Only recently have I come across face masks that nourish and protect the skin instead of drying the hell out of it, like usually masks do, which is exactly what I need for my skin. Or for any skin, if you ask me. Drying clay masks do not serve any other purpose than sucking every bit of moisture away from your skin, which is bad for any skin type. I’m not saying ALL clay masks are drying – there are extremely good ones which hydrate and heal the skin whilst deeply cleansing it, such as Purearth’s Mitti Clay Mask, which is like the Rolls Royce of clay masks.
Inlight Beauty’s Superfood Mask is the most nourishing one I have used till date. Made with a base of Sesame oil, Beeswax, Coconut oil and Potato starch, it is a rich thick gloopy consistency, yet is extremely easy to spread across. It is an antioxidant mask, meaning it aims to de-stress, revitalize and nourish skin which has been exposed to pollution and environmental damage. The main antioxidant ingredient in the mask is spirulina powder, which is also present in other products from Inlight Beauty. In this mask, it is used in a higher proportion, and that’s what gives the mask the dark green colour and an almost overpowering scent of greens. It smells like a mix of ground up leaves, courtesy of the spirulina and other herbs used, Frankincense, which is quite strong too, and I swear I can smell the potato starch. It also contains barley leaf powder, which, according to Inlight Beauty’s website, is skin-reparative, cornstarch and baobab fruit powder, which give the mask a grittiness that is the perfect amount of exfoliation. According to the website: “This mask is ideal for skin which is tired, opaque and lacks radiance. The high antioxidant activity tackles blemishes and redness and will leave skin glowing, as if you have just been for a bracing walk along the Cornish cliffs!”
Nice way of putting, because that’s exactly the kind of glow and sense of calm your face gets after using this chlorophyll-rich mask. Unlike a traditional clay mask, you don’t need too much of the product. You only need a small amount which easily spreads across. This is very easy to get inside the beard area as well, and it’s good for your beard! I found the best results if I left it on for about 45 minutes. Since it’s not drying, you can easily leave it on longer than a clay mask. To remove it, you’d have to wipe it off with a warm damp face cloth. I can imagine some people disliking the leafy frankincense scent as it’s pretty strong- it even lingers after wiping off. I don’t mind it at all.
I don’t know how it does it, but it just reveals the most pampered, nourished and cleansed skin. It’s perfect to use after a tiring day, or before going to an event. Your glow will reign supreme throughout the evening.
The only downside is its size – you can maybe get upto six or seven uses out of the 25 ml pot, even though you need a small amount of the product per use, which is very less compared to other brands. In my opinion, Inlight should make the size at least 50 mls.
Today I am reviewing the Madhulika Honey Lep, one of the two face masks retailed by Forest Essentials. I needed a mask that was soothing, yet at the same time would make my skin feel deeply cleansed and tended to. I have always liked honey in skincare; it’s a beautiful ingredient which has some amazing properties: Its sugars act as humectant, so it helps retain moisture levels in the skin and improves hydration; soothes and moisturizes the skin, hence giving it a natural glow; is antiseptic and antibacterial, hence it’s great for healing acne, sunburn, or minor wounds, and calming sensitive skin; is an antioxidant, so it helps in slowing down signs of aging on the skin. In order to be effective, the honey used on the skin must be raw, not processed. In its raw form, honey retains all of its magical skin-beneficial features. It has been used for centuries in skincare – Cleopatra is said to have used honey on her face and in her baths; it has also been extensively used in Ayurveda.
Forest Essentials uses organic raw honey, which is honey at its most natural form, just extracted from the hives, and not subjected to pasteurization, heating and processing. Hence, it retains all of its vitamins and enzymes, and all the above said skin-friendly properties. It is the first ingredient of the mask, meaning that mask is basically raw honey with oils, herbs, fruit and flower extracts mixed in. It contains extracts of orange peel; almond oil; vetivert root, known for its cooling and healing properties; anantmool, which is a great detoxifier and helps reducing skin issues such as acne and pigmentation; licorice root, renowned for its skin-brightening and antiseptic properties; sandalwood oil, an amazing ingredient to sooth and calm the skin. In the tub, the mask looks like a fresh gloop of honey, and smells exactly like good quality honey mixed with fresh orange juice.
Unlike traditional clay masks, this feels like spreading a good quality jelly on your skin. Once on the skin, it feels very refreshing due to the aroma of fresh oranges and herbs, and it instantly calms any dryness and irritation. For the duration of 15-20 minutes when the mask is on, you feel calm and very positive, with the fact that the mask is providing your skin with all its nourishing goodness. It never dries up like a clay mask, but just becomes more stickier. Once you wash it off, your skin will have a radiant glow, will be deeply cleansed, nourished and toned. This mask will suit any skin type, but will be particularly loved by people with dry and sensitive skin.
Overall, I love this mask and use it as often as twice a week. I am sure you can use it more number of times per week than a clay mask, as it is very gentle on the skin. I highly recommend this mask for people with dry and sensitive skin, flaky skin, tanned or pigmented skin, and even acne prone skin, as this mask has proven very effective in calming and reducing my occasional break-outs. A wonderful Ayurvedic formulation by Forest Essentials.
In this post, I am going to talk about a daily skincare routine any guy should follow, if you want your skin to look and feel good. Keeping aside my exacting skincare rituals (that’s me!), I will give a few simple steps, which are easy to follow, and hardly takes any time. You must, however, do these steps TWICE a day: once in the morning and once in the night; nothing less, as it is important to follow a skincare regime before you go to bed. I will also give certain steps to follow to achieve an instant glowing skin before an event, for example, when you’re going to a party in the evening or going on a date. Good skin and smelling nice are always signs of cleanliness and discipline, and are important if you want your date or anybody you interact with to find you impressive.
CLEANSE. Use a good cleanser, not harsh soaps, as they dry out your skin more than necessary. Even oily skinned people must never use harsh soaps. It is alright to use soaps meant for the face, as these will be specially formulated for use on the face and will not strip your skin. Here are some suggestions while choosing a product:
Not all face washes are mild. Avoid face washes with Sulfates in them. Check the ingredients list on the back label.
If you choose to use a soap, choose a mild one or one that is specially formulated for use on the face. I don’t have to tell you how to use either of these!
You can use a cream-based or oil-based cleanser as well, if you have really dry and flaky skin, if you use make-up or if you use a strong sunscreen. If you use make-up or heavy duty sunscreens, it is imperative you use a cream-based or oil-based cleanser, as it removes all traces of the chemicals from the make-up, sunscreen and dirt. Massage a coin-sized amount of the cleanser all over your face and wipe off with a warm face cloth. This is specially comforting when you’re ill and do not have the energy or will to splash your face with water. You can follow with a regular face wash after this step, if you feel there are traces of the oily cleanser on your face.
Some of my personal recommendations are Fresh Farmacy Soap by Lush, Coalface Soap by Lush, any of the two face wash variants from Forest Essentials, Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser, or Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser; if you want a cream-based or oil-based cleanser, then Ultrabland by Lush, Make-up remover oil by Forest Essentials, although I personally prefer using just plain Extra Virgin Coconut Oil for this purpose. It removes all traces of dirt and make-up effectively and doesn’t dry out your skin. It also doesn’t leave behind any greasy traces after wiping off like some cream-based cleansers may tend to do.
TONE. I know that toning isn’t very popular among guys and is often considered useless, but it is absolutely important. It hardly takes a few seconds – all you have to do is just spritz the toner directly on your face after cleansing and towel-drying you skin. Toners claim to reduce the size of open pores, but I do not know how true that is. I have never had big open pores, and even if you do, I don’t know how a mild liquid reduces them. Why I love toning is because it gives you an instant boost of hydration, and makes the skin ready for moisturizing. It refreshes you and it is always better to apply a moisturizer when the skin is still damp from the toning, as this way, the skin absorbs the moisturizer better than when rubbed on completely dried skin. I personally prefer flower waters rather than the skin-tightening alcohol-based ones, as they tend to dry out the skin too much. You can even just splash cold water – even this is a good way of toning! I do this when I’m traveling and don’t want to carry my toner bottle. Just splash some cold water after towel-drying your skin and let it dry out a little, until the skin is left damp, not wet. Then, immediately apply your moisturizer. If you want to use a toner rather than just plain cold water, my recommendations are any of the flower waters by Forest Essentials or Kama Ayurveda. They are steam-distilled and smell amazing, which relaxes and refreshes your mind to a great extent. Panchpushp by Forest Essentials smells luxurious, like saffron and other amazing flowers; their Bela toner smells of beautiful, fresh jasmine; and their rose water of real roses. The flower waters also help the skin stay hydrated for a long time, when followed with a moisturizer.
MOISTURIZE. Keeping your skin moisturized is very important. Dry skin isn’t very comfortable and looks pretty bad because of the flaky patches and dullness. Keeping it hydrated with a good cream solves a lot of these problems, and you will feel comfortable and refreshed. You MUST use a moisturizer with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) in it during daytime, as this protects your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. The higher the SPF, the better. I normally use around an SPF of 25, and SPF 50 when it is very sunny during the summers. My recommendations are:
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen with SPF 50. It is non-greasy and is perfect for day-time.
Light Day Lotion Rose and Marigold by Forest Essentials with an SPF of 25. This is perfect for oily skins, as it is very light yet hydrating.
My personal favorite, because it is rich and nourishing for my dry skin, Soundarya Radiance Cream by Forest Essentials with SPF 25.
During the night times, follow the Cleanse and Tone steps, then follow with a moisturizer that does not have a Sunscreen in it. Night creams should be richer than day creams, as all the good moisturizers and oils in the cream work overnight to heal and repair the skin, and it is alright to look a little oily during the night times! There are creams meant for particular skin types: dry, oily and combination. Choose one that best suits your skin type. Tips while choosing a good cream:
Avoid creams with high content of Alcohol (the bad ones, like Alcohol Denat, Ethanol, Methanol, Benzyl Alcohol) as they tend to dry out your skin more than necessary.
If you’re choosing a product with natural ingredients, make sure that the natural ingredients which the brand states on the label are high on the ingredients list, and not listed at the very end. If they are listed in the end, and the cream contains more chemicals, it is as good as any other chemical cream.
There’s nothing wrong in choosing a cream with Petroleum derivatives (like petroleum jelly and liquid paraffin) in them, as they are most commonly available, but keep in mind that Petroleum ingredients do not really provide any nourishing, penetrative, repairing or healing effects to skin – they simply keep it moisturized.
If you do not wish to use creams, you can always use a few drops of plain Extra Virgin (preferably cold-pressed) almond, sesame or coconut oil. Almond and coconut oils are light in texture and don’t cause any breakouts, and are suitable for all skin types; sesame oil is best suited for dry skin.
My recommendations are:
Wild Rose and Seabuck face Cream by Purearth. The consistency is luxurious. I love everything about this cream- the lightweight texture, the extremely natural scent of apricot kernels and rose, and its super-effectiveness. Made with a base of aloe vera juice, coconut and sunflower oils, this cream magically softens the skin, alleviates any surface dryness, and gives a beautiful dewy glow to the face. It also contains healing ingredients like rosehip seed oil and seabuckthorn berry pulp.
Sandalwood and Saffron Night Treatment Cream by Forest Essentials for combination skin, as this is light yet nourishing , and has a plethora of beneficial ingredients that work their magic overnight.
Celestial moisturizer by Lush – I swear by this, any time of the day, any time of the year. It is simple with just a handful of ingredients yet very effective, suitable for even the most sensitive skins, and is extremely nourishing. People with combination or dry skins will LOVE this. The only downside is that it contains Parabens, a class of preservatives, which are thought to be potentially harmful for health, particularly in terms of causing cancer.
Vanishing Cream by Lush – this is perfect for combination and oily skins, as it is light as a feather yet deeply nourishing. It has wonderful healing properties that reduce acne and scars overnight, and evens out the skin tone. I noticed a HUGE difference in my skin with product during my early 20s. Word of caution for people who are concerned about it- again, it contains Parabens.
Sandalwood and Orange Peel Night Treatment Cream by Forest Essentials (reviewed here) – perfect for dry skin.
Date and Lychee Eternal Youth Formula by Forest Essentials – great for dry, damaged, tanned and aged skin. This is a top-notch cream suitable for just about any skin type. I am positive that it will not cause any problems for oily skins, although it is rich.
Notes for guys with very dry, flaky skin or sun-damaged skin:
More often than not, I see guys who have neglected proper skincare and see their facial skin flaking off like dandruff. Incorporating the usage of facial oils and serums into your skincare routine is the best way to combat this problem. Moisturisers, no matter how rich they are, don’t do the job for such skin types. I will soon come up with another post about facial oils, their benefits, how to use them, and recommendations. These oils or serums can be used alone, or before a moisturizer.
Steps to achieve a glowing skin before an event:
When you want to look radiant before an event, you’d have to add two more steps to the above regime. Since most of us don’t wear make-up, it is nice to have a glowing skin.
Cleanse, just as above.
After cleansing, exfoliate. Exfoliation ensures all dead skin is removed from the skin and imparts the skin with an instant radiance. Don’t use very harsh, chemical filled exfoliants, as it is really not necessary to strip your skin off all the moisture. Choose one with safe, natural ingredients like salt, cane sugar, ground nuts and charcoal. My recommendations are:
Dark Angels cleanser by Lush. This is made with charcoal, which is known for taking off impurities and dirt in the skin. I love this exfoliator.
Angels on Bare Skin Cleanser by Lush. This is a very mild exfoliator, suitable for dry and sensitive skins. It’s made with ground almonds, lavender, rose and chamomile oils.
Any of the facial Ubtans by Forest Essentials – I have tried three: Multani Mitti, Soundarya and Narangi and Nagkesar variants, and all of them are brilliant. Packed with nuts and herbs, they cleanse and provide a gorgeous glow to the skin. You take about a teaspoon of the dry Ubtan, mix with either plain water, milk, rose water or aloe vera juice, and apply it on the face and gently massage on damp skin using circular motions. The ground nuts and herbs in the Ubtans provide a gentle exfoliation, without being too harsh.
Hand Pounded Fruit Scrub by Forest Essentials – This is a heavy duty scrub, and I love using this when I need a deep exfoliation. I must warn you that it is a little harsh due to the ground walnut shells, so be gentle while massaging. Also, as it contains whole fermented fruits, it can cause a little tingling sensation on the skin, which I personally love.
Sandalwood and Orange Peel Facial Scrub by Forest Essentials – This is made with a base of palm sugar and sesame, and is brilliant. Also smells fantastic, like fresh oranges.
Face Mask. After exfoliating, dip a face cloth in hot water, squeeze the excess water out and press the cloth down the face for a few minutes. This helps in opening up the pores before you put on a face mask. There are millions of face masks available in the market and also there are a variety of ways you can make your own mask at home which, I personally think are simple and effective. Any mask needs to sit on the skin for around 15-20 minutes, and must not be applied on the eye area. Two of the most simplest DIY masks are:
Mix a few drops of lemon juice with a tablespoon of RAW honey (make sure it is raw honey, and not a processed one), and apply on the face, leave for 15-20 minutes and wash. You don’t need to use a cleanser, as honey acts as a natural cleanser. This mask is simple to make and gives an instant glow, by calming dryness and brightening the skin tone.
Make a paste of Multani Mitti (Fuller’s Earth) with enough water so that the consistency is thick yet spreadable, and apply on the face. Wash off after 15-20 minutes. Great for all skin types, specially oily skins. If you have access to an aloe vera plant and have the patience to take its gel out, you can add that as well in this mask. Aloe Vera is great for skin; it has soothing and moisture-retaining properties.
If, however, you wish to invest in a good mask, my recommendations are all by Forest Essentials as they make absolutely brilliant masks with completely natural ingredients:
My personal favorite, Madhulika Honey Lep by Forest Essentials. It is made with honey, orange peel extracts and other repairing herbs, and is great for any skin type.
Mysore Sandalwood and Nagkesar mask by Forest Essentials is great for any skin type, specially oily skin, as it contains clays. It also has a beautiful, calming sandalwood fragrance and feels very cooling on the skin.
Tone, as above.
Moisturize, as above.
The above regime is for the facial skin. Apart from keeping the skin nourished, it also softens and tames your beards, so that’s a plus. All the oils and butters in the products you use are just as good for your facial hair. For the body, I recommend using a Body Polish or Exfoliator while in the shower, as this gets rid of dead skin cells, promotes blood circulation to the skin and makes the skin look healthier. If you don’t wasn’t to use a separate exfoliator, use a Loofah while you soap up. My recommendation for body exfoliator is the Rub Rub Rub Shower Scrub by Lush. This is made with fine sea salt and lots of lemon juice, and is brilliant to achieve a smooth, glowing and nice-smelling skin. I recommend using this scrub on dry skin, all over the body, paying special attention to elbows, back of the neck and heels. Then, wash off. Since it contains sulfates, you don’t need a separate soap to cleanse later. You will be left with smooth, bright skin that smells of Orange Blossoms. Washing with salt is also said cleanse you aura; you definitely feel energized and calm after using this scrub. After the scrubbing session either with the exfoliator or the loofah, follow up with a good body lotion. Moisturizing the skin on your body is as important as moisturizing your facial skin. You will not have the irritating, itchy feeling you get all over the body after a shower due to dryness, you will feel comfortable in your skin, and will smell good. Just like for my facial skin, I prefer not to use products with petroleum derivatives in them, although, by all means, you can. My go-to body lotion is Dream Cream Self Preserving Body Lotion by Lush. It is calming and cooling on the skin, smells wonderfully of lavender and chamomile, which is inconspicuous. Of course, I love the lotions by Forest Essentials as well; they are all very effective and healing, and you have various to scents to choose from. My personal favorites are the Ultra Rich Body Lotion in the scent of Bengal Tuberose – it isn’t too feminine, smells unique and is bloody good at moisturizing, and you will smell amazing for hours, and the Mandarin and Neem Hand Cream, which is extremely nourishing and which can be used all over the body, not just the hands. Don’t forget to use your favorite perfume. Forest Essentials Oudh and Green Tea Body Mist is amazing, having woody and fresh notes. They have a whole range in the fragrance if you choose to layer the scent. Layering one particular fragrance is a good idea so that scents of different products don’t clash and smell weird.