Taking care of oily skin in summers!!

Published May 24, 2015 by zzdreamerzz

While there are tons of reasons to love summers, for people with oily and blemish prone skin, there are tons of reasons to hate the season as well. One thing that definitely helps in having a great summer with skin in great condition is keeping it as clean as possible without drying it too much. The cleaner the skin and pores, the lesser are the chances of any blemishes appearing.

Another thing to worry about in summers is heat pimples and heat rashes, specially in south asian countries where the temperature goes as high as 42 degrees Celsius or higher in some cases. The only way around these is to keep your system cool enough. What goes in your system appears directly on your face (trust me I have learnt it the hard way). Drink plenty of plain water, or add cucumbers or mint in water if you are craving some taste. Avoid lots of spicy and sweet food or juices with lots of preservatives.

Here I would share my skin care routine to have a great summer with clean and clear skin:

Products I use

Step 1: Cleanse:

No matter how expensive or effective a formula you are using, it will not give 100% results if you do not start with a clean slate… err… face I mean. Clean before you start. The product I use for deep cleansing my face is OIL. Yes, I have oily skin and I use OIL to cleanse my pores on weekly basis. Here is the logic, your brain orders the glands to secrete more oil to your skin when it has reasons to believe the skin needs oil. This happens when you are using so called oil cleansing face washes which actually dry the skin out, resulting in more damage than good. This is the reason I do not use cleansers for oily skin. I rather introduce oil from outside so that there is lesser oil produced inside the skin. The oil I use is either coconut oil or castor oil mixed with any other thinner oil like almond oil. Both have ability to penetrate deep into skin when heated. In summers there is no need to heat the oil because while you massage your face with the oil, it will actually penetrate your pores because of the heat from your hands, and will remove any dirt in the pores. After few minutes of massage, you will actually be able to see black and white heads on your fingers, YES YOU DO and that is when you realize why this product is better than any other cleanser in stores. I keep massaging my face until I do not feel any more black or white heads coming out and the skin feels smooth under my fingers.

A word of caution here, please do not get carried away and start massaging your face like you do laundry. This is your face, not your enemy’s so go gentle and smooth and press on the skin while going slowly, alternatively clock and anti-clock wise. The areas I mostly focus on is my jawline, because this is my vulnerable zone since I last got tested for PCOs and got positive results back. The cheeks are also more vulnerable.

After 10-15 minutes, depending how deep cleansing your face needs, take a facial wash cloth and dip it in to bearably hot water and start wiping the excess oil off the face. By now your cheeks should be rosy pink or red and your face would actually look cleaner and fresh.

Step 2: Exfoliate:

I have been using this scrub by St. ives which is actually for blemish prone skin. I will be writing a review for this product separately but you can use your daily or weekly scrub whichever suits your skin the best. I have used sugar scrub too for this step and ubtan at times too.Gently scrub the face for few seconds and clean your face with plain water.

St Ives apricot scrub

Step 3: Massage:

I use another massage cream for skin glow and production of collagen in skin but you can skip this step as well since you already massaged your face in the first step. However, if you are liking the glow resulting from the step 1, then take any other massage cream specially for face and gently massage in upwards and outwards direction. This increases the blood flow to your freshly cleansed skin and makes your skin glow from inside.

Step 4: Toner:

I wrote a post about the importance of toner for oily skin. I have been using this toner twice everyday for my skin without any problems like over dried skin or skin allergies. You may use the toner that suits your skin.

Step 5: Face mask:

Mud masks have their unique properties when it comes to oil control and pores cleansing. You may use any face mask from using the veggies in the fridge to using the mud mask, but my favorites are the green clay mask, comes in Freeman Clay mask with avocado and oatmeal or the fuller’s earth mask which is available under different brand names like saeed ghani’s or soft touch etc. These clay masks have ability to cleanse your pores and absorb extra oil from the face however I do not use them very frequently because I do not want to over dry my face.

Step 6: Peel off mask:

This is also an optional step. I use again the Freeman’s cucumber peel off mask because cucumber is soothing for skin and the product is good for peeling off any dead skin or blackheads or white heads which I might have missed in earlier steps.

freeman masks

This routine can be carried out weekly or monthly, depending on how often your skin needs cleansing. The freshness on your skin will be evident in coming weeks once you pay little time and attention to your skin. Take care of your skin and your skin will take care of you.

x ZB

DIY Toner for oily and acne prone skin

Published May 12, 2015 by zzdreamerzz

Toner is the most underestimated and underrated step in the skin care routine for most women. Most women consider this the least desirable and least bothered step in their morning and night routine but the impact is obvious. Toner is specially very important if you have oily skin. If your skin is irritated easily, you are in trouble because most toners with harsh chemicals would be irritating it more, causing inflammation and over dryness resulting in more damage than good.

As I have mentioned in several posts, my skin is oily, irritable and inflammation prone with occasional hormonal acne. My basic skin problem is skin rashes, skin allergy and inflammation which is caused for any reason from blackheads to heat pimples. This is the reason why I had been among the women who do not use toner because of the irritation it might cause. But lately I have been using my homemade toner morning and night with good results which is, no skin irritation.

What you need:

  • Apple cider vinegar ( I’m using the organic one by American Garden)
  • water
  • empty bottle

Ratio for mixing:

I have initially used 1 part pure apple cider vinegar and 1 part water in winters through spring but this time when i made my second batch, I used more than 1 part ACV and 1 part water (making it stronger since summer is here thus, more oil on skin). DO NOT USE PURE ACV because its too harsh on sensitive skin and will cause excessive dryness in few days.

How to apply:

Take a cotton swab, soak in the mixture and apply it gently all over your face. Keep it on a blemish or inflamed skin for a while to reduce swelling and redness as well. Repeat morning and night after cleansing and before applying moisturizer or sunscreen.


AVC is good for balancing the pH of the skin, thus good for acne prone skin which mostly occurs due to bacteria flourishing on the surface of the skin.

The redness which occasionally appears because of several reasons I mentioned above, is also visibly reduced when I leave the cotton swab soaked in the mixture for a while.

Visible reduction of pore size after application.

x ZB

Product Review: Maybelline Colossal Kajal 12h

Published May 12, 2015 by zzdreamerzz

My friend had been going on and on about this new kajal she was also using as a top eyeliner and kajal. Her point of view was that this is the only eyeliner she has ever used which does not end up smudging all over her crease since she has small eyes and as a result everything on the lash line goes on top of her crease within minutes.

Colossal Kajal 12hMaybelline Colossal Kajal Black

As you can see, the tip is not designed to be used for creating winged look

As you can see, the tip is not designed to be used for creating winged look

intense black

intense black

after rubbing intensely

after rubbing intensely

I bought this product and within few hours  realized this is the most over rated product of the year. Here are my reasons why I will never buy this product again or will not recommend it to anyone:

1: Its a pencil eyeliner/kajal. If you want to line your top or bottom lash line, there will be no wings. The pencil is thick enough to not allow you to make a wing.

2: The product is too less for the price. 24M for Rs. 300 is not worth it in my eyes specially if you are not even going to get a winged look.This makes it just like an ordinary pencil liner, which lasts longer than this product and gives almost same results if you apply it carefully.

3: If you use the kajal/eyeliner on a daily basis, this product will last you less than a month.

4: Its meant to be a kajal, but it looks better as an eyeliner than if used as a kajal. Somehow it does not give that intense look like we get from applying Rani kajal or other kajals inside the lower lash line.

5: Since the product does not smudge, you can not use it even for creating a smoky look.

These reasons are enough for me to dislike the product since I use the eyeliner on a daily basis and I do not believe in lining your lash line without a wing to be honest, who does?

However, there are some good things about this product too.

1: The intensity of colour. Both black and turquoise give you an excellent colour on eyes which the product promises.

2: The product IS smudge free. It won’t budge throughout the day. It will not fade. It will not make you look like a panda by sticking to your crease and its water-proof.

3: Its very easy to carry around with you.

I can not say anything about 12 hours time promise because my make up is usually washed away far before 12hours since I can not NOT wash my face for so long.

This product is not even my least favourite. Its not even on the list. Its a useless pencil lying around in the bag, the kind of stuff you use when one day you forget to put eye make up on and you all of sudden have to go somewhere so you take this out and quickly add some drama to eyes while waiting on a traffic signal. This product does not hold any other significance in my makeup world.

x ZB

Hair care: Aloe Vera mask for hair

Published March 29, 2015 by zzdreamerzz

Aloe Vera is well known for its medicinal properties. There is hardly an old aunty who can’t give you at least one home remedy for this gel. Aloe Vera plants are easy to grow at home and the gel is available at chemists’ too. You can use the gel for glowing skin, for keeping your diabetes and blood pressure under control but for me, It’s the best thing that ever happened to my hair.



I have been using the aloe Vera gel as hair mask for over 6 months, once a week. (Ok in all my honesty, sometimes I forget it for three to four weeks at a time, but not longer than that). The gel is messy to extract from the leaf, it’s gross to put in hair but hey it’s worth it.

What it has done for my hair:
Thickness. Yes I know we all are suckers for thick hair. I have naturally thick hair but since they fall out a lot, I have thick hair, lesser in number. You can picture that. So for me, controlling the hair fall is great deal unless I want to end up bald in next 3 years. This gel has helped a lot with hair fall. My hair obviously started coming out less since I started using this gel. I’d also like to mention that I’ve been using Dove hair fall rescue shampoo to wash this gel out. So may be it’s both, but as long as the bunch of hair that come out every time I brush them, I’m willing to keep trying this. Every time I grab my hair to tie them into a bun or a pony tail I can feel the difference in volume. Yay. So much for hair growth at my age. duh!

I love my hair long. Ok! Sometimes I just go for a blunt shoulder length hair cut but just three hours after the hair cut, I start missing my long hair. 1, you can make tens of kinds of braids with long hair. 2, long hair look beautiful if you are heavy built like I am (fat is the word I’d want to use but won’t) 3, well, long hair are attractive and pleasant on eyes too. Oh Well *rolls eyes*

This hair mask has helped me in growing my hair about 10 inches (before I got them cut up to my shoulders, AGAIN). I admit they got 26″ LONG in matter of 6 months after I got them chopped last year in April. I got them chopped AGAIN just recently and now the aloe mask is back in my head, well, because you know.

how I use it:
I cut the longest leaf, from the bottom of the plant, because it contains the most gel and it’s the oldest and richest in nutrients. Then I wash the leaf and cut a small piece off it and cut off the sides and top side of the leaf, exposing the gel inside. Then I rub it on my scalp till there is no gel oozing out of the leaf. Then cut another piece off and repeat.

Do try the mask, it will take sometime but it will be worth it.


The horrors of Peshawar School attack, that haunt me!

Published January 12, 2015 by zzdreamerzz

You have to be brave, as a teacher, because if you are panicking, the kids will panic.

You have to be alert, follow your instincts if anything happens and stay in control.

These are things I have been hearing in meetings, for about a month.

One month since the schools have been abruptly closed. I always say happy holidays and good bye to my kids before I leave after taking my last class with them on last day before the winter break. This time we couldn’t say good bye since we didn’t know we won’t be seeing each other again for a long time.

The security plans, the threats, this that and the other, all in place and the more its talked about, the more it disturbs me. I live several miles away from Peshawar APS school that was attacked, yet, being in the same country, fighting the same war & facing the same risks, I feel mentally drained, losing sleep over things like “what if”.

There have been training, security briefings, meetings with security personnel, who can not admit on our faces that if anything happens, we are basically on our own. No plan or measures can ensure 100% security and safety.

In mornings when I dress up, I start thinking if I will die in this same dress. Will my shirt be splashed with blood? Will my parents be able to find out which hospital I have been taken to by rescue ambulances? Will I ever wake up?

I can’t sit in the classroom while decorating the window for the next theme or while sorting the piles of readers out, without thinking, what if…. where will I hide? how many kids will I be able to save by this route? If I lock the door from the inside, will that help? May be I can talk to them and plea that my kids are too small, they are barely 7 or 8, so please leave them. May be they leave without harming any of them. May be not. May be I survive the wounds because I’m stronger, but they can’t with their fragile bodies.

When I stand on the prayer mat, I keep thinking about all these things, as if making a plea to Allah. When I raise my hands in prayer, I can’t ask for anything for my future, new job, more salary, true love, three kids of my own…nothing. I can’t think about future. I just pray that I can save my kids and come home alive.

Death is easy I’m told. You won’t feel a thing if shot point blank. I’m actually more scared of living through the horrors that will haunt me for the rest of my life. The kids screaming, fires shot, blood, lives lost, how will I ever move? What if I freeze in my steps in that moment and later regret it forever, if come out alive.

This is not our war we are paying for. Few politicians ruling this country made a mistake and no one after that tried to re evaluate and fix that. Since then this nation has been paying, with blood and lives. Now its paying with their kids’ and their dead bodies.

God help us all & keep us safe before I lose all my sanity…Ameen

x ZB


Published December 24, 2014 by zzdreamerzz

There is something about this time of the night. There is something like a black hole which opens up in your memory regions at this time.

The person you can’t stop thinking about at 3am is the person who matters the most to you.

Honestly I have never had my head swarming with so many questions in the light of the day that I do at odd hours of the night. What is the relationship of daylight with our mental processes?

Sometimes I think I have come a long way and sometimes I feel like I am still unable to answer the questions I kept asking in the initial days of self discovery.

Share your experiences about this dark hole in memory regions at 3am

ZB x

Coconut Oil for Hair <3

Published December 23, 2014 by zzdreamerzz

I remember when I was a little girl with the most thick and beautiful hair I have ever seen, my mum followed a strict hair care regime; coconut oil every week. Back in those days daddy would bring bottles of Parachute coconut oil from Dubai and mum will pour it in my hair. I loved the smell. Sometimes I was amazed by how it was frozen to a white solid in winters and we would put it in sun for it would melt and be usable again.

After several years and losing several strands on my head, I have started following the same regime again; coconut oil heated in microwave for few seconds, massaged into scalp and ends of hair for few minutes and left for an hour or so, before EVER SHOWER. Yes, every shower. I would give you a reason why.

In winters, when we wash hair with hot water, the hair, just like skin, lose most of the moisture. The dry ends make me feel like chopping them off. Since hair are down in winters too, the dried ends look even worse. After following this regime for over 3 months, I have noticed following results:

Smooth hair from root to tip. They are so smooth and silky soft even though I wash them with hot water.

Easy to style. Since I’m blessed with the kind of hair that look good anyway, brushed, unbrushed, tangled, untangled, some mornings I would just get out of bed, put my make up on and don’t even touch the hair because they look fine just like that, this is a blessing if the hair are manageable and less fuss.

Growth. The  most important factor since i’m past the point where you don’t have to worry about your hair growing beyond a particular point at your back. I have never been very fond of short hair. Long hair are a weakness for many including me. I got my last hair cut in April which resulted in hair barely touching the shoulders (yes I chopped them off because of dry and split ends ), and now in December they are below my waist line. My hair have grown over 10 inches minimum in 8 months time which is a biggie since I have lost the hope for my hair after the terrible bleaching and over exposure to hair coloring, ironing and curling back in 2006-2010.

This has been the experience so far which I decided to share with you. Please try this for your hair. Aloe vera hair mask reviews coming up soon.

ZB x


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