India’s March Favourites
I often refer to March and April as the “thawing” months-- the time that makes me realize how dry, crusty and unkempt I’ve become throughout winter. These are the months we rebuild. April is for getting a pedicure and refreshing my hair colour, but March is for getting a foot out the door. The products I found myself reaching for the most are hydrating and reparative. Hot Girl Summer will be here soon enough, and I want to make sure that my hair, skin, and general being are at their healthiest so that I can make my way back to feeling like myself again when the new season arrives.
This leave-on mask has been affectionately dubbed the “hangover” mask by many of its users because it brings your skin back to life overnight. This product is infused with antioxidants and peptides to strengthen, hydrate, and lift so that you look like you’ve slept a full eight hours and drank your weight in ounces of water, even if you haven’t. I often use it as my nighttime moisturizer, especially when my skin goes through crusty phases along my retinol journey. However, I also love to maximize its “lifting” effects by using it as the conductor gel for my microcurrent device. If a microcurrent isn’t part of your skincare routine, pair the mask with a gua sha stone, jade roller, or a good, old-fashioned massage with your hands to create a noticeably bright, lifted appearance. Even if you haven’t had a big night out, VENN’s lifting mask contains a wealth of skin-nourishing ingredients that make you look and feel great for a big night spent in the living room.
2. BYNACHT Post-Laser and Procedure Ultra Repair Serum (coming soon :))
BYNACHT is a very cool German brand that we are launching at IRC next month. They create skincare that capitalizes on nighttime regeneration. This silky smooth hyaluronic serum uses a patented healing complex to repair your skin while you sleep. It’s named for its benefits for people who have just undergone procedures, but it’s also a great serum for anyone with irritation-prone, reactive skin. This serum adds a necessary layer of protection as I slowly increase the frequency of my retinol use. So far, so good! I notice less redness and a more hydrated, even skin tone. My breakouts also heal faster!
Kunye is a local Black-owned business that we started stocking last month. Melissa makes the most insane lip balm that I keep in every pocket and tote bag, but her body butter is what she’s become known for best. This product has a whipped, airy texture that quickly melts into the skin to leave a moisturizing-- not greasy-- sheen. It has no added fragrance, so it won’t clash with whatever DedCool scent you’re wearing that day. I apply it straight from the shower onto damp skin, and while my legs may still be ghostly white from a year spent indoors, I can at least now say that they are well-moisturized.
I gave up coffee last month after an intense period of insomnia. Within a day of laying off my two-a-day iced double oat latte habit, my resting heart rate dropped by twenty. As warm weather approaches and my worldwide pandemic anxiety slowly, hopefully, lets up, I’m sure I won’t be able to resist the temptation of a frosty glass of cold brew. Still, for now, I’m loving the even-keeled energy that matcha provides. So much of my love for coffee is just about having a morning ritual, and matcha ticks that box and then some.
Whimsy’s Ceremonial Grade Matcha is some of the best I’ve ever tried. It comes from Uji, Japan, a town just south of Kyoto that is known for producing the world’s best matcha. It is a vibrant green colour, which is a sign of freshness and quality, and it has a slightly herbaceous taste that I love. It is delicious on its own or in a latte.
To make one very large iced latte (you know how it is) or two small lattes, I add 1.5 tsp of matcha powder and a couple of shakes of cinnamon into a blender with one cup of hot--not boiling-- water. I pour the mixture over ice and top with oat milk. Sometimes, if I’m feeling wild, I’ll add a little vanilla extract to the oat milk, and I’ll hit it with a handheld milk frother.
The Regenerating Hair Mask has been a faithful companion of mine for five years now, and I’m thrilled that I now have a new product to go with it. Christophe Robin’s Regenerating line uses prickly pear extract to nourish the skin and deeply repair it. It’s perfect for anyone who frequently processes or styles their hair with hot tools or for people who have naturally dry hair. I’ve been relying on the hair mask heavily throughout quarantine, as my split end situation is less-than-ideal.
The new Regenerating Hair Serum works on dry or damp hair, before blow-drying or air drying. I love the smooth appearance it gives my hair without weighing it down. It helps to protect your hair from heat damage, but it’s also great for helping you achieve a slicked-back low pony or bun à la Hailey Bieber. On days when I don’t have time to style my hair after the shower (most days, let’s be honest), I rake a few generous pumps of serum through my damp hair with a wet hairbrush, and I pull it back into a ponytail. By the time my hair dries, it feels glossy, not crusty, which can happen with some hair gels.