Shopping dictionary

Hello everyone! While most of us are familiar with these terms flying around all the time and pasted on the back of so many products on the actual and virtual shelves, from time to time we may forget what they actually stand for. Here’s a quick ready reckoner for the terms that many of our shopping choices contain. Do write in to me if I’ve forgotten to add any of them which you consider are important.

Here we go:

Paraben: according to this resource Parabens are a manmade preservatives, created in a lab and most widely added to the cosmetics and personal care products we use. They help in stopping fungus, bacteria and other microbes from growing in your favourite products, especially in the moist, warm environment of a bathroom.

It doesn’t stop at just cosmetics, though; these preservatives are also used to enhance the shelf life of various food and drugs, so paraben dangers are also present when eaten or consumed as medicine. Read this article for more information. Common foods that contain parabens include:

  • Dried meats
  • Cereal-based snacks
  • Processed vegetables
  • Pickles
  • Jams and sauces
  • Frozen dairy products
  • Desserts
  • Beer and soft drinks

Sulphates: Sulfates are chemicals used as cleansing agents. They’re found in household cleaners, detergents, and even shampoo. Sulfates are synthetic ingredients partially based on sulfur, which is derived from petrolatum or other sources. Read this article for more details.

The ingredients are most commonly found in personal products and cleaning agents such as:

  • liquid soap
  • shampoos
  • laundry detergents
  • dish detergents
  • toothpaste
  • bath bombs

The amount of sulphates in a product depends on the manufacturer. It can range from small amounts to almost 50% of the product

Cruelty-Free: In the animal rights movement, cruelty-free is a label for products or activities that do not harm or kill animals anywhere in the world.

The fastest and easiest way to spot whether a product is cruelty-free or not is by looking for a certified cruelty-free bunny logo on product packaging. You can oftentimes find it on the back of products or labels, however, make sure you’re looking for one of the 3 official cruelty-free bunny logos 

Cruelty-free” can be used to imply that:

  • Neither the product nor its ingredients have ever been tested on animals. This is highly unlikely however, as almost all ingredients in use today have been tested on animals somewhere, at some time, by someone  and could be tested again.
  • While the ingredients have been tested on animals, the final product has not.
  • The manufacturer itself did not conduct animal tests but instead relied on a supplier to test for them  or relied on another company’s previous animal-test results.
  • The testing was done in a foreign country, where laws protecting animals might be weaker than in the U.S.
  • Either the ingredients or the product have not been tested on animals within the last five, ten, or twenty years (but perhaps were before, and could be again).

Vegan: A product that is vegan does not contain any animal ingredients or animal-derived ingredients. This includes, but is not limited to, honey, beeswax, lanolin, collagen, albumen, carmine, cholesterol, gelatin, and many others.

To many, the term “vegan” also means that a product is free from animal testing as well. Because the term is not regulated, it is often used to simply note that a product does not contain animal ingredients. Items that are tested on animals can claim to be “vegan”. This is a very important distinction because a vegan product is not necessarily cruelty-free.

The easiest way to know if a product is vegan is to look for a label that says ‘Suitable For Vegans’ or a ‘Certified Vegan’ logo.

Sustainable: With respect to the cosmetics industry, “green” and “sustainable” cosmeticsare defined as cosmetic products using natural ingredients produced from renewable raw materials.

Many companies use petrochemical ingredients derived from petrol, a non-renewable and economically volatile resource. Read more here.

This is a good way to find out if a product is sustainable or has followed sustainable practices in the manufacturing.

Fair trade: A lot of products have ingredients which have fair trade written next to them. Fair trade is a movement that advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as social and environmental standards.

It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, chocolate and flowers.

It also means when producers in developing countries are paid a fair price for their work, by companies in developed countries. It’s when the price we pay for products gives enough to producers for them to afford life’s essentials – like food, education and healthcare. The FAIRTRADE Mark is a registered certification label for products sourced from producers in developing countries. The Mark is used only on productscertified in accordance with Fairtrade Standards and on promotional materials to encourage people to buy Fairtrade products.

These were just a few of the terms which are finding their way into our personal care products and other consumables. Now that you know more about them, let’s try and buy more items which cater to one or more of these and give the real producers their financial due and let’s also try to reduce our carbon footprint in the process.

Happy shopping all!

Guest Review: Coffee Soap

There are people who really like their coffee. To the extent that they use products which have coffee in them for their personal hygiene as well. A while back I had posted a review of a coffee body scrub that I use regularly and which is really good VFM. Today’s product review comes from a guest reviewer who has found that she really loves another offering from the same brand- MCaffeine.

Say hello again to Kasturi, she’d been featured here before for her review of argan hair oil (click here to read) and today she’s back with a brand new product that she’s thoroughly enjoyed using and wanted to share her experience with us.

Kasturi recommends MCaffeine’s Naked and Raw Bathing Bars for a completely caffeinated bathing experience! These bathing bars come in three different aromas and types- Espresso, Cappuccino and Latte Coffee. What she likes about the one she chose is the light fragrance, that it’s soft and creamy and it’s moisturising. As she puts it, “The fragrance is coffee…not strong filter coffee but mocha!

Now onto the pricing part of it- at nearly Rs.300 per bathing bar, this product does not come cheap! There is a standard size- 100 gms and it is available on the following sites:

  • MCaffeine– it’s available at a discounted rate of Rs.269 compared to the MRP of Rs.299. Click here to buy.
  • Nykaa– a discounted rated of Rs.765 for all 3 (click here to buy) or individual bars at Rs. 265 each- click here to buy.
  • Amazon- a discounted rate of Rs.265. Click here to buy.

So if coffee is your thing and you want to inject some caffeine-fun in your bath time, put this product on your shopping list and give it a try! Don’t forget to let me know how your experience with these bathings bars are!

Product Review: Facial Cleaner With Sandalwood & Orange Peel

forest essentials logo - Google Search | Forest essentials, Natural beauty  brands, Beauty brand

This review is of a brand that I’ve not used much. Whenever I have had occasion to use the products it’s been solely due to them being gifted since I usually find it quite OTT expensive. And since I’ve been pretty happy with the other products I’ve used on and off on my acne-prone face, I’ve not had much reason to check out their range. But Forest Essentials has a loyal following and there are those who swear by it and use nothing else!

But this product is one that I could feel a difference with from the first wash onwards and it made my skin feel really good. The Forest Essentials Facial Cleaner With Sandalwood and Orange Peel is great for people with oily skin and who need to keep their sebum levels under control.

You need a little bit for the most problematic areas of your face and then once you lather up, just softly cleanse your skin thoroughly and then rinse off. Lukewarm water works best for oily skin since it gets the sebum right off and makes you feel cleaner and lighter in the process.

With this facial cleaner, the immediate effect was my face feeling tighter and looking a better, free of the grime and dust. And despite the tightening of the skin, it didn’t feel like my skin was getting pulled too much and needed to be hydrated immediately either. All in all, I would give this cleaner an 8 out of 10 in terms of getting the job done.

Available at all Forest Essential stores as well as online, this luxury product is priced at Rs. 1,125 for 200 ml across the different e-commerce portals. To buy it on the Forest Essentials website– click here to buy. To buy on Amazon, click here. To buy on Nykaa, click here. While it is on the costlier side for a daily use item, the small amount needed to get desired results will let it last for a good months.

Are you the kind of person who wants to pamper themselves and their skin with high-end products? Then this might be a good place to start or extend the range of products that you use to look and feel good. And do let me know how you feel post using it. Would love to hear from you after you do!

Product Review: Wild Ideas Pit Paste

A lot of people might frown a bit at this one and wonder…really? Underarm deodorant is something that doesn’t get written about too often I feel. It’s something everyone’s used at least once in their lives and usually when they are in a tearing hurry and need to not stink.

Beginning with the aerosol sprays which smelled pretty good but did a good bit of damage to the environment, to the roll-ons which were a bit better but still had some amount of chemicals that many were uncomfortable using for too long to something called a “Pit Paste“- the product that I’ll be reviewing today.

Another offering from the brand Wild Ideas (one I am determined to sample more and more items from) is their underarm deodorant called Pit Paste.

The “pit” part is evident but the paste is where some people might make a face but before you start thinking of a gooey, paste-y kind of substance, let me assure you that it’s nothing of the sort and is a solid mixture that’s to be applied onto the armpits the same way one would apply lip balm with their fingers.

Available in 5 different scents- Cedarwood&Daffodil, Green Apple&Tea Tree, Lavender, Orange&Cinnamon and Rosemary&Honeysuckle, each paste is available in glass jars of 120 gms each or you can try out a starter pack of each one in smaller sizes of 8 gms together. The ingredients have been chosen keeping in mind the benefits of the ones it’s named after with the base ingredients being Coconut oil, Shea Butter, Beeswax, Baking Soda and Corn Flour.

My personal experience has been that despite the very mild scents that come forth when you test each one, they all have lingering smells and it’s very easy to apply it. It’s literally at your finger tips. And because of the beeswax base, it gets washed right out in the shower or with a bit of hot water.

  • On the Wild Ideas website the pit pastes are priced at Rs.180 each for each jar of 120 gms– click here to buy. The starter kit’s is priced at Rs.Rs.250 for a set of 5 of 8 gms each- click here to buy.
  • They are available on Amazon for Rs.715 for a set of 4 jars of 120 gms each, in each scent- click here to buy. Individual jars are not available at this time.
  • Flipkart also sells them in a set of 4 of the same scent, priced at Rs. 720– click here to buy.
  • Paytm Mall sells the same quantity i.e. 4 jars of 120 gms each, for a discounted price of Rs. 648– click here to buy.
  • Goodbynature sells them individually at Rs.180 for a 120 gm jar and Rs. 250 for the started kit of 5 pit pastes of 8 mg each- click here to buy the individual ones and here to buy the starter kit.
  • Peachmode sells each variety of scents in a pack of 2 priced at Rs.360. Click here to buy.
  • Golisoda sells each variety in a set of 4 priced at Rs.720. Click here to buy.

So switch over to the natural alternative for your body. Keep yourself clean, while you go green, smelling good and keep your pits happy in the process!

Product Review: Moisturising Body Oils

I got introduced to this brand- Wild Ideas when one of our initial guest reviewers recommended one of their eco-friendly products. That the profits from this brand benefit disadvantaged rural women, is merely the icing on the cake for me personally. Over time I’ve been using their soaps, their dishwashing liquids, floor cleaners and and the product that I’ll be reviewing today- their moisturising body oils.

Buy Wild Ideas Moisturizing Body Oil Lemon grass 100 ml (Pack Of 1) Online  at Low Prices in India -

The beauty of this product is that it’s non-greasy, has a mild yet pleasing smell and comes in a glass with a cork stopper. It gets absorbed into the skin quite quickly and let leaves behind a layer that keeps the skin hydrated for quite a few hours.

I’ve used it both as a moisturiser for myself and my son (major sensitive skin) and found that it works quite well for our respective skin types. It also doubles up quite well as a massage oil. A single bottle will last for a good 2-3 months even with daily use, unless one has extremely dry skin which necessitates repeated application if the oil daily.

Available in three different aromas/essences these oils truly are a gift to the skin. Try it out once and you’re hooked. They make great gifts as well especially for people committed to reducing their carbon footprints and giving back to society in whatever way they can.

These oils are usually priced at Rs.300 for 100 ml (the only size available) on the following websites. Amazon retails it for Rs.295– click here to buy.

  • Wild Ideas-click here to buy.
  • Golisoda– click here to buy.
  • Peachmode– click here to buy.
  • Flipkart– click here to buy.
  • Vegan Mall- click here to buy.
  • Goodbynature– click here to buy.

If natural is the way you’d like to go and maintain a healthy and hydrated skin, maybe this oil should be your next buy. Check it out!

Guest Review: Concealer Palette

Wanting to look one’s best isn’t restricted to working professionals or even people going out to interact socially. When we look into the mirror and see a face with blemishes, spots and basically skin that looks less than healthy, it can impact our mood, frame of mind and also self-image. Having a quick fix for making the dark circles and spots vanish while the skin heals; goes a long way in adding a much-needed boost not only to our days but ourselves.

Our first guest reviewer of 2021 gives us a look into her experience with a corrector palette which is easy on the pockets and easier on the face! But before we get to her review, let’s quickly find out what the main difference is between a concealer and a corrector so you can decide which one is best for you.

Say hello to Gautami, young entrepreneur. An artistic temperament coupled with business sense and tech skills aren’t the only things that define this smart lady. She’s a loving mom and into making her own personal care products from natural ingredients. Being client-facing in her line of work necessitates looking fresh, professional and her best.

Gautami recommends the Insight Color Corrector Concealer Palette-Corrector. After getting to know from a professional make-up artist how different colors (not just brown and tan) help get an even tone for the skin, she invested in this product and found it to be just right for her.

Let’s see what she has to say about it- ” I tried the Mac concealer palette for my dark under eyes and dull pigmented areas on my face, it seamlessly evened out my skin tone and lit up my face like magic. While that was great I was not ok to spend 4k+ on a occasional use makeup product. I researched and found Nykaa had a similar product for about 1k+ and then found another not so well known brand on Amazon with similar concealer shades.

I thought I’ll give it a shot as the price was as low as 175. I was wary about the chemicals used etc, so before applying it, I spread aloevera gel as a natural primer and a protective layer. The creamy texture and coverage was almost as good as Mac. I used it a few times now, everytime I can’t believe how it wakes up my face. If you are going to try, it’s best to do a patch test first.”

For those who are still undecided about investing in a skin corrector, here’s how to use it:

This product is available on the Insight website and is priced at Rs.166– click here to buy. Nykaa prices it at Rs.175– click here to buy.

If you’d like to try your hand at making some tweaks on areas of your skin that you aren’t entirely happy with, do what Gautami did. What worked for her may end up becoming a part of your make-up routine as well.

Product Recommendation: Excela Rich Hydrating Facial Lotion

This is the first time am posting a review of a product that has been recommended by a doctor for relieving dry skin and keeping the skin healthy overall. While this isn’t a medicated product per se, it’s not the usual over the counter moisturiser that people usually know about. Excela Rich Facial Hydrating Lotion from Cipla ticks multiple boxes not only your daily skin care but also in helping repair dry and damaged skin.

For those who would like to keep using make-up while needing to keep their skin hydrated, this product works well as a base on the skin before applying anything further like a BB cream, concealer etc. However it is recommended that on acne-prone or problematic skin, chemicals and make-up be kept to a minimum to avoid further skin irritations.

While it may seem to be on the costlier side for a small bottle, one only needs a small amount to cover their face or the problem areas so the bottle will easily last 4-5 months if used as directed. Available in most medical stores, this lotion can be sourced on the following eCommerce websites:

  • Netmeds @Rs.950 for 50 ml. Click here to buy.
  • Amazon @Rs.718 (discounted price available for Prime users) for 50 ml. Click here to buy.
  • @Rs.808 for 50 ml. Click here to buy.
  • Flipkart @Rs.800 for 50 ml. Click here to buy.

This product is paragon-free, aids in keeping acne-prone skin safe and is fragrance-free as well. Could this be the answer to your dry, itchy and sensitive skin issues? Try it and find out today!

Product Review: Maybelline Concealer

Buy Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Concealer, Medium, 6g Online at  Low Prices in India -

Anyone who suffers from problematic skin complete with blemishes, faces some tough choices when getting ready for any kind of interaction with people. Whether it’s a work meeting or a social one, we always want to look our best. And an even skin tone with marks and scars dotting the face is a major downer.

That’s why after looking at multiple choices for a concealer, I was quite happy when I chanced upon this one – the Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer.

Buy Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Concealer - Butterscotch Online  at Best Price - bigbasket

It’s extremely easy to use- just twist till the spongy top gets specks of the concealer liquid and dab on face. Depending upon how much of the face needs the concealer treatment, either use the sponge to blend the product into the skin or use your fingers or a make-up sponge. And just a few dabs are enough to get your skin looking healthy and fresh!

Buy Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Concealer Online at Best Price -  bigbasket

The liquid is thick, similar to a foundation without being oily needing too much effort in blending. Just choose the one that suits your skin tone the best;

Buy Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Concealer Online at Best Price -  bigbasket

I chose 130 Medium and get cracking on looking your best! Ideal for livening up dull skin, covering blemishes, fine lines, pigmentation and uneven skin tone among other things, this product is something that’ll become a part of the daily routine for those who like seeing a clean, clear complexion with a glow.

Removing it from the skin doesn’t take too long either, while I do end up using a micellar water, just a good lather with a face wash does a good job doing the same.

This product is available on various websites and in most of the stores carrying cosmetics and skin care products. Available in different shades, this 6ml bottle is priced differently depending on the shade and the website selling it.

It’s priced at Rs. 325 on Nykaa for the Butterscotch shade but the rest of the shades are available for Rs.434 -click here to buy. Boddess sells also sells it at Rs.434 but shows it as a marked down price from Rs. 620- click here to buy. Click here to buy it on Amazon. Myntra prices it at Rs.496– click here to buy.

Try it out and see if this concealer adds that little something special to your skin and brings a smile to your face.

Product Recommendation: Highlighting Dome by The Body Shop

Honey Bronze Highlighting Dome, Make Up | The Body Shop India

Whether one is an ace at make-up or just goes with a touch of gloss and eyeliner to brighten their day, the plethora of make-up we have access to these days is here to stay. And over time, applying the various types of make-up has become easier. One such item is today’s product- the Honey Bronze Highlighting Dome by The Body Shop.

This smallish dome is packed with color and is easy to use and that scores high points with a makeup-wary person like me who can’t layer, contour or blend to save my life! And with this little helper, now I don’t have to be keep a distance from getting a bit of color on my face at all!

Available in 3 shades- 01, 02 and 03 they cater to different skin colors and can even be used on the same skin to get better and different highlights if one’s inclined to do so. The application of it is super simple- just twist off the cap and rub it over cheekbones and parts of face that you want to contour. Think of it as a nice round crayon that you’re going to use on your face when stepping out in the evening for a dinner or just an outing with gal pals.

Once the streaks are made, just blend with your fingers. It’s easy to do and the colors aren’t too bright or dark to require a lot of time in the blending. It’s recommended that this product be used mainly during the evenings due to the glittery or rather slight shine it brings to the face. Most people may not want a shimmer on their cheekbones while on office calls or running the usual household errands.

But this product lasts long mainly because it only needs a few swipes each time around. And while it is meant for highlighting cheek bones, I often just dab it on the T-zone and blend in for a slight shimmer on my face instead of using a compact and then brushing away the residue from the powder.

Priced at Rs. 1295 across the make-up websites, you can buy it directly from The Body Shop (click here to buy), from Boddess (click here to buy) or from Nykaa (click here to buy).

Product Review: Pure Cult Laundry Detergent

I’ve been on an eco-friendly kick for a while now. I am still actively looking for products for everyday use that have either been sourced without harming the environment, made without too many chemicals and additives and finally; those which don’t impact the environment adversely while they’re being used and disposed. And while I’m not a green warrior by any stretch of the imagination, I’ve quite encouraged to keep looking till I settle on products which my family also end up approving and which we can sustain for the long run.

I’d published a preview about a month ago about a new and eco friendly product that I was going to test drive before posting a review. The product was Pure Cult’s Laundry Detergent and Fabric Conditioner. The packaging is green but it also comes with a good amount of plastic all around it which kind of defeats the purpose of being “green”. Maybe a strong wrap of plastic around the cap and nowhere else?

The product by itself is rather unremarkable. There isn’t any distinct “nice aroma” and you don’t get clothes which smell good per se. They just smell sun-dried and clean which is good enough. The detergent and fabric conditioner ideally ought to be used together but even without using the fabric conditioner my clothes aren’t getting battered. They feel the same way they did earlier. So would I continue buying the fabric conditioner? Maybe not? Maybe I’ll keep a small bottle for the delicates instead of for daily use.

One big difference in the way the laundry is happening is the amount of foam that’s getting generated during the wash. In my earlier post (click here to read) about “green” detergents I hadn’t mentioned this point but by now I’ve used enough products to know that the amount of foam and froth being generated is significantly lesser than when I was using the usual household names in detergents. A quick look into the washing machine drum shows slightly murky water but less of bubbles and foam whereas earlier it would be frothy bubbles all the way.

Should you buy this product? Well that depends. I find it adequate. I don’t find the clothes getting significantly cleaner than how they went into the washing in the first place. Even using some amount of undiluted detergent on tough stains didn’t really help me with this product. I had to fall back on Vanish or Pidilite’s Stainoff to get the job done properly.

But if having peace of mind about your carbon print is as primary an objective as having clean clothes then this product is worth a try. It’s available at Rs.300 for 500 ml of detergent and Rs.299 for 500 ml of fabric softener on their website (click here to buy). Whereas Amazon offers additional discounts and prices them at Rs. 375 for the same quantity of detergent (click here to buy) and Rs.265 for the fabric conditioner (click here to buy).

Write in and let me know about your green journey!

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