2017 was an amazing year for green beauty. Green brands became more popular than ever, and it stopped being a niche segment of the beauty industry. Mainstream bloggers began promoting smaller indie brands alongside big names like Estee Lauder and L’Oreal. Big department stores like Neiman Marcus started recognising the potential of green brands and collaborated with indie brands to curate personalised selections.

From a green beauty perspective, the biggest trend was a welcome shift away from face oils. 2016 was the year of face oils; and it was amazing to see green beauty brands expand their offerings in 2017 to include more hydrating products. In fact, I’d call 2017 the year of the hydrating serum because they were everywhere! Brands, beauty stores and influencers began waxing lyrical about the benefits of hydration (and how it differed from ‘moisture’), and it became one of the hottest beauty topics on Instagram!

Below, I’ve selected my top picks of 2017. While some of them were released in 2017, a number of them were selected because I discovered these new-to-me products in 2017.

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Some of my trusty travel companions

I’ve been spending the last week or so with my family in India. My first week here has been rather eventful.  There was a sudden cyclone in Chennai just before I landed, and everything was in a state of chaos when I arrived. The roads were blocked and dotted with fallen trees and fences. The cyclone had disrupted mobile, TV and internet networks, as well — so I had a hard time getting in contact with anyone.

To add to the confusion, the government had recently demonetised 500 and 1,000 rupee notes without any warning, so there was a shortage of cash everywhere. India is a cash economy, and a number of shops don’t accept cards. The places that accepted cards often had network issues and the ones that had machines that worked didn’t always accept foreign cards! While I was getting frustrated with all these glitches, the lovely and ever-patient Chennai locals seemed to consider it all a normal – if inconvenient – part of everyday life. Such things happen, they shrugged. You just can’t help it. I heard no one complain when we had to wait almost 2 hours to get 2,000 rupees from an ATM, and no one seemed as disappointed as I was when the machine ran out of cash before we got to use it.  View Post

I’m off to India tomorrow to visit family, and I’ve been spending the last few days planning what skincare items to take along with me. I don’t know if it’s the heat and the humidity, or the stress of being around family, but my skin always breaks out when I’m in India. Needless to say, I’ll be taking as many decongesting products with me as I possibly can! After a lot of planning, I’ve zeroed in on the following products to (hopefully) keep my skin (and the rest of me) zen and balanced:

In-flight Skincare:

I’ll be taking Rodin’s Cleansing Powder with me, just in case I feel like washing my face on the plane. Since it’s a powder, I won’t have to worry about liquid restrictions and such. In addition to the cleanser, I’ll be taking African Botanics Intense Skin Repair Balm, Ambuja’s Wanderlust Elixir, Julisis Eyemulsion, Yuli Cocoon Elixir and  Slip silk eye mask with me in my carry-on.

A few weeks ago, when I happened to discuss my travel plans with Julia Noik of African Botanics, she recommended that I use their Intense Skin Repair Balm on the flight. Its thick balm-to-serum consistency will be perfect for countering the drying effects of the stale plane air. Ambuja’s Wanderlust Elixir is a recent discovery.  The coconut water- based serum, with its outstanding list of ingredients, instantly plumps and lifts my skin and makes me look like I’ve had a good night’s sleep. I’ll need this not only on the plane but also when I land in India, when I’ll most likely be tired and jet lagged. I’ll do a full-length review of this product very soon. I decided to take the Eyemulsion with me because I remember Julius mentioning that he always travels with it. I still think it’s the best eye cream I’ve ever used. View Post