Friday, September 14, 2012

A crash course in "Skin care/Cosmetics products care"

I am a religious Oriflame and TBS  fan. I have been using their products for skin care and make up for the past five years now, and I see myself not shifting gears to any other brand for skin care. My skin regime is pretty simple. Other than CTM (Cleansing, Toning and Mositurising), and the recently added body scrub(Yeah, dont roll your eyes...I am a mother to 2 kids. Having a head bath is luxury for me!) There are nights when I am so tired that I just want to hit the bed. And those are the days when I ditch my night cream, foot cream and hand cream. And yeah...I have done the beauty crime of not removing make up too a few nights. Shhhh..

But one thing I am extremely cautious about is binning my skin care and make up products on time. The practice I follow is that the moment I open a product, I write the expiry date, manufacturing date and package opening date (the date I start using the product, or open the lid) on the product package (the lid, the bottle, the tub). For eye pencils, kajals, mascara, liners and lipsticks, I cellotape the details written on a piece of paper, on the product. This is extremely useful as anytime I want to check, I have a ready reckoner.

As much as it hurts throwing away cosmetics, especially make up, (In the past, I have thrown almost new mascara and lipsticks) it is essential to make this a habit to avoid any chances of any infections. Not that one can lose eyesight if an expired eye pencil is used, but ya, a bad rash or an eye infection is definitely a possibility, especially if one has a sensitive skin.

I have also observed that it has pulled back my binge on cosmetic purchase. When you throw a 10%-used-almost-1000-bucks-spent eye pencil which the girl at the counter told you looks oh-so-awesome on you, it terribly sucks.

The longest (and the only time) I have kept a cosmetic is 20 years. No, it's not a typo. It was a Poeme perfume by Lancome, gifted to me by my uncle when I was in the 5th grade. It smelt so heavenly that I was hooked to it. I was emotionally attached to it, I should say. When I threw it last year, it still had almost 10% left!

So, how do we ensure that we are using products which are safe? Most of the products carry the expiry date and the date of manufacturing. The problem gets resolved there. But some good brands are notorious enough not to mention it. Some mention it on a plastic tag, which gets removed when we want to use the product. Well, I recommend this (It works for me just right):

1. If it smells or looks funny, different, waxy or is runny, BIN it. Dont even think twice.
2. If you have not used it in the last 3 months, you will not be using it ever. BIN it. Sometimes I have skipped this rule, and given the product 6 months...you guessed it right, I did not use it.
3. If you do not remember when you bought it or started using it and the expiry date is not visible, either finish the product ASAP (provided rule no. 1 is not applicable) or if you are brave enough, BIN it.
4. As a general thumb rule:

  • Powders, foundation, blush, shadows, lipstick and lip and eye liners have a shelf life of 18 months to 2 years (unless mentioned otherwise on the pack). Powdered products have a better shelf life.
  • Mascaras and liquid eyeliners have the lest shelf life of 3 - 4 months. (The product being liquid is home for bacteria)
  • Perfumes stay good for 3 years. 


The other day, I was unusually bored, and I ended up looking at my face wash more closely than normal. And I noticed a few symbols. Some I understood and some I did not. When I asked a good friend about these symbols, I realised there were other ignorant souls like me. I am just sharing one important symbol (relevant to the topic) which is most commonly found in skincare packages.



(image courtesy: google images)
The Period-after-opening symbol (PAO): The number inside the symbol signifies how many months can the product be used after opening the pack. Don't get confused between PAO and expiry date. Expiry date is the date by when the product must be used whether the pack has been opened or not.

Eg: The expiry date says 24 months from manufacturing which is 1st June 2011. The product is usable till 1st June 2013. But if you have opened the product on 1st September 2011, and the PAO mentions 12 months. Then the product must be used only till 1st September 2012.

Using good products is as important as disposing them at the right time. After all, we love our skin, don't we? :)
This ends gyaan for the day.








Saturday, September 8, 2012

Chetan Bhagat vs SAHM

I came across one of the almost recent articles by Chetan Bhagat in TOI yet again, and this time I just could not stop myself from speaking my mind about it. You can read it here.

If Chetan Bhagat was in front of me, I would have asked him, which ancient world is he living in? I found his words very one sided and  coming from old books. And frankly when will the world stop demarcating women under 2 heads : Career women / SAHMs? Can you just let us be, for heaven's sake!

Whether the hero in the movie Cocktail went in for a Bhartiya Naari or not or whether the heroine decided to learn to cook for the love of her life is just the story writer's version. Well, thats Bollywood. I fail to understand how does the movie affect the age old dilemma of Career woman Vs SAHM. Whether a woman chooses to be a SAHM or carry on with her job, isn't that her decision? Where the heck does a man come into picture? Men O' Men....they think they have to everywhere...(chuckle...chuckle)

Being a woman who has had a career, switched careers and also been (and now again) a SAHM, I can safely say it does not matter whether a woman is working (or not) to have a sensible discussion with her husband regrading his career or managing finance or raising independent children or understand Mutual Funds or deciding holiday destinations (now where do that come from, Mr Bhagat?!) or better exposure to the worldly ways.

And seriously one does not need a job to know what is a good investment or the new holiday destination. There is internet, newspapers and books for that. A working mother does not ensure independent kids. My 6 yr old chooses his own clothes, wears his own shoes, puts his clothes for laundry, organises his room. And my 2 yr old is following his foot steps. Its all about how you want to raise your kids. A job does not necessarily give fulfillment. What are hobbies, friends, interests for?

Yes, it does ensure a second income which translates into safer financial standing, but that can be achieved by better investment planning and then again, it depends upon what kind of family one wants.

I was left LOL reading the bridge which was created between a wife having a career and hot phulkas. Oh my, then I remembered that's what good writers do. They can think anything and everything.

You know what is high time for? It's high time for the male brains to think that a woman is a human being, just like them, but with far more emotional responsibilities and physical monstrous strength. (Yeah, try giving birth, and you will know!) There is no need to categorise us and further add fuel to the raging fire of SAHM vs Career woman. Don't marry us because we have a job (or not). Let love, common interests, same wavelength be the reason.

The article is certainly a far away throw on Home truths on career wives. Sad....and sadder that many men are actually reading it...

Monday, September 3, 2012

A 6 year old vs Hindi

A new language in the school curriculum usually presents teething issues for not just the primary class student but also for the parents and teacher. So when 'A' was supposed to start Hindi this year (he is in 1st grade) I was mentally prepared. Well, almost!

The positives first:
1. I knew I wouldn't have to send him for Hindi tuition as my knowledge of Hindi is good enough to tutor him. (thanks to being brought up in Delhi). Honestly I have a mental block against tuition. I feel unless the parents are not equipped to teach a subject, the child can be very well taught at home itself. It needs a tad bit discipline, but quite do-able.

2.  'A' loved his Hindi teacher, and in turn the subject. ( I swear there is a connection with good looking- sweet-natured teachers and boys: they instantly start liking the subject!)

Now for the not so positives:
We are Keralites, so we do not speak in Hindi at all at home. English and Malayalam reigns. Moreover Bangalore is not a great place to nurture one's Hindi. The kids hardly speak the language even while playing, English being the common language.

'A' was good at recognizing the alphabets and even writing them. But I noticed inability to recognize words. While matching alphabets with the words, he was not able to remember the words.
For eg: 'Kh' se Khargosh (rabbit). He would either say Kharbosh or Barbosh. or 'Ga' se Gamla (flower pot). He would not know what is a Gamla. I knew the problem was that he did not know these words, as he has never really spoken much of Hindi.

This would have been an issue because the curriculum expected him to draw the pictures of the words pertaining to the alphabet. It meant that he would have to write 'Kh' - and draw a picture of rabbit. (Khargosh)

After few weeks of struggle, I knew I had to do something extra to make him remember the words and the picture matching the word. And then I did this:

I stuck the chart on his wardrobe door. The chart has all the Hindi alphabets, the matching Hindi words written in English and also the English translation of the words, along with the pictures. I asked 'A' to keep looking at the chart whenever he passed by his wardrobe.

What the chart was doing was that when 'A' looked at the chart he could understand that 'Kh' se Khargosh (written in English) and Khargosh means Rabbit, along with the picture. And kids so young do well with pictorial representation.

Voila! His vocabulary and word recognition improved amazingly well in just one week. I highly recommend this method for any child who is facing issues with any 3rd language. (especially the ones which are not spoken by the child)

I am planning to make another chart with different words now, so it increases his vocabulary. I am also talking to him in Hindi on and off at home. And I have allotted fifteen minutes everyday for Hindi. It really is helping.

I hope this helps you too :)

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