My Scheming Hot Spring Water Sheet Mask Review

Hello folks!

The weather here is so dry that my already dry skin looks even more parched than usual. My usual intense moisturizer from Caudalie was starting to give up on fighting the extreme dryness of my skin, so I thought its time to indulge in some masks and serums.

Korean beauty has taken the world by storm and I am currently enjoying dabbling in it. Sheet masks are a K beauty staple and I decided to try a few out. The My Scheming brand sheet mask isn’t technically K beauty since it is made in Taiwan but you can find it at some of the online retailers selling K beauty items. This mask was given to me by my sister in law who loves it so I am not sure where exactly she purchased it from.

My scheming hot spring water Sheet Mask

The sheet mask was totally soaked in the serum, in fact it was so saturated that it was dripping all over the place the moment I took it out of the packet. All that excess drippage eventually landed on my neck and decollete so I am not going to complain too much about that 😉 but do proceed with caution as you take the mask out and put it on your face.

The mask is made of a very thin material and the backing foil helps you to place it nicely on your face without tearing the actual mask. The essence or the serum of this mask is quite sticky so the dripping can be a bit annoying when you are trying to fit the mask properly on your face.

I liked the refreshing sensation that this mask instantly provides and a big plus for not stinging my skin..that was my number 1 concern about the mask since I do have sensitive skin. I had the mask on for about 30 minutes and my skin felt plumped up and hydrated once I was done! 🙂

Ingredient list

Now the ingredient list is not all that spectacular, but I am happy to see glycerin and niacinamide in the top half of the list. I was quite concerned about using this mask initially since butylene glycol is the 3rd ingredient. It can be irritating for some people with sensitive skin. Luckily I did not experience any negative skin reactions after using the mask.

I am guessing that the water mentioned in the ingredient list is actually spring water..since that was the whole USP of this mask!! But they do not specify that in the list which is interesting!!!

The only negative about this mask is the smell. It does have a slight chemical scent to it and the stickiness can be quite annoying to deal with too!!

Have you tried this mask? What is your favorite sheet mask?

Until next time…ciao!!


The skincare ingredient must have : Ceramides

Hello folks!!

Sorting through all the anti ageing skincare products in the market, I am pretty sure you might have come across the term ceramides at some point. They are often touted as miracle workers for ageing and dehydrated skin. So what exactly are ceramides?

Imagine that the brick and mortar structure you see in the picture below is the outer later of your skin. If the bricks are to be your skin cells, then the ‘glue’ or mortar holding your skin cells together is ceramide.

File:Brick and mortar (5110740610).jpg

Brick and Mortar (image source: wikicommons)

To nerdyify things a bit.. the intercellular spaces between skin cells are occupied by lameller sheets. The major lipid component of these lamellar sheets is ceramides. In addition to ceramides, cholestrol and free fatty acids are also found in the lipid domain. Together, they play an important role in maintaining skin hydration by preventing water loss and holding on to moisture. Unfortunately, as we age our ability to produce ceramides decreases and hence our skin gets dry and dull. Ceramides also play an important role in keeping our skin firm and thus when the production declines with age, our skin starts to sag 😩

An important thing to note is that ceramides refer to a family of molecules, in other words there are many different types of ceramides occurring naturally in our skin. There are 9 different types found naturally in human skin: they are labelled ceramide 1 thru ceramide 9.

So how do we go about choosing the right moisturiser that helps us maintain firm healthy moisturized skin ?

Ideally, for ceramide creams to work optimally to restore skin balance and function , cholestrol and fatty acids should be present along with ceramides . As you may recall, these 3 components together form the majority of the intercellular spaces between the skin cells naturally.

Ceramides found in skin care products are usually synthetic or plant derived. When looking through the ingredient lists, you will  notice that ceramides are often labelled in the following fashion:

Ceramide 1 : Ceramide EOS
Ceramide 2 : Cermamide NS = N-stearoyl sphinganine
Ceramide 3 : Ceramide NP = N-stearoyl phytosphingosine
Ceramide 4 : Ceramide EOH
Ceramide 5 : Ceramide AS
Ceramide 6 : Ceramide AP = α-hydroxy-N-stearoylphytosphingosine
Ceramide 6 II : Caproyl sphingosine
Ceramide 7 : Ceramide AH
Ceramide 8 : Ceramide NH
Ceramide 9 : Ceramide EOP
Ceramide E : Cetyl-PG Hydroxyethyl Palmitamide and Hexadecanamide

If you are curious to know more about the different ceramide containing moisturizers in the market, I suggest checking out the following website : The author has detailed 6 ceramide containing moisturizers.

Is there proof that ceramide containing moisturizers work?

Now this is where things get a bit complicated. There are so many different types of ceramides and depending on the other ingredients present, the concentrations etc the story can change. Here is a sampling of different studies showing the efficiency of ceramides as a skincare ingredient:

There are of course, more studies outlining the efficiency of ceramides as a skincare ingredient. As I mentioned earlier, this is just a sampling of different types of studies done with ceramides which prove that they can be effective in fighting atopic dermatitis, wrinkles and also hyper pigmentation.

After reviewing quite a few research publications, I personally believe that ceramides can be a beneficial skincare ingredient. Have you tried any ceramide creams? If so what do you think of them?


  1. Hashizume H. Skin aging and dry skin. J Dermatol. 2004 Aug;31(8):603-9.

Marula Oil: Argan oil’s wonderful sister perhaps :)

Hello folks!

I have been MIA since I have been enjoying some wonderful downtime with family 🙂 Lets kick off September with a post on Marula oil which is one of the current darlings of the cosmetic industry. General curiosity had made me dig up scientific info on this oil and now I can’t wait to try it out on my skin 🙂



Sclerocarya birrea or better known as Marula tree (Source: Wikimedia)

The Marula tree plays an important role in traditional African medicine and diet. The tree grows throughout Africa. It can be found in South Africa and all the way up north in Ethiopia and Sudan. The tree is also found in the western African nations like Gambia, Nigeria and Cameroon.

The fruit of the Marula tree is eaten fresh or fermented to make beer 😀 (Would love to try that out if I ever visit any African nation). Marula oil is obtained from the soft white edible kernels found inside the fruit and is considered a good source source of dietary protein and oil.


Marula Fruit (Source: Wikimedia)

Traditional Uses
Local populations in southern Africa, have been using marula oil for years to protect against dry and cracking skin, as a base oil for soap and as a shampoo for dry, damaged and fragile hair. The oil is also used to massage babies and as body lotion massaged onto the skin of their face, feet and hands.

Properties of Marula Oil

Marula oil is a clear, pale, yellowish-brown colour and has a pleasant nutty aroma. The oil is classified as medium rich and is silky to the touch with an excellent ‘slip factor’ making it ideal as massage oil. The presence of high amounts of Oleic acid and Linolic acid both of which are beneficial for skin moisturization makes this a great skincare ingredient.

File:Marula Oil.jpg

Marula Oil (Source: Wikimedia)

Proven Benefits

Scientific evidence supporting some of the traditional uses of Marula oil exist. It has been shown that Marula oil can improve skin hydration and combat skin redness. The presence of large amounts of fatty acids , especially Oleic acid enables easy absorption into the skin. Marula oil has also demonstrated anti inflammatory properties which explains its ability to calm skin redness.  A study on the  irritancy potential of Marula oil not only concluded that it was non irritating, but also that the oil has moisture retention properties and has a moisturizing effect on the skin.

A lot of the Marula oil based products in the market claim to be anti ageing. However, I could not find any studies supporting those claims. Overall, I think Marula oil sounds fabulous to combat dry skin issues. Have you tried Marula oil in your skincare routine?

Until next time…ciao!!


  1. African seed oils of commercial importance —Cosmetic applications
  2. Sclerocarya birrea (Marula), An African Tree of Nutritional and Medicinal Uses: A Review
  3. Safety and efficacy of Sclerocarya birrea (A.Rich.) Hochst (Marula) oil: A clinical perspective

Baylis and Harding Rose and Honeysuckle Luxury Hand Lotion

Hello folks!

As I mentioned a couple of weeks back I got a chance to try out new beauty brands during my visit home. I found the Baylis and Harding Luxury Hand lotion in my mom’s cabinet. I have not heard of the brand before but a little online research and from the bottle, I understand that the brand is British.

Baylis and Harding Rose and Honeysuckle Luxury hand lotion

Baylis and Harding Rose and Honeysuckle Luxury hand lotion

I like the packaging and you do get a whooping 500ml of hand lotion. The lotion smells like real roses, no chemical or synthetic smells. However, the smell does not last. The smell hits you just after dispensing the lotion onto your hand, but once you rub it in, the smell is pretty much gone. I like scented body and hand lotions not just for the moisturization but also for the scent so I was a bit bummed that this did not make my hands smell of roses for a while after application.

The second issue I had with this lotion is the thin milk like consistency of the lotion. You have to be careful when you pump, since you can dispense too much and have it dripping from your hands. Initially, I could not wrap my head around the fact that a luxury hand lotion can be so thin in consistency but I do have to give it credit for doing a good job moisturizing my hands.

The lotion is quickly absorbed and does not leave a greasy after feel, which is great since it is meant for your hands….no one wants greasy hands 🙂

Overall, I think it is a decent lotion. I just wish the scent lasted a bit more!

Have you tried anything from the brand?

Until next time…ciao!!

Around the World via Beauty Products~ Himalaya Herbals from India!

Hello folks! As I mentioned in my last week’s blog post, I am currently chilling out at my parent’s place. They are currently based in Oman, a lovely quiet country in the middle east. You can find all the global brands here and also some interesting new items in the local beauty stores 🙂 I got a chance to try out a body moisturizer from the brand Himalaya Herbals which I picked up from the local drugstore. The cream is made in the Dubai but the original brand is from India, so I thought I should include this in the around the world via beauty products section of the blog!

Himalaya Herbals Nourishing Skin Cream

Himalaya Herbals Nourishing Skin Cream

The body cream comes packed in a tub, and with no outer box. The packaging is okay, nothing fabulous. A little online search reveals that the company Himalaya Herbals products are based on the ancient Indian system of Ayurveda, where they use plant and herb extracts in their products. This moisturizer has extracts of Aloe Vera and Winter Cherry according to the label, however there is no comprehensive ingredient list so I do not know the other ingredients in this moisturizer. This is the only major issue I have with this moisturizer.

The moisturizer has a lovely whipped light texture which is absorbed quickly and does not leave a greasy after feel, making this a pretty good moisturizer for the summer months! The best part about this moisturizer is the smell…I love it! It is a very fresh, light scent which is not too fruity nor is it too floral. It is a nice blend of fruity floral which is very spring summer appropriate in my opinion 🙂

Overall, I am enjoying this moisturizer although the lack of a comprehensive ingredient list is a bit of a let down. I would love to try their face products but again the lack of an actual ingredient list is making me really hesitant to try them.

Have you tried anything from Himalaya Herbals? Let me know what you think of them if you have 🙂

Until next time..ciao from sunny Oman!!!

Caudalie Vinosource Riche Intense Moisture Rescue Cream

Hello everyone!!

Last week, I had posted my favorite winter time face mask (HERE). I thought I’d continue the skin care theme onto this week too! For the last 3 months, I have been trying out the Caudalie Vinosource Intense moisture rescue cream and have fallen in ❀ with it! This is my first time trying anything from the brand and I am very impressed so far.

Caudalie Vinosource Intense moisture rescue cream

Caudalie Vinosource Intense moisture rescue cream

First off, I love the packaging. The tube style packaging not only makes it easier to travel with and is hygienic, it also ensures that the ingredients are not exposed to air. The tube holds 40 ml of product which is not a lot for the price tag, but surprisingly you don’t need much to cover your face. I have been using this tube for over 3 months and I still have quite a bit left! The product is dispensed through a small pin sized hole in the tube and that I feel, is quite indicative of how much you need for a single application.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I have extremely dry skin. This cream works really well for my skin! I find that the best time to apply this is immediate after washing your face, when your skin is still a bit damp. The cream is a bit thick and it spreads easier on slightly damp skin. After application, your skin will feel nice and moisturized without any tackiness. Sounds really good right!? 😉

The cream does have a slight herbal scent which I find to be mild and therefore don’t mind. The cream has no SPF  so I have been using this as a night cream. I therefore , don’t know how well this performs under makeup.

Ingredient List

Ingredient List

I think the ingredient list for this cream looks good too! I find really good ingredients for dry skin like glycerin, squalene, grape seed oil, shea butter and olive oil esters in the top half of the list.

Have you tried this cream or any other Caudalie product? I am looking forward to exploring more of their products after falling in love with this one! Do leave your recommendations below in the comments, I would love to read them!

Until next time…ciao!!

Ingredient Wise: The Charlotte Tilbury Magic cream ‘Treat and Transform Moisturizer’


If you are new to the the ingredient wise series, here is what it is in a nutshell: We take a look at a hyped up product and see if the claims they make are actually supported by the ingredients in them 🙂 Today we are going to review the ingredients found in the popular? infamous? (I dunno..most people either love it or hate it) Charlotte Tilbury Magic cream. This cream retails for 100USD at Nordstrom for 1.7 oz.

(Image Source: Nordstrom website)

The Claims (from the Nordstrom website)

Charlotte Tilbury’s secret is out. Her Magic Cream is a secret mix of patented anti-aging ingredients combined with a hyaluronic booster and floral extracts to lift and transform tired skin in an instant. A breakthrough, multi-tasking ingredient, the BioNymph Peptide Complex, fights the aging process on all fronts, stimulating collagen production and cell energy while fighting free radicals to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and smooth skin. Sodium hyaluronate floods skin with moisture while replumping and extracts of wild pansy promote the renewal of hyaluronic acid in the skin’s surface. Rose hip oil, camellia oil and vitamin E transform a grey complexion into a hydrated one while nourishing vitamin A helps improve skin firmness and smoothness and energetic vitamin C promotes collagen activity for more youthful skin.

The Ingredients ( from the Charlotte Tilbury website)

Water (Aqua), Homosalate , Glyceryl Stearate SE, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Octocrylene, Cetyl Alcohol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Steareth-21, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Carbomer, Dimethiconol, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Chlorphenesin, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Hydrolyzed Viola Tricolor Extract, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Disodium Edta, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Michelia Alba Leaf Oil, Sodium Lactate, Coco-Glucoside, PEG-8, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Plumeria Rubra Flower Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Nicotiana Sylvestris Leaf Cell Culture, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, plus a little bit of top secret magic…

So do these claims work?

Okay where do I start.. I am definitely not the first and last person to say that the ingredient list does not in the slightest justify the 100$ price tag 😐

As I have mentioned in many posts before, the order of the of the list of ingredients is an indication of  its concentration in the product. The higher it appears in the list the higher the concentration of that ingredient in the product.

1. The anti ageing claims

The BioNymph Peptide Complex that they talk about is Palmitoyl Oligopeptide and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 which is commonly sold under the commercial name Matrixyl 3000. Matrixyl 3000 is a formula developed by the company Sederma and is used in many other anti ageing creams in the market as its not unique to this one product !  In fact you can buy Matrixyl 3000 on amazon and mix it in with your regular moisturizer. I will do another post sometime explaining the role of peptides in anti ageing 😉 So basically they have slapped a fancy sounding name on a commercially available complex and made it look like an exclusive ingredient.

Another thing to note; this complex is listed almost towards the end of the ingredient list so I am not sure if there is enough of this stuff for it to promote collagen production. (Heck there is more preservative (Phenoxyethanol) in this cream than this complex)

If you take a look at the ingredient list you will see  Cyclopentasiloxane and Dimethicone are present in high concentrations in this cream. These guys are great at filling in fine lines and wrinkles and temporarily smoothening the skin…and they are found in creams you can buy in the drugstore. So again, nothing magical here !

2. Sodium Hyaluronate

It is present in this cream, but buried somewhere in the bottom of the ingredient list. The moisturizing effect from this cream is most probably solely from the glycerin and glycerin stearate found at the top of the ingredient list. I am sure your aware that Glycerin is an inexpensive ingredient which you can find even in a 5$ face cream.

They also talk about extracts of wild pansy promoting the renewal of hyaluronic acid in the skin’s surface and unfortunately I could not find any research to back this up. Do let me know in the comments if you find any research paper talking about this. All I could find is that it has emollient and soothing properties .

3. Plant extracts, oils and vitamin C

Vitamin C figures almost at the bottom of the ingredient list so lets not even talk about it. (Plus this cream is in a jar and antioxidants in jar packaging and clear glass is a no no)

Some of these plant extracts are potential irritants for those with sensitive skin and as for the oils, I don’t see anything special..I have seen so many other cost effective creams which have similar oils and better ingredients.


Overall, I am not impressed! I might just stick to her makeup products. When I splurge on skincare the ingredients are very important to me. I don’t want to pay top dollar for a basic cream with sunscreen just because of the brand.

Do let me know your thoughts on this cream !

Until next time…ciao!!