them over the eyes for a few mins. Cucumber juice contains ascorbic acid oxidase, making it a good astringent. Also soothes skin, reduces puffiness, and makes dark circles less prominent.

Cut thin slices of apples and leave them under the eyes for a few mins. Apple contains tannins that diminish dark circles. Also has potassium and water-soluble vitamins like B and C that restore lost nutrients to the under-eye skin.

Foods That Help Alleviate Dark Circles

Tomatoes contain multiple antioxidants and are best known for their lycopene, which is what gives tomatoes their red color. Lycopene helps protect blood vessels and aids in blood circulation. Quercetin, an anti-inflammatory agent has the ability to protect the blood vessels under the eyes and improve circulation.

Cucumbers on your eyelids practice is very popular, they are also beneficial for your eyes when ingested. Their high water content can hydrate the under-eye area and keep it supple, but more importantly, they also have silica, which can boost collagen production. 

Sesame Seeds: Fatigue, as we saw earlier can cause dark circles and the antioxidants in sesame seeds can improve the symptoms. They contain vitamin E for overall eye health too.

Berries: Anthocyanin is a very powerful antioxidant that can help improve blood circulation and the eye area can also certainly benefit from it.

Watermelon: With their high content of water, they help keep skin hydrated and plump. What more do we want!

Home remedies are convenient, but give only temporary improvements. Lifestyle changes and clinical treatments give more lasting benefits. But let us make an affirmation today. Let’s us not allow dark circles to ruin our mental peace, we have all the above tips at our fingertips! So, lets get cracking and look bright-eyed! I would love to hear if you have tips that have worked for you.

Does Lymphatic Drainage Affect Skin And How To Improve It From Within

Skin most often reflects what goes on inside our body, particularly the gut. There will always be exceptions like some who follow a poor lifestyle, yet have a great skin and I can go grrrrrr at the sight of such. I mean I invest a lot of time in caring for my body and skin, it’s not fair right, with what they can get away!

Genes can be the culprit, or the blessing in some other cases. But, we are not playing the blame game here. We are taking accountability and giving our skin the care it needs, whether we are endowed with a glowy one or a dull, dehydrated one. My mom had the most gorgeous skin, while my dad quite the opposite! So what I got is – equal portions of both!!

My blog, this one, is about the inner and outer connect, between the organs in our body and the skin that covers and protects them all. Do we have to obsess over our skin? Yes, in my view because for one, it shields our inner organs and two, it makes first impressions. Who doesn’t want to make good first impressions?

In order for our body to function at its best, all our body organs are to be at their optimal best. Any lesser would end up in health issues, big or small as the case might be. Our body goes through oxidative stress 24/7 and inflammation is always lurking round the corner. Consuming nutritious food and pumping the body with antioxidants to counter the free radicals is the only way out.

How Do Toxins Appear In The Body?

There is a lot of talk on toxins in our bodies, which need to be expelled on a daily basis. But, before that, a few lines on how toxins manifest in our bodies in the first place. From a general perspective, a toxin is matter that the body is either unable to digest or get rid of. Such matter when left un-expelled can lead to diseases.

Toxins can be born out of the natural, biological waste from the cells and the internal processes in the body. Waste bacteria, resulting from undigested food add to the load.

The Detox Process:

We have these organs in our body that are capable of detoxifying our system

  • Liver and Kidneys
  • Skin
  • Lymphatic Draining System

Liver and kidneys are the body’s major detoxifying organs.
Skin is the secondary detoxifying organ.

When the liver and kidneys do not function at their best as a natural process, the skin is called upon to assist in the job of moving the toxic load out. This can be a smooth process quite often, but it can traumatise the skin in the form of eruptions or rashes. So, skincare addicts and junkies, its best to keep our insides working well so that what we treasure most stays soft and glowing – our skin!

The Lymphatic Draining System is a very important process in the body which helps clean up the skin tissues of all toxins. But, its not always so simple. The lymphatic system can get clogged or congested when the fluids do not flow properly.

What Causes Lymphatic Congestion?
An overload of toxins in the form of waste and debris due to poor lifestyle and choice of foods like processed foods.
An over-exposure to environmental toxins can also trigger the blocking of lymphatic nodes and that’s a breeding ground for skin issues.

The digestive tract is home to about 80% of the lymphatic system. Hence, digestive issues can throw the skin and its top layer, the barrier into a tizzy. You see the connection now? So next time, you have skin woes, try to first look within and get to the root of the problem – the gut.

The Lymphatic System is made up of the superficial and deeper levels. The superficial system drains the head, neck, breasts and the skin into the deep system, which in turn drains all the deep vital organs including the digestive tract. That, in turn drains into the liver and is eliminated through the colon. Ideally, this entire flow needs to be a smooth sailing affair. But, when it isn’t, our skin starts talking and shows symptoms of a malfunction in the form of skin issues.

There are ways of clearing a clogged lymphatic draining system, read about it here.

Another useful resource on what to do to better cleanse the lymphatic draining system. Do read this, its extremely useful. Since it is already put together so beautifully already, sharing it with you.

Digestive Tract, Skin, Immune System

That’s a trio and each one of them are dependent on the other for optimal functioning. Our immune system would get compromised if the other two are compromised in any way. The human body never ceases to amaze me. A mark of someone’s intelligence – glory be to our Creator!

Skin conditions such as rashes, hives, acne, eczema or psoriasis need to be healed from the inside. Topical applications can only soothe and suppress the symptoms. When it comes to skin issues, we need to dig deeper and respect the inner-outer connect that skin and our body organs have.

Calling upon the pillars of great skin, the liver, kidneys, digestive tract and the lymphatic system to support us all in keeping good skin, great skin, NATURALLY! May skin be our canvas and makeup its enhancer.

Can Supplements Really Improve Skin And Hair Health

Why Do You Need Hair And Skin Supplements?

Who says appearance is not so important? It is very important. After all, first impressions have already told the world some of your story when you walk into a meeting, or a social gathering. The confidence you exude comes from being well in mind and body. Feeling and looking good is a choice, a choice you do make, with your lifestyle.

We, as humans naturally choose to be healthy, but is it that simple ? Pressures of today’s times make it hard. Our basic needs of nutrition, a fair amount of exercise and adequate sleep are not easily available to us any more. I turned to Dr Rashmi Shetty to give us more insight into the topic.

Dr Rashmi Shetty is a celebrity dermatologist and an aesthetic medicine expert at RA Academy in Bombay, India. She is also the author of AGE ERASE, a very informative skin care book. You could check out her line of supplements for wellness and beauty here. 

How Do Lifestyle Choices Affect Skin And Hair?

Firstly, oxidation (and the resultant oxidative stress) is a necessary and an unavoidable process that goes on in our bodies every single minute. It causes free radicals, which are nothing but oxygen containing molecules, with an uneven number of electrons. This uneven number of electrons allows them to react with other molecules and cause chemical chain reactions, leading to inflammation.

Wrong lifestyle choices in food and drink, smoking, alcohol, excessive stress and unregulated exercise, inadequate sleep, environmental toxins and cosmetics only add to the increase of free radicals…sometimes exponentially. This is where disease and aging set in; loss of hair and damaged skin are then a natural fallout. Several other skin issues like acne, pigmentation, rosacea, dermatitis, wrinkles and fine lines can crop up.

What Is Oxidative Stress ?

Nature has endowed our bodies with a natural defense mechanism in the form of antioxidants. They are molecules that can donate an electron to a free radical without making themselves unstable. This in turn stabilizes the free radical, making it less reactive and thereby inflammation is thereby controlled.

Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. When there are more free radicals than there are antioxidants to keep them in check, they can damage fatty tissue, DNA and the proteins in our body. Cellular functions can get disrupted, leading to aging and cell death. When cells are on the decline, overall health, skin and hair go for a toss. This is where antioxidant supplementation becomes relevant.

Which Are The Most Important Antioxidants ?

Vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A and beta-carotene. Other antioxidants include coenzyme Q10, alpha-lipoic acid and other colorful bioflavonoids. All these work in synergy with one another to disarm free radicals in different areas of the body. They have specific roles and some of them even help regenerate other antioxidants like glutathione, which is extremely important for protecting cells, tissues and organs of the body.

Where To Obtain Antioxidants From ?

It is impossible to completely eradicate free radicals, as it is a perennial process in our bodies. But what we can do,  is keep them under check with wise lifestyle choices. Increase our levels of antioxidants by including them in our daily diet and through supplements.

‘Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day’. You have been told this often, right ? Yes, most antioxidants can be naturally availed from fruits, vegetables and some seafood but, here is the catch. Agricultural and technological advancements have given us an abundance of food, but at the cost of nutrition. Processed and genetically modified foods have given rise to obesity. Use of pesticides and chemicals add toxins to our bodies. Result – a spurt in free radicals and the resulting inflammation.

But, there is a way out. Thankfully, years of scientific research has yielded us nutritional supplements, which are abundant in antioxidants.

How Do Supplements Help ?

In a big way ! As mentioned in the earlier paragraphs, wrong lifestyle choices trigger inflammation. You could be eating all the good foods, yet may not get the required levels of nutrition due to depleted nutrients.

In a world where flat abs and sinewy shoulders are an obsession, most people over-exercise, thereby sparking an increase in free radicals. Athletes, marathoners and extremely fit celebrities have succumbed to chronic degenerative diseases, all because over-produced free radicals are silent killers.

Sun exposure and other environmental toxins add to the damage.

Genes also play an important role in declining skin and hair health.

Enter supplements! They provide nutrients like vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids or other nutritional substances that may be lacking in the foods we eat. For cells to function optimally, targeted cellular health nutrients are essential, but the layman may not be aware of how much. That leads to deficiencies, which in turn affects the trillions of cells in our bodies.

Supplements are formulated scientifically to overcome such deficiencies and keep one in the pink of health. Ideally, good hair and skin are expressions of a ‘healthy you’ inside. But that generalisation does not hold good always.

Skin and hair are constantly exposed to environmental pollution today. Plus, they are directly affected when there are nutritional deficiencies. Supplements can set the balance right by providing the requisite antioxidants and other nutrients in appropriate dosages.

They help optimise our own natural defense system. In medical parlance, they are called preventive medicine. Taking nutritional supplements is not about eradicating disease ; it is about promoting vibrant health, hair and skin.

Among many other health benefits, enhanced immune system and an antioxidant defence system are two of the most important. They are the two pillars of support for a healthy body. It is also the best way to regain lost health. But of course, you must couple it with a healthy lifestyle – no two ways about it.

Supplements are usually ingested in capsule, tablet or liquid form.

At What Age Can Supplements Be Taken?

  • No hard and fast rule.
  • The moment you start feeling sluggish, fatigued or sick for prolonged periods.
  • The moment your skin and hair issues manifest.
  • See your family physician to begin with.
  • Consult a dermatologist if you have hair and skin issues in any part of your body.

Coupled with supplements, a good skincare and haircare would do wonders to enhance beauty. I personally take a few supplements, of which White Pine Pycnogenol is one of them. It has a whole lot of benefits, from boosting collagen and elasticity to increasing Hyaluronic Acid levels. Also included are photo damage remedies and is even known to reduce pigmentation. This supplement has been prescribed by my dermatologist and that is pretty reassuring.

Another one is Tor Bright, an anti-aging and powder supplement that also keeps hair shiny and nails strong.

I also keep an AM and a PM skincare regime which consists of deep cleansing, face mist, serums, moisturizers and sunscreen. I would love to discuss skincare and if anyone is keen on doing so, we could start a chat or discussion.

Just a word before I sign off and that is : do choose your supplements in consultation with your dermatologist and family physician, especially if you have any health concerns.

Ciao !

A Complete Guide To Cleansing And Eight Cleansers For Every Skin Type

The first secret to glowing skin is effective cleansing, do you agree? We are now on the same page, and so here are eight options of face cleansers that are packed with beneficial natural ingredients. They are gentle, safe and score high on efficacy.

A well-cleansed face provides the canvas for further skincare and makeup. Clean skin drinks up the nutrients from your serums, essences and moisturizers, giving you that ‘much-desired’ plump, glowy and dewy skin. 

When is the best time to cleanse your face?
Every type of skin…. even problem skin needs daily cleansing and twice a day at that! At bedtime, or after you get back home in the evening to dislodge the build-up of dirt, grime and makeup that sat on your face all day! And the first thing on waking up to remove residual oils from the night (read natural sebum plus bedtime skincare products).

How to cleanse effectively without drying the skin?
First and foremost, say no to harsh chemicals and choose gentle formulations from trusted brands. Opt for natural ingredients that target your skin concern.
But, before I take you to some hero face cleansers, just a few tips on how to give your skin a little TLC.

Do’s And Don’ts Of Face Cleansing

  • Properly remove all your makeup first – use a gentle makeup remover and a soft cotton pad to do so.
  • Use lukewarm water – extreme temperatures of water can harm your skin, and do no good.
  • Skip the washcloth – much touted it is on social media, but it can irritate skin due to rubbing.
  • Allow the face cleanser to sit on your face for a few seconds to dissolve and dislodge the impurities. Do not wash off immediately. Massage the product gently on your face and neck with your fingers.
  • Tools like face brushes and loofahs are not really essential. A good face cleanser applied using your finger tips will do the job.
  • Your neck is an extension of your face in the beauty world, so give it the same care as you would a face.
  • Pat your face dry gently with a soft towel and avoid rubbing it on.
  • Apart from washing your face twice a day, cleanse it additionally only if required (in cases of sweating) and use only the required amount of the product. Over-washing can dry up your skin.

When you are done cleansing, do remember to follow up with a toner/serum/moisturizer that suits your skin type and concern.
I have put together eight of the best facial cleansers to suit all skin types, and have you covered with natural ingredients – only after I have tried and tested them on myself and some members of a test team so that I recommend only the safest and the best. These products are available in India on the brand websites as well as at Aardae website in Singapore. I have provided links to the products in India at the end.

Aminu – the essentials AHA FACE WASH

aminu aha face wash for blemish clearing and brightening, aardae, singapore

A face wash to fall in love with, you certainly wouldn’t want to miss this. If its classy packaging draws you to it at first glance, prepare to be wowed by the gentle, soothing potion that leaves your skin smooth, radiant and fresh as dew. With five natural AHAs, natural sugars, antioxidants, botanicals and mild resurfacing ingredients, this face wash is a ‘multitasker’.

Skin Type – Dry, Normal, Combination, and Oily 

Skin Goals – De-Tanning, Spot-Correction, Blemish-Clearing, Brightening. Sensitive skin types can avoid this and opt for Aminu Cream Cleanser.

Earth Rhythm-Cleansing Balm With Propolis

earth rhythm cleansing balm with propolis

 If you love the ingredient ‘propolis’, this cleansing balm is for you. A face cleanser that not just gently cleans, but brightens up skin instantly, like none other. Keep this handy if you have an event to go to and you may shine the best. Plant-based fatty acids replenish, while the rest of the rich natural ingredients balance, heal and soothe skin.

Skin Type – Acne-prone, Dry & Problematic.

Skin Goals – SkinBalancing, Healing & Soothing, Retaining Moisture.  

Omorfee – Green Apple Face Wash

omorfee apple protein face wash for sebum balancing and acne

‘An apple protein to deep clean oily skin’ is its simplest description. Oily skin throws up many challenges when it comes to face washes and moisturisers. But this Omorfee green apple face wash, devoid of sulphate extricates all grime without disrupting the healthy skin mantle. Could be your best bet to taking care of oily/acne-prone skin and keeping it healthy.

Skin Type – Oily & Acne-prone.

Skin Goals – Sebum balancing, Clearing Pores, Controlling Acne.

Shankara Naturals – Hydrating Cleanser – Fine Line

shankara naturals hydrating face wash for fine lines

A good one for combination and dry skin types. It’s not often that products are formulated for combination skin, but this one is. A face wash that feels luxurious yet cleanses thoroughly, leaving skin soft and smooth. A perfect blend of highly potent natural ingredients that helps in protecting the natural acid mantle of the skin.

Skin Type – All

Skin Goals – Skin acid mantle protection, Soothe skin and keep it moist, Remove makeup gently & effectively.

Detoxie – Anti-pollution & De-tan Refreshing Face Wash

detoxie face wash to combat pollution and tanning

Made for city life, made for you! City life is riddled with pollution and many environmental stressors, which in turn stresses our insides too, resulting in inflammation, damaged skin barrier, acne and pigmentation. Detoxie face wash has been designed to combat just that. It’s enriched with potent nutrients like Japanese Matcha, Peach Extract, Vitamin B5, Vitamin E, Witch Hazel Extract, Alpha Arbutin & Jojoba Ester. Together they help in cleansing pores to the core, minimizing blemishes and all that without drying the skin.

Skin Type – All

Skin Goals – Cleansing of all pollutants, Brightening of Skin, Clearing Pores.

Juicy Chemistry – Saffron, Marula and Ylang Ylang Face Wash

juicy chemistry face wash for improving skin texture and plumping

This face wash is a boon to dry and mature skin. Enriched with antioxidants, phenols, plant vitamins, fatty acids and terpenes, this Marula and Saffron face wash cleanses without drying mature skin further, and reverses free radical damage. Women who have used have reported smoothening of skin texture too! So that’s a big plus.

Skin Type – Normal to Dry

Skin Goals – Nourishing dry skin, Enhancing Tone & Texture, Plumping.

Soul Tree – Indian Rose Face Wash

soul tree face wash to enhance elasticity

Absolutely wonderful on normal to dry skin. Dry skin particularly is always under threat of losing its plumpness and elasticity. Potent extracts of Indian Rose and Turmeric are super beneficial to maintain the elasticity of the skin. Forest Honey and Aloe Vera together leave skin refreshed and hydrated.

Skin Type – All

Skin Goals – Retain elasticity, Keep skin blemish-free, nourished and hydrated.

Brillare – Oil Away Face Wash

brillare face wash for oily and acne prone skin, aardae, singapore

Oily skin can be tricky, one is never sure of what face wash and moisturiser to use. But, here is one product that puts your fear to rest. Brillare’s Oil Away Face Wash cleanses pores deep enough to clear it of the residual sebum, thereby leaving no room for microbes. Leaves skin non-greasy and fresh.

Skin Type – Oily & Acne-prone

Skin Goals – Oil balancing, Clear Pore

So those are some top-notch recommendations for high-performance face cleansers with pure and natural ingredients.

Bonus Tip :
Foods containing preservatives and artificial ingredients may irritate skin and cause breakouts even in the healthiest of skins. For eg, foods high in trans fats, such as margarine, processed food, and fast food. Foods high in sugar may also trigger eczema flare-ups. Sugar causes your insulin levels to spike, which can result in inflammation.

All products at Aardae are free from harsh chemicals, are not tested on animals and are eco-friendly. With natural ingredients sourced ethically from across the globe.
See you soon again. Till then, stay beautiful, naturally!

Aminu AHA Face Wash :

Earth Rhythm Cleansing Balm :

Omorfee Green Apple Face Wash :

Hydrating Cleanser Shankara Naturals :

Detoxie Anti Pollution Face Wash :

Juicy Chemistry Face Wash :

Indian Rose Face Wash Soul Tree :

Oil Away Face Wash Brillare :

What Foods To Eat To Reduce Hair Loss

Hair-care Through Food

Hair woes seem larger than life when hair starts thinning, and greying. It is everyone’s crowning glory, and rightfully so. If there is one thing about us humans, that can make or mar looks dramatically, it’s the volume and style of our hair. Strong, shiny, healthy looking hair is a sign of beauty coveted by all.

But, caring for hair has become a challenge in today’s times. Have you often wondered, and envied the thick tresses and crops your grandparents sport, even in their ripe old age? Ask them, and they will in all their wisdom tell you, it’s a lifestyle thing. True so ! You may want to believe them, when you glance at the array of your hair products – oils, masks , shampoos and conditioners on your bathroom shelf, and yet you struggle to keep your hair healthy.

What Causes Hair Damage ?

It all begins with your genes – healthy and thick hair, or otherwise. But, you don’t have to blame it all on them and resign yourself to balding, or greying. Your genes can be tricked into reversing traits that have been encoded in them. Dr Steven Gundry, in his book “Diet Evolution”,  explains how the food that we eat can alleviate even degenerative diseases. So, eating right for hair health is what we are going to be looking at.

Other factors that cause hair damage are external – weather, sun, pollution, quality of water, and hair products. Internally, inflammation, diet, sleep, stress, hormonal imbalances, and medication have a direct bearing on hair health.

How To Get Healthy Hair Then?

While you may have to consult a dermatologist, or a trichologist to determine the root cause of hair thinning and greying, there is something you can do, all by yourself to keep hair-health at its best – eat right. But eating right is only a part of the solution ; healthy hair can be maintained with proper nutrition, but serious hair issues will need professional help.

Hair needs internal nourishment more than anything else to keep follicles healthy and strong , hair shaft smooth and shiny. Nutritional deficiency is the major culprit for most hair woes. Hence, nutrition is of paramount importance to healthy crops and tresses. Hair that has been strengthened from within, can withstand the onslaught of many external and internal factors. Healthy hair follicles, and a strong skin barrier can be your gateway to luscious hair.

A healthy scalp needs ample blood circulation to the area as well as, balanced sebum production, appropriate hydration, and robust skin cells leading to a strengthened skin barrier. We must remember that our scalp is an extension of our skin. So poor skin barrier translates to poor hair health.

Hair cells grow fast ; they are the 2nd fastest growing cells in the body, next only to intestinal cells. But, hair is a non-essential tissue and therefore, our body does not prioritise nutrient supply to hair, if there is a lack of it in the body.

Hair strands and hair shafts are supported by hair follicles and are a direct result of the health within them. Hair strands that retain moisture and shine are envied by all, and the secret to that lies in hair nourishment.

While eating a balanced diet is your best bet, there are still certain nutrients that play a key role in halting hair loss, greying, and may even boost hair growth. External nourishment in the form of hair oils will help, only if all is well within. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, proteins, and fatty acids are the building blocks we need for gorgeous hair.

A little science, before listing out the nutrients for healthier hair. Hair growth in hair follicles occurs in three phases, and ‘anagen’ is the first phase, characterised by active hair growth. Hair grows about 1 cm every 28 days at that time.

 Androgens are hormones that can reduce the anagen or hair growth phase, and cause baldness. Certain antioxidants, through specific chemical reactions, inhibit the action of androgens. This in turn, lengthens the anagen phase, increases hair production, and prevents hair loss.

Nutrients Essential For Hair Growth

Experts recommend the following nutrients for maintaining healthy and lustrous hair. Make sure you take in adequate amounts of the nutrients in your daily diet. Later in the blog, you will find foods that are nutrient-dense, but do make sure you eat seasonal and local produce. If need be, there are many good hair supplements in the form of powders, tablets and capsules. A word of caution here though – consult a professional before you take any supplement ; do not borrow diets and medications.

  1. Vitamin A – We need sebum to keep scalp moisturised, and hair healthy. Vitamin A helps promote the production of sebum.
  2. B-vitamins – Red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles. B-vitamins help create abundant red blood cells.
  3. Vitamin C – Collagen is an important part of hair structure and its production wanes with age. Vitamin C aids collagen.
  4. Vitamin E – Vitamin E boosts blood circulation and helps strengthen hair follicles.
  5. Iron – Iron deficiency is a major cause of hair loss. Supplementing diet with iron boosts production of red blood cells.
  6. Zinc and selenium – These two nutrients protect the scalp from damage, and help in hair tissue growth.

Now for the foods that are good for hair.

  • Avocados – Rich in vitamin E and B-vitamins. Also a good source of potassium, omega-9, folic acid, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that aid hair growth.
  • Berries – Such as strawberries and others with their high level of vitamin C protect hair follicles from oxidative damage. Citrus fruits and peppers are other sources of vitamin C.
  • Eggs – Proteins are the building blocks of hair, and eggs are replete with protein. Eggs are also a source of vitamins A and D, carotenes, lutein, and zinc, all of which promote healthy hair.
  • Figs – A great source of iron in addition to providing potassium, magnesium, vitamins A, and E.
  • Flaxseeds – Flaxseeds and nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that nourish the hair and help thicken it. Flaxseeds are also rich in vitamin B1, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.
  • Kelp – A sea-weed that is an amazing source of iron, l-lysine, zinc, vitamins B2 and B5, folate, and magnesium.
  • Dark leafy greens – All leafy, and dark leafy greens are a rich source of iron – darker the leaves, higher the iron content. Leafy greens also provide vitamins A, C, and K, B-vitamins, potassium and folate.
  • Mangoes – Good news ! Mangoes contain silica, which helps strengthen hair strands. Vitamins A, B6, C, and folate are also found in mangoes.
  • Pumpkin seeds – Zinc is another key nutrient for healthy hair and pumpkin seeds are full of it – they prevent scalp dryness. They also contain iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, and protein, all of which promote hair growth.
  • Soybeans – Are a rich source of iron. They are known to inhibit the hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). An imbalance of DHT in the body is one of the main reasons for hair loss. Soybeans are abundant in omega-3, vitamin B2, and magnesium – all good for hair health.
  • Wild-caught fish— Wild-caught fish like salmon are high in omega-3 fats ; they decrease inflammation and support hair growth, and hair thickening.
  • Green tea — Green tea helps detoxify ; contains antioxidants that promote hair growth. It also may stop the conversion of testosterone into DHT.
  • Chia seeds — Being high in fiber and healthy fats, chia can help aid hair growth.
  • Bone Broth— Bone broth is the perfect food for healthy hair growth as it is high in protein, collagen, and amino acids.
  • Caffeine— Caffeine has been shown to spur hair growth (in moderation though). According to research, caffeine stimulates hair shafts and helps them grow faster, by damping down the effects of DHT, a substance that infamously slows hair growth.

What You Must Avoid

If the following are not good for overall health, they in excess are not good for our hair too. Remember this from the earlier part of the blog ? Hair that has been strengthened from within, can withstand the onslaught of many external and internal factors. Healthy hair follicles, and a strong skin barrier can be your gateway to luscious hair.

Diet soda, sugar, starchy whites, fast food, alcohol, smoking.

Foods to Avoid

Avoid these foods as much as possible:

  • Trans fatty acids — Unhealthy fats like trans fatty acids increase inflammation and production of DHT. Hydrogenated oils like corn oil and soybean oil are loaded with trans fats.
  • Sugar — Sugar spikes hormones-imbalances, insulin resistance, increases DHT and causes inflammation, and all of these can lead to hair loss.
  • Processed foods — Processed foods are loaded with unhealthy fats, sugar and sodium, which are detrimental to hair health.
  • Alcohol — Liver toxicity can cause hair loss and frequent intake of alcohol can increase inflammation in the body.. Similarly, smoking can lead to hair fall.
  • Caffeine — Coffee and tea in small amounts is tolerated and can even be beneficial, but too much caffeine can be counter-productive. It can dehydrate, spike hormone imbalances and even production of DHT.

Resolving hair issues becomes that much more simpler when you know the root cause of hair thinning/loss. Reiterating – consult a professional to resolve hair problems, but eat healthy all the same – with or without the hair concerns.

Sources :

Ten Tips On How Not To Handle Your Skin – Antiaging tips at your fingertips

Skincare is three-pronged.

  • Internal – what you eat and drink to keep skin healthy and glowing.
  • External – topical – what you apply on skin’s surface.
  • Mechanical – how you use your fingers and palms when you handle your skin.

While the first two are sacrosanct to effective skincare, the third arm of treating your skin gently is in fact the art of upping your skincare routine and this blog is all about that. It is about anti-ageing at your fingertips! But before that, a look at the skin changes that come with age.

As we grow older, changes like these naturally occur:

  • Skin becomes rougher.
  • Skin becomes slack when it loses elastic tissue (elastin) in the skin and tends to hang loosely.
  • Skin becomes more transparent due to the thinning of the epidermis (surface layer of the skin).
  • Skin becomes more fragile when the area between the dermis and epidermis gets flattened
  • Skin becomes more easily bruised because with age blood vessel walls become thinner.

Face care has never been as important as it is today. The stress of life (blessed if anyone can escape that), pollution, lifestyle habits (read smoking, alcohol, late nights), processed food, harsher sun (depleted ozone levels) and exposure to blue light from electronic gadgets damage our skin every moment of the day.

Another aspect that has fast caught up with all ages and genders is makeup which is loaded with chemicals. Peeps, can’t do without it……..guilty as charged ! Now this is where the subject of my blog becomes so relevant. As I got more and more into makeup, I realised how much more I was handling skin. From a mere CTM (cleansing, toning, moisturising) regime twice a day, the number of times my fingers moved over my skin went up ten fold !! And then comes the ‘makeup removal’ part where most of the damage happens, because makeup is stubborn and we have been told to take every iota of it off.

So, the daily cleansing, toning moisturising routine coupled with makeup application and removal can take a toll on the skin if not done properly. I have put together quite a few donts that we all should keep in mind so that we do not abuse our skin.

Do not try to move the skin

Skin ages everyday as a natural process and tends to lose elasticity. Elastin fibres become slack and skin tends to hang loose. As a thumb rule, do not attempt to move skin, for you will only be adding to the damage. Instead, massage gently after applying a layer of lotion, cream or oil on the skin. Do not rub on dry skin, EVER !

 Pat your skin dry, do not rub

After cleansing or just plain washing your face with water, avoid rubbing or wiping hard with a towel. Rubbing can irritate the skin. Years of tugging at the skin can add to skin losing its elasticity. Use a soft towel and gently dab it all over your face for the water to get absorbed. It is good to let your face remain damp in order for your serums and moisturizers to sink in better.

The skin-mantra

And while we are on the subject of towels, use a separate towel or napkin for your face. If that is not possible, begin by wiping face first and then go on to the rest of the body. Different micro-organisms live in different areas of your body and you certainly do not want facial skin to catch on any infection.

Do not rub your cleanser or moisturizer in

Skin has its own capacity to absorb moisture in its own time. Rubbing it in is not going to accelerate the process, you are only letting much of the product get wasted all over your palms. Instead, dab the product on to your face first and then use a tapping motion all over. You could also gently press your palms across your face and give it gentle care.

If you are using cleansing oils or balms like the Clinique Cleansing Balm (for makeup removal), apply and gently spread the across face and neck without applying pressure. Then move wet cotton pads in upward and outward strokes to wipe away the disintegrated makeup.

Stop frowning so often

Repeated facial movements like frowning and smiling are inevitable, however they do cause fine lines and wrinkles on the forehead, around the eyes and mouth. Skin cells get squeezed repeatedly due to facial expressions and as skin loses its firmness, wrinkles form where it has been squeezed. While smiling and laughing are healthy, frowning is not, both to your skin and to your mood. Likewise avoid squinting your eyes too often.

How to avoid sleep creases

Sleep creases are also unavoidable, they creep in by the way we position our head on the pillow. And as skin loses its elasticity, the creases become more prominent. But what you can do is to cultivate the habit of changing sides and not sleeping on one side most of the night, or all night long. Sleeping on your back is a solution, but how many of us can do it ? I can’t, myself !

Do not apply pressure on eye area

Skin is at its thinnest around the eye area and it needs extra care while handling it. Its one of the first regions of the face to show signs of ageing. Loss of fat around the eye area is a natural part of ageing and results in loose skin. Tugging and pulling at it can accentuate fine lines and wrinkles under the eyes. Always employ movements and strokes that lift the skin, never drag it down.

Pulling on the skin aggressively while wearing contacts, applying or removing makeup can stress out collagen and elastin fibers, thereby causing visible lines and wrinkles.

Be gentle with your eye area whatever you do. Always apply eye serums and creams in a dabbing motion with your ring finger if possible (must).

Take extra care of your neck

The above principle of not tugging and pulling at the skin applies equally when it comes to the neck region.

Do not touch your face skin unnecessarily

The only time you should touch your face is when you are giving it gentle skincare or during and after makeup. At all other times, just let it be.

Most of us are in the habit of cupping our face in our palms when we are either sad, worried or stressed or even when we have to concentrate. Cupping soon turns to dragging it. We do that inadvertently and end up stressing our skin (even when you are smiling).

Remember what you read earlier on in the blog on the ill effects of pulling and tugging at the skin.

Do not forget to wear sunscreen, EVER

Sun damage, damage control and sun protection is my pet topic, but that probably needs a separate blog by itself. Till then, suffice it to say that rain, sun or shine, indoors or outdoors wear an appropriate sunscreen and stay safe. In fact, sun protection should be the number one anti-aging tip !!

Friends, while prevent, repair and reverse need some understanding of the dynamics and mechanics of face care, it is never too late to start. The idea is to preserve for as long as possible what nature has gifted us with. When the inevitable happens, that of ageing coupled with gravity, the best we can do is to offer nature a helping hand.

Share in the comments if you all have more suggestions on this subject.

Do Lips Need Special Care ?

Lips or eyes, which catch your attention when you first look at a person ? Eyes first, then lips I would say. The two of them together define the beauty of a face. Well shaped lips and eyes can pale facial imperfections if any. They also perform a subtle function – they give you a peek into one’s emotions. I can’t think of one emotion that is not expressed without one or both of them curling up or down.

They also tell stories, of our health, of how well we are nourished or otherwise. While I shall reserve eyecare for later, this blog post is about how to care for lips. But before that, a bit about lip facts.

 Surface anatomy of the human lips

Our lips are enclosed within the vermilion border. Now what is that ? It is the line where our lips meet the surrounding skin of the mouth. The reddish or pinkish area within that border is called the vermilion zone. Of-course, not all lips are red or pink. Genes and race largely influence the hue of our lips. External factors also add to it and we will come to that soon.

Image courtesy : AJH Cosmetics

  • The skin of the lip is very thin compared to the rest of the face.
  • There are no oil or sweat glands in the lips.
  • Lighter coloured lips contain fewer melanocytes (cells which produce melanin pigment)
  • Darker the skin, more the melanin content in the lips and hence darker lips.

The lip skin therefore is a lot more delicate due to all of the above and it does need special care. As we progress in age, lips lose some of the plumpness and start appearing thinner, thereby diminishing some of our beauty. Reason enough to begin the lip care routine.

 Why do lips dry out faster than the rest of the face and why do they chap ?

  • Because lip skin does not have sweat/oil glands and hair, it does not have the protective layer of sweat and body oils. Sweat and body oils keep skin smooth, inhibit pathogens and regulate warmth.
  • With minimal melanin in the lip area, sun damage can happen very quickly.
  • Prolonged periods in air-conditioned spaces, water sports, or rooms with room heaters can sap the lips of moisture.
  • The skin of the lips has a particularly high concentration of cold receptive cells. Hence, when temperatures drop, our lips suffer a setback.
  • Use of lipsticks. Chemicals like bromo acid present in long-lasting lipstick cause lips to dry.
  • Contrary to common belief, licking lips dries them out. Resist the temptation to do so, if your lips feel dry.

Darker shades of lip colours contain more lead and will darken lips. Avoid wearing dark shades on a daily basis, keep them for special occasions. And when you do wear them, remember to follow it up with healing lip care and that is what this blog post is about.

Do Men Need Lip Care Too ?

Yes, they do and for the same reasons as women do (minus the lipstick part in most cases). In fact, more men than women are out in the sun on two wheelers and they may need lip balms with an SPF.

Have you noticed smokers’ lips ? Smoking is injurious to your looks too ! Smokers’ lips get dark and dry due to the tobacco and tar, cigarette heat, capillary rupture and lack of oxygen. The best way to minimise the damage is to quit smoking, but if you aren’t one of those to kick the habit, the least you can do is to take care of the lip skin. Exfoliate using a lip scrub and apply lip balms everyday. Women smokers have the advantage of concealing darkened lips with cosmetics, but men-folk you need to pick up the good habit of lip care today !

How To Take Care Of Lips ?

  • Eat healthy food.
  • Drink the proverbial 8 glasses of water.
  • Just like the rest of the skin, lips need exfoliation too.
  • Use a lip balm to keep lips moisturised.
  • Use lip balm before applying lipstick.
  • Use gentle natural cleansers to remove lipstick. You can use an oil based cleanser to do so.

What Products Are Good For Lip Care ?

Without a doubt, natural cleansers. Lip skin is delicate and tender. So, avoid using harsh chemical-laden cleansers to remove lipstick, which is already full of chemicals ! Why add more ?

Astrea has the following natural lip care products. They are safe, gentle and in fact, nourishing as they contain botanical extracts and essential oils. Even their lip tints have plant-based pigments and contain no artificial colouring.

Orange Blast Lip Scrub

astrea orange blast lip scrub brightens lips

Astrea Orange Blast lip scrub

Soft is how this lip scrub leaves you feeling. Enriched with orange oil, sugar, aloe vera and olive oil, it brightens the lips and helps lighten pigmentation.

How to use it ?

  1. There are two ways of using it. One is to regularly exfoliate lips once or twice (depending on how chapped your lips are) a week.
  2. The other is to use it to remove lipsticks.

In both cases, take a small amount on your fingertips or a tiny bowl. Gently rub the scrub in circular motions covering the entire lip area for about 30-40 seconds. Do not put pressure or scrub too hard (remember lip skin is delicate?). Wash with tepid or normal water.

Strawberry Bubblegum Lip Balm

astrea lip balm strawberry bubblegum

Astrea Strawberry Bubblegum lip balm

Lip balm is like manna from heaven to cracked lips. It smoothens out dry and chapped lips, heals and calms the lips after the onslaught of cosmetics and environmental toxins.

Apply lip balms as often as you think is required, but do choose those with natural ingredients. Lips need healing and nourishment and only natural lip care can provide you with both. If you do not have access to natural lip care, then buy those prescribed by your dermatologist, because they are safer than OTC ones.

Astrea’s Strawberry Bubblegum Lip Balm has beeswax, shea butter, jojoba oil, spearmint and berry extract. Looks like a perfect soothing balm to lips.

  • Beeswax is great at healing dry, cracked lips. Not only heals but prevents the condition too. It is also a great moisturiser.
  • Shea butter, like beeswax has healing properties too. It softens and repairs skin along with enhancing collagen.
  • Spearmint has calming, softening, toning and anti inflammatory effects on the skin. Its anti-microbial and antiseptic too !

Make it a ritual to apply lip balm before you go to bed after removing all makeup.

Senorita Lip Gloss

Astrea’s Senorita Lip Glosses come in two shades, red and brown. You can wear them on top of your lip colours or by themselves. Worn alone, they give a natural healthy look to lips, with just a hint of colour.

These days, liquid lipsticks have become popular for the sheer convenience of application, but they are drying at the same time as opposed to cylindrical creamy ones. Hence, carry this Senorita Lip Gloss in your bag and keep touching up your lips with the gloss – they kind of minimise the dryness and make lips feel comfortable.

They are enriched with jojoba oil, castor oil, beeswax, peppermint oil and natural colours.

Senorita Lip Tint

astrea lip tints pink brown

Astrea Senorita lip tints

In shades of brown and pink, these lip tints can be your go-to natural cosmetics when you do not want that heavily made up look. Or when your lips are dry and need some pampering. You can even wear them to the gym or a condolence meeting – they are that subtle !

I have been meaning to write a blog on lip care for long now, for I have noticed that many, even in these times when personal grooming is topping the list of lifestyle habits, still do not pay much attention to lip care. Came along Astrea in my skin care regime along with their lip products and the blog shaped up. Hope you all like the lip care facts and ways to keep your lips soft and lovable ! If you want any of the Astrea products, here are the details.

Astrea will be happy to customise lip care combo offers for you.

Astrea Official : +91 93846 65561

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Moisturise With Natural Ingredients For Glowing Skin – Astrea

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. From within and without. We have been told this so often that sometimes some of us skim over that. We tend to take oft-repeated things lightly. But, I am here to make a case for that very hydration, which is so very crucial for good health and skin.

Drink water to hydrate from within. But when we talk of external hydration, we call it moisturising in beauty and skin care language.

Why moisturise at all ? It sounds very basic, yes, but there are still some out there who do nothing to their skin, let alone moisturising. To them, my refrain is – to be blessed with good skin is a boon, but to maintain it that way is a choice ! To those who already have made that choice, natural skin care (moisturisers) is a few paragraphs away.

So, why moisturise at all ?

 The stratum corneum, the topmost layer of the skin has cells which overlap to form a protective barrier. Another layer, called the lipid bilayer, has free fatty acids, cholesterol and ceramides. All these together help in retaining water in the epidermis. They also limit the loss of water through skin called the transepidermal water loss (TEWL).

Image courtesy : InterNet

Many lifestyle factors like cold weather, low temperatures, air conditioning, environmental pollution, makeup, room heaters, hot water showers, harsh cleansers, etc., strip the lipids from the skin and disrupt skin’s protective barrier. Result – loss of moisture.

Natural ageing is another important player in skin being unable to hold moisture within. So is genetics. Seasonal changes, hormonal defects and stress, which are unavoidable only add to the damage.

Second in point is the role of facial oils. Our faces secrete oil all the time. Again, the same factors like genetics, seasonal changes, use of incorrect products, hormonal changes and stress trigger excess oil production. Now, while the daily secretion of oil is fresh and good for the skin, some of this oil gets trapped within the pores, is exposed to outside air and gets oxidized.

Oxidised oils are not good news for the skin. They become the nest for bacteria and dirt, clogging your pores. These bad oils must be washed off. But how do we separate bad oils from good oils ? We don’t have a mechanism for that. Good oils get removed too when we deep cleanse our face. Result – loss of oil.

Loss of moisture and loss of oils, along with the skin producing less oil as we age hugely impacts the skin’s ability to stay hydrated. Result – skin loses its radiance and plumpness, becomes prone to wrinkling.

Step in moisturisers ! A good moisturiser helps replenish lost water and oils, thereby preventing the skin from becoming dry and flaky. It restores the youthful look and skin appears bright and healthy once again. It smoothens out some of the fine lines too.

When To Start Moisturising ?

 Sometimes very young people also need moisturising. That depends on genetics, your over all health and lifestyle. But rule of the thumb is start as soon as you feel your skin is getting dry. While no one can strictly prescribe an age to start the moisturising routine, people at the age of 25 years and an hour older definitely need one. And then it continues for life !

How To Choose Moisturisers ?

 First step would be to get your skin analysed and then choose a moisturiser that suits your skin type. You could get that done at your dermatologist’s or at Astrea. In todays times when we are riddled with toxins in our environment, food and lifestyle, I would suggest going in for natural skin care. Choose moisturisers that have no chemicals and are enriched with natural healing ingredients.

Astrea’s moisturisers are made from botanical extracts, essential oils and natural preservatives. With zero chemicals, they are formulated to heal and nourish skin and absolutely safe to use even on childrens’ tender skin.

Listing Astrea’s range of moisturisers. Choose one that suits you.

Morning Mist

morning mist day cream from astrea, mythoughtlane

Astrea Morning Mist day cream

Normal to dry skins, formulated to give you a soft natural glow, Morning Mist also serves as a good base for makeup. It helps those with dry acne too !

ENRICHED WITH : Cucumber extract, Aloe vera, Almond oil, Lavender oil, Rosemary oil and natural preservatives.


  • Cucumber extract hydrates skin, and provides a good amount of Vitamin C. Cools and soothes the skin too.
  • Rosemary and Lavender oils have antibacterial effect, guarding your skin from infections.
  • Aloe vera and Almond oil nourish the skin.


After deep cleansing and toning, apply Morning Mist all over your face, including the under eyes in a thin layer. Pat your face gently to push the product into your skin. (Do not forget to apply sunscreen everyday).

Forever Young

Forever young anti ageing night cream, mythoughtlane

Astrea’s Forever Young Night Cream

Normal to dry skins benefit most from this amazing night cream that minimises blemishes and fine lines giving skin a plump and radiant look. Our customers love this cream. Extremely oily skins can avoid this.

ENRICHED WITH : Aloe vera, Cucumber extract, Olive oil, Lemon oil, Calendula oil and natural preservatives.


  • Aloe vera hydrates and heals.
  • Lemon oil brightens up skin.
  • Cucumber extract hydrates and supplies vitamin C.
  • Calendula promotes skin firmness and smoothness.
  • Olive oil is anti- ageing and hydrating. It repairs cells and improves cell turnover.


After deep cleansing and toning, apply the cream all over your face, including the under eyes in a thin layer. Pat your face gently to push the product into your skin.

Sparkling Eyes  

sparkling eyes under eye cream from astrea, mythoughtlane

Astrea’s Sparkling Eyes Under Eye Cream

 That delicate skin under your eyes needs extra attention. Our Sparkling Eyes is an effective under eye cream that minimises dark circles, dryness and puffiness.

ENRICHED WITH : Vitamin E, Aloe vera, Almond oil and natural preservatives.


  • Vitamin E acts as a moisturiser and helps reverse dry, dehydrated skin.
  • Almond oil targets dark circles and fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Aloe vera hydrates and soothes.


Use it at bedtime only please. Just before you use your night cream, apply Sparkling Eyes around your eye area gently with fingertips. Do not rub, just pat gently.

Even Tone Vita Gel

astrea even tone vita gel for oily skin

Astrea’s Even Tone Vita Gel

Even Tone Vita Gel is for oily and acne prone skin. Busting the myth that oily skin does not need moisturising. Every type of skin needs one. What matters is the right kind of moisturiser. Even Tone Vita Gel is the one if you have oily/acne prone/combination skin.

ENRICHED WITH : Lavender, Rose and Aloe Vera extracts.


  • Lavender is anti-inflammatory and fights acne causing bacteria. It also tones and makes your skin firm as it boosts blood circulation.
  • Rose is anti-inflammatory too, reduces scars and calms the skin.
  • Aloe Vera is a go-to moisturiser for oily skin, reduces acne and scars.


After toning the face with Clarifying Toner, apply Even Tone Vita Gel all over your face and neck. Pat and let your skin drink it up. Use it morning and night and stay beautiful !

A well hydrated skin is a natural beauty essential, boosting confidence levels and a feel good mood. It becomes the canvas for any further enhancing that you would want, like makeup. You may have your own set of moisturisers, but if you really care for a poison free world, move over to natural skin care and cosmetics like Astrea’s.

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