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How To Smell Like The FrenchI had always read that a pharmacy in France was not just for medicines but also for some very serious skin care and hair care. And hence when I entered a Pharmacie in Paris for the first time, I expected to be hit by a barrage of a heady mix of fragrances, an amalgamate of something floral with a hint of oriental spice and probably something citrus...




But I couldn't be farther from the truth because when the little bell on the door tinkled announcing my arrival, I smelled a concoction of sterility, floor cleaning agent and perhaps chapstick...
The French do not smile as do the Belgians or the Swiss and hence entering any establishment for the first time especially in Paris is not just intimidating but also overwhelming, which soon turns into awe followed by wonder and then sheer delight at the aisles after aisles and rows after rows of those super famous French brands like Vichy, La Roche Posay and Nuxe...

But this post is about smell and fragrances and even though I want to talk about perfumes and EDPs and EDTs, I cannot help but mention that all the skin and hair care products that I smelled, browsed and eventually bought have almost no fragrance. And with this I start my post about how to smell like French women...

 
1. Layer IntelligentlyThis is something I learned the hard way and then confirmed my belief in France... I used to buy my skincare from The Body Shop and their body butters are essentially either cocoa flavored or fruity smelling. Top that with a strong smelling shampoo and a oriental perfume like Davidoff Sensual Essence and you not only smell like a ladies washroom in a night club but also end up giving others around a migraine...

What I am trying to say here is that if the fragrance notes of your body cream does not compliment with your main perfume or your shampoo then all you are doing is creating a concoction that screams confusion and is seldom flattering...

So what is the way out? It's simple really and I picked it up in French pharmacies... Just pick up skincare and hair care products that have subtle fragrances so that they do not overpower your perfume :)

2. Try to not to smell like something edibleFrench women either smell like Spring (think floral) or mysteriously feminine (think warm musk) and this makes them appear not just seductive but confidently so... Walk the streets of Paris and the vibe that you get from the women is of sheer power. They know they look amazing and they know they smell potent and when woman knows this, no one can stop her...
I cannot even imagine a French woman smelling like chocolate, lemon or bubblegum!

3. Spray under your boobs & in your belly-buttonRead any article about perfumes and every one of them harp about pulse points... The most common ones being wrists, behind the ears, temples, inside of the elbows, behind the knees etc... But a sure shot way of having your perfume emanate all day long is by spraying a generous amount under your boobs and inside of your navel... The underside of our boobs remain warm all day long and this makes it a congenial environment to activate your perfume and make you smell lovely all day long!


4. Spray your handkerchief & keep it in your bag/purse 
I learned this by mistake really... I was in a pharmacy (again) in Geneva and was browsing the aisles of perfumes when I wanted to try on Chloe by Chloe. But I often don't like to spray "perfumes" on myself directly lest I don't like them and I end up with a headache. Hence, I took some perfume paper strips and sprayed the perfume on a couple of them and then while fanning them near my nose I wandered in the pharmacy...A sale of hand creams caught my fancy and I forgot all about the perfume and so not finding a waste paper basket nearby I simply stuffed the perfume paper strips into my purse and swatched the hand creams and finally bought a few... 
While on my way back to my AirBnB apartment in the tram, I opened my purse to take my phone out when I realized everything around me started smelling heavenly!
The strips in my purse kept it smelling yummy for a few days continuously! When I got back to Pune, I googled this andit seems its been a trick of French women to spray some of their perfumes on a cotton handkerchief and keep it in their purses!
How Novel!

Do you have tips to smell gorgeous always?
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That's me without any makeup
My Current Winter Skincare Routine
Having lived almost half my life in Pune, I have literally forgotten what cold weather day in and day out can actually feel like. Don't get me wrong, I have seen my fair share of cold climates in Ladakh, Sikkim and even places like Gwalior, however since tthe past 15 years now I haven't really been subjected to long continuous periods of cold weather, if you know what I am saying :)

Even though Pune doesn't get very cold, it does get excruciatingly dry and for someone like me who has super super dry skin, this can pose to be a problem... I need to have very different skincare regimens and list of products for various seasons. So today I decided to share my current skincare routine with you all... I would love for you guys to share yours with me and give me a insight into how you handle the cold weather season!




Cleansing, Exfoliating and Toning
Ground Coffee Beans, TBS Camomile Cleansing Butter and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This is a vital part of a skincare regimen and goes without saying that it should be addressed first... And as much as I would like to tell you all about an elaborate cleansing routine with some fancy product, I sadly am super lazy and hence for me cleansing as well as removing my makeup is a single step. For this I use either a cleansing butter or and cleansing oil and my favorite of the lot and one that I keep coming back to is The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter.

I avoid using soap cleansers on my face and have been doing so since the past two years now. I also do not use any makeup remover liquids and my skin cannot for some reason tolerate Micellar Water. I tone once in a while and that too only with Apple Cider Vinegar.

I exfoliate 3 days a week and instead of using products from the market, I literally find them in my kitchen. I make a paste of ground coffee beans (not the instant coffee kinds), mix it with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and apply is as a face pack. I let it sit on my skin for about 15-20 mins and then scrubs it off. I then wash my face with lukewarm water and my skin feels as soft as that of a baby's :)


Moisturising (Face) - Day

The practice and art of moisturising is something that determines how one's skin will be down the years... The most sure shot way to ensure delayed aging of your skin is intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and then intense moisturing. I use a face serum immediately after my shower and then top it up with a day cream. When I was younger a face lotion or something of a similar texture seemed enough for me, however with age I have realized that my skin needs a little more and hence since the time I turned 30 I have been religiously using day creams.
Currently, I am using TBS Vitamin E Face Serum and TBS Drops of Youth Youth Cream.

The idea behind using the face serum immediately after a hot shower is that the heat opens our pores and hence your skin immediately absorbs anything that you put on it.

Moisturising - Night
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

My nightly routine is pretty straightforward. After I cleanse my face and skin I generously apply extra virgin Olive Oil on my face, neck and the decollete area. I let my skin absorb the oil for about 15 mins then wrap a warm and soft scarf around my neck before I hit the bed. Ideally, one should wash and moisturise immediately after coming back home in the evening, however because I am lazy, I delay the ritual till just before I go to sleep!
I do not use an eye cream anymore, first because I could not find any that was actually making a difference and second because Olive Oil is known for its anti-aging properties and hence I prefer not to use anything else.

Moistursing - Fancy Facial Oils

Just sometimes (read weekends) I like to indulge myself with a long and leisurely bath followed by some ritualistic moisuirsing and that is when I bring out the big guns aka Facial Oils. I am currently using and am in love with TBS Oils of Life Facial Oil and Korres Pure Greek Olive and Honey Anti-Ageing Body Oil. Both are just fabulously hydrating and they smell amazing!
I generally use facial oils when I know I don't have to put on any sort of makeup for at least an hour and hence the operative word here is "leisurely" :)

Moisturising (Body) - Day & Night


With our obsession with our faces (and why not eh?), we often forget to hydrate and moisturise the other parts of our body. However, if you have dry skin like I do, it is impossible to not lather ourselves with body butters and heavy lotions, because if I don't then not only does my skin get all itchy and irritated, it also starts cutting and bleeding. And so to avoid all that I religiously apply either a body butter or a super thick body lotion all over my body, yes everywhere!
I am a huge fan of TBS Body Butters and the one that I am currently using is the Shea Butter variant. This Winter I also discovered St D'Vence moisturiser that is not only scrumptiously hydrating but also smells divine.
I generally mosturise twice a day, once in the morning immediately after my shower and then in the evenings when I get back from work.
 
Sun & Pollution Care

I am exposed to the sun and pollution mostly in the morning when I go for my morning run. Because I run on the side of the streets, direct exposure to pollution is inevitable and hence I use this novel spray by L'Oreal Paris that only gives me Sun Protection but also creates a shield on my face against effects of pollution. to be doubly sure I also use Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock. I love this particular sunscreen cause it is not drying, doesn't look powdery when applied, does not give a white cast and most importantly does its job!

Here was my Winter Skincare Regimen. What does yours look like?
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Review of L'Oreal Paris Infallible Blush Paint Longwear High Impact Stick - Fuchsia Fame
Right now am sitting at the dining table trying to figure out a way to start this post in an "interesting" way... I am obviously struggling... There are these times when your mind just goes blank and you can't think of anything, right? Yeah, I am having one of those moments...

So, I guess I'll directly dive into the review and not mull around. I bought the L'Oreal Paris Infallible Blush Paint Stick on a whim... I was out window shopping at Shoppers Stop and I just happened to glance at the L'Oreal counter and this cute little stub caught my fancy... The moment I swatched it I knew I had to buy it...




Price of L'Oreal Paris Infallible Blush Paint StickIt costs a whopping INR 999/-

There is nothing much to talk about the packaging. It is exactly what it looks like, a rotating chubby stick with a cap. The plastic doesn't seem cheap and is pretty sturdy. I have dropped the stick a couple of times but the stick and the product inside hasn't come to any harm per se.


Texture wise it is interesting. As a stick it looks sticky and wet. However when you swatch it is anything but. You need to dab a few dots of product to your cheek and then blend it out either in downward strokes or in a circular motion. It immediately sort of "evaporates" and leaves behind a powdery, matte texture that looks very natural and very well blended.


The product roll from this angle looks a little naughty doesn't it? :P



Once blended the product is non-transferable and has a very good staying power. It stays on me for more than 8 hours when applied over my foundation. Sadly it comes only in three shades and this was the only wearable shade that I thought would look good on me. One of the other shades is light pink that I feel would look gorgeous on lighter skintones while the other shade is an orange that too is nice color for Indian skintones.
The shade Fuchsia fame is a super flattering shade for almost all kinds of skin colors.

In addition to a blush, it can also be applied as an eye shadow and a lip color. When using it as a lippy one needs to be careful to blend the product out with one's fingers. This gives a gorgeous berry stained look and looks more flattering than applying the stick directly like one would a lipstick.

Pros
1. Packaging is sturdy and is easy to travel with
2. I love the powdery matte texture it blends out to. It gives a very natural looking flush.
3. It has no scent
4. It is very long staying
5. It did not cause any allergies or reactions on my skin

Cons
1. It is very expensive
2. They have only 3 shades in the range, at least in India
3. Packaging looks a little kiddish and tacky.

Have you tried this cute little chubby stick? Have you tried the other shades from this range? Can you share your experience with this product?
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How I Wear My Denim Jacket To Be In Trend for 2018Denim is forever. It's versatility makes it a classic and in the form of a jacket it not just looks dapper and en vogue but is also comfortable and convenient... I love denim jackets because they are perfect for Pune's so called Winters and because they are the best accessories for any kind of outfit...




Going through some of the Fall Winter 2017-18 collections from the likes of Calvin Klein, Christian Dior and Stella McCartney, denim on denim seemed to be the trend in boxy and boyish silhouettes. I am not a very big fan of denim and denim and hence I prefer to pair my boxy denim jacket with a flowy, floral dress that makes the look strike a balance between feminine and androgynous.






 Faded Denim Jacket: Westside
Floral Dress: Marks & Spencer
Red Shoes: Zara
Black Bucket Bag: Zara
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L'Oreal Paris Le Matte Lip Pen in She's So Matte - Indoors

Review of L'Oreal Paris Color Riche Le Matte Lip Pen in She's So Matte!As far as I am concerned there are 2 kinds of Indian skintones, the ones that suit MAC Cosmo (and Mehr) and the ones that don't. I fall into the latter category and because of shades like these I have always believed that pink-ish nudes would never look good on me...
I believe I have also done a post (or two?) on Cosmo and Mehr and how horrendous they look on me.
MAC Cosmo Look
MAC Mehr Look

These shades put me off of nude pinks for years until I chanced upon the L'Oreal Paris Le Matte Lip Pen in She's So Matte a week ago and it changed my life... The shade as you can tell is a gorgeous, matte nude pink and it would look flattering on fair to medium skin tones. I really can't say how it would look on darker skin shades, unfortunately.

I posted a couple of Instagram stories wearing this shade and I have been bombarded with DMs asking about the shade! So that's testimony enough about how beautiful the shade is ^_^









Price of L'Oreal Paris Le Matte Lip PensThey cost INR 750

The L'Oreal Paris Le Matte Lip Pens are exactly what they are called; they are matte lip colors in a pen like packaging that twists up and down to reveal or hide the product. They come in a variety of shades ranging from nudes to pinks to reds.

Texture wise they feel a lot like Maybelline Colorsensational Lip Gradation Pens. They glide on smoothly and dry up into a powdery, almost velvety finish that feels not only light an fluffy but is also not drying... It literally feels like you are not wearing anything on your lips at all!
The Maybelline ones however applied smoother than these L'Oreal ones.

The staying power is good enough and I have noticed that the product needs to retouched only after a significant number of hours and a hearty Indian lunch. The lippy survives coffee and sandwiches very well!

L'Oreal Paris Le Matte Lip Pen in She's So Matte - Sunlight


Pros
1. Gorgeous shade
2. Matte finish that stays on for long
3. Has a velvety, mousse-ey finish and is not tacky at all.
4. Is not drying and feels very light on the lips.
5. Classy packaging

Cons
1. May be a little pricey for a drugstore product

Overall Rating:
9.5/10

Blast from the Past - Advice I Would Give My 20 year Old Self!
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Let's Talk About My Obsession with Salwar Kameez
I am not sure how or when did this obsession start. It could be because of the self-realization of finally wearing the FabIndia kurtas that I have been accumulating over the past years or could be because I ultimately discovered how comfortable and smart fitted and cropped pants look under a long kurta or even may be because I have finally gotten bored of the basic Jeans and Tee look that I sport at work...

Whatever the reasons, I am enjoying this phase to the fullest :)





I currently buy my everyday Kurtas from FabIndia, W for Woman and Aurelia. My cropped and fitted pants are either from W for Woman and Aurelia. Personally, I prefer the pants from "W" better than from Aurelia. Where do you buy yours from? What brands do you suggest?
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A Tiny Haul Post

So I have this cocktail party to attend at the end of this week and I am grappling to figure out what I should wear... I have zeroed onto a black skirt I own that I imagine wearing with an Emerald green silk shirt/top... I say "imagine" because I don't yet own the said shirt and hence on Christmas Day I went shopping looking for it... The way I shop is that I first make up my mind about what I need and then go looking into stores for that particular item. Of course this generally always fails because hey the item exists only in my head and hence I always end up getting things that I don't need and not buy something that I actually need...

That's exactly what happened day before yesterday and I ended up with no clothes but a tiny makeup/skincare haul... Some of these products are new for me and some have been a personal favorite since a while now...




The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter - INR 1295Review Link


 This is an old favorite and is hands-down my favorite product to remove my makeup as well to simply cleanse my face. It is non-drying and I love how it smells :)

The Body Shop Vitamin E Intense Moisture Serum - INR 1295

I am going to try it for the first time and hence do stay tuned for reviews. I have been a fan of TBS Vitamic C Face Serum but this time I went in for the Vitamin E variant solely because it was way cheaper :P

L'Oreal Paris Infallible Blush Paint Stick in Fuchsia Fame - INR 999

When I saw this I was intrigued because it not only looked cute but also pretty novel. But then I turned my back towards it because I assumed it to be sticky and tacky and I knew that is one texture that I don't like on my face at all. However, the SA pestered me to swatch it and I realized that I was wrong! It blended out into a powdery and an almost velvety texture and I instantly knew that I had to have it :)

L'Oreal Paris Color Riche Le Matte Lip Pen in She's So Matte - INR 799

Ugghhh the packaging is so pretty and the nude pink shade is simply to die for. Enough said!

The Body Shop Shine Lip Liquid in Apple Taffy 006 - INR 750

I love a glossy nude lip gloss that is translucent. It makes me feel as if I look ethereal... A girl can dream can't she? :)

The Body Shop Eye Definer Crayon Khol in Green - INR 695

I don't know why I brought this baby home... I liked the green and I was out of green kohls (can you believe it?) and so it found its way into my shopping basket :)

Do you buy products on a whim?
What are the latest products that you bought that you didn't really need? :)
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St D'Vence Moisturiser - Autumn Edition

Review of St D'Vence Moisturiser - Autumn Edition(For Dry to Very Dry Skin)
To wear my favorite and the most expensive perfume I own to work or not is a debate I have with myself every morning while I get ready for work. The EDP in question here is the Davidoff Cool Water Sensual Essence, the one that comes in the sensual Golden Brown colored bottle... It is my favorite scent because it not just smells beautiful but also because it smells warm and sensual.

But then the post is not really about the perfume :)
It is about this glorious smelling body moisturiser that eventually ends up winning every single day because it is one of the best smelling bod
St D'Vence Moisturiser, Autumn Edition is a thick body lotion that gets absorbed very easily into the skin. It is non-greasy and very hydrating. It is perfect for dry skin and is great for dry winters.
y I have come across till date. Simply put, the St D'Vence Moisturiser, Autumn Edition smells divine...





Price of St D'Vence Moisturiser - Autumn EditionIt costs INR 275/- for 150 ml.



The first thing I noticed about this body moisturiser when I received it in my mail was how thick it looked. Pune gets super dry during the Winters, irrespective of temperatures dropping and hence I was looking forward to trying this baby out. I planned to test it against TBS Body Butters and see if this bottle of St D'Vence goodness held any candle to my Holy Grail body butters...

The second thing I noticed about this moisturiser was its fragrance. At first it seemed pretty strong but once I had it on my body it felt like just the right amount of intensity. The fact that the fragrance stays on for almost a whole work day is something I love about it.

St D'Vence Moisturiser, Autumn Edition is a thick body lotion that gets absorbed very easily into the skin. It is non-greasy and very hydrating. It is perfect for dry skin and is great for dry winters. It is a 100% vegetarian product and contains some fabulous ingredients like Argan, Almond, Jajoba, Olive and Coconut oils.


Pros
1. Deeply hydrating and long lasting moisturisation
2. 100% Vegan
3. Impressive ingredient list
4. Smells divine and has a long lasting fragrance
5. Easily available online at amazon.in

Cons
1. Its a little pricey when compared to drugstore body lotions
2. The fragrance could be a little strong for some.
Overall Rating:
8/10
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Review of Nykaa eyeMBold Kajal
The day I bought the Nykaa eyeMBold Kajal, I posted a picture of it on my Instagram story and it exploded. I had so many of you all asking me to review the kajal pronto as everyone seemed to have heard mixed views about it. Needless to say I was intrigued; I had no idea that the fat, chubby kajal stick that I had picked up on a whim could create such a furore!

Review of Nykaa eyeMBold Kajal

I am going to be brutally honest. Since the time Nykaa started with its own range of makeup and beauty products almost 1.5 years ago, I haven't really had the urge to try its products. And the fact that I was never sent any samples didn't help their case either... And hence when I spied that a brand new Nykaa store had opened up in my neighborhood mall I had to pay a visit...

If I was expecting to be wowed by it, I sadly wasn't but since I was already at the store, I decided to pick up a few products... Nykaa eyeMBold Kajal caught my eye cause it was not only comfortably priced but also seemed like the blackest kajal I had ever seen.

Price of Nykaa eyeMBold KajalIt costs INR 405/-





The kajal glides smoothly and beautifully, it does not tug at your skin. And just the fact that it is seriously jet black, you feel tempted to immediately buy it... The kajal however applies wet and you have to wait for a good minute or so for it to dry completely. During this time if you sneeze or wink or even blink then you stand the chance to transfer the kajal to your lid.

The kajal very surprisingly stays put all day without smudging on your lower lid. The upper eyelid is a different story though. For me the kajal smudges like crazy unless I wear a primer underneath and set it with powder eyeshadow. Its weird like that.
The fact that setting the kajal with eye shadow helps it stay put for the whole day makes it a great base for smokey eye makeup looks.


 


But one thing that I must write here about this kajal is the fact it stings like a bitch! Once it dries up it stops stinging but when freshly applied especially when you apply a lot of it, be prepared for your eyes to burn and start watering. I was shocked when this happened with me for the first time, the second time was better and now I kinda know how to work around the stinging but if you have sensitive eyes and especially if you are a contact lens wearer then you may want to stay away!

Pros
1. Jet black
2. Great base for smokey eyes
3. If set with a powder then it stays put for the whole day
4. Reasonable priced
5. Easily available online

Cons
1. It stings the eyes
2. Smudges like crazy if not worn over a primer and not set with powder.
Overall Rating:
6/10
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Mascara Mixology/Mascara Cocktails: Tips and Tricks
I love cocktails as much as the next 30 something standing next to me. But when you add the word mascara to cocktails you have my full and undivided attention.

You see I am one of those many who are left wondering how a mascara can magically transform one's lashes from barely there to va-va-voom... "Blessed" with lashes that refuse to respond to any mascara I have been forever on the lookout for a magical wand that would show some semblance of fluttery lashes. It took me a while to realize that one mascara would never do the trick for me and so I turned towards Mascara Cocktails...




A Mascara Cocktail is exactly what it sounds like, a cocktail of various mascaras... And ladies trust me when I say that they can be potent AF...

Now of course the concept of using multiple mascaras isn't really news anymore and its a no brainer that layering a volumizing mascara with a lengthening one should do the trick. But let me tell you that there is science behind it and haphazardly layering mascaras will not let you achieve the best results...



Here is the pattern I follow and it is time tested:
1. Layer #1 - Thin/Skinny Rubber Wands



This is the kind of wand that generally lengthening mascaras have and they are great in prepping the lashes with a thin coat of product. If they are lengthening mascaras then its all the more better cause with this layer your lashes don't just have a base coat on them, they have also been "lengthened". If you want you could apply two layers of it but not more. You don't want any clumps or thick coats on your lashes.
My HG base mascara is the Flormar Triple Action 3-in-1 Mascara.
Another great recommendation would be the L'Oreal Paris False Lash Butterfly Mascara

2. Layer #2 - Curved Wand 

My next layer of mascara is using a Curved wand. These mascaras generally are supposed to curl your lashes and they are great to add a little volume to your lashes especially if they are poker straight and sparse. And since you already have a mascara on as base, you will notice a definite thickening and a little volume with just once coat with a curved wand.
My HG mascara is Maybelline Lash Sensational Volume Express Mascara

3. Layer #3 - Dense, Fluffy Wand

This is the most common and popular mascara wand and these types of wands generally come with volumizing mascaras. Their densely packed and fluffy bristles give an extra boost to your lashes making them look darker and more voluminous.
This can be an optional step and if you do plan to apply this mascara then be sure to not apply more than one coat else you'll end up with super clumpy lashes!
My HG mascara is Kiko Milano Luxurious Lashes Extra Volume Brush Mascara

Hope this helps you, I know it did me a ton of good :)
And if you have any more tips and tricks wrt Mascara Mixing then do share them with me :)
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