Bollywood’s favourite young stylist on her favourite organic skincare and the perfect bronze smoky eye.
“I’m being absolutely honest, I don’t know much about beauty, but I’m so interested in the whole process. Off late, though, I’ve started to believe that organic is the future. After a lot of trial and error, I finally feel like I’ve found products that work for me. I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules when it comes to beauty – just find something that suits you!”
“For me, it’s more about having a really solid pre-makeup regimen – especially at night. During the day, I start off with the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion – it depends on the weather. When it’s dry out, I use the lotion but in the summer I use the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel because it’s a little less thick and absorbs faster. The texture of both is particularly great for my skin type.
I’m a huge Shahnaz Hussain fan, just because all her products are chemical-free and super reliable if you have sensitive skin. I do this entire cleansing and moisturizing process every night before I go to sleep, irrespective of where I am or what I’m busy with.
I start off with ShaCleanse to clean my skin. I basically take the day off my face with this cream. Almond is the main ingredient, so it’s super natural and hydrating. I have this weird mix of dry and combination skin and this works really well for it.
On days that my skin feels oily, I use the Himalaya Herbals Purifying Neem Face Wash. It’s really good for the greasy parts. The most important part of my routine is moisturizing. I use a cream called ShaLife – it’s so, so nourishing. I literally pile on, like, a thick layer of Shalife on my face and let it soak in.
Then, I use ShaBlem. Indian skin is so prone to pigmentation – this product evens out your skin tone and gets rid of patches. It's great for immediately settling breakouts, too. After that, I use ShaSmooth Plus for the eyes – it’s an almond-based eye cream for the under your eyes and it’s ideal because it also calms irritated skin.
Every night, I smell of a bunch of organic products – but that’s just what it takes to maintain good skin. All my friends tease me about this! They’re always like, “You’re the only one who has like a different cream for your face, your body, your feet, for day and for night – just call us when you’re done with the whole thing.” (Laughs) It’s definitely a joke within my group but it’s also true – I amobsessed with moisturizing.
The pollution in Bombay is plain crazy. I’ve also found that as you grow older – I’m 30 now – you realize that things that used to work on you in your early ‘20s just don’t have the same effect anymore. I’ve changed most of my products up.
Now, when I’m on an outdoor assignment, I make sure I use the Lotus Herbals Safe Sun Matte Look Sunblock in SPF 50. It can get a little thick, but it does the job. At the end of the day, I usually the L’Oreal Paris Dermo Expertise Lip and Eye Makeup Remover to remove my makeup. It’s awesome because you don’t have to rub extra hard to get everything off.”
“My job involves different schedules everyday, so I keep my whole make-up routine pretty effortless. I usually avoid foundation during the day and only use it if I’m stepping out in the night.
I always prefer strong eyebrows – I think it just changes my entire face. The Dessange Eyebrow Pencil in Dark Brown is amazing because it looks so natural and gives my brows that flawless definition.
For eyeliner, I usually use the Revlon ColorStay One-Stroke Defining Eyeliner in Blackest Black. It’s just this perfect jet black shade. It’s cool, you can smudge it a bit and isn’t too stark either, like most liquid liners.
Then I’ll use some Burt’s Bees Lip Balm – it’s so hydrating and the most basic thing you can have for soft lips. After that, I wear Nars’ Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita. It’s my favourite shade and so cheery for the day. And finally, I use The One by Dolce & Gabbana. I think perfumes are such a personal thing.
I love playing up my eyes at night – I’m not into bright lips or anything too bold. My favourite thing to do when I’m heading out for the night is a sexy bronze smokey eye. I start off with Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation #8 – I think it’s perfect for my skin type and complexion.
I used to buy the Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Highlighter, but I haven’t found it anywhere lately. I use the Bare Minerals Multi-Tasking Honey Bisque Concealer as a base for my eye make-up and then draw a nice thick line with Colorbar’s I-Glide Pencil in Cocobar on my lids. This pencil is seriously amazing – it’s got such a soft texture, so it can be smeared quite easily.
I'll add a bronze shadow from the Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palette over that – it's what gives me that bronze smokey effect. I smudge the I-Glide Pencil on the bottom and finish off by lining by waterline with the Revlon Colorstay liner. Sometimes, I’ll do a winged liner and tightline my eyes.
I find that highlighting the inner corner of my eyes makes my face look so much brighter. I’ll usually use something luminous like a soft gold shade from the Urban Decay Naked Palette. If I’m travelling, I don’t bother carrying the palette, just because it’s so big. Instead, I’ll use Estee Lauder’s Magic Smoky Powder Shadow Stick in Charred Plum. Like the name suggests, it gives me that exact smokey effect that I want.
I finish by curling my lashes – my Shu Uemura eye lash curler is the one thing I can’t do without. I carry it wherever I go. Two thick coats of Maybelline’s Hypercurl Volum’ Express Waterproof Mascara in Black and I’m done. Big, curled lashes are always beautiful.
Right before I step out the door at night, I use the Tom Ford Black Orchid perfume. It’s got a strong floral note and that makes me feel super sexy.”
“I’ve been colouring my hair for ages now, and so most of my hair products are colour-protecting ranges. Since the colouring process already involves a lot of chemicals, I balance things out with a sulfate-free shampoo. I use the best one for coloured hair – the Kérastase Reflection Bain Chroma Riche Shampoo and Conditioner. It makes my hair super soft. I’ll alternate it with the Kérastase Nutritive Bain Satin Shampoo sometimes because it’s just a bit more nourishing. I think a leave-in product is so important. I’ve had fine hair ever since I was a kid, so a masque like Kérastase’s Crème d’Huile Oléo Curl is great for that. Or I’ll just use the MoroccanOil Treatment Light for a healthy shine. I try to avoid blow drying my hair as much as I can – I straighten my hairline once in a while but more often than not, I just let it be.”
As told to Akshara Subramanian. Archana Walavalkar photographed by Shovona Karmakar.
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