Beauty at Butala Emporium

For those of you who have followed my beauty rants and raves, you know that I occasionally talk about many of the random Indian beauty tricks, remedies, and products that I indulge in. Some of you have asked where to find certain products like eyeliner and hair oils. I usually don't have an answer since it's hard to find certain products in the U.S. But now I do! I recently discovered that one of my favorite stores in Little India, Butala Emporium, has significantly expanded its selection of hard-to-find Indian skincare and beauty products.

Butala Emporium is a huge, treasure chest of a store on the corner of 28th Street and Park avenue. It's one of those wonderful places where you can stroll for a long while before you realize you need absolutely nothing from there. It carries imported Indian goods including furniture/home decor, religious items, magazines/books, music, and other randomly fun stuff that you can't find anywhere else.

But Butala's greatest strength turns out to be its selection of skincare and beauty products. This includes: a wide variety of hair oils, body/facial oils (including rose and almond), soaps (like sandalwood and lavendar), ayurvedic skincare products (from the Himalaya Herbals and Biotique lines), and makeup (including popular eyeliners) from Shanaz Husain and Lakme.

I recently picked up a plastic bottle of rosewater for cosmetic use (I use it in face masks and occasionally as a toner) and an herbal facial moisturizer from Himalaya Herbals. Prices vary from the drugstore range to more expensive depending on the type of product.

If you're into these kinds of things or just want to try something different that you can't find at Sephora or Duane REade, you'll find a lot to choose from at Butala. Butala Emporium, 108 E 28th St., (between Lexington Ave & S Park Ave), New York, NY 10016; (212) 684-4447

Back in Business

With a vengeance! After spending the last few weeks listening to environmental health science lectures on my IPod and genuinely trying to do some good work at the office, I kicked off the impending New Year with Essie nailpolishes on sale for $2.00 at Duane Reade. Got them in Decadent Diva, a wonderfully deep, metallic purple and Alligator Purse, a crisp red-orange.

Other than the ridiculous great price for otherwise $7.95 nail polishes, I picked these two up because I may have finally understood the value of good nail polish. After the NYC version of Decadent Diva ($0.99) chipped within 24 hours, I was also starting to reconsider my various Brucci buys as well ($1.29). Brucci is cheap and reliable with a decent top coat, but I missed some of the scrumptious colors and finishes of past manicures. I was especially craving Alligator Purse.

So it was fate that it happened to be one of the colors on sale, and I had to go for it. I feel good for having bought a few higher quality nail polishes so cheap, and if I notice enough of a difference in how long they last, I may consider investing in better ones in the future.

I know I sound like I'm 12 and trying to figure out how best to spend my allowance money. It's still something like that, sadly, but in many ways, I like the challenge! Hopefully I'll have more cheap thrills to share soon.


Hair Attachments

I recently discovered one of the greatest inventions ever. My hair dryer's nozzle attachment. Seriously. I don't know when and how I fell so behind on such things but I really can't live without this baby. If you have thick, frizzy hair like mine, try blowing your hair with and without one to see the difference.

Hair is naturally easier to handle during the colder months and I practically want to kiss mine every winter. It does what I want it to, and then some, often all on its own. I generally don't have to worry too much about it after one or two good blow-outs for the week. But the nozzle gives the ends a special something that I can't achieve with just the hair dryer alone. And my hair genuinely dries much faster - even in the tropical conditions of my studio!

I know I'm obsessed with something when I go back to my parents' place for 2 nights and feel the need to take it with me. I did this over the Thanksgiving weekend only to have my worst fear confirmed - the nozzle didn't fit my old hair dryer. Luckily, I had my Solano Sapphire straightener to smooth out with the plain old dryer couldn't, but I generally don't like that stick straight look so I kept its use to a minimum.

It's a miracle I don't talk more about my hair since I guess it is one of my better features. I wish I had more to share on what I do with it, but I don't. If you want to know the secret to having good hair, it's doing nada. I barely wash it, brush it, or condition. I don't even oil it much lately. And I'm forced to blow dry it more because of the weather.

I do, however, spent excruciating minutes plucking out the gray hairs starting to form a halo around the back of my head.

If anyone has a cure for that, do tell.

Sick of Shiny Lips

No, this is not a product review. It's been a good few months since I actually complained about something or expressed general confusion/frustration/indecisiveness about my face and how it looks with product on it. But this week, I couldn't help but decide that I'm sick of shiny lips. Even slightly shiny ones. So I stopped applying the oh-so wonderful Cover Girl lipstick I last wrote about. I was starting to feel like I had just sampled the grill section of the hospital cafeteria, polished off by a chicken wing and fries. I was also starting to feel that the slightly shiny effect was kind of jarring under fluorescent lighting and on mygenerally sleepy-eyed face.

I opted for an interesting mix of Clinique Soft Shine Lipstick (discontinued, I believe) in Glow Bronze and my trusty Maybelline Moisture Extreme in Plum Sable. I just can't stick to any one thing it seems - I always have to mix things up. Not surprisingly, this was a nice, sophisiticated, and muted look without achieving the dreaded "nude" lip - remember, I don't want to look dead. Try something similar - it's purdy.

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