5 makeup favorites of 2021!

A weird but true thing is that I continued loving so many new and old makeup products in 2021, just like I did in 2020. Why weird you ask? Because really there are so less occasions for using makeup in this Covid life. Additionally, if you know me in real life, I put the maximum effort in dressing up for work which is now from home. I usually am bare face on vacations, sometimes even in parties. So, I really didn’t have that many chances of using makeup in pandemic. Yet, here we are. Seems like I made the most of all chances of wearing makeup because I had a lot of favorites! Read on:

  1. Sugar Ace of Face Foundation: It will sound like I am getting paid to say this but SUGAR Cosmetics is quickly becoming my favorite – its Indian, its cruelty free, have loved almost all the formulations I tried so far – what’s not to love? This foundation, though, was such a surprise discovery right before my wedding. I was looking for a foundation and I had never used a ‘proper’ one before. I wanted to be sure that I get the best base for my face as I wanted it to last me a while and be almost perfect so I can use it in special events. It will sound crazy but I roamed around malls with little swatches on my face to see how different brands’ foundations are reacting on my face – I tried soooo many – from basics like Maybelline to high end like Estee Lauder Double Duty – and in the end I liked only two for yellow toned Indian skins like me – Bobbi Brown & SUGAR. The texture was almost the same for both & this one was 1/4th the price! The brush attached is also pretty good for me, I mean makeup nerds may not like it but its good enough for basic users like me. The only word of caution (and a rather important one) – its full coverage & heavy, I have normal to dry skin so I like the heaviness and dewiness. Plus, I intended to buy a full coverage foundation only since I only use base makeup for special occasions.

2. Smashbox Driver’s Seat Liquid Lipstick: Truth be told, I prefer the regular lipsticks more over liquid lipsticks when it comes to ease of use. Reason? It looks more ‘natural’, I mean, go with the flow types and I also like reapplying. However, liquid lipsticks are way better for giving a polished look and the long staying helps in long functions etc. This one I particularly like because it suits my skin tone way too much while being a fairly neutral shade. If you have yellow, light wheatish, Indian skin tone like me, please try this and thank me later!

3. Swiss Beauty Liquid Pen Eyeliner: Do you love it when a local, cheap a*s makeup product turns out perfect? I tried their blue color and I don’t have words to tell just how good this is. First of all, the felt tip is absolutely convenient even for noobs. Secondly, the color pigmentation & payoff is super rich. Thirdly, it is not something that comes off quickly but also not stubborn to remove. Tell me, what’s not to love? I would have been sold on the first point itself.

4. Maybelline Caramel Collector Liquid Lipstick: I bought this only for the shade & its absolutely true to the name. It looks very caramel like. Its a little thicker formula than the Smashbox one and, therefore, I’ll not say that this is the best liquid lipstick formula out there. However, the shade is exactly what I wanted for which its easily one of my top favorite lipsticks. (I usually avoid brands that are not cruelty free but I just gave in due to the shade).

5. the balm Highlighter: During my wedding, I was pretty clear that I am not going to hoard makeup as it typically happens but I would only buy what I truly need and don’t have. Then came along the long due the balm purchase. Their cult highlighter – Mary Lou Manizer. Its fair to say that I am totally in its cult now and I am all there for its hype. The finely milled formula is too gorgeous and you need very little product to get your face all illuminated. Also, the end result is a very sophisticated illumination and you don’t end up looking like a glitter ball. A very non-important sort of con – if you are a beginner, go very easy on the product because too much of it can end up looking cakey and, well, too much.

If you liked this, check out more of my latest posts:

My top 5 favorite Kajals | Blogmas 9

Kajal or Kohl, the quitessential South Asian makeup product, is so assimilated into daily culture that most don’t even consider it makeup. In some parts of India, people (women mostly) wear Kajal from a very young age, however, where I grew up, it wasn’t the case. In fact, it was very much considered makeup. The first time I wore Kajal after growing up was in class 9 when I started getting into dressing up from being tomboyish. It was quite a big change for me.

Cut to 2011, I was discussing with a friend in college how much we both love Kajals. Then, we started searching online about the best kajals in India and so on. This is when I got introduced to the world of blogging and hooked I was! The earliest of all the blogs I read were beauty blogs. Eventually I started writing my own blog in 2013. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now that 10 years have passed, there is a lot that has changed with respect to my preferences and, therefore, this list will be reflective of my choices for best kajals in India.

A word about my preferences – I no longer give a flying f*ck about smudginess, I think smudged Kajal looks good on me and as long as its not a lot, I am fine. I don’t want “super staying” Kajals. I also don’t want a precise line, I go for slightly thicker lines. All I truly want is a super dark, jet black color in my regular Kajal. So, that’s what this list is about.

{Disclaimer: The images below are affiliate links. If you are thinking to purchase any of these, please click on the image to purchase so that I earn a comission too}.

Now onto the best Kajals in India based on my preferences starting from least preferred to most –

  1. Biotique Kajal: Most people won’t like it because it is super smudgy & anyway people are moving away from lipstick shaped Kajals as the pencil shaped feel more comfortable. I love this one to bits though simply because of the color pay off. If a dark, rich black color is what matters to you, this is the one. And its super cheap!

2. Faces Longwear Eye Pencil Solid Black: This would have easily been my most favorite had it not been for one major issue. This one stings. I thought its only me, but I have read reviews of the same online too. Its my favorite color & finish – rich, jet black & matte. It doesn’t smudge even a little bit. Its not cheap for a Kajal but considering it stings & doesn’t budge, it seems it has a lot of chemicals, so I would only recommend it for special occasions.

3. Lakme Eyeconic Kajal: Another favorite largely because of the same reason. Love the color, super rich, jet black. One brownie point – it is kind of a matte finish, not too much though. So, if shiny black lines are not your thing, you will love it. Oh, also, this one doesn’t smudge. ๐Ÿ™‚ For the quality, it is extremely cheap! In fact, I have used Lakme Absolute as well, which is their premium range, but that one is not going to make it to this list. ๐Ÿ™‚

4. Faces Magnet Eyes Kajal: I may not have put this on the list because there is nothing unique about this, except its very similar to the one above & cheaper too. The only reason I consider it second to the one above is because it doesn’t have that matte finish. If you would rather have a smudge free, jet black, pencil shaped kajal that doesn’t settle into a matte finish, this is the one! I should also mention that #2 and #3 both stay very well on the waterline without getting removed.

5. MAC Technakohl Graph Black: I don’t have a proper affiliate link for the one I loved using the most. If you want to buy it off Amazon, you can do so by clicking on the image below, but I would suggest buying it from an authorized seller. The one I see on Amazon I am not sure of. I recently got this and I had never expected it to be so good. Not only the color pay off is what I love – rich, dark black & matte, but it also glides so smoothly on the waterline, a very buttery finish, which is what sets it apart. I understand its expensive for a Kajal but I am yet to come across a Kajal I loved as much as this. I am on forever the lookout & will update this post then.

To summarize, I usually repurchase the Lakme one and I would definitely consider repurchasing the MAC one as well. Although, I am always experimenting with new Kajal brands ranging everything from Maybelline to Givenchy!

Bonus: Some more recommendations that I like, but I won’t count them as best kajals in India for me. The reason I am mentioning these is because people prefer different things. So, read to know if you would rather buy these:

Plum NaturStudio Kajal: Its color pay off is very similar to the ones I mentioned above as my favorites. The difference is that it needs sharpening. I know some people prefer that as they consider it more hygienic, so if that’s your thing, you will love it! Bonus points for the fact that this is cruelty free!

Lakme Absolute Kajal: I told you already that this doesn’t make it to best Kajals in India for me. A very simple reason for that – I hate sharpening, its too much effort for me when in hurry. However, in one way its even better than the Lakme Eyeconic I mentioned above, it is somewhat buttery, not as buttery smooth as the MAC one I mentioned but smoother than all others.

This is it for today and if you read it till the end, I am so, so grateful. ๐Ÿ™‚ Do leave your thoughts and recommendations in the comments.

Posts I worked hard for but didn’t get the love | Blogmas 3

I have been meaning to do this post since a long time because there are some old posts on this blog which have a common theme – they are long and very word heavy, took me a long time to write but they barely got any love. Now I understand that I haven’t been getting any traction since the recent past because I post very inconsistently and, in such scenarios, not getting any traction is sort of anticipated. However, the posts I am mentioning are from the time when I expected traction.

I have decided to link them here today in the hope that you would be considerate enough to read them. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Tale of the most ornate blouse: you know what, I would love to write more posts like this as I love restyling clothes. Loved the concept of reuse and reduce before it became cool.

Blogmas Day 5 | My 2020 Favorites! The year that was!: Why did this post not get the love it deserves? Who doesn’t want to know other people’s favorites? ๐Ÿ˜€

My 2 year long relationship with Earth Rhythm: A recent post which is detailed on a skin care brand My Hair Story & the entry of a recent miracle

My Hair Story & the entry of a recent miracle: this is a very, very old post and my hair care routine (or the lack of one – it’s just oil and shampoo) has seen many new things since then. Recent addition – a blue hair color. Seems like a good idea to document that. ๐Ÿ˜€ That aside though, this post may still be relevant for someone with similar hair, so, go read maybe?

My 2 year long relationship with Earth Rhythm

Life of Srish

Earth Rhythm is a skincare brand in India (previously known as Soapworks India). Their brand ethos is to create non-toxic skin care products that can be used by anyone who is sensitive to OTC skincare. I think it launched because the founderโ€™s son had a syndrome due to which he couldnโ€™t use OTC skincare.

I have been using Earth Rhythm for more than 2 years and I remember that because I started using their products right after my wedding. It was when this brand was known as โ€œSoapworks Indiaโ€, in case anyone knows. Just for the record, I loved the older name more.

I started using them simply because I loved their eco-friendly packaging at that time and not just because it was sustainable but also because the packaging was hell cute while being at it. I decided to write this post essentially for two reasons โ€“

  • I have usedโ€ฆ

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My 2 year long relationship with Earth Rhythm

Earth Rhythm is a skincare brand in India (previously known as Soapworks India). Their brand ethos is to create non-toxic skin care products that can be used by anyone who is sensitive to OTC skincare. I think it launched because the founder’s son had a syndrome due to which he couldn’t use OTC skincare.

I have been using Earth Rhythm for more than 2 years and I remember that because I started using their products right after my wedding. It was when this brand was known as “Soapworks India”, in case anyone knows. Just for the record, I loved the older name more.

I started using them simply because I loved their eco-friendly packaging at that time and not just because it was sustainable but also because the packaging was hell cute while being at it. I decided to write this post essentially for two reasons –

  • I have used a lot of products from their product lines. Something that would be true for very few cosmetic brands as I use very few products in general and they are usually picked with a purpose in mind, so they may or may not be from a single brand.
  • At the time Earth Rhythm launched, it was a fairly new concept in India – Indian skin care brands that are standalone and Indie and running their own production for whatever reason (Sustainability, clean beauty – a term I am not aligned to btw)

As I mentioned, I wanted to buy their first product because of their beautiful packaging but I ended up picking a basic looking moisturizer as I needed one at the time. I ended up enjoying it. I have several empty jars of the same stashed at my home even now (they were running a recycling campaign at that time so I saved them but they shut that campaign due to COVID).

Since then, I have used their cleansing balms, lip tint, a propolis serum, their solid shampoo bar (one of their cult products) and one sunscreen. I have also recommended their shampoo bars to curly haired friends because I see rave reviews online by curly haired people and my friends loved the bars. I think I am in a good position now to say what I feel about their products –

1. I love using most of their products. Almost all of the products have a soothing feeling to them. You know, like instant feel good on application.

2. What baffles and disappoints me as a customer is that almost none of the products have stood out for me as a solution to a problem. Not even the lip tint. The lip tint gave very basic tint which was barely visible after few minutes and because their products are formulated in a ‘natural’ way, the lip tint formulation in the pot also changed pretty quickly. I loved using the moisturizer, sunscreen, the cleansing balm and propolis serum because of the way they felt on my skin, so soothing and loving, but they didn’t do anything as a problem solution. For example, one of the cleansing balms mentions black head removal on usage which I don’t think I was even counting on and, of course, it didn’t happen. Essentially, I would not go for these products if I was looking for a solution to acne, wrinkles etc.

3. This brings me to my third and most important point. What do you feel about the term ‘clean beauty’ or non-toxic skincare? There are a lot of beauty brands these days who are marketing their products as ‘clean beauty’. This means a product formulated on the principle of “you only put on your skin what you can eat”. I don’t see a very relevant point here and I sort of agree with those beauty gurus who believe in solution based formulations. Just because something is a ‘chemical’ and is not edible, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be put on your skin. In fact, everything is a chemical composition. So why not put something on your skin that’s coming from an expert and is proven to provide a solution to your skin worries? Earth Rhythm is not a brand who harps on the concept of ‘clean beauty’ so it’s not like they are doing any deceptive marketing. But what they do is that they have tried to create a plant based or some other alternative of a proven chemical, something I am not able to appreciate (as i didn’t see a lot of results).

4. Their topmost cult products are their shampoo bars which seem to be working great for a lot of people, including me. I’ll be honest – it’s a pain to use a solid shampoo bar compared to the conventional liquid shampoos that we are used to. Comment below if you would want me to explain how to use solid shampoo bars. Nevertheless, you notice the good effects of a solid bar from the first use itself. Solid shampoo bars in general are less harsh for your scalp and hair, and these Earth Rhythm solid shampoo bars are just gold standard. If you are planning to start your journey with solid shampoo bars, you should definitely try Earth Rhythm’s solid shampoo bars.

In conclusion, I would like to mention that this is a brand I truly enjoy using for the feel good factor and I may continue buying from them, especially things that fit very well into my routine like cleansing balms for makeup removal, reusable cleansing pads, solid shampoo bars etc, but if I was looking for a solution to a skin problem, I would go for solution-based product or, better still, go for dermatologist recommended products.

Don’t miss the no-plastic packaging

10 | My Hair Story & the entry of a recent miracle

I woke up in the morning today & the first thing I realize is that I forgot to put up a post yesterday. Anyhow, here we are today and while I was thinking about what to write, I got reminded of something.

Something which I was uncomfortable writing (to avoid sounding vain talking about vanity) but it will be worse not sharing it.

Additionally, I think this will make me feel more at ease with posting about vanity related stuff which might make me happy or which might be useful to some or which might turn up as good content.

If you are already bored, sorry about that but since its a topic sensitive and close to many a heart\n, I know you can’t go back now. #evil

Is it okay if I write it like a list? Helps organize my thoughts better (please let me know in comments if that’s a put off though):

  1. I have never had good quality hair. I don’t fall into that category of people who can say “Oh! I used to have such healthy hair but this pollution or this hard water or etc etc”. No, I never had the good stuff to begin with. Of course, all the external factors might have had their share of fun on my mane but the point is, my mom got my head shaved thrice as a child in the belief that eventually good hair will come.
  2. In my later teens, when I started to become conscious about my looks, I used to hate my hair’s behavior. You see I had a “boy cut” (fancily known as Pixie/bob etc) in my early teens and since I had just started growing out my hair in late teens, they used to have a mind of their own. Eventually over the years, my hair length grew and with longer length came slightly saner hair as well, because the shorter they are, the more they start waving around and doing their own thing. I don’t know why I just feel straight, clean hair look better on me than wavy or curly.
  3. But, more importantly, what happened over the years was that I became perfectly comfortable and actually started to love my hair the way they are. Reason? They are not luscious or healthy, but they look good or just fine. So, the main reason why you want your hair to be healthy is kind of taken care of. ๐Ÿ˜› And why I used to hate them initially was because I really, really wanted straight hair. The acceptance came eventually that I am always going to have wavy hair, if I want them poker straight sometimes, I can always get them done.
  4. Now that its clear that I like my hair the way they are, I also became okay with the fact that they are never going to be super healthy. I became okay with everything that comes with hair – hairfall, dandruff etc etc. Thank God my hair don’t get very frizzy, I hate that!!!!!! And I do not use any additional products on my hair other than shampoo and oil. No, I do not even use a conditioner because I feel my hair work better off it. The only thing I do is keep trying gharelu nuskhe (natural tricks) every once in a while (very rarely actually) and switching between shampoos in the hope that maybe I’ll come across a miraculous one some day.
  5. And that happened. Yes, I did land a shampoo which is suiting me like anything and my hair have never felt and looked this good on a normal day. Please see the picture below for the shampoo. There’s a disclaimer though. This is the first time I am using a shampoo (heck! any product) bought from a salon person, so it’s quite possible that there are other such products sitting on salon counters but since I never wanted to go into that loop of buying shiny products from the salon, I never really knew. Still, just try it out if its available where you live. ๐Ÿ™‚

PS: Please don’t think I am some kind of psycho who sits and thinks about their hair all day long. Its just that before using this shampoo, many times I used to think is there anything that has changed the game for my hair since childhood. And then I got reminded of how much I used to hate my hair back then and now I love them, it may deserve a post some day! ๐Ÿ˜›

Edit: Also wanted to mention this other product which is giving my ends a really smooth finish and an overall smoother, shinier mane. But I feel both of these are the kind of products which show instant results but if I stop using them, effects won’t last.