Life | Why self love is easier said than done

Look up 'self love' on Google and you'll find trillions of tips to make it happen and affirmations to chant every morning. And why not? In the recent past, words like body positive and self image have become regular buzzwords, which all fall under the neat package that is self love. I've always been a 100 percent and more for it. I've even written about the time booty went back to being big (hah!) as well as my trials and tribulations of being petite. But did I believe every word of what I'd written? I'm afraid not.

The idea of self love is so much easier to wrap our minds around than self love itself. Who wouldn't want to wake up every morning, admire their fantastic figure and clear skin, blow a kiss to themselves in the mirror and walk out the door. The reality of it however, is very different. Remember that self image isn't just your body; it's also your skin, your hair and your every other feature on your person. And once you step into that divine bubble of self acceptance and love wholly, everything falls into place. You overflow with confidence and joy, which seeps into other aspects of your life.

But how does it start? You've tried so hard but when you see yourself looking back at your reflection, with the marks, split ends and muffin top, do you really love what you see? Or is the concept of self love making you think you do?  It's something I've struggled with for a while now. After acne reared it's ugly head in my early 20s and then further, an injury; the scars it left in its wake seemed to be stubborn guests that refused to leave. I've envied women who can look fresh-faced when they wakeup. Or the hordes of Instagram influencers who do mini reviews but have flawlessly clear complexions without a stitch of make up. I had heard the chorus of self love and even preached it but fell short when it came to practising.

The quotes about 'loving yourself for you' are easy to spurt out but to live them? Not so much. The cold, hard truth is, self love is difficult and draining; a far cry from the sunshine quotes we're so used to associating it with. A large part of that is because of how closely our self worth is tied to our physical appearance. A single pimple, a few kilos, a bad hair day and instantly, we crumble beneath it and hate what we see looking back at us. Another reason is because of how acclimated we've gotten to unrealistic beauty standards. Day in and day out, we're privy to pretty young things across social media that resemble barbie dolls with airbrushed skin, thick brows, lifted butts and miniscule waists. In the due course of time, it's natural to have our own standards distorted.

With that out of the way, will you and me wake up in the morning tomorrow and love all of the flub, scars and hairy bits? Don't kid yourself. But the silver lining is, somewhere down the line, it's possible. It may not happen next week or even a few months from now but self love is gradual and can sometimes take a lifetime. Till it kicks in, allow space for gratitude. There are millions who would do anything to be in your shoes and being thankful eases in love. Give it space to envelope you, don't be afraid to feel your feelings and be honest with body. It'll take you on the journey ahead.


Beauty | 4 Liquid Makeup And Beauty Products That Upgraded My Routine

Through the years of reviewing and featuring beauty products, I've tried and tested many of them. Regardless of whether they came in simple tubes or luxurious tubs, what's within is all that mattered. Gels, mousse, powders, creams and liquids - you name it, I've tried it and amongst them all, liquids stuck with me past the trial stage. Liquid products not only blend a lot easier, their finish tends to be higher in coverage and more pigmented, without that icky heaviness.

An image of Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser, NYX matte finish setting spray, Benefit cha cha tint and Makeup Revolution liquid illuminator in front of a peach background for a beauty review

While organising my dresser recently, I realised that my preferences have begun tilting quite a bit towards liquid products for my face. Besides my previously featured Neutrogena face wash and Cover FX custom cover drops, a few new liquid face products have found their way into my life and made me wonder how I lived without them for so long.

For comfortably clean skin

An image of Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser in a white bottle in front of a peach background for a beauty review

Let me start with the only skin care product on this list and one I keep going back to. I'm not even kidding when I say I'm on my 3rd bottle of Cetaphil's Gentle Skin Cleanser. I discovered the unassuming bottle a few years ago when I was figuring out a skin care routine during a particularly difficult acne outburst and it did just what it promised without any frills and fancies. The slippery liquid cleans without that familiar lather and dryness we're used to, softens the skin while doing so and thankfully, has no fragrance. It's also a favourite in skin care circles, no surprises there.

 For dewy skin that looks like it's kissed by an angel

An image of Makeup Revolution liquid illuminator in a rose gold bottle with a dropper in front of a peach background for a beauty review

For the past couple of years, the world has been obsessed with highlighter and admittedly, I've got swept up in it too. While my resolve has been strong enough to stick to a single trusty powder highlighter, when I wanted an overall dewiness rather than specific highlighted main points, I picked up Makeup Revolution's Liquid Highlighter. An affordable dupe of Cover FX's illuminator drops, just a few drops are enough to leave the whole face glistening. It does require quick blending with the fingers so that it doesn't look patchy and once I got the technique down pat, I've been adding it to foundation, moisturiser and even applying it directly on my cheekbones.

For makeup that lasts all day and all night

An image of NYX matte finish setting spray in a black spray bottle in front of a peach background for a beauty review

One of the greatest troubles of oily skin is the fact that makeup unfailingly melts off by midday. When I was trying to change that by searching for a makeup fixer of sorts, I came across this viral review which led me to what I needed. The NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray sprays a bit too heavily which leaves you looking like you got wet in the rain so keep it at a safe distance when spritzing. Once it dries, it fixes face and eye makeup brilliantly but in keep in mind, this also works in hand with how oily or dry your skin is. Although greasiness begun setting in 4 to 5 hours later, my makeup stayed put and has held well for a good 6 to 7 hours overall.

For a naturally flushed face

An image of Benefit cha cha tint in a shiny glass bottle with a white cap and brush in front of a peach background for a beauty review

I've become more focused on skin over makeup in the past year which has led to 'lighter is better' becoming a sort-of motto for me. This, along with the fact that summer practically begs for a natural flush, made me choose Benefit's Cha Cha Tint. I'm always wary of highly raved about products because a lot of times, they come with empty promises. But like the original Moroccan Argan Oil, this stain too lived up to every reputed review it received. Its runny formula gives the cheeks and lips a sheer hint of colour but needs quick fingers to blend, or else it looks blotchy. The kicker? It can be layered so that you can decide how pigmented you want your lips and cheeks to look.

Dayle Pereira

DIY | How to wax your body hair at home

I've been waxing for years now but the realisation that majority of people don't do it themselves hit me only recently. While a sudden dinner date makes me reach out for my razor; when I have the chance to plan my schedule, waxing is my hair removal method of choice. Agreed, it's painful to the extent that I've had tears well up after the strip was pulled but the advantages exceed it - it removes hair right from the root, results last so much longer and it even removes dead cells on the skin's surface.

After many salon trips in my teens ended up with me getting bumpy patches and improper regrowth on my somewhat sensitive skin, I decided to take things into my own hands. At first, it seemed daunting to wax my own body hair but years later, I'm glad I started. A number of benefits came along with waxing my body hair at home: I could adjust the dreadfully hot wax temperature as per my liking, pull the strip according to the right direction of my hair, do it as often as I liked, maintain my own standards of hygiene since it wasn't a mass salon for hundreds of women, wouldn't have to face the judgement of the parlour ladies and most importantly, I could save a ton of money doing it myself.

A flatlay image of honey like hot wax in a metal tin along with a metal applicator on a white background

I've been waxing myself for at least 3 years and except for the unforeseen times I've needed quick hair removal with my razor, I've kept going back to my little salon set-up. If you'd like to take the resourceful route and save a whole lot of money every month by waxing your own body hair at home, this post is meant for you as I go through the steps to wax, tools you need and precautions to take.

An image of a blue wax heater filled with yellow hot wax and disposable waxing strips with a metal applicator on a white background

What you need:
When waxing at home, you only need a few purchases that last for multiple waxing sessions.
1. Automatic wax heater
I have a Clairol automatic wax heater which doesn't seem to be available online but there are plenty of alternatives available on Amazon. When making this one-time purchase, make sure it's sturdy with no exposed wiring, has an automatic cut-off which turns off when the wax is hot enough and a medium size since no one needs an industrial size metal bowl for a single person waxing.

2. Hot wax
Just simple unflavoured hot wax does the job of hair removal efficiently. In the attempt to see if flavoured hot wax like fruit and aloe vera wax removes hair better, I've even tried them. But apart from a strong synthetic fragrance, I didn't find any difference between them. Store hot wax in a cool place and make sure it never comes in contact with water.

3. Disposable waxing strips
Basic disposable strips that can be used on either side are enough. Don't mistake them for ready-to-use strips though. Keep a few packets on hand because you can never tell when you will run out.

4. Applicator
A flat metal applicator without sharp ends is ideal, I use an old blunt butter applicator. Never use a plastic applicator as it will melt.

How to wax:
Now on to the actual waxing process.
Step 1 - Use your applicator to put 3 to 4 tablespoons of hot wax into the heater, turn it on and leave it to heat. Ensure the room has no running fan, air-conditioning or direct breeze as that'll restrict the wax from reaching its melting point.

Step 2 - Once you find the hot wax has reached a thick liquid state and resembles honey, take a small quantity with your applicator, blow on it for 2 or 3 seconds and apply it on the skin directly in the direction of your hair.

Step 3 - Quickly place a wax strip over the applied area and press it firmly down. Hold an end section of the strip as a handle and pull it off in one swift motion in the opposite direction of your hair growth.

An image of sleek hot wax in a metal tin with a metal applicator on a white background

That's literally all there is to it. Once you get used to the motions, you'll wonder why you ever went to the parlour for something so easy.

That being said, it's important to keep a few points in mind when waxing, especially if you're a hot wax newbie so here's a little of what I've learned from my experience.
1. Blow on the wax before you apply it. Regardless if you're used to the temperature, the heat always tends to sting.

2. Rather than doing large areas of the body, start with small patches of 3 to 4 inches and keep an eye out for hair growth directions when applying.

3. While it's fairly easy waxing hair on the limbs, for more sensitive areas where the skin is thinner like the face and pubic area, it's best left to a professional.

4.  If a few stubborn strands of hair refuse to come out, don't go over it immediately as that will only irritate it further. Let the redness subsides, wash off the excess wax, dry it and retry.

Now go on and keep your next weekend aside for a self-waxing session rather than checking in at the parlour.


Life | 8 self-care practices that I've added to my routine

Call me cliched but the start of the year always leaves me reflecting on the one that was. I've yammered on about 2017 being incredibly rewarding but it wasn't without its share of lows. While it's only human to pretend everything was rosy; especially on social media, life doesn't work like that - at least mine certainly doesn't.

With its good and bad, the silver lining was that I learned how far I could go and what I needed to reach there. I was thrust into many unfamiliar situations ranging from infuriating to just-leave-me-to-curl-in-a-ball. Most showed me that I really could do it, while every now and again, some showed me that I couldn't and that was okay.

In times like those, just shutting down my laptop and focusing on me helped greatly. Especially when I grappled with anxiety or got overwhelmed, a few practices saw me through. I didn't know it back then but they're called self-care habits, because well, they're meant to care for oneself. Besides just that, self-care soothes the senses, boosts confidence and deviates one mind from the problem at hand. Here are 8 of them I've started practising, which are now a regular part of my daily routine.

An image of hands holding beauty products, St Ives apricot scrub, Cover FX custom cover drops and colourpop highlighter as part of her self care

1. Night time routine

I've slathered on moisturiser and sunscreen since my teens but I really got into a night time routine over the past year. For an article I was researching on Korean beauty, I came across the statement that Koreans look at their skin care routine as a mini-pamper sesssion, not the 'lets get this done with' attitude we often have. That changed the way I looked at my night routine. Once I'm completely clean and dry, I get into applying eye cream, moisturiser and prescription creams, all slowly and gently, to make it as relaxing as possible.

2. Waking up early

I'm terribly guilty of having an erratic night schedule. On some days, it's lights off before midnight and on other days, I'm scrolling through Instagram at 2 am. Together, all of that makes doing anything in the morning unbearable. Once I started slowly winding down in the night, waking up was easier, which made the rest of my day more manageable.

3. Meal prep

Sounds weird, I know but I've found that readying my meal for the next day also has a calming effect on me. I'm lucky enough to eat my Mom's home-cooked meals but prepping and packing a side salad, fruit, a snack and water in my bag the night before makes me feel a little more prepared about the next day.

An image of a young woman with straight hair and eye makeup applying coloured eyeliner as part of her self care

4. Outfit planning

You've surely read this elsewhere as a life hack to avoid a rushed morning and I couldn't agree more. Besides cutting down on time tremendously in the mornings, picking out my clothes and ironing them for the next day saves plenty of time and also makes me feel less scattered about what's ahead tomorrow.

5. Exercise without electronics

When I saw almost everyone on my morning workout with headphones in, I realised how beneficial it is to exercise without a phone or iPod, only my FitBit. Not being distracted by a phone means I'm observing my surrounding, hear the birds chirping and can hear my breath. Also, exercise overall is self-care magic. There's a world of difference on days I workout in the mornings versus ones I don't - my head is noticeably clearer, I'm so much more energetic and I get the most peaceful sleep at night.

6. Step away

From the time I wake up in the morning to when I'm home from work, I'm either checking emails, writing or listening to music. While I can't stop most of that, I try and step away from my desk when possible. Every hour or two, I go outside for a quick walk, take in the view on the terrace or sit in the sun on a bench outside. Unplugging gives your brain a break and while that's not always possible with a 2 week beach vacation, mini breaks like these help a great deal.

A 360 degree image of a beach landscape with coconut trees, sand, shore, water and boats

7. Take the day off

Since I'm barely at home during the week, I like taking one day off solely for myself, which usually is Sunday. Sundays are for me-time, which is the best kind of self-care. No matter how busy the week is, on Sundays I'm camped in my PJs organising my closet, scheduling blog work and cleaning the house. When I'm done with all that, I use the rest of the day to catch up on TV shows while looking my finest; with a face mask and hair pack. Sometimes, I even fit in an at-home pedicure and movie night so by the end of the weekend, I'm rested and ready to take on the world.

8. Always grateful

Last year really taught me the value of gratitude and how easy it is to take all of it for granted. That's why this year, I'm making an effort to be more conscious of what I'm going through and be thankful for every minute of it, good and bad. Even when you're down in the dumps, taking a step back makes you realise how small your problems really can be and how lucky you are to even be a living and breathing at this moment.

Many of these self-care practices may seem simple enough but that's exactly what makes them so easy to fit into your routine. They've helped me a great deal in overcoming difficulty and dealing with anxiety and I hope they do the same for you too.


Personal Style | Auld lang syne

Now 2017 has been tumultuous, especially from a social and political perspective but I'm going to come right out and say that personally, it's been incredible. You can proceed to go all Taylor Swift on me but it's hard to be unappreciative when it's been this rewarding a year. Sure there were tremendous highs peppered throughout but it wasn't always that way and on some level, I'm grateful for that, praying hands emoji and all.

While good times are always welcome, it's the bad ones that were my greatest teachers. I've never been one to don rose-tinted glasses so anyone who says it's all beach vacations and diamond rings is a bald-faced liar. Every time I've been thrown off my game in 2017; and boy did that happen a fair bit, I sulked, sobbed and then realised that I've got this.

As 2017 ends, that's what I'm most grateful for. It was the year that made me discover my strength, channel my confidence, prioritize what mattered and most importantly, be eternally grateful. And if those aren't the makings of a brilliant year, I don't know what is.

An image of a young woman wearing an outfit with a gold and black embroidered sequin dress with a white faux fur coat, gold glitter heels, braided side bun and dark lip

An image of a young woman wearing an outfit with a gold and black embroidered sequin dress with a white faux fur coat, gold glitter heels, braided side bun and dark lip

An image of a young woman wearing an outfit with a gold and black embroidered sequin dress with a white faux fur coat, gold glitter heels, braided side bun and dark lip

An image of a young woman wearing an outfit with a gold and black embroidered sequin dress with a white faux fur coat, gold glitter heels, braided side bun and dark lip

Izabel London embroidered sequin dress |  H&M faux fur coat | Pavers England gold strappy sandals | Forever 21 hoop earrings | Faryal Makhdoom 'Dubai Nights' liquid lipstick [Reviewed here] | 
Revlon 'Knotty Berry' nail varnish

 Photography: Leo Alemao / Style File

An image of a young woman wearing an outfit with a gold and black embroidered sequin dress with a white faux fur coat, gold glitter heels, braided side bun and dark lip

An image of a young woman wearing an outfit with a gold and black embroidered sequin dress with a white faux fur coat, gold glitter heels, braided side bun and dark lip

An image of a young woman wearing an outfit with a gold and black embroidered sequin dress with a white faux fur coat, gold glitter heels, braided side bun and dark lip

An image of a young woman wearing an outfit with a gold and black embroidered sequin dress with a white faux fur coat, gold glitter heels, braided side bun and dark lip

To bid adieu to the year that was and celebrate the one to come, sequins are a no-brainer, as evidenced before. But instead of taking the easy way out and throwing on red lipstick, I went for a vintage glamour, Great Gatsby-esque vibe, which this looks pulls off to perfection.

The minimal glitter on my feet and plush fur on my shoulders (I need absolutely any excuse to wear this baby!) are just what this look needed. But what really completed it was a gorgeous retro gold eye makeup look, braided side bun and stunningly rich dark lip.

Now that's what I call a fitting farewell. 2018, I can't wait to meet you.


Life | 6 ways to up the Christmas spirit this holiday season

I may enjoy the sunshine laden summer and take in the crisp autumn air but if there's one season that I live for, it's the holidays. While our tropical country doesn't quite celebrate the season with the same grandeur you'd spot in Europe or New York (also, the lack of snow isn't helping), that's not enough to dampen my spirit.

Image of a red velvet ornament hanging on a Christmas tree with gold beads and fairy lights with bokeh in the background

 At least, we still have lit up streets, Christmas pageants and secret Santa. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I'm sure you'll agree that it's easy to get caught up in the festive spirit. So if you'd like to make it a little more jolly this time around, you're in good hands because I don't mean to brag and all but I'm Christmas level: Elf.
Image of a decorated Christmas tree with lights and a star along with a rocking chair at the side of it
Images by Raynor Pereira / Style File

1. Trim the tree

The most identifiable symbol of Christmas, the tree and its various ornaments, especially the star on top have plenty of religious sentiment behind them. Even if you don't celebrate Christmas religiously, don't let that stop you from trimming your (faux) fir. Get out the sparkling bunting, hang a few shiny baubles on and finish off with the star on top.

2. Telly time

Christmas is all about tradition, and I don't mean only for holiday sweets and decor. Tradition also extends itself to the tinier rituals associated with the holidays like midnight mass, the five point star and Christmas movies. Just like autumn has its spooky flicks, Christmas has its own, with 'Home Alone', 'Love Actually' and 'Elf' being a few favourites. Switch them on for an instant dose of the warm, fuzzy holiday feels.

Image of marzipan Christmas sweets in the shape of Christmas trees on a glass plate
3. Sweeten the deal

If there's one thing I always associate with the holidays, it's that sweet smell wafting through the house. Or as I'd like to call it, 'the smell of Christmas morning'. While the traditional marzipan, neuris and kalkals are all set, the delicious date and walnut cake will soon follow. For a more contemporary take on Christmas, gingerbread men, sugar cookies or even your own vanilla extract will really hit the spot.

4. Carol on

It's always a festive treat to find a melodious bunch gang belting out the Christmas carols at your doorstep. While I've been lucky enough to go carolling before, it might be a stretch to suggest it. So instead, just turn up the Christmas carols. I'm one of those people who starts listening to carols right from October so now, by mid-December, I've already reached the point where I'm listening to Christmas jazz while working. Even if I'm buried under work, it still feels nice to remind myself that it's the holidays.

Image of blogger Dayle Pereira wearing a check plaid shirt with a navy blue tulle skirt, red lips, wavy bob and red pumps

Image by Leo Alemao / Style File
5. Get plaid

If you're on the hunt for the most low effort way to amp up the holiday cheer, try plaid. Just donning a plaid layer or two always takes my mind away to colder, snowier lands, even if I'm in sticky Mumbai. Of course, it's a subliminal cue that links the pattern to the year end, for me at least. Better yet, a flannel plaid in red and green, then you're set for certain.

6. Gift someone

The holidays are also a great time to start new rituals which hopefully, turn into traditions. One such tradition we began about 5 years ago was Christmas gifting. While it was enthralling to find presents under the tree on Christmas eve as children, it's even more exciting as adults, even though we aren't really surprised by it any more. They don't have to huge, extravagant or expensive like two tickets to Paris or a new diamond bauble. Even simple stocking stuffers like makeup products or a new coffee flask can make for cute gift - it's the festive thought that counts, really.

Happy holidays, lovely people!





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