Beauty | How to get the haircut you've always wanted

Being experimental with my hair has had its perks—I've found hair care products that do magic for me, I've discovered a comfortable length that works for my face shape and I've even found lowlights that are subtle enough to sport at work. However, not without its failings. While experimenting led me to my new bob a few summers ago and helped me find a friend in dry shampoo, it also led to some disastrous experiments that took place behind the scenes.

Image of a young woman wearing a grey outfit and plaid scarf with red lips and a wool beanie hat over a straight lob hairstyle on a brick background

The most scarring of them have been bad haircuts. Yes, I say haircuts in plural because were multiple times when my hair looked like something Edward Scissorhands would have been responsible for. I've had a too-short fringe that belonged on a 60's pin-up poster, a shaggy crop that made me look like a teenage boy and a fantastically styled 'do that unravelled minutes after I left the salon.

Even for someone who isn't very attached to her hair, they cut deep. However, through the awful cuts and awry trims, I learned that it is possible to get a good haircut and it doesn't just depend on your hairstylist. Yes, a truly good, 'makes-me-want-to-kiss-my-reflection' kind of haircut. It took years of hair trials and tribulations to create the list of how I did it, which you'd want to know about of course—what self-respecting beauty lover would you be if you didn't!

Know your hair

Before you step into a salon, understand you own hair. Is it straight, wavy or curly? Is it prone to breakage, split ends or frizz? Is it thick or thin in volume? These are questions that will shape your hairstyle. Next, find your face shape and the hairstyles that suit both, your shape and texture. Together, they'll help you form an idea of what you want when you speak to your stylist.

Illustrated motion image of a woman sitting in a salon chair and getting her short hair cut by a hairstylist with a scissors and comb

Find the right hairstylist

When it comes to this one, the struggle is real. Hairstylists can be intimidating to the extent that you come out looking completely different because you got coaxed into a hairdo you didn't intend. They can also be extremely uninvolved and just eager to get it over with. Unfortunately there's no easy to way to find the right one other than testing and trying them. Ask everyone you know with covet-able hair who they go to and try a trim with them for yourself. If you're pleased, go in for the whole shebang. Find out what area of expertise the stylist specialises in; short crops, styling, layers etc so that you can select them based on their speciality.  Exhausting, I know but what works for someone else may not work for you. Play the field for the right hairstylist and with a little luck, you'll find them.

Expensive need not be good

I've come to learn that a high price being equated to an excellent service or product is the most illogical belief. While I say this from my experience of surprisingly spectacular restaurants and budget beauty products, hairstylists also fall under this category. While a more expensive hairstylist is meant to be more experienced and knowledgeable, this isn't always true. I've actually noticed that the more I shell out for a chop by the creative director/head stylist/other fancy designation, the less attention my hair gets, which results in a strictly mediocre cut. Regardless of whether a stylist is fairly new to the hair game or has been in it for years, don't let price be the sole factor in choosing them. Look for someone who understands your hair and is receptive to opinions.

Image of a woman sitting in a salon chair covered with a salon cape getting her long curly hair cut by a hairstylist

Stand your ground

When you're finally in the stylists chair, it's very easy to get lured into their recommendations. They throw around words like layering and glossiness which can easily intimidate you. They may even recommend an exorbitant treatment or unnecessary colour job which can make you look ridiculous. Save yourself the horror and instead, stand your ground on what you want. While it is important to take your hairstylist's input into consideration (they are the experts after all!), don't let it persuade you into doing something you aren't comfortable with. You're paying good money for a hairstyle you want so politely take their recommendation and assert your choice because you'll be the one sporting the style for the next few months.

Don't let styling fool you

Between the whirring of the blowdryer and wafting fragrance of fancy argan oil, it's pretty easy to think that your hair looks great once finished. But don't be fooled by the guise of clever styling. You'll be amazed at how a simple blowout can leave you thinking your hair looks a Victoria's Secret Angel. Unfortunately, that may all change a few washes later. While styling is great to add flair, at its base the haircut needs to be well done. Once it is, whether styled or not, it will look fantastic.


Style Files | 5 workwear tips from the girls of Goliath

My obsession with a good TV show always follows the same stages. It starts with curiosity—snippets begin popping up on my newsfeed or my friends discuss it over lunch. Next is trial where I give in to societal pressure and watch an episode. Finally, I realise its incredible and binge-watch it for 12 hours over the weekend or disappointing and stop soon after. Goliath fell in the former category. I caught a glimpse of it on the Amazon Prime tab and soon enough, I was pressing play to the next episode. No surprise here but I finished the legal drama; rather unhealthily, over a single weekend.

Image of two female and one male persons walking through a courtroom from the legal tv show drama Goliath, an Amazon Prime Original production

Besides my obsession to desperately find out what happens in the next thrilling episode, there was one more thing that caught my eye in Goliath—the fashion. Since much of the season takes place in the plush office of an upmarket legal firm, the Goliath girls were chic, prim and polished. Especially if you work or study in a formal environment with a dress code, this can come in handy. That's why I've compiled a list of the workwear inspired tips I learned from the girls of Goliath.

Image of lawyer Callie Senate wearing red lipstick, black eyeliner and a blonde bob haircut in formal wear in the legal tv show drama Goliath, an Amazon Prime Original production

Trust the staples

I believe it's incredibly important to have a couple of trusty looks in your pocket which you can pull out on rushed mornings. Like Callie's staple red pout and side parted bob, I turn to winged eyeliner and a swipe of lip gloss when I'm blanking. It's a fail safe way to still look presentable and pulled together, even though your mind may not feel the same way.

Image of lawyer Michelle McBride wearing neutral trousers, pastel shades and a beachy waves hairstyle in the legal tv show drama Goliath, an Amazon Prime Original production

Basics needn't be boring

If one thing's for sure in Goliath's first season, it is that Michelle McBride is remarkably well-dressed and has the most stunning house. She's an easy breezy kind of lady who manages to look like a million bucks with only a Birkin and beachy waves. Michelle's consistent pairing of gentle pastels with relaxed neutrals is the perfect summer uniform for any office environment as it stays formal without being boring, something I can't wait to try myself!

Image of lawyers Callie Senate and Michelle McBride in dark coloured blazer jackets and formal wear in the legal tv show drama Goliath, an Amazon Prime Original production

Blaze of glory

Did a sudden meeting crop up? Did mustard from your sandwich spill on your collar? Are you looking for a way to revamp your summer dress? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the solution lies in a blazer. Like the lady bosses of Goliath, there's no trouble too big for a blazer. It'll uplift any drab dress, hide any gruesome stain and have you commanding a room the second you step in it.

Image of two female characters wearing minimal makeup and groomed hairstyles with light accessories in the legal tv show drama Goliath, an Amazon Prime Original production

Polished and prim

If you've have days when you've barely managed to get out of bed; let alone down your coffee and get dressed for work, remember you aren't alone. We've all been there, sometimes on consecutive days in a week. Since your limited time and patience won't allow a full face of make up, aim to look natural yet polished like these lovely ladies from Goliath. Groom your face, tie your hair and throw in an accessory—no one will even be able to tell the difference!

Image of lawyer Callie Senate wearing androgynous clothing with blazer jackets, a white shirt and tie along with red lipstick, black eyeliner and a blonde bob haircut in the legal tv show drama Goliath, an Amazon Prime Original production
Borrow from the boys

And I'm not talking about plaid shirts and snapback caps—we're women for pete's sake, not teenagers. Especially if yours is a fashion centric work environment, a touch of androgyny will be welcomed. Whether she's commanding a courtroom or overseeing an office meeting, Callie flaunts her androgyny to perfection! So make like her and set your eye on a suave male closet, dig out a fitted coat, slim tie and a white shirt. She'd be beaming with pride!


Life | I left my heart by the sea

It's safe to say that I love the sea. I've mentioned it time and again, to the extent that you've probably wondered if I'm on a coastal management board on the side. Well no I'm not, although that does sound nice. I've shot posts by the seaside, I've watched it while dining under the stars and even been inspired by it when all I could see were waves from afar.
A video gif image of ripples and waves flowing in the sea with sand below and sunshine above

Although I now make a mandatory trip (or two) to the sun-kissed beaches when I'm back home, I didn't always feel the same way. Owing to a few wave-washed tumbles during my toddler years, I've been told that I refused to even step inside the water! With such contradictory feelings being experienced over the years, I've always tried to pin-point where my sentiments changed so drastically and how the adoration washed (hah!) over me but, to no avail. All I know is that it happened like Hazel Grace and Gus' sappy romance; slowly and then all at once.

An image of a woman standing on the shoreline of the beach in the sand as the waves of the sea touch her feet

I don't believe that questioning its origin will help me find answers. I mean, we've all had absolutely irrational crushes or weird clothing stains that appear without prior notice. Some questions have no answers so all you have to do is accept their occurrence. Same with my sea struck affair. Like a whirlwind romance, I didn't know where it began and why, all I knew was that I had to savour every second of it.

And so it began. Picnics on the sand, straight out of an Enid Blyton novel. Soaking up the waves, even before eating breakfast. Midnight walks on the seashore with the only audible sound being the waves crashing against the rocks. A large chunk of both, my camera roll and long term memory have been formed there.

An image of waves in motion hitting the rocks in the sea surrounded by trees and sand at the beach

 Photography: Raynor Pereira / Style File

But it isn't just a few pleasant memories that carved the sea into my being - it was also what I learnt from it. I learnt that salt water, be it tears or crashing waves, heals all wounds. Just like a glimmer of sunshine and calm water after a night of rocky waves, I learnt that a new day always brings new hope. I also cannot deny the fact that no beauty product has ever been able to give me the beachy waves that a morning soak in the sea can. A happy place is a wonderful thing. Some find it in a designer store, others in a corner office. Mine is on a sand bank, with the approaching waves caressing my toes.


Personal Style | Prima Ballerina

Cultivating your sense of style is extremely personal; something like discovering your favourite type of wine. You may have to step out of your comfort zone and depend on good pairings but when you find your fit, you'll wonder how you lived so long without it. It's funny how similar my realisation of a crisp glass of white wine being my spirit animal was to my journey of finding my personal style. To my good fortune, Style File was born during my prime experimental years. While it's always nice to see where my sartorial tastes came from, it can also be proof of a train wreck of an outfit.

Fresh from the years when Serena Van Der Woodsen and her brat pack ruled the Upper East Side, my teens were a time when I brought out my rare bohemian side. Fortunately for everyone surrounding me, it transitioned when I began my first big girl job at a fashion magazine where I thought I'd want to wear pencil skirts and top buns for the rest of my life. That faded shortly and soon enough, in the midst of trial and error resembling Macklemore and imitating Audrey, I realised that my style was more about me and less about the world. It wasn't in a high street store window or a hot trend off the runway. It was all me.

Image of style blogger wearing a plaid checked shirt, tutu skirt, red high heels with a mini bag, red lips and a wavy bob hairstyle

Image of style blogger wearing a plaid checked shirt, tutu skirt, red high heels with a mini bag, red lips and a wavy bob hairstyle

Image of Indian fashion blogger wearing a plaid checked shirt, tutu skirt, red high heels with a mini bag, collar necklace and highlighted skin

Image of Indian fashion blogger wearing a plaid checked shirt, tutu skirt, red high heels with a mini bag, collar necklace and highlighted skin
Image of Indian fashion blogger wearing a plaid checked shirt, tutu skirt, red high heels with a mini bag, collar necklace and highlighted skin

Marks & Spencer plaid shirt | H&M glitter tulle skirt | Zara red pumps [previously seen here] | Accessorize mini messenger bag [previously seen here] | Forever 21 sunglasses | Accessorize necklace | L'Oreal Paris Pure Reds lipstick in 'Pure Scarleto' [review here] | OPI nail varnish in 'Ink'

Photography: Leo Alemao / Style File

Image of style blogger wearing a plaid checked shirt, tutu skirt, red high heels with a mini bag, red lips and a wavy bob hairstyle

Image of style blogger wearing a plaid checked shirt, tutu skirt, red high heels with a mini bag, red lips and a wavy bob hairstyle

Image of style blogger wearing a plaid checked shirt, tutu skirt, red high heels with a mini bag, red lips and a wavy bob hairstyle

I soon discovered that my style falls somewhere in between a dainty ballerina, yoga fanatic and preppy cheerleader. Like the fresh intermingling of flavours in a glass of Chardonnay, my personal style too has grown into a blend of femininity, minimalism and refinement. It may have taken a few years, but it finally evolved into that of a post-show prima ballerina; girly without being frothy, chic without being extravagant, athletic without looking like an gym trainer.

This look is an extension of it. Polished plaid contrasts magically with frilly tulle and is tied together with a collared necklace and chunky sunglasses. For the makeup, I couldn't see past a classic red lip and highlighter that is poppin'! I gave the underliner eye makeup trend a try which gave the eyes a hint of colour without taking away from the look. Personal style can be conflicting, ridiculous and brilliant at the same time; all you have to do is listen to it.


Beauty | Why oil is my hair and skin saviour this season

With its soaring popularity in recent times, oil has come to be a new-age beauty fix of some kind. From the rose gold speckled elixir that's spotted all over Instagram to the celebrity favoured dark Josie Maran bottle, it seems like a dressing table is incomplete without a beauty oil on it. From applying it as a serum to moisturising one's lips prior to swiping on liquid lipstick, there isn't a single beauty addict who hasn't experienced oil in their hair or skin care routine, in some way or another.

Image of a woman's hands holding the Moroccan Oil Treatment Original bottle, L'Oreal Paris Skin Perfection Micellar Water and Johnson's Baby Oil against a brown background in sunlight

So how did the human population decide to suddenly bestow oil with a badge of honour as a fixer of frizzy hair and moisturiser of dry skin? Well, for one it isn't a modern discovery at all. Back in ancient Egypt, Cleopatra is said to  have favoured olive and sesame oil. From my own experience as an Indian woman, oil being used in beauty treatments is far from new. In fact, my earliest memory of it is from head massages with coconut oil during my school days, which was enough to leave me mellowed and relaxed for the rest of the day. As per Indian tradition, even new mothers and their babies receive oil massages to stimulate their blood circulation and firm their skin.

Image of a coconut speaking about uses of coconut oil humourously in a beauty meme

The revival of beauty oil is one I saw coming. So the recent popularity of the liquid in beauty; be it as a massager, an oil pulling base or a moisturiser, made me happy to see the industry go back to its roots. Even with an oily skin type and scalp, the substance has been a permanent part of my beauty routine, whether it's on trend or not. As I consider myself an OG oil obsessor of sorts, today I'm telling you about my favourite hair and beauty oils plus how my adoration for them began.

Image of a woman's hands holding a Johnson's Baby Oil bottle against a brown background in sunlight

As with most babies, my connection with Johnson's began at infancy with their creamy soaps and comforting lotions . Little did I know, decades later I'd be going back to where it all began, albeit for a different skin of skin care. Since my skin type is generally oily, moisturising is an area that I can sometimes afford to cut some slack in because sebum has my back. So it was unprecedented one winter, when I noticed that my limbs were dry and flaky. While lotion is something I procrastinate with using until I step outside, I zeroed in on Johnson's Baby Oil to moisturise my skin through the night without leaving me sticky. All it took were a few applications to find that the lightweight baby oil left my skin supple, shiny and as fragrant as a new born!

Like I mentioned earlier, I'm a whole hearted supporter of coconut oil and for that, I'm eternally grateful to my grandmother and mother for always having a bottle on hand. While my love affair with it began in childhood, it bloomed when I hit adulthood. Lip scrub? Add a little brown sugar to it and scrub away. Spa day? Nothing like my favourite head massage to top it off. In the past few years, I've also trusted the pure handmade oil as a make up remover for my oily, sensitive skin. After trying scores of dual phased removers, till date there's nothing that melts even the most high coverage make up like my favourite coconut oil.

Image of the Moroccan Oil Treatment Original bottle against a brown background in sunlight

Photography: Raynor Pereira / Style File

If the inclusion of micellar water seems like an odd fit to this list, let me explain. By definition, micelles are oil cleansing molecules which form the gentle substance by attracting impurities and drawing them out of the skin. The L'Oreal Skin Perfection Micellar Water seemed like the natural choice for my sensitive skin and I couldn't have been more right! It leaves the skin fresh after easily cleansing away make up, sits lightly on the face when used as a toner and doesn't feel greasy or harsh for a second.

Possibly the most renowned hair oil out there, I first discovered MorrocanOil Treatment Original at the Taj Salon. At first I wrote it off as one of those overrated beauty products that people buy because of the hype but it was only until I tried it that I realised how wrong I was. Other than leaving the hair with a delectable fragrance, this Argan Oil infused wonder soothes frizz in a jiffy, adds a glossy finish and leaves hair so smooth, you'll want to keep running your fingers through it. If there's only one review you trust, make it this one because the MorrocanOil Treatment is the hair oil, serum and styling potion that good hair days are made off. 


Personal Style | Daily diary: edition 3

The more attention I pay to my daily dressing, the more I realise the effort that goes into it. As I work in an office environment and meet people constantly, I realised that I can't just throw on the first thing I feel like. Those sweat pants and tank tops just have to wait until the weekend. Also, unlike an outfit shoot for Style File, there's more activity involved. And by activity, I mean real life - schlepping it in the train, walking to the station and sweating in the sun. With that kind of busyness, there's no time to teeter in high heels, wear an impractical dress or flaunt a full face of makeup. Every woman who steps out every morning will know it to be true.

Image of fashion blogger's outfit in frames on black and white background with text of what I wore

But that's the beauty of daily dressing - it is real and relatable. It can withstand the searing sun, streams of sweat, plenty of walking and still ensure you look groomed. And while it may not be as glamourous or airbrushed as a shoot, it's realistic and practical. In the 3rd edition of my daily diaries, here's how I keep it real.

Image of female indian fashion blogger wearing printed plimsols and tote bag with neon crop top and white skinny jeans

Possibly the boldest look I've worn in ages, I wore this merger of print mixing and colour blocking to a previous Lakmé Fashion Week edition. The location made blending into the crowd easier and actually turned out to be very comfortable!
{Crop top previously seen here}

Image of female indian fashion blogger wearing grey polka dot dress with black accessories, sunglasses and pink lipstick

Give me a sun dress with my favourite print on it and I'm sold! Since my blue FitBit has been my recent obsession, expect it to peek through in future outfits too. Minimal accessories and a pink lip were all I needed for a Sunday lunch.

Image of female indian fashion blogger wearing off shoulder blouse, shorts and fur charm on transparent sling bag with reflectve sunglasses

The absolute joy you can see on my face is all because this was my first day of vacation back home. It was the most wonderful time, where all I did was relax and take in the sunshine - hence the off shoulders and sliders.
{Tutorial for DIY transparent bag here}

Image of female indian fashion blogger wearing high waist trousers, black pumps and sheer polka dot blouse with a bob haircut

After demolishing a season of Goliath in a single weekend, it was bound to inspire me in the week ahead. So when I had to attend a formal 'do; I, obviously, channelled my inner Callie Senate and paired my freshly cropped hair with high waist trousers and a sheer blouse.
{Polka dot sheer blouse previously seen here}

Image of female indian fashion blogger wearing a little black dress, gold shoes and denim jacket and black satchel bag

This has got to be one of my favourite looks in recent times mainly because of its chic yet casual vibe, which is very me. While I kept the palette in black and gold, the denim jacket and red lip definitely added a cool girl edge.
{Denim jacket previously seen here}




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