Grooming is an integral to my quest to develop a great personal style. I grew up in a household where vanity was looked down upon and considered frivolous. And today, I hangout in scientific circles where it’s considered a waste of time – like art history. I want to break this stigma and admit that I like taking care of myself. My grooming routine takes 5-10 minutes a day. Time that I certainly can make for myself. I get told ‘you must have lot of time’ when I talk about my exercise routine or any form of self care. This needs to stop. Pay yourself first. 




“Simplicity, good taste and grooming are the three fundamentals of good dressing”

-Christian Dior 


Eating well is the absolute paramount. Everything else comes next. All the products and good clothing can not glorify an unhealthy body. I got carried away in the past with the products. Only in the last year could I phase out all the unnecessary and say no to all the free samples that come my way. It also started my transition into a more natural and plastic free routine. My best results happen when I walk to my kitchen and whip out a honey+turmeric mask. And drink my green breakfast smoothies everyday. Here are some products that have been keeping my skin healthy from the outside.




A TONER is the most pleasurable part of this routine for me. Phoenix has hard water and I think it is a useful luxury to have. I have to confess – I use this Burt’s Bees bottle to refill my Kiehl’s Cucumber Herbal non-alcoholic toner. I buy it in large size and refill this container. I love this product, but I will not repurchase it in the future. This is an attempt to phase out plastic from my home. Will make my own or find alternatives. This year, I also got rid of my mindless usage of cotton rounds. Re-usable washable rounds – yes please !


A thought – What if our waste enriches the planet instead of trashing it ? My CLEANSER does that. I use green gram flour to wash my face. My mom, grandmom and great-grand-mom did the same before they were enamoured by the commercial products. I make a random blend by adding chickpea flour and rice flour. It gently exfoliates everyday. The black ceramic bottle seen in the picture is May Lindstorm‘s super expensive cleaning mud. Its long gone and was rather mediocre. But the inspiration to make my own cleanser is what came out of that purchase. I have used cinnamon, cacao powder, almond flour, etc to make my cleanser.


Vitamin A, C and E are scientifically proven to improve the skin when tropically applied. I do not want to use Retin-A/retinol as yet. The rest, I get from Skinceutical’s CULT product – C E Freulic SERUM. This is my wonder product and has helped my skin recover from the insane desert sun Arizona throws at me. I have been using this for 3 years now and will continue to use it into the future. It needs to be applied in conjunction to sunscreen for it to protect the skin from the sun. It stays in your system for 3 days and can not be washed off.  I use it sparingly because of its price tag. A bottle lasts me up to 8 months.


I do not like moisturizers. The creams and lotions feel unnatural to me. All that packaging and processing when OILS do the job – is lost on me. I am a big fan of all natural plant based oils. A plus point – you can give yourself a small massage to pamper yourself when stressed. I have used every kind – rosehip, jojoba, almond, primrose, olive, coconut, … to name a few. I am currently testing Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. This product is fine but I don’t think I will repurchase it in the future.


SUNSCREEN. Currently testing Vichy’s SPF 50. Its fantastic and does not give me a white cast. It does not burn my eyes when I sweat. Is rather fluid and light. Its easy to find in American drug stores. A French pharmacy favorite. Will not repurchase again, only because I like trying new products.


I have been addicted to Sugar‘s LIPBALMS for the last 5 years. I buy a set once a year during the Sephora‘s thanksgiving sale. It’s all natural, travels well and does a fantastic job treating chapped lips. I will repurchase if I can find plastic free packaging.


MASKS. I have box of SK-II masks stored away for very very special occasions. They are absolutely fantastic and our of the world ! Clay masks do great on my skin but I have been unable to find any in bulk so far. I used to buy tiny pots that contains enough product for a few uses. I have been unable to justify generating the trash for the outcome they give. My current weekly mask is a delicious whip of honey with turmeric. I am very happy with its results and would use it everyday if I had the time.


HYGIENE. Reusable hemp ‘cotton’ rounds and clean flannels help. I also care about my electronic screens. I use a cloth wipe for cleaning my camera lenses, laptop and phone screens. Regular washing of pillowcases also helps. Especially if a partner wears hair products or if you don’t wash your hair too often.


Once upon a time, I had a million products in my bathroom. And boxes coming home from Sephora every few months. This is my simplified version that I call my essentials. I do not see a need to complicate it beyond this. Nor do I want to simplify it further. This works for me. I do not want any unreal results. Just healthy skin. If there is a problem with my skin, I never want to look for a solution that comes in a bottle. And I need to treat it internally. Except for sunburns of course ! We have been trying to generate less trash and been conscious of every product that comes home. I am mindful of every bottle, tube and box that needs to be trashed one day. I do not want to give up all of my luxurious pamper indulgences. Am looking into alternatives and getting there slowly. 



SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT : The epidemic of beauty sickness.

READING: The most awesome routine I found so far on the internet.