Fashion for good with MaalGaadi!

Festive season is coming up, and while it is a time to celebrate, it’s also a time to share the cheer.

As the days pass, I find myself drawn to good causes. I really want to make a mark in the way I approach and support causes close to my heart. This forms a large part of the revamp of my blog {coming up soon!}.

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On that note, I was invited to preview the KaMaalGaadi Festive Trunk Show on Wednesday. The show is in collaboration with Becoming I Foundation (a youth NGO that mobilises young people into engaging with community development issues), and a part of the proceeds from the show go towards the organisation.

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Top by Mango; Jeans by H&M

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The Trunk Show, scheduled for 30th September & 1st October (today and tomorrow) at their store in Besant Nagar, has a collection of brands across menswear, womenswear, accessories, and home decor— just in time for the slew of festivals starting next month.

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For men, there are fun patterned shoes, and blazers with rich embellishments — great for weddings, & parties. For women, statement-making Indian wear, with a touch of fusion, is a huge trend this season – dhoti pants and cold-shoulder tops, crop tops and lehengas, as well as masculine inspired jackets, to name a few. I even had the chance to try some clothes out!

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All the pieces are gorgeous, and unique — definitely worth checking out. I recommend picking up the Fizzy Goblet jootis if you’re looking for shoes — a great complement to your festive wear, with mirror work and embroidery. Glass and metal jewellery, embroidered velvet clutches, and beautifully minimal Indian accessories complement these outfits. My favourite accessories were the crystal headbands — Sabyasachi vibes, anyone?

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If you don’t want to pick up clothing, makeup organisers, home decor, stationery, & lifestyle accessories are also available at the show.

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Make sure you check out the new collections at the KaMaalGaadi Festive Trunk show #WithACause on 30th September & 1st October 2016, at the Maal Gaadi store. There will be an arts & crafts station set up by Becoming I Foundation at the Trunk Show as well. 

All photos by me (or) Maal Gaadi’s photographers. 

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ALDO x Moderas

A little over a week ago, I had an opportunity to attend Aldo’s Shoefie Party. You might have seen my Instagram story, I managed to catch their Winter 16-17 collection, and meet with other bloggers, and influencers. That was fun. Thanks for a great evening ALDO, Ritz Magazine & Aruna Krishnan! I needed that break between exams.

I figured this post was long overdue (due to numerous other commitments), but we can consider this as my official reentry to the blog sphere, a revival of sorts. I hope to keep this going. I have radical plans to fit the blog for a new mission. I’m excited to see where this could go, I’d love to have you all tag along on this journey as well.

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Of course I had to choose shoes that would make a statement; this party was at ALDO, after all. I went with these Zara beauties.

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A “shoefie” as we called it. I went with this clutch primarily because I didn’t have any other small bag.

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A quick selfie before the event began.
Pro Tip: If you’re wearing tie-up sandals with pants, make sure the pants are cropped at the ankle so that the tie-up detail is visible. 

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intro graphic.001Here’s a short overview of the collection (I had to make a graphic). It has lots of shoes that are meant to be worn beyond the Winter Season, in classic styles and neutral colours. Pops of red shone through the store. I spoke to the ALDO Brand representatives as well, who gave us some insight on how the collection will refresh as the months pass. Hint, it’s going to be fashion-forward, and on par with global trends– so keep going back, you don’t want to miss it!

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Different shoe styles – sandals, pumps, and tie-up sandals too! – in a range of colours.

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Masculine-inspired styles were carried forward through brogues & oxfords, but remain playful in metallic shades. The mini structured bags look so good too!

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No such thing as Winter in Chennai anyway; these sandals are definitely worth picking up.

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But the best part of the event was unarguably the time I spent with my fellow fashion bloggers from Chennai!

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We couldn’t resist these fun photo props.

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Neither did we stop from walking up to the gorgeous Shriya Saran for a group photo op…

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Okay maybe not “a” group photo op.

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A quick selfie with Tanvi Shah of Jai Ho fame.

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Guess I’m “legitimately” famous now! With the lovely Shilpa from Frill Thrills.

Top: H&M • Pants & shoes: Zara • Necklace: from the sister

[I was invited to this event by ALDO. All opinions are my own.]

5 Fab Sale Skirts to shop now

The sudden outpouring of rain in the evening makes it safe to say that Chennai is slowly moving away from the blinding heat, and into more pleasant weather. July, coincidentally, is SALE month! Almost all stores (brick-and-mortar & online) are offering great discounts on their summer collections. This is the best time to stock up on a summer staple- skirts.

More brands are veering away from extremely seasonal & on-trend designs, choosing instead to stock pieces you can wear through the year. This is good, because we have a more versatile wardrobe in the end (if you shop wisely, that is), and weather doesn’t fluctuate much in Chennai from January to December.

So, if you’ve got some money saved up, here’s the time to spend it– on one (or all 5?!) fabulous skirt that you’ll wear all year.
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1. 9rasa slim maxi skirt

This skirt is different from your regular fare. Rather than a flare, it falls slim, giving it the structure and chic-ness (is that  a word?) of a pencil skirt, but with the comfort of cotton. I love this silhouette, and think it’s a good change of pace from regular ethnic cotton skirts.

I would wear it with a slim gold choker + relaxed, off shoulder black top.

Buy now for Rs. 1049.

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2. StalkBuyLove coral wrap-around skirt

This skirt falls in the sweet spot of neither maxi nor midi– which I love! The wraparound gives you versatility– you can choose at which part of your waist you want to wear it. Wear it high with a crop top, or low with a half-tucked white t-shirt.

Buy now for Rs. 899.

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3. The Closet Label digital print skirt

What’s a skirt selection without a printed pencil skirt? The print on this Closet Label skirt is bright enough for summer but can be worn through the year, especially for dressy occasions.

You could pump up the print with a yellow t-shirt, as pictured, or let the skirt speak by wearing a cream or white sleeveless button down.

Buy now for Rs. 870.

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4. Global Desi Mona skirt

I actually own this skirt, and let me just say, I love it. It falls right below the knees, and the print is adorably chic. The high waist flatters all body types, and the flare is girly but not over-the-top.

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I wear it with a jade green sleeveless blouse and white flat sandals, but it would also work with a very light green v-neck t-shirt, tucked in, and strapped heels.

Buy now/in-store for Rs. 850.

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5. Zara front pleat printed skirt

Shopping at Zara is tricky, because most of their pieces are created for the svelte, European populace that isn’t afraid to take risks. But this skirt is an exception. Again, meant to be worn a little high on the waist, the demure flower print can be worn for all events, and can be dressed up or down.

I would wear it with a white blouse and a multi-layered delicate gold necklace under the collar.

Buy in-store for Rs. 2290.

Six noteworthy Facebook boutiques

Facebook, our original destination for stalking, has quickly become a force to reckon with in the world of online shopping. And for good reason– anyone can set up a store with little effort, the interface is familiar because we interact with it everyday, and it serves as a means for social media marketing while being the forefront of the store.

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Today, I’m going to highlight six Facebook shops that are a mix of new, and old stores, but all of them are noteworthy. From accessories to matching sets to tailoring, there’s something for everyone! Scroll on!

1. Mogra

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I found Mogra through a random Instagram browse, and from then on I’ve been in love with their aesthetic. The brand is centred around fair trade practices– they support weavers, and craftsmen through their work, by making Indian textile contemporary. Think ikat print crop tops, hand block-printed lehengas, and much more. Add dreamy campaigns, and throw-on-and-go dresses to the mix, and you have a new favourite store to watch out for.

https://www.facebook.com/mogradesigns

2. Inch by Chintya

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A Chennai-based label, Inch by Chintya offers Indian, and Western wear, along with accessories. They sell through Facebook, but also have a brick-and-mortar store that curates other brands alongside their own. They also offer customised clothing, to fit your needs– it’s like having a fashion designer in your pocket! I love their co-ordinated set in the picture above.

https://www.facebook.com/inchbychintya

3. i v o r y

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My mother should be credited for this find. i v o r y is a boutique in RK Salai that also allows for shopping online. They exclusively sell Indian wear, fabrics, and accessories. Some of my favourites are their silk kota sarees, and mix-and-match salwar sets with stunning Benaras silk dupattas (both pictured above). I visited the store to buy the latter, and immediately fell in love with a bright orange silk kota saree that I cannot wait to wear.

I like bright colours and I cannot lie #nofilter

A photo posted by Varsha (@varshamohan) on Jun 25, 2015 at 3:10am PDT

Find them here: https://www.facebook.com/ivorydesigns

4. Zarbaft

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If you’re looking for ornate, wedding-ready clothing, Zarbaft is definitely an option to consider. Their prices do veer on the high end but looking at the handiwork and the designs, this could be an option for shelling out some money. They also offer customisation– necklines, sleeves, colours, the works. Anarkalis, lehengas, and sarees are aplenty. And their clothes look ‘designer’– just look at that red and green lehenga. What a stunner.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zarbaft/378653348874159

5. Pleatz

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A tailoring store that hit it big on Facebook, Pleatz was introduced to me by my sister. From unique blouses and ombre sequin sarees, the store has come a long way, and now also offers western wear– crop top + maxi skirt sets, to be specific. Testimonials sing their praises, and while I haven’t tried their store, I’m definitely enthused by that bow-back blouse.

https://www.facebook.com/Pleatz

6. Kshetra – place where tradition meets elegance

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My mother’s find yet again, Kshetra brings classic Indian jewellery to the mass market. Harams, chand-baalis, those coveted ‘Ram-Leela’ earrings that Deepika wears in the movie– you name it, and Kshetra probably has it. Their jewellery is good-quality, and looks fantastic when worn. Their earrings are beautiful; I highly recommend them, and the store as a whole.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kshetra-place-where-Tradition-meets-Elegance/221633717994524

And that’s all for today! Hope you liked the post! What are your favourite Facebook boutiques that I’ve missed?

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Seeing rainbows

Rainbow image by kaitlynlayla via DeviantArt

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The past week has been historic– the United States legalised gay marriage, leading to a slew of celebration and parades in the country. Numerous people not living in the USA too have taken to appreciate the country. In India, most of us changed our Facebook pictures, hopefully as a reminder for the long way we have to go to ensure LGBT rights.

A symbol of the Pride movement is the rainbow– my point of inspiration for today’s post.

Before there are any misunderstandings, I would like to say that this post in no way dilutes the legitimacy of the rainbow symbol, and all that it stands for. LGBT rights are a step forward for humanity and acceptance, and a deeply personal movement for so many people. I am in full support of equal rights for the LGBT community. And I am inspired by the colours of the rainbow- how it is a way of expression, and a sign of a powerful movement. I personally believe that wearing a rainbow (literally, figuratively, or on Facebook) is a way to celebrate both this momentous occasion, and the joys of colours. 

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Today, I’m going to give you ways to wear a rainbow in your outfits. Whether you incorporate the entire VIBGYOR or choose to block your colours, there is a rainbow out there for everyone. So here are my ways to wear a rainbow. Plus, my favourite multi coloured pieces to buy are at the end of the post, so scroll away!

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Sofia Sanchez Barrenechea, All the Pretty Birds

Multiple rainbows require careful coordination, but this street style snap makes it look impossibly easy. Plus, those Valentino rockstud shoes + bag are designed for success. Let’s ease into the rainbow, shall we?

Make it the talking point of your outfit

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Source: 1. Pinterest; 2, 3.Atlantic Pacific blog

A multicoloured piece is bold, so let it be the centre of the attention. By pairing it with classic black and white pieces, you won’t take away the brightness of the skirt. Plus, it makes the piece so much more versatile when you can wear it with clothes you most probably already own! In all three examples above, the skirt is the focus of the outfit, and all the pieces only supplement the colours.

Pair colourful prints with complementary solidspetiteasiangirl on flickr
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1. PetiteAsianGirl on Flickr; 2. Sterling Style via The Glitter Guide; 3. Pink Peonies blog

Print mixing 101: The best way to wear a print is with a solid colour that also features in the print. This tip makes wearing multicoloured pieces so easy. In these three outfits, the printed scarf is complemented by the mustard skirt. The bright, striped skirt takes the red up a notch by wearing it with a matching sweater. And the accessories are in colours that feature in the skirt, red and white. These are the easiest ways to wear more colour, if you’re a person who wants to experiment.

Consider colour blocking

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1. & 2. Adam Katz Sinding of Le 21ème; 3. Atlantic Pacific

Colour blocking is a trend that never really died, because of its ability to make one look impossibly fashionable. After all, it takes a good eye to mix solid coloured pieces (especially brights) without going over the top/visual hazard. An easy way to colour block is to mix neutrals with your bold colours. Heather grey breaks up the orange and blue, while the brown adds an earthy feel to the blue & purple combination. If you want to go all out, chartreuse (bright green) + royal blue + leopard print is the way to go. I have loved this combination since I set eyes on it, and cannot wait to try it out myself. It is so chic.

Pastel rainbows count too

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1. Vanessa Jackman via WhoWhatWear; 2. Adam Katz Sinding of Le 21ème

If the idea of wearing bright blue and red together unnerve you, pastels are a good way to achieve the multi colour effect without bright colours. There’s a subtlety with pastels that makes them more of a summer colour choice, but sometimes pairing pastels is tricky. Pista green + pastel pink + white (the neutral that breaks them up) is a combination that sounds less than optimal on paper, but works wonderfully on outfits. And chambray (lighter, denim-like cotton, and material to numerous button downs) would pair well with all pastels, especially pinks. And when in doubt, white jeans will always come to your rescue.

When in doubt, go Indian

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Go for a bright, bold saree this wedding season! No filter needed 🙂

A photo posted by MarigoldTales (@marigoldtales) on Jan 26, 2015 at 10:07pm PST

fbee1f319bec1fb62e079f016aec9be21. Madhurya.com; 2, 3. Marigold Tales Wedding Blog/Instagram; 4. Kanakavalli.com

Our culture is an explosion of colour, and our clothing is no different. Every inch of our country celebrates vividly, and there is no better way to channel the rainbow than looking to our own. The sari is a thing of beauty, and whether you go Kanjivaram or Kota silk, the bright weaves and colour combinations make it impossible to go wrong! Where else can you find bright orange, royal blue, and jade green coexist without chaos? Or print on print on print on Tusser silk, in a variety of colours? This is the easiest way for us to go bright without worry.

Shop my favourite rainbow picks below!

Skirts that need to be the centre of attention

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Haute Curry at Shoppers Stop always has the cutest stuff! I love this printed skirt. It’s wearable, and bright. Buy it here.

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Quirk Box, the brand known for its minion (not the Despicable Me kind) print has a new line, Quirk Box Gold, made of premium fabrics, and carrying a rainbow world monuments print. This skirt was my favourite of the lot (give me a flare and a rainbow and I will be happy), but the price is a little premium. Buy it here.

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Good old AND by Anita Dongre also has fun prints in a variety of colours. This skirt would look great with a white 3/4th sleeve tee & orange shoes. Buy here.

Printed separates, to be paired with complementary colours

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This t-shirt from Zara is begging to be worn with mustard pants.

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Again Zara, a muted set of stripes that make multicolours work for every day. This blouse would also work for formal occasions.

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Printed pencil skirts totally count as a rainbow addition. This Zara skirt embodies summer, and can be worn in so many ways.

Doing Indian

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Preeti S Kapoor’s collection on Jabong has a range of brightly coloured tops, that are Indian yet Western. Shop the blouse here.

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I’m actually really into the vest-over-kurta trend that a lot of Indian wear brands are showcasing. A rainbow print vest like this takes your college outfit up a notch, without the heat of an extra layer. This piece would look fantastic with a white kurti and a red patiala. Buy it here.

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THIS is the sari I have been waiting for. Mango yellow and Rani pink are a match made in Kanjivaram heaven. The Kanakavalli brand is known for its curated, covet-worthy saris. I’m going to ask my mother to buy me this. At 14k, it’s a pretty penny, but I would say its worth the investment. If you have been waiting for a Kanjivaram buy, you can go ahead with this sari here.

Summer beauty hacks: An exhaustive list

Consider this your summer beauty hack list. From sunburn to sweat proof makeup, to perfect beach-y waves, I’ve got it all!

Accessorise right: Keep the sun out of your face with the right hat– it must have a cotton lining, and a wide brim. Forever 21 has a brown fedora that perfectly serves the purpose. And the weaved style makes it easy to wear with any summer outfits. Buy it here.

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Quick messy bun: I hate having long hair sometimes. My hair ends up as a mess of fly-aways, and always sticks to the back of my neck (which is the worst thing to happen on a humid day!). I personally love putting my braid up into a bun because I don’t have to bother with it for the rest of the day. But it isn’t the best look, to be honest. And it is kind of boring. That’s why I love this tutorial, and I cannot wait to try it out.

Braided bun: On the days where you have a little time, I recommend this hairstyle. It looks chic, yet relaxed.

Beach waves: If you’re into goddess-like waves without going to the beach, try this DIY beach waves hair styling spray. Full instructions here.

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Image via Polyvore

Incorporating sunscreen: Until last summer, I had never worn sunscreen on a daily basis. I still don’t. But when I did, after a month, there was a marked improvement in my dark spots, and of course, my tanning reduced. The problem is that sunscreen takes time to sink into your skin, and is also heavy, and creates streaks.

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Divine Caroline, via Pinterest

I cannot emphasise ENOUGH about the importance of sunscreen though. It is the most important part of your skin routine. I would recommend wearing sunscreen right after your moisturiser sets in, and before you wear makeup. It seems like a tedious step but it’s crucial to ensure your skin remains healthy, and free from damage. Of course, you also need to use it all over the body parts that are exposed to sun (tan lines are the worst). And you might have to get ready half an hour in advance to ensure the sunscreen sets in, but trust me, healthy skin is a boon, and this step ensures it.

For the face, I’ve heard only good things about the Lotus Safe Sun 3-in-1 Matte Look sunscreen, priced at Rs. 225 on Amazon. Body, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch is very good, currently Rs. 485 on Amazon.

I would not recommend using any tinted moisturiser or BB cream instead of a sunscreen. Use it with sunscreen as a base. Or use a moisturiser with a built-in sunscreen.

Preparing for shorts/skirts season:

Months of hiding legs behind jeans mean that your legs need a little TLC before you embrace wearing shorts. Pre-shave, I would suggest this exfoliating DIY scrub. Coconut oil provides moisture, sugar gets rid of dead skin, and the lemon lightens your legs. Scaly elbows be gone!

silky-smooth-legsPicture from Home and Heart DIY 

I have my eye on these shorts though. Check them out here.

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Summer-proof makeup: The problem we have to address with makeup in summer is sweat-proofing it. In a humid city like Chennai, the problem is exacerbated. But the solutions are simple. All you need are a few swaps.

1. Liquid eyeliner– can’t give up your signature flick? Use a pencil liner. And use brown instead of black for a lighter, and less harsh take on eyes. Lakme Eyeconic pencil in brown is a good choice for an eye pencil that will last all day. Line your upper lash line, and the outside of your lower waterline to make eyes look bigger. Buy here.

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2. Lipstick– Who can bother with lipstick on a hot summer morning? Lip stains are an easy way to get the same pigmentation but with lesser effort. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Balm Stain has received rave reviews. Buy the shade “Romantic” (pictured below) on Flipkart, or explore for more colours.

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3. Liquid foundation– Foundation can look artificial in the summer, and adds an extra layer to your skin, which can make you sweat more. Use a powder with SPF (any extra protection is good protection!). Maybelline Clear Glow is wonderful. Buy it here.

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4. Summer scents– Swap out your heavier, spicy fragrances for a fresh, citrus spray, heralding the start of summer. The Body Shop fragrances are a great pick for a scent that will last all day. Explore the entire range here. My pick? The Satsuma Body Mist, with a hit of orange to kick-start your day.

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5. Blush– Use cream/tints instead of powder. I’m considering skipping other beauty products, and sticking to blush this summer. Blush is a product usually overlooked by the Indian market because we think it looks artificial. But the right colour can do wonders, and give you a fresh-faced look without looking over-the-top. Maybelline Cheeky Glow Blush is not a cream formula, but is one of the best on the market. The Creamy Cinnamon shade is versatile, and easy to wear. Buy it here.

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Treating damaged hair: Summer heralds the start of frizzy, dry, and damaged hair. We forget to take care of it. But do not fear! Coconut oil is here to save the day! It serves so many purposes but is often overlooked. But its effects on hair cannot be undermined. An overnight treatment of covering your hair with coconut oil, and washing it off the next day will make your hair shinier, smoother, and softer. It will also work wonders on dry, brittle ends. Use cold-pressed, extra virgin coconut oil if you can get your hands on it, and coat your hair from root to tip. Leave overnight (with a shower cap if you want to protect your pillowcase).

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Photo from Living Unrefined

Treating sunburn: Fresh aloe vera when applied directly on sun burn is said to be a very effective treatment. We grow aloe at home, and it’s very easy to get your hands on some.aloe-vera

Image via Google

If you’re allergic, try using a cool compress, cornstarch, among other things. Further DIY remedies for sunburn here.

Hope you liked this list of summer hacks! Share your favourite tricks for surviving the summer below!