10 Amazing Drugstore Beauty Products That I Swear By

Many women have an entire arsenal of beauty products, much of which come from specialty stores like Sephora & Ulta, including me.  Today, however, I wanted to share some of my favorite cost effective & more importantly results-driven products that I always pickup from the grocery or drugstore.  Much like their higher-end counter parts, these products are effective, deliver on their promises and seriously affordable!  I always have these in my arsenal and they could never be replaced by a higher end product.  These are the 10 most amazing drugstore beauty products that I swear by and continue to use over and over again.  


This is probably the newest addition to my drugstore/grocery store favorites.  I tend to wash my face twice a day, first thing in the morning and second after my workout.  My regular face wash (although brilliant) is a preventative acne treatment that I don't need to be using twice.  That being said, I was looking for a great gentle cleanser that made my skin feel squeaky clean post-workout sweatiness.  In the past I have used Fresh's Soy Cleanser which is amazing, very gentle, but also a little bit pricey for something I am going to wash off in ten seconds.  After much research I found this fantastic dupe for Fresh's Soy Cleanser.  I love that this cleanser is vegan, sulfate-free, paraben-free and cruelty free!  Plus its made with seriously wholesome ingredients like acai berry, blackberry, rosehips, pomegranate, calendula, chamomile, olive oil and argan oil to name a few.  You can readily find this product at Whole Foods and Amazon and its generally less than $10!  NOTE: a little bit goes a long way, I usually use about a pea size amount.

Next up is one of my "holy-grail" items.  I have been using this product for 10+ years now and I am beyond thankful for it.  Seriously though, I used to have really bad acne in high school & college.  I tried everything from antibiotics to pretty much every face wash at the supermarket (like Neutrogena, clearasil pads, noxema, dove, aveeno, etc).  Nothing seemed to work on my skin.  Finally my mom spotted this face wash at Costco and thought I should give it a try (this was back in 2006).  At first, I used the 3 step program of face wash, toner & moisturizer.  Within two weeks my skin cleared up.  Twelve years later, and I still use this EVERYDAY.  I use this as my daily cleanser but this product is also great at stabilizing my skin when I travel.  It is readily available in drugstores, Target, Amazon, Walmart & Costco.  NOTES:  this product does discolor colored towels so use with white towels!

10 Amazing Drugstore Beauty Products for Less Than $10 Charisma Shah

This next item has been a regular in my makeup bag since I was in middle school.  It was the first mascara I ever used.  18 years later, I still swear by this stuff.  Lets just say that I purchased the Charlotte Tilbury False Lashes Mascara which I tried once and haven't used since because it smudges & smears SO bad.  This mascara however is more reliable, creates the same voluminous fake lashes look at about 1/5 of the price and stays put.  I have yet to find another mascara that I like better and can't count the number of times my lashes have been mistaken for falsies when using this product.  Its another one of my "holy-grails" and can literally be found in every drugstore and supermarket.  NOTES:  I am a huge fan of the regular wand (not curved) and in the color Carbon Black.  I am NOT a fan of the waterproof version (which tends to flake).

10 Amazing Drugstore Beauty Products Charisma Shah

This next product is also newer to my medicine cabinet.  I have previously mentioned how much I love the Body Shop's Vitamin C pods which unfortunately were discontinued.  They were so lightweight and really brightened my skin while also diminishing fine lines.  I was in the market for a new VitC product but really didnt want to spend absurd amounts of money.  At the time The Ordinary products were regularly sold out and had yet to be sold at Sephora.  I was walking through a local organic market when I tried a sample of this Vitamin C serum.  I was immediately in love with the consistency and smell (lightly floral).  The next morning my skin was literally glowing and dewy.  I was sold, so I went back to purchase the product pretty much committing to it regardless of price.  When I found out how affordable it was I was shocked!  Another added perk was that this serum has a healthy serving of Ferulic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid (which I am obsessed with), Vitamin E & Aloe to soothe skin!  I found this product at my local organic market but it is also available for purchase here.  P.S.  Also wanted to note that Vitamin C is the second listed ingredient!

Next on my list is another great skincare product - this moisturizer.  I was first introduced to this product a couple years ago when I left my moisturizer at home and was visiting my parents for the weekend.  My mom was using this product so I tried some.  I was immediately impressed with the light as air consistency, ingredients (hello ceramides & hyaluronic acid!) and potency.  I went home and bought some for us the next day.  I am a HUGE fan of moisturizers that are water based (usually have water listed as the first ingredient).  I find that they absorb fast into my skin and keep my skin hydrated without being oily.  Initially I used this product on its own daily, but about a year ago I started mixing in 1 drop of this Facial Oil before applying (this will literally make your skin glow).  This is by far the best drugstore moisturizer and both the HUBS & I absolutely love it. NOTES:  I am not a big fan of the sunscreen version of this, so I use this product when I am staying indoors.  My favorite sunscreen can be found here.

10 amazing drugstore beauty buys I swear by less than $10 charisma shah

Last but not least of my drugstore skin saviors is these bad boys.  Although they are about $1/strip, these are the only product that get every last blackhead out!  The originals strips were great but these charcoal strips are AMAZING.  Seriously that feeling after when you remove the strip and can't even count all the blackheads (kinda gross but unbelievably satisfying like waxing haha).  These are a staple in our medicine cabinet and the HUBS swears by them too!  We also like to keep a strip on us when traveling just in case!  NOTES:  We find that using these immediately post shower (or even in the shower) works best.  Always steam your face immediately before use to get the most use out of each strip!  Also, side note:  the hubs and I have tried at least 4 other charcoal blackhead removing products at this point (freemans, random amazon 5-star review products, bars, etc) none of which have removed as much or made our skin so clean!  We will be sticking with these from now on!

Ok so I am finally done with skincare products.  Next lets move on to hair.  As an Indian woman, obviously maintaining a thick luscious mane is important to me.  I take really great care of my hair - I don't use heat tools too much, I don't dye my hair, and I try to keep my shampoos to no more than 3 times in a week.  That being said, I have accrued some favorite haircare over the years.  Including a shampoo that actually adds volume to my crazy thick Indian hair, styling products that actually keep my dead straight hair curled for 3 days (yep you read that right) and the best detangler for long hair that tends to get crazy knotted.  

When I first went to college, there were so many things I had to buy for myself including many toiletries.  I grew up in the very Indian household in which most everything was bought in bulk, at severely discounted prices and in which I very rarely had a say in.  So when I started buying stuff like shampoo for myself, I was excited to try something new but overwhelmed with all the options.  Personally, I have super thick, long, heavy Indian hair that tends to get flaky in the winter.  It also tends to get flat easily, and oily pretty quickly.  Naturally, I needed a shampoo that could add volume (especially at my roots) without making my hair more oily or adding unnecessary gunk to it and treating my dandruff.  After trying everything from Garnier to John Frieda, I finally just opted for the shampoo that smelled the best.  Turns out it was the only shampoo that actually added noticeable volume to my hair.  I have been using this shampoo for about 8 years now.  I alternate between it and this sulfate-free dandruff shampoo.  

Growing up, I had a really hard time learning how to style my hair.  I was thankfully blessed with long, thick pretty straight hair but that just meant impossible to style.  Since my hair was so thick and heavy, it rarely maintained a heat style.  I can't tell you how many times my mom would curl my hair only for it to fall out by the time she got the last curl.  Thats also post tons of hairspray.  Flashback to a couple of years ago, I went to have my hair styled at a salon for my friends wedding.  The stylist but texturizing cream first to my hair while damp and then styled as usual.  My hair stayed curled for 3 days straight.  I was so impressed, I immediately sought out some texturizing cream of my own.  I didn't want to spend too much so when I found this affordable product I felt confident.  I have been using this cream for about 3 years now.  A little nickel size amount goes a LONG way (I am still on my first tube!).  This is also a great unisex product so the HUBS and I share this when traveling to lighten our load.  NOTES:  I always add this product right before I blow dry my hair and before curling/styling.  With hairspray, any heat style lasts at least 3 days before falling out.  This product does not leave my hair crunchy, but rather touchable and soft with a matte finish.  


With long hair comes lots of knots.  When you add working out, you get even more, some nearly impossible to get out.  I used to use spray detanglers to try and work out the knots in my hair, but they rarely delivered.  Then at the gym one day I got a sample of this shampoo, conditioner & mask.  The shampoo was ok, nothing to write home about, but the conditioner and mask were excellent.  I was very familiar with using ceramides for preventative anti-aging skin care, but I had never at that time heard of their great benefits for hair.  The HUBS and I were both so impressed that we bought both the conditioner and mask.  Although not explicitly one, this conditioner is seriously the BEST DETANGLER I have ever used.  Its honestly quite magical really.  After Indian weddings, my hair has been through too much heat styling, and lots of dancing and therefore lots of knots.  This is the only thing that really gets them all out and it does it pretty much immediately.  It also leaves my hair so incredibly soft. You can readily find this product in most grocery stores, supermarkets, and drugstores.  NOTES:  I massage about a quarter size amount throughout my ends and within a few minutes I am able to comb out my hair with ease.

The corresponding mask is also spectacular.  If you aren't using a hair mask, you are missing out, well rather your hair is.  Hair masks are a great way to add nutrients to your scalp, deep condition & moisturize your hair, and they are so invigorating.  In fact, I much prefer using masks over conditioners.  At $6 or less, this product is a steal, offering ton of goodies for your hair.  Personal tip:  I like to add a couple drops of mint & rosemary essential oils to this before applying.  I also love using this as a long mask, so I wet my hair, massage this throughout and leave in for 10-20 minutes.  I immediately follow this with shampoo.  My hair always ends up unbelievably soft & hydrated.  You can't beat this product at this price!

What I Am Stocking Up On At Sephora's Beauty Insider Sale

Its the most wonderful time of the year.  The Sephora Beauty Insider sale!!  😂  Seriously though, the holidays are usually the best time to buy goodies for others but also treat ourselves.  I wanted to share some of my personal favorites that I will be repurchasing to renew my stash, but also the products I am most excited about trying.  Keep reading to see my favorites, must buys, and must trys!  Also keep reading to find out how to score 15% off your total purchase from today, November 10-15!  


HOLY GRAIL LIPPIES aka stay put, nondrying formula, vibrant color, matte lipsticks that can outlast an Indian wedding or night out with limited if no reapplication necessary.  Umm, Yes Please.  🙌🏽


There really is just something about a good red lipstick...or in this case stain.  When I went for my makeup trial for my wedding, I talked to my makeup artist about using a classic red.  He suggested several different looks that we tried.  I wasn't really impressed with any, so I suggest I just wear what I already owned and had in my makeup bag.  I have been in love with this stain for so long, but the fact that it outlasted my wedding ceremony, dinner and a night of dancing afterwards without a single reapplication makes it EXCEPTIONAL.  I can't say enough good things about it.  Oh, and its pretty affordable.  🙌🏽  CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS LIPSTAIN.



There is just something about this shade.  I am constantly drawn to it and it seems to go really well with basically my entire closet.  I happened upon this shade one day at Sephora and purchased it then and there without knowing too much about the line or lasting power.  Turns out its pretty amazing.  It stays put after being set with translucent powder for hours (one of my favorite tricks for making lipsticks matte or keeping them in place!).  CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS LIPSTICK.



Classic Berry Lip Stain Sephora Beauty Insider Sale Picks


Anyone else a fan of The Holiday.  I love that movie so much, especially the two girls Sophie & Olivia.  Theres this one part of the movie where Sophie wants to know what lipstick Cameron Diaz is wearing.  Ever since then, I have been searching for a great berry colored stain.  Y'all.  This one is amazing.  Non-drying, very pigmented, beautiful color, stays put.  CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS LIPSTAIN.


Ok so this was probably the hardest color to find for me.  It seems for Indian women, nude lipsticks need to have a slight purple undertone to match our natural lip color.  Why doesn't anyone tell you this?!  I always wanted a great nude lipstick/stain but could never find one, until I pickup up my birthday gift at Sephora a couple years ago.  This lip pencil was the perfect nude for my lips.  It goes on like a smooth balm, the color has a hint of sheer, and has a slight shine all of which make it look really natural.  Its also my go to shade if I want to blend lipsticks to create more multi-dimensional colors.  FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS LIP PENCIL HERE.


Many of you know I am extremely picky about scents.  I have the nose of a blood hound and get really bad headaches from strong scents.  My go to's tend to be florals and citrus based scents that are light and airy.  I absolutely hate vanilla (aka migraine maker) and anything "spiced" (aka pumpkin spice, pie, apple spice, cinnamon, etc).  Get them away from me.  That being the case I have just one signature scent that I absolutely love, and its the Chloe perfume.  My parents gave it to me as a birthday gift several years ago.  The only problem is that I can't travel with it, so this year I am stocking up on some Chloe rollerballs (one for my toiletries & one for my purse).  These also make excellent stocking stuffers along with this really affordable Chloe gift set.

If you are looking for a more affordable but similar scent, I would suggest Coach Poppy as a great alternative (not a dupe, but still fresh light and floral).  


and by post workout hair, I mean day 3 just ran a couple miles and I really should wash my hair but my ClassPass cycle is almost up and I got to use those classes so how about I just go another day of not washing?  Sound familiar?  Yea thats me all the time now.  So I rely pretty heavily on this stuff to get me through the week so I don't need to wash my hair as often and I still looks good!  I have tried A LOT of dry shampoos (Batiste, Living Proof, you name it).  This is the only one that actually lifts my hair at the root, absorbs the oil, and smells good without being overpowering.  Seriously, go grab some of this (and while your at it get the travel size too!).  You'll thank me.  

Also sometimes can be found in a two pack here for cheaper!


My mom bought me this primer before we got married, and I love it.  It adds this really natural light dewiness to any foundation, and TBH can be worn alone as a highlighter as well.  It just has such an amazing subtle sheen.  Its been a mainstay in my makeup bag for about 3 years now.  Definitely worth considering if you are shopping around for a primer or highlighter.  


Lets start off by saying I have been purchasing these two products for several years now and have bought too many bottles to count.  Each lasts about 6 months, are my skin saviors, and are absolute must haves in my books - especially in winter.  Oh, the HUBS can't stop using them too.  Click the pictures below to find out more information!


These are the handful of items that I have been dying to purchase (I have already tried them out in the store) but have just been waiting for the perfect opportunity aka 15% off using the code "INSIDER15".  🤗  

Click the pictures for more information about each product.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic week!  Happy shopping!



The Skincare Products I Keep Buying Again & Again.

As mentioned in my previous post, I am skincare obsessed, so much so that I have even gotten the HUBS to care about his grooming routine.  And after extensive research that stemmed back to my anti-wrinkle crusade back in my twenties, these are the products that I use. 

Every.  Single.  Day.  Year.  After.  Year.


This product was a life saver in college.  I had terrible cheek, t-zone, face, back & neck acne.  I would hide from the camera because my face would look swollen from all the zits back then.  I tried everything (except Acutane) back then multiple types of antibiotics, salicylic acid products, creams after creams.  I was already a hairy Indian girl with glasses - acne just made it SO MUCH WORSE.  I couldn't hide because the acne created this radioactive glow about my face.  JK but seriously it was bad.  I had pretty much accepted defeat when my junior year my mom found this at COSTCO.  Deal breaker.  I have been using it ever since everyday.  So that makes about 10 years of using this cleanser.  Yep.  10 years.  

After about a year of using this cleanser my skin stabilized.  I wasn't breaking out at all with the occasional exception (maybe like 6X/year).  The best part is now you can readily find it at most grocery stores, target, walmart, and amazon!

Occasionally I will get a random pimple here and there (ladies, you can relate).  If I am able to catch it early, I just treat it with some of this spot treatment and it goes away within 24 hours.  One of my roommates in college introduced me to this stuff so again I have been using this product for about 10 years now.  I keep a tube in my travel toiletries bag, on my counter, and even in my parents house (just in case!).  

Again this product is readily available in most drugstores, grocery stores, Target, Walmart & Amazon.  

If you haven't read about Hyaluronic acid you should.  This amazing skincare saver has been around since the 80's, helps skin absorb up to 1000X more water (aka more hydrated skin) and has been one of the most effective injectables for a LONG time (hello Juvaderm & Restylane).  

Although HA can often be found in many moisturizers, I have found it to be more effective when used prior to and independent from moisturizing.  Initially, I tried a couple different less expensive products before finally pulling the plunge on this one.   

So why do I consistently buy this more expensive HA?  First, its the only product on the market that is 75% HA in solution - meaning 75% of the serum is PURE 100% HA.  All of the other HA formulas I had previously found were super deceptive by saying they were 100% HA, but in the fine print the percent of HA in solution of the serum was 5% or less.  🤦🏽‍♀️

I have been using this product for 5 years now.  One bottle lasts about 4 - 6 months.  I apply it in the morning right after washing my face and before applying moisturizer.  Sometimes I just apply this alone.  It leaves my skin feeling SO supple and hydrated.  I usually buy it from here, but you can also find it here at Sephora.


As many of you have read at this point, I am not a fan of conventional sunscreens.  I hate the oily feel, and white ghostly residue they leave behind on darker skin tones.  I didn't wear sunscreen until my mid-twenties because I could never find a product that worked for me.  I did some research of products on google.  Basically I was looking for a moisturizer that had hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, and at least an SPF of 30.  That may seem like a lot of demands, but there are so many skincare brands these days, I thought well surely this exists, right 🤷🏽‍♀️?).  Turns out this moisturizer meets every last demand, and more

This moisturizer is the consistency of a gel-like lotion, 1 tube used daily lasts about 4-6 months, and it doesn't leave behind that annoying white film.  If it could get any greater, its ingredients include an impressive amount of great skin savers including Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamins A, C, E, and SPF45.  Boom.

I have been using this for 3 years now.  It is the only face sunscreen I use ( the HUBS uses it too!). I always buy it here, but you can also purchase it here or directly from PCA.  


my daily skincare regimen charisma shah

Occasionally I find myself needed a deeper moisturizer than the one above.  This primarily happens during the winter months, or in extreme climates (like PHX for instance) or chill wind like NYC/BOSTON/CHICAGO during winter.  I got it as a free sample from Sephora right before I moved to NYC.  I tried it out one morning post shower.  The next day post workout, my skin was still hydrated!  From one application!  Oh and it smells like cucumbers 🤗.  When I was living in NYC, this moisturizer was my saving grace during the winter months.  People warned me to be prepared for cold weather by stocking up on leggings, thermal underwear, lots and lots of tights.  But no one told me that you NEED a thick moisturizer for the wind tunnels that will literally cut your cheeks in the cold.  To this day this is my go to winter moisturizer.  


If I am planning on staying in and do not need sunscreen, I tend to use this moisturizer.  Its cost effective (hello drugstore steal), has ceramides & hyaluronic acid (yes please!), and comes in an easy pump bottle (necessary for the HUBS).  I've been using this product for about 3 years now, since my mom introduced it to me.

This moisturizer can be purchased at most drugstores, Target, Walmart, and Amazon.  

**I am NOT a fan of the sunscreen version of this product - I find it to be sticky.


I am absolutely in love with Facial Oil.  I really find it to be a game changer in the brightness, dewiness of my skin.  Every morning I take one drop of this facial oil and mix it in with my moisturizer before applying to my face.  Similarly, 1 night a week I apply this facial oil to my face before I sleep.  When I wake up, my skin has a "glow" according to the HUBS.  


After all my exhaustive research about skincare, the one thing I missed was that nights are the perfect time to let your skin catch up & renew.  For most of my 20's I wasn't utilizing nights, but a about 2 years ago I really started regimenting my nightly routine.  Though its not nearly as thorough as my morning routine, these are the products I find myself continuously buying and using.  


I try to use Vitamin C once week at night.  I find it to really brighten & refresh my skin while noticeably reducing the fine lines I have on my forehead.  I love to really seal this in with my facial oil and seal that in with the cream below haha.  It seems excessive, but my skin is SO radiant in the morning.  When it comes to Vitamin C there are some products that are more pure and effective.  I really loved the Body Shop vitamin C pods (which have been discontinued).  These are the only brand that I have found similar (with similar ingredients) to the body shop ones that I love.  

OMG.  A couple years ago I read this article about how Sephora had a hard time keeping this item stocked.  Naturally I was curious.  I went to Sephora to try the product out for myself.  It felt so good, I immediately purchased the jar.  Let's just say I have a hard time sharing this product with the HUBS.  It smells like roses.  Its a gel cream with small capsules of ceramides in it.  One application made my skin so bright that I have been using it for 2 years now.  I use it about 2X/week.  I probably should be using more, but I am still working on consistency at night.  


I have had so many friends ask what I've been using I figured I'd share.  The best part is that several of these (ceramide cream, deep moisturizer, and the hyaluronic acid) are on sale starting tomorrow at Sephora by using the code INSIDER15!  🤗

As always, be mindful of allergies by testing a product first on a test spot like your forearm.  I have normal to oily skin - these recommendations are based on my skin type.  Hope this helps and is informative!

What are some of your favorite skin care products?  I'd love to hear your recommendations below👇🏽! 

This Must Have For Healthy Youthful Skin

I am a self-proclaimed skincare nut.  It started when I was in my mid-twenties.  I distinctly remember a co-worker saying that, "One day you just wake up and Bam! Wrinkles."  She was so right.  When I turned 25, I started noticing all these lines that wouldn't disappear.  Blah.  So I decided to start taking care of my skin.  

First, I visited a dermatologist.  Based on her recommendations, I tried the most popular items (including RoC, prescription strength retinol, sheer fluid sunscreen, etc).  The RoC and prescription strength retinol made my skin feel itchy, dry and splotchy.  So I stopped that.  I tried an assortment of everyday sunscreens none of which were meant for darker skin tones, so I'd look like a ghost with that whitish filmy residue on my face, or in the case of Neutrogena's fluid sheer sunscreen made my skin feel oily and was only really appropriate for sports.  


I was basically back at square one, so I decided to ask my mom.  We were at that stage in life (still are TBH) where people keep asking her how she can have a daughter my age.  She eats it up.  But in all fairness, she has some pretty amazing skin, so besides just genetics, I asked her what she was doing.  Turns out growing up in a extremely polluted city in India, and never wearing sunscreen a day in her life was working for her.  As she got older she did admit to using moisturizer at least (good job mom! 👏🏽).  

With very little to go on, I was feeling pretty clueless.  And then I discovered the most important part of my skincare routine - PubMed.  Seriously.  Knowledge of the products being used, their ingredients and tested results have really helped guide my skincare regimen.

Anytime you walk into a makeup or skincare aisle, all these terms are thrown at you, each seemingly a must-have, but in reality most are unreliable.   So I started PubMed'ing skincare buzzwords like Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides, CoQE10, etc.  There are so many of these terms that sound dazzingly scientific it can be overwhelming (and 💰💰), but I use my trusted tool to teach me where to start and what the best products were to invest in.  Below is what I have read & learned so far with links to the original article.

Anyone else have too many products to count.  Well much like fashion, I believe its better to have a few power players in skincare, than a completely covered vanity of vague products.  

Anyone else have too many products to count.  Well much like fashion, I believe its better to have a few power players in skincare, than a completely covered vanity of vague products.  


CERAMIDES:  fatty acids that make up the outer most layer of skin.  when they get depleted --> wrinkles start to form (more info here, here, here, here, and here).

COLLAGEN:  oral intake of collagen can increase skin moisture which in turn diminishes signs of aging including dryness.  See here!

GLYCOLIC ACID:  topical use of glycolic acid can increase Hyaluronic Acid and Collagen gene expression.  Check out this article for more info!

HYALURONIC ACID:  when topically applied or oral ingested, hyaluronic acid can help skin absorb water/moisture significantly better which in turn promotes collagen production and thereby can decrease the appearance of wrinkles.

VITAMIN A:  in the form of retinoids and beta carotene can make your skin brighter but also diminish hyper pigmentation (which is more common in darker skin tones) and diminish fine wrinkles.  caution though it can be drying!  Check out this great article about VitA! And this one!

VITAMIN C:  Big freaking deal.  Helps promote collage production which in turn helps fill wrinkles.  It can also make your skin look brighter (here).

VITAMIN E:  comes in lots of different forms both natural (α-Tocopherol) and synthetic (dl-tocopherol).  It provides photoprotection and reacts with free radicals to protect the skin.  it also is anti-inflammatory.  Check out this article for more information!


There are countless skincare products that claim to reverse aging and improve skin quality.  I don't really believe that you can reverse the aging process but I have tried & actively use several products that help keep my skin bright, tight, youthful, and supple - basically keep it stuck at 25 (🙌🏽).  Stay tuned for my next post where I talk about each of favorite result-driven products & exactly how long I have been using them, some of which might even be on sale later this week at Sephora!


It seems like everywhere I look, "influencers" are promoting some product.  #AD.  To be honest, I love that super bloggers like Julia Engel and Arshia Moorjani are wonderful ambassadors to brands like Clarins, Biossance, Laura Mercier, etc and also guinea pigs that let us know what works and what doesn't.  You name it and they have tried it.  And I love trying some of their #swearby products.  But in truth unless they explicitly state so, I find that these #sponsored products are rarely part of their regular routine or "keepers".  When they are, bloggers can't help but brag about them as often as possible.  Take Julia for instance, she absolutely loves these lippies.  Swears by them, and has been sharing about them for quite sometime now.  Clearly she is not promoting them because she's getting paid too, but rather really loves the product.  And when I buy beauty products, thats what I am looking for.  

Not everyone can afford every new beauty product so when it comes to buying them, we want something with major lasting power.  Take facial oils for instance.  They are very sexy and salient right now in skincare but so $$$$.  

DIY Facial Oil Tutorial Charisma Shah

Putting oil on a face that still remembers its jarring-pocked-and-pimple-covered-adolescent-days is not intuitive or enticing.  But as I get older (and as my skin becomes more stable), I have been more open to trying new things.  Plus that day you wake up with a wrinkle is *gasp* scarring and well a blatant reminder that you should be taking care of it.  And yes that means sunscreen EVERYDAY (even when you don't go outside or its raining - I'm talking to you HUBS).  

I guess, my first exposure to facial oils was during my bachelorette.  I was noticing how freakin amazing my friend's skin was looking.  I mean all of us at the time were just shy of 30, and damn - her skin looked supple, buoyant, bright and not at all tired.  I couldn't help but wonder what she was using.  So she told me that she had moved away from cleansers, moisturizers, etc and instead adopted a more simple routine - facial oil.  She made a recommendation and I was literally about to buy it because her skin could have been a billboard for this product, seriously.  But it was like $70 for the tiniest bottle.  And when I looked at the ingredients it was a natural blend (no artificial anything) of like 20 some odd oils - like avocado oil.  Things I could totally buy for a fraction of the cost.  Some were even already in my house.  It just boggles my mind that for that kind of money I could make 30X as much product.  And I could customize it to my skincare needs!

DIY Facial Oil Tutorial Charisma Shah

So I did some research, found some tutorials that basically threw things together and studied the benefits of different types of oil, potency and concentration needed.  I jotted down some notes and well landed on what I like to call my "proprietary blend" just to be fancy :)

The first time I tried it, I showered and put a couple drops on immediately after.  The next morning, the HUBS (blind to my little experiment) said my skin was really glowing.  I thought surely he was messing with me, but my skin was brighter, supple, tighter and rested.  It felt like I had just gotten back from a spa day with cucumber facials and looked like I had eaten a lot of carrots (which also works btw).  

I have been using this blend of oils, actually WE have been using them, for about a year now.  The HUBS was so impressed with my results that he started stealing them, especially during the winter, when our skin is drier and exposed to harsh conditions.  Its become a mainstay in our skincare arsenal.  Not only that, I have gotten the HUBS' mom hooked too!  

my 24K magic blend (recipe below).

my 24K magic blend (recipe below).


  1. 3 drops of Tea Tree Oil
  2. 1 ml of Sweet Almond Oil
  3. 1.5 ml of Squalane
  4. .75 ml of Rose Hip Oil
  5. 10 drops of Frankincense 
  6. 4 drops of Seabuckthorn Oil
  7. 1 ml of Avocado Oil
  8. 1.5 ml Argan Oil
  9. 2 drops of Cypress Oil
  10. 0.75 ml of Jojoba Oil
  11. 2 drops of Grapeseed Oil
  12. 4 drops of Ginger Oil
  13. 15-20 drops of Lemongrass Oil (or until goes into solution)

Check your local TJMaxx or Marshalls for these oils.  I found many of them between those two stores at really great prices.  I also purchased several from Amazon.

Cheers to glowing skin!





I have pretty normal skin (not oily, not overly dry, not super sensitive and no known allergies).  If you do try making this, I recommend trying it on a small portion of your arm to test for allergic reactions.  I did this too, and its simply good practice.  Lastly, my best friend who is also a doctor made a valid point, your body produces its own oil naturally and constant exposure to oil might hinder that process.  With this in mind, I only use this product once a week and always at night before I sleep.



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Chitra is so naturally beautiful, so there wasn't much I needed to do for this shoot.  I groomed her brows using Anastasia Beverly Hill's Dipbrow Pomade in Chocolate.   I lined her eyes with Sonia Kashuk Liquid Liner and used both the L'Oreal Voluminous & Lorac PRO mascaras. Lastly my favorite part - the lips!!  Chitra has amazing honey colored skin, so I decided to go with my new favorite lip stain - Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon.  After applying this color, I added a little bit of Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Bachelorette directly to the center of her lips and blended it outward with a lip brush to create a subtle pink/red ombre effect.  Oh and my super cute makeup bag can be found here

If you missed the original photoshoot of the gorgeous Chitra & my original morocco inspired dress - you can find it here.

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