Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Target, zap and lighten…

We might get insulted once a while or may even get slapped by someone once a while but our skin get insulted every second of its unprotected life. Skin fights and fights and gives up one day and then is where we start noticing plethora of problems in our skin.

Why is all this happening? Who is insulting our skin so much? Why do we get patches and hyperpigmentation even after staying out of sun?

These questions are asked by all to themselves and to others but the solution is only available with leading dermatologists who know what to do and where to go with pigmentation. Spots can be zapped, patches can be lightened and that's why we need to target these areas and that's what the title says. I will be talking in general terms only for everyone to understand. Anybody who needs an expert opinion should see cosmetologists or dermatologists.


"Melanin" is an important skin pigment that not only gives color to our skin but also absorbs UV rays and prevents them from further harming the skin. Melanin is secreted by melanocytes which actually pass on the pigment from small pipe like projections called dendrites to adjacent keratinocytes that take up the dye and get colored. Excessive melanin formation and deposition is primarily the cause of hyperpigmentation aka pigmentation aka discoloration. Loss of melanin deposition or formation leads to hypopigmentation which is not in the scope of the article. Btw discoloration has got dermatological reasons as well as medical reasons i.e. melanin formation in certain diseases which we would not talk about her. I would be only talking about environmental causes and reasons and if someone wants to know more about other diseases they can seek help of medical books or search online.

Our skin fights environmental damage which is caused by aggressors like sunlight (almost 80-90%), pollutants, free radicals (outside and inside) and others like factory pollutants causing occupational hazards. Skin responses to such damage in three ways, 1. By forming a water like secretion to bar the damages, 2. By depositing layers and layers of dry and dead cells that create a barrier, 3. By forming and depositing melanin in the sites of insults. These three survival mechanisms have been developed by our skin over time due to loss of adnexal defenses like thick body hair etc. With such defenses skin protects us.
UV light damages in two different spectra, UVA aka ageing rays that penetrate at dermal levels damages collagen and elastin and destroy the support structure. UVB aka burning rays burn the skin at epidermis by inciting inflammation to which skin responds in different ways. This is talked about in the Fitzpatrick classification of skin tanning. Generally we Asians fall into Grades of 3, 4 and 5 depending on our vicinity to the equator where the sun damage due to sun exposure is maximal.

Skin discoloration happens when the skin is inflamed. It can be diffuse or localized depending on the degree of exposure and the capacity of skin to fight. Diffuse discoloration is form of tan and sometimes looks amazing as it gives a sun kissed look. But local pigmentation is dreadful and starts from spots to patches to melasma and everything. Btw hormones sensitize the skin and that's why pigmentation is aggravated and that's why there is not a complete direct correlation between hormones and pigmentation.

There is pigmentation even while a person suffers from acne. In active acne, due to inflammation there is melanin deposition in those areas and that's why there are acne marks and spots. They also increase when the active acne is picked as it pushes the ulcer base inwards and there are higher chances of scarring.
Btw freckles are present since birth and can never be lightened or removed so don't try to do anything to freckles. Instead use just a sunscreen to prevent them from darkening.


Superficial pigmentation like surface acne spots can be zapped and taken care off completely but deeper pigmentation needs real attention. The goal for getting the latter sorted out is by targeting, lightening and protecting. We target the patch or uneven skin tone or discoloration by using products that modify melanin in different ways. This could be by breaking down melanin clusters and exfoliation, hampering and regulating melanin synthesis and preventing melanin formation and deposition. There are age old methods like bleaching the skin which are passé and dangerous.

Dermatologists suggest formulations containing "hydroquinone" which can be dangerous on long term usage and may contribute to skin cancers as would bleaching agents do so please be careful while using these products. I love and believe in cosmetics that contain plant extracts and sometimes in dermatological procedures like microdermabrasion and chemical peels.

Here is a small list of plant extracts that do help skin lightening. There are a lot more than these but I am instead of too much researching just going to write the ones that I know and trust.
  1. Lightens melanin: - general mushroom and yeast extracts lighten by break down melanin clusters. Some that are famous are Saccharomyces, Tramates Versicolor, Oryza Sativa, Fermented rice wine like Sake etc.
  2. Exfoliators: - they remove melanin by loosening dead cells and getting rid of them like Glycolic acid, Salicylic acid, Lactic acid etc.
  3. Melanin Inhibitors: - Glycyrrhiza Glabra, Morus Bombycis, Vit C. derivatives like Ascorbic Glycosides etc
To get a comprehensive list of Skin Lightening Agents have a look here.

Hydroquinone does the same thing as no.3 but is very dangerous. There are other plant extracts like Grapeseed, Green Tea, Rose hip etc that are known for their lightening effects and number of botanical extracts developed by cosmetic brands under various categories and names and I don't know them cause the contents are never revealed. But it is ok if it shows results one must for for it.

The only way to protect the skin is using broad spectrum sunscreens with physical and chemical protection and reapplying them as per sun exposure. Btw I don't believe in face washes that can lighten skin. That is the most foolish and deceiving concept in skin lightening. It has never happened so it will never happen in future just with skin cleansing.


Cosmetic companies all over world invest in skin lightening treatments since they know Asia is the biggest market for all these products after Middle East. I'm going to talk about India and products that are readily available to us. Companies like Clinique, Shiseido, Estee Lauder, Clarins, Lancôme, Christian Dior, Chanel, Givenchy et al have lots of skin lightening products but I have hardly seen anything really working effectively. So its better to mix n match and maybe you'd see results. I recommend the following products which I have tried and somewhat have worked for me. Please do visit the cosmetic counters for more information and more about what is custom fit for you.

  1. Clinique Dermawhite Brightening Sunscreen SPF 40 Pa++ Rs.2600 approx…new launch
  2. Clinique Even Better range which comprises of Even Better skin tone corrector Rs.2775, Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector Rs.3450, Even Better skin tone correcting moisturizer Rs.2600 and Even Better makeup SPF 15
  3. Estee Lauder Cyberwhite Ex range that is really effective. You can get information on Estee Lauder Singapore website or you can call their Palladium store at 022-43473773
  4. Shiseido White Lucent range especially their Brightening Concentrate has worked wonders....I hate the lack of exfoliants in their line though...maybe Japanese skins are very delicate.
  5. Elizabeth Arden makes the White Glove range with targeted botanicals.
  6. Lancome also has Blanc Expert.
Whatever the brand is, the results need to be good.Shall be writing another post on Whitening, Lightening and Brightening Agents as the article is getting tooooooo big....

Btw please do read these articles for more information.........

  1. Hyperpigmentation and its causes
  2. Pigmentation and Melasma
  3. Fitzpatrick Classification for Skin typing

Till then,


PS: - I know some of you might find this article incomplete but please remember it is just the basic information that I am providing.Volumes and volumes are written over pigmentation disorders and every interpretation is humanly impossible to discuss at one time. Thanks for understanding....

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fresh Summer Looks Part 2 :- Strawberries and Bananas

This is a summer inspired look and the colors are vivid enough to compliment summers. The name "strawberry and bananas" as those are the group of colors i am inspired by for the look.

Lets see how we do it…….


  • YSL matte touch makeup primer Rs.2300 approx.
  • YSL Teint Parfait complexion enhancer Rs.2350 approx.
  • YSL Touché Éclat Rs.2150
  • MAC Studio Fix Foundation powder Rs.1585

Prep and prime the face with a mattifying primer to combat shine and oiliness. The look is about bold and bright colors and it is best seen on matte complexions as it does not look over done. Use the complexion enhancer in a C shape from the sides of the forehead to apples of the cheeks for a sheer iridescence. Try avoiding liquid foundations as they can be really tricky these summers and stay to a basic concealer and compact. Use an iridescent concealer to hide under eye circles and apply a smidgen of Studio fix powder for an overall coverage and matte effect.


  • Shiseido Accentuating Stick in Rosy Flush Rs.1900 approx.
  • MAC Sheertone blush in Dollymix Rs.1080

Blend the cream blush stick on cheeks before applying the compact powder. After dusting the powder, in circular motions apply this bright pink-red blush on cheeks to mimic healthy flush. You don't want to overdo it and look like a clown so exercise control. Use a Dual fibre brush like MAC 187 or Inglot 27E to blend the blush instead of using a natural hair blush brush.


  • Shiseido Luminizing Satin Color eyeshadow in Solaris Rs.1550
  • Shiseido hydro powder eyeshadow in Lemon Sugar Rs.1550
  • Clinique Color surge single eyeshadow in Twiglet Rs.1050
  • MAC single eyeshadow in Sushi flower and Da'Bling or Lala Rs.820 each.
  • MAC Pencil eye liner in Teddy bear Rs.920
  • Clinique High Impact Curling mascara in Black-Brown Rs.1075

Use the hydro powder eyeshadow as a base on the entire eye lid and little bit on the brow bone with MAC 252 brush or fingers. Define the crease with MAC 224 brush using Twiglet (taupe brown) just for a gentle crease. Do not over do or else you could look like a drag. Use this vibrant satiny YELLOW eyeshadow starting from inner lid to the middle of the lid gradually blending into duo-chrome pinkish at the outer corners and the lower lid with Estee Lauder eye shader brush Rs.1020. Highlight the inner corners and brow bone with an iridescent pink opal eyeshadow. Line the eyes with black brown eye pencil and also trace the inner rims with the liner. Apply several coats of curling-lengthening-volumizing mascara on the upper lids and just define the lower lids.


  • Clinique Butter shine lipstick in Pink toffee Rs.1025
  • MAC Dazzleglass in Love Alert Rs.1100

This lipstick is actually a lipgloss in a stick. It gives this lovely strawberry stained lips and looks gorgeous yet subtle. Just dab the lipstick and blend the color onto lips with fingers.

This is a very easy breezy summery look and worth trying.

Till then


Friday, May 7, 2010

My crazy makeup collection

I never thought my makeup collection would go so large.This is a picture taken from my Nokia N 81 and is not very clear but the collection is outstanding.

I dunno whether I should start giving away things or doing a blogger sale!!!

Fresh Summer Makeup…..PART 1

These are mélange of articles that would contain freshest cocktails of makeup during summers maybe that's why the name "fresh summer looks". In this series I'd be writing about typical and atypical combinations of colors and textures in makeup that is appropriate for summers. The sun is scorching hot outside and this is just another way to keep your cool. So keep reading………….

In this look I'd combine contrasting colors for a spiced up makeup look apt for summers especially if you are going to hit a beach party.


  • Clinique Solar Smart Sunscreen SPF 30 or 50 as needed Rs.1100 each
  • Shiseido Makeup Primer Rs.1650
  • Clinique Moisture Sheer tint SPF 15 Rs.1480
  • YSL Touché Éclat Rs.2150
  • Clinique Blended Loose powder Rs.1600
  • Clinique Blushing Blush in Precious Posy or Innocent Peach Rs.1550 each

Its very important to start a summery day inside or outside with a dollop of sunscreen on your face and on every exposed body part. Spread a thin layer of sunscreen over your favorite moisturizer (do not mix sunscreen with moisturizer as it breaks the integrity of the sunscreen) for extra protection from UVB and UVA damage. I prefer broad spectrum sunscreens. Apply a pea size of makeup primer to keep the makeup from running. I love to blend the makeup primer round and round over skin so it conceals pores better and the warmth of your finger heat up the silicones in the primer which makes it go smoother. I love tinted moisturizers for summers as they are the easiest way to sport a great skin. Even though your tinted moisturizer has sunscreen we must keep it as additional protection over a pure sunscreen in tropical sun like India. Apply and blend some tinted moisturizer on your face followed by an illuminating concealer to conceal and brighten areas of the face like under eyes, sides of the nose for blotchiness and anywhere and everywhere else you need. Dust some mineral enriched loose powder over all to set the foundation. I prefer powder blushes in summers as other formulas could be runny and messy. For a perfect tropical glow dust iridescent coral or peach blush on the cheeks starting from the apples to the temples. Remember to keep the blush subtle and not overpowering especially bright colors like these and you could even layer it over an iridescent bronzer to oomph up the effect. I suggest it plain though.


  • Bourjois Effet Smoky in Deep Green and Black Rs.320 each
  • MAC eyeshadows in Tete-a-tint, Plumage and Nylon Rs.820 each.
  • Dior Extase Mascara in Noir Rs.1860

  • Be:Yu eyeshadow primer Rs.480
  • MAC Brow Gel Rs.750

Prime the eyes with eye primer so that the colors stay true and last longer and stay put. Trace a black pencil along the upper lash line and the inner rims of the lower lid. Smudge the line with a pencil brush so that it just stains lash line. Blend a deep green teal colored pencil liner by drawing a thick line on the upper lid. This thick line should be half the way upto the crease in horizontal direction. Soften the edges as if the pencil has been smoked up. Over the remaining bare lid and crease apply matte flesh colored eyeshadow and highlight the brow bone with a beige colored shimmer. Over the teal liner, blend a teal colored matte eyeshadow to get maximum impact and maximum staying power. On the outer corners slightly blend the teal eyeshadow into the outer crease. Keep the lower lids bare with just a hint of teal in the outer corners. Tame eyebrows with brow gel and comb them into their natural shape. On upper lashes apply three coats of mascara, each coat after 30 seconds before the previous coat completely dries. You can also use eye lash curler to curl lashes at the roots.


  • Clinique Long last lipstick in Beach coral Rs.1025
  • Clinique Full Potential Lips Lip gloss in Extra Apricot or Mimosa Blossom Rs.1025 each

Blend the lip color on the lips to get a stained effect and add a dash of coral colored lip gloss on the centre of lips.

This look can be sported as a day look or a party look depending on the intensity of colors. So do try out and let me know.

Till then,


Sunday, May 2, 2010

R.I.P Zeus ……Obituary

Zeus, my 8 month old handsome Alsatian puppy suddenly met an untimely demise today 1 am in the morning. The reason for his abrupt decease was heavy abdominal bleeding due to unknown cause (trauma due to falling on the stomach to many times???). Zeus was playing till 7 pm in the evening and suddenly developed loss of orientation, vomited and passed watery foul smelling diarrhea which had a bloody tinge and got breathless. The next is he being at the Vet's who diagnosed it to be a case of food poisoning or impacting of a foreign body in his stomach causing intestinal obstruction. His abdominal area was tight and taut and he had developed sudden pallor. The situation was so grievous that death was the only thing that could treat my baby. We were very helpless and the only hope was god's miracles which hardly happen.

Zeus was not a dog. He was a very important part of the family. He was a ray of hope for us in our trying times due to my father's fatal kidney illnesses. We had re-christened Zeus as Zeus Navare (my surname) and had given his needs the first priorities against ours. He was a very well mannered dog and did everything he was taught in a perfect way. He was very organized, did not eat any junk that anyone gave and only listened to people from the family.
Being a big dog by breed Zeus could stand as tall as an adolescent even at the age of 7 months. He used to play, jump and bark at birds and butterflies in our terrace and make the best out of his time throughout the day.

Zeus was an angel that has returned back to heaven. He has shattered our dreams but given us the best memoirs we could cherish forever. It is a personal loss that cannot be expressed in words and our family lays heartbroken and sunken in thoughts of Zeus. Zeus loved us unconditionally and truly and was honest and faithful as every good breed German Shepherd could be to his masters. And we loved Zeus back and shall love him forever.

Ramp to regular….Gucci Fall 2010

Gucci fashion is so inspiring thanks to Frida Giannini. So is Gucci makeup that always sets trends and fires on the Milan runway. Every year Pat Mcgrath creates makeup looks for Gucci that are inspired from colors from the fabrics used in the collections, rock stars and so many more. The looks are supernatural and every girl that dons Gucci looks like "the" ultimate diva. The look this fall season looks very summery, very Indian so I thought of writing about the Gucci Fall look now itself.

So lets do this look…….


  • Givenchy Photoperfexion foundation Rs.2200
  • MAC Select cover up concealer Rs.920
  • Clinique Blended loose powder Rs.1600
  • Clinique Almost Bronzer SPF 15 Rs.1800 or Benefit Box powder in Hoola and Dandelion
  • Estee Lauder makeup primer Rs.1280
  • Brushes: - Christian Dior Foundation brush Rs.1870, Estee Lauder concealer brush Rs.1010, Estee Lauder powder brush Rs.2450, Shiseido Blush brush Rs.1850.

Prep and prime the skin to allow the foundation and makeup products glide and stay. With a foundation brush apply liquid foundation in a criss-cross fashion to blend into the skin in a seamless manner. The criss-cross stippling also hides open pores. Dab on some concealer under the eyes to hide dark circles and puffiness. Dust loose powder all over the face and in the under eye area. Dust powder bronzer on the cheeks, forehead and bridge of the nose. You can also apply the bronzer in shape of no. 3 from sides of the forehead to temples to the cheek bones and hollows to sides of the jaw line and then under the jaw. Dust satiny highlighter to illuminate the face and accentuate the facial contours. Warmer skin tones should stick to warmer bronzers with gold nuances.


  • MAC paint pot in Painterly Rs.1100
  • MAC eyeshadow in Remotely Grey and Nylon Rs.820 each, for darker skins Embark
  • Clinique Brush on cream liner in True Black Rs.1100
  • Estee Lauder Double wear Zero-Smudge lengthening mascara in Black Rs.1390
  • Clinique superfine liner for brows in Deep Brown Rs.900
  • Brushes: - MAC 224 Rs.1420, MAC 217 Rs.1100, Clarins angled liner brush Rs.920

Use the Paintpot as an eye makeup base for the shadows to stay longer and crease-free. With a dome shaped brush, apply a taupe-brown eyeshadow in the crease blending in the outer corners of the eye lids. Smoke the eyeshadow on the lower lid. Highlight with a light bone eyeshadow on the brow bone using MAC 217 brush. With an angled flat eye liner brush apply the true black gel liner tracing it on the upper lash line and in the inner rims of the lower lids. Trace the eyeliner right from the inner corner to the outer corners. The black gel liner is smudge and water proof so it stays longer. Draw the line according to the thickness of the eyelid. Apply 3 coats of mascara on the upper lashes after a little on the lower lashes.


  • MAC lipstick in Taupe and Touch

Apply the lipstick with fingers in a dabbing fashion to press and blend in the colors. I love to skip the liner for a natural look. If you want a liner opt for one which matches the exact color of your lips and out line in feathery strokes after applying the lipstick. I recommend pushing in the colors so that the lipstick leaves behind a satiny stain.

This is an easy look to sport and I believe anyone could do it.

Try and let me know,
Till then,



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