The Radiant Angels

The title may sound like I’m waxing poetic, but I think it is apt because of the helpless feeling of luxury and royalty you get when you use these two products. I’m reviewing Aika Wellness’ Radiance Elixir and Ranavat Botanics’ Radiant Rani serum. I’m writing about these two products together as they have similar inspiration and ingredients. Both the facial oils are inspired by the well-known glow-giving Ayurvedic concoction, Kumkumadi Tailam- although, these feel like high-end luxe versions of it. They do somewhat differ in the ingredients from the traditional Kumkumadi Tailam – the traditional preparation almost always uses goat’s milk, which is absent from both the oils. Aika uses organic cow’s milk in its place, and Ranavat Botanics has eliminated the milk element. I do not know what advantage goat’s milk may have over cow’s milk or its absence, but these two oils more than deliver.


Aika has developed the Radiance Elixir to address the ‘Tridosha’ element in a person – which consists of all three Ayurvedic concepts of energetic, functional elements which are present in everyone – Vatha, Pitta and Kafa – the understanding of which helps one identify the imbalances of the Doshas in one’s body. According to Ayurveda, an ideal state of body and mind is when all three Doshas are in balance. The radiance elixir is made keeping in mind all three Doshas, and hence, can be used by anyone, without having to worry about one’s skin type. According to Aika, this elixir is “the ultimate powerhouse of elixirs this ruby red headily aromatic Ayurvedic skin food is prescribed in the ancient texts for imparting incredible radiance and luminescence to your skin.” Aika claims that the elixir does a lot of good things to the skin – reduce pigmentation and blemishes, moisturise, nourish, repair, restore firmness, is an anti-inflammatory, lighten and brighten the skin. I can imagine the claim of lightening and brightening the skin drawing a lot of Indians (of course, including me :P), and rightly so – people may think that we have an obsession with lighter skin, but we know the struggle with uneven dark patches of tanned skin (the ubiquitous problem of our arms having two significant shades – creamy pale yellow from the shoulders to our biceps – and from there, brown, the shade of well-made toast), resulting from our overly-charged melanin which makes us look more burnt from sun-exposure than give us a sexy olive-tone. So, it is natural that we look for products which can reverse this sun damage. One may think that, after being bombarded with hundreds of ‘whitening’ or ‘lightening’ products in the Indian market, any such claim by a brand may sound far fetched, but you never know- nobody has used this particular elixir for more than a year to prove it. Most Ayurvedic concoctions take time to deliver results; they’re not over-night skin miracles. Besides, cow’s milk, which is a natural source of lactic acid, is known in Ayurveda to significantly lighten the skin. And as such, I would like to give it a good year’s time before I can attest to the ‘lightening’ claim. Now let’s talk about what I have seen in the course of two months that I have been using this elixir- nothing but goodness. My skin seems more brighter (not lighter, mind you), glowing, even-toned and it also helps with the occasional pimple. I did not have problematic skin before I started using this, and hence I cannot say how it performs on extremely sensitive, acne or congestion-prone, irritated, or skin with any concerns such as eczema or rosacea. But I am positive that this elixir can address all these concerns very well. Another thing that drew me to this serum is that it has saffron as the third ingredient – saffron is known for its brightening effects. It is made with a base of sesame oil, just like the traditional Kumkumadi Tailam, and cow’s milk, and has a long list of skin-friendly herbs, almost all of them well-known skin benefactors in India and Southeast Asia. About the scent- I was expecting a more robust saffron smell, as it is so high in the INCI list, and has given the product its gorgeous ruby hue, but the scent of saffron is muted- what I can smell is a mixture of grass, milk, vetivert, sesame, saffron and jasmine. The saffron plays around in the background – I couldn’t smell the rose and sandalwood though. The mixture of scents from all the high-quality natural and organic ingredients smells very earthy and natural – not one bit synthetic. I love it- it just gives me this sense of grounding and calm. The oil has a nice slip, and can be layered wonderfully after a treatment serum. It feels very luxurious putting this on- the consistency, the colour and the scent- you really do feel like royalty. So far, I’m loving the results, and I do not want to use any other oil until the bottle is over. Since you need a very small amount at once – two pumps at the most, it will last you a long time.

Ranavat Botanics offers a lighter, yet creamier oil – the base is made from sesame oil, rice bran oil and a coconut oil-derived emollient and dispersing agent. This gives the oil an almost lotiony consistency, and a milky creamy texture. Yet when you put in on the skin, it magically transforms into a light oil, giving you the most gorgeous glow instantly, without making you look greasy. I haven’t used this one as long as the Aika elixir, but the few times I have used it, it gave me an instant glow that was very satisfying. The scent of this is pure luxury- it smells like royalty in a bottle. You will instantly be greeted with a heady saffron aroma rounded with a good dose of sweet rose. The Ayurvedic herbs play in the background. Unlike the Aika elixir, the herbs don’t overpower the scent of the saffron, and obviously, I prefer the scent of this. You’d smell the intoxicating aroma of saffron and rose for quite some time on the skin, making you feel like you’re in the domain of a Rani (Queen) indeed. I love this for its scent and instant radiance that it gives.

Comparatively, both the serums have very similar, high quality, organic ingredients like sesame oil, saffron, liquorice, turmeric and other exotic ones like Flame of the Forest, Himalyan Cherry and Lotus Seed. All of Aika’s ingredients, across its range of products, are certified organic, except clays, wherever used. Ranavat Botanics uses mostly certified organic ingredients. I like Aika’s elixir because it looks and feels more natural and earthy, if you get what I mean.  I like Radiant Rani’s scent and the overnight results it delivers.  You can easily switch between the two, if you think Aika is out of your budget. If you prefer a better scent, then definitely choose Ranavat Botanics. I can see both of them delivering similar results.

Because ultimately, what matters are results and ingredients:

Aika Radiance Elixir Ingredients List: Sesame indicum (sesame oil), Cow’s milk, Crocus sativus (saffron), Vettivera zizanoides (vetiver root), Rubia cordifolia (manjista), Glycyrhhiza glabra (liquorice), Cinnamomum Tamala (Indian bark), Prunus cerasides (Himalayan cherry), Nuciferra nelumbo (sacred lotus), Santalum album (white sandalwood), Curcuma longa (turmeric), Burberris aristata (Indian barberry), Mesua ferra (Indian rose chestnut), Beutea monosperma (flame of the forest), Ficus religiosa (holy bodhi fig), Jasminum officianale (jasmine), Alphinia galangal (galangal), Acorus calamus (sweet flag), Cera alba (beeswax), Santalum spicata (sandalwood oil), Rose damascena (rose otto), Jasminum officianale (jasmine).

Ranavat Botanics Radiant Rani Illuminating Botanical Serum ingredients: Sesame Oil (Sesamum Indicum)*, Rice Bran Oil (Oryza Sativa), Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides**, Manjishta (Rubia Cordifolia)*, Saffron ( Crocus Sativus, Lodh Tree Bark (Symplocos Racemosa)*, Nutgrass (Cyperus Rotundus)*, Vetiver (Vetiveria Zizanoides)*, Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza Glabra)*, Bay Leaf (Cinnamomum Tamala)*, Himalayan Cherry (Prunus Cerasoides), Lotus Seed (Nelumbo Nucifera), Pushkarmool (Inula Racemosa), Turmeric(Curcuma Longa)*, Indian Barberry (Berberis Aristata)*, Cobra Saffron (Mesua Ferrea)*, Flame Of The Forest (Butea Menosperma)*, Priyangu (Callicarpa Macrophylla)*, Banyan (Ficus Bengalensis), Mustard (Brassica Campestris)*, Tocopherol+, Rose Essential Oil (Rosa Damascena). *Certified Organic, **Vegetable derived, +Derived from non-GMO soy.


Forest Essentials Madhulika Nourishing Honey Lep

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.


Forest Essentials Night Treatment Cream Sandalwood and Orange Peel

My skin type is dry- prone to tightness and flaky patches after cleansing. Without any moisturiser, it stays this way and I don’t like the tight feeling. I remember a time during my high-school days when I never bothered about moisturisers, and how my skin became overly dry, pigmented, uneven and dull. I cannot do without moisturising my skin everyday – I need a rich nourishing moisturiser, be it morning, evening or night. I use a moisturiser with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) during day-times which tend to be lighter (reviews coming up later), and a more nourishing one during the night.

In this post I am reviewing the Sandalwood and Orange Peel Night Treatment Cream by my current favourite brand, Forest Essentials. This cream is categorized under the men’s range of products offered by the brand, though of course it can be used by females as well.


Key Ingredients List

IMG-9208 I was using the Sandalwood and Saffron Night Treatment Cream by the same brand for some time, and it just didn’t moisturise or hydrate my skin enough. After much thought and apprehension of buying another night cream from the same brand which could turn out to have the same effect, I went ahead and bought it because I thought it had more nourishing ingredients, and man was I right! Forest Essentials doesn’t list out all the ingredients on their products, but just the Key Ingredients, which are also available for viewing on the website. This is a little confusing, because just by looking at the key ingredients, you wouldn’t know how much emulsifier is used in the product as it isn’t listed; from my experience, the higher the emulsifier is on the list, the lighter the moisturiser is. I still do not know how low the emulsifier is on the ingredients list in this cream, but judging from its moisturising properties, it is definitely not as high as the Sandalwood and Saffron cream, in which it is the third ingredient.

The Sandalwood and Orange Peel Night Treatment Cream has a variety of impressive oils and butters in the ingredients list, as seen in the picture of the back label. It has a high content of Marigold Oil, which is renowned for its skin soothing properties; besides being nourishing and soothing, it’s also known for its antiseptic, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes an excellent addition in a moisturiser. The cream also contains carrot seed oil, which is rich in Vitamin A and is known for healing dry skin and balancing the moisture levels of the skin. Kokum butter, which is used extensively by Forest Essentials in most of their products, is excellent for moisturising dry skin and also promoting regeneration of skin cells. Apart from the splendid mix of oils and butters, the cream also has extracts of beneficial and illustrious herbs and plants, including Turmeric, Sandalwood, Indian Lotus, Holy Basil (Tulsi), and Orange Peel extracts.

I don’t want to write too much about its packaging- it looks petite, luxurious and different from the typical gold-lidded bottles of Forest Essentials.

The cream smells strong upon opening the lid- a scent of orange peel in the forefront, which then pleasantly mingles with sandalwood, and a mixture of tulsi and other herbs in the background. The scent lasts for a while on the skin, more if you have a beard like me; it isn’t overpowering at all, and you feel refreshed and calm whenever you get a whiff of it.

Coming to its effects on the skin, I found that using this cream after cleansing and toning (toning IS important, guys!) gave me instant moisturisation and lasting hydration. This was exactly what I was looking for- a cream that takes away all the dryness, makes the skin very soft, and leaves it feeling hydrated and plump for hours. I love to use this not only as a night cream but also during evenings before heading out, when it keeps your skin supple despite cold winds. It gives a dewy finish to the skin, which makes it appear plumped and healthy. It hasn’t caused any breakouts (I’m rarely prone to breakouts) and doesn’t feel too greasy. Used as a night cream, it effectively hydrates the skin overnight and you wake up with a radiant and bright skin.

I whole-heartedly recommend this cream, not just to use as a night cream, but as a general moisturiser too, whenever you want your skin to feel properly hydrated and nourished.

You can use it alone after toning, or use it after applying a little Light Hydrating Facial Gel Pure Rose Water from the same brand, which adds to the hydration effect.