Innoxa 8- An Affair to Remember

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Some memories are etched in your consciousness forever. December 1997, a nervous, unsure college student was looking for a new hairstyle. With a cut out from a magazine, that flashed some “hair bangs” as the latest rage, she went to Innoxa 8 for styling. The lovely lady in Innoxa 8 was more than welcoming, putting at ease all her apprehensions and fears, suggesting what would work best but still deferring to the girl’s bang obsession. Today, 17 years later, the two often have a quick cup of coffee at the same salon along with some chitchat. That college student was me and the lady, Ms Neilu Grewal owner of Innoxa 8. Therein began my lifelong affair and association with Innoxa8. And no, thankfully,I did not get those “bangs”!

Today there are plenty of hair stylists and makeup artists, one better and newer than the other.But the ‘90s , when Innoxa 8 started, was the time when the MACs and Kerastase had not yet made their foray into the Indian market ( but for the by lanes of Karol Bagh and GK); when hair stylists and MUAs were rare and hard to come by, except in metros like Delhi. Chandigarh, as far as I can remember, really had no one outstanding. There were the usual Habib’s and Shahnaz Hussains but that’s about it. It was in such a scenario that Ms Neilu Grewal started a high end, yet very accessible salon, Innoxa 8. At a time when bridal makeup was nothing more than a flashy face and dots on the forehead, she used the largely unavailable and unknown MAC for her bridal makeovers, establishing Innoxa 8 as the one stop destination for all beauty related needs.

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The first thing that strikes you on entering the salon is the welcoming feel that the place has to it. I don’t know about anyone else but the harsh lights, artificial ambience of the so called high end salons makes me uncomfortable. That many can also adopt a condescending attitude towards a first time visitor is a further put off. But you find none of that here. Even if Ms Neilu Grewal herself is not there, not only is the lady at the reception counter friendly and affable, so is the entire staff. And yes, the staff consists entirely of women! Yay for women power. In an industry marked with high attrition rate, it speaks highly of the work ethics of the place that very few of the staff, if any at all, have left to join work at another salon. There are staff members that I have been seeing since my first visit.

The USP of the place? Apart from the warm, congenial atmosphere and personalised attention, it is the extremely competitive prices that the place offers without compromising on the service provided. Be it basic services like waxing, manicure-pedicure or specialised services like hair styling, hair colouring, straightening and makeup, the prices and service quality remains unmatched. All hair styling and makeup are done personally only by Ms Neilu Grewal and now also by Rabia Grewal. This, I feel is the primary reason for the quality being maintained- what effectively matters is not the brand name per se but the hair stylist and the MUA. And here it is the two ladies themselves only who are the stylists and MUAs.

The achievements and accolades Ms Neilu Grewal has to her credit are many, having been featured in many national magazines and newspapers. Rabia Grewal , who trained under Paul Mitchell in Melbourne, has already made her mark having worked with fashion shows like Zara, Vero Moda. Indian Wedding site wedmegood.com has listed her as an approved MUA on their site http://wedmegood.com/vendors/profile/900# .

With ladies such as this at the helm of affairs, can the place ever go wrong? Think not. One may say that my views are biased since I know them personally. However, I got to know them personally after I began visting Innoxa 8 and not the other way around. My relationship began as a customer at Innoxa 8 and went on to become a personal one. That is what the place and lovely ladies do to you- make you a beautiful bride and a friend for life.

For more information on Innoxa 8 you can visit their website – http://www.innoxa8.com/ or their Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Innoxa8/585871698116510.

Rabia also organises makeup classes occasionally. You can keep track on her Fb page- https://www.facebook.com/rabiaspage and Instagram.

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Burst of Happyness Henna Shampoo Bar

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My relationship with this shampoo bar started out something like that of the love-hate relationship of a lead pair in a Hindi movie, say “Dil”. Boy meets girl; egos clash but below all the fights and misunderstandings there are sparks of another kind. After various ups and downs, the duo find their balance, fall in love to live happily ever after.

Okay so maybe that was a bit dramatic but yes that is how my relationship with this lovely shampoo bar evolved. One of the many things that I miss about LUSH is their gorgeous shampoo bars. Here I was hoping that they would introduce more products (I so wanted to try their henna shampoo bar) and they did a vanishing act instead! More on my tale of woe another time. It was in memory of LUSH that I thought of trying this shampoo bar and ordered it as a part of my Bundle of Happyness.

First things first, I have dry hair and this bar is meant for oily hair. Why did I purchase it? Because-(a) I almost always oil my hair prior to shampooing it and (b) because I wanted a henna shmpoo/bar as I think it helps retain the colour of henna.

Here is how my tango with this bar went-

  1. Used it twice, even thrice, after oiling my hair- nada. Oil would not come out. Had to shampoo again with a different shampoo. Since I always oil my hair before I wash, I kept on using it repeatedly like this for quite some time- trying to dance to an inappropriate song.
  2. Used it without any oil on hair- goody!
  3. Used it after applying my favourite Biotique Musk Root Hair Pack, wow…hair never looked prettier and “thicker”.
  4. Used it post henna- same as above- ta-da..love it.
  5. My favourite way of using it now is to shampoo my hair with some other shampoo the 1st time( currently I am using Biotique Henna Shampoo but I tried with Forest Essentials Bitter Orange and Cinnamon Shampoo as well) and for the 2nd time I use this. I’m following it up with Fabindia Aloevera Conditioner but any other conditioner works as well. And my hair is turning out lovely every time- none of the dryness that comes from using a shampoo twice. And we are in love!!

Okay so here is a non-dramatic round up on the shampoo bar.

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Burst of Happyness says this about it-

 

“Product Description

Conditioning shampoo bar for normal and oily hair with Peppermint and Rosemary Essential Oils.

Henna is believed to have restorative properties and can be used to bring back health to damaged hair and restore the natural acid-alkaline balance to the scalp. It is also a powerful natural cleanser. It cleanses without disturbing the natural balances.

Rosemary Essential Oil is good for dandruff and flaky scalp

Peppermint Essential Oil creates a tingly feeling on the scalp and is also known to stimulate blood flow to the root of the hair

To Use:

Wet hair – rub bar on scalp in small circles – massage with fingers to create a lather – rinse – follow it up with a apple cider vinegar rinse

What’s in it?

aqua, coconut oil, palmolein, olive oil, castor oil, lye, henna powder, peppermint essential oil, rosemary essential oil

 

Priced at Rs 210/- for a 100 gram bar, it is deep green, almost olive in colour. The predominant smell is not, strangely of henna, but of peppermint. Use it like any other shampoo bar- wet hair, rub gently all over scalp and along length of hair if you have long hair, massage to work up a lather and rinse. You need to be careful not to tug at hair so as to avoid breakage. It lathers well and has a very nice, creamy feel to it. None of the harshness that comes from using even the natural shampoos meant for oily hair. I follow up with a conditioner since my hair is dry but those with oily hair could perhaps skip it, as the bar does not strip hair of its natural oils. Or they could try the apple cider vinegar rinse as recommended. I’ve been using less conditioner than I normally do. The most interesting part is that my fine, dry hair has been looking and feeling thicker solely because of the shampoo.I do not have dandruff or flaky scalp so cannot say anything about how it will work on those problems.

I think it will work very well for those with naturally oily hair. However, it will take a bit of getting used to- the hair feels very different than it does when shampooed with any other shampoo that I have used so far, different in a good way but different nevertheless. My biggest problem with shampoo bars was that they need to be dried before packing up or else they just become a slushy mess. This too needs to be left out to dry but it dries much faster than LUSH bars and is not melting away or becoming gooey in the heat( the way LUSH Trichomania or Lady Godiva bars do).

Overall I think its a lovely bar- a must try for anyone who loves her hair. I am actually wondering if I should repeat this or try other shampoo bars of Burst of Happyness-  Coconut Milk Hair and Body Bar ( which is meant for dry hair) and Beer and Aloe Shampoo Bar. No harm dancing with others even though you are happy with your current partner, is there??

 

Fabindia Clove Gel Face Pack

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Fabindia, for a long time meant only lovely clothes and home decor items. A few years ago I chanced upon their Sesame Hair Oil and loved it. Ever since, off and on, I have been using their skin and hair care products and quite like them.

Clove Gel Pack is an anti acne pack specially for oily skin that I picked up a while ago, battling as I am with acne since, what feels like, ages.

The pack comes in typical Fabindia plastic tub. It is a whitish kind of gel, that on application is a clear, invisible gel. The first thing that hits you on opening the tub is the strong smell of clove ( laung). Clove oil has been recommended as a natural treatment for acne but pure clove oil can cause burning and leave behind an ugly mark especially if you over do the application in a hurry to get rid of the ugly bump. Believe me- been there, done it!

DSC08822The directions are pretty simple- apply on clean face, leave for 10 minutes and wash off. On application, the pack gives a tingling sensation that can sting a bit depending on how sensitive your skin is and if you have applied it to any burst acne( please don’t). The tingling however does settle down in a while. In any case,it is better to do a patch test and see how it works for you. You could even try from one of the sample tubs in the Fabindia store before purchasing it.

On application it is a clear gel, quite like the anti acne spot treatment creams. It is advised to wash it off after 10 minutes but I have left it overnight (forgotten initially and later consciously left it) and it didn’t do any harm.

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As for its effectiveness, yes, it is quite effective. It does control the excessive oil and while it may not make the acne disappear immediately, it does reduce the size and redness. I have left it on as spot treatment overnight and found the acne much reduced by the next morning. I pretty much use it as spot treatment and have found it a good,effective alternate to chemical based anti acne gels/ creams. At Rs 150/- for a 50ml tub it is very reasonable specially since you need very little of the product. The product is not completely free of chemicals ( is any product totally free?) but fairly so and is against animal testing. A good product for those plagued by acne and looking for natural alternatives.