“A beautiful eye makes silence eloquent…” Tuesday, Oct 25 2011 

… By Joseph Addison

You probably have heard of the saying, ‘A picture speaks a thousand words‘; apparently same is true of your eyes, they say a lot about you.  Well, since your eyes plan on being so eloquent and do all that talking, it is your duty to make sure they are at least presentable.

Having been blessed with (boring) dark brown eyes I made the mistake of wearing brown eyeliner during my college days, which didn’t do a thing for my eyes.  Hence all the eloquence was lost in the process…

A while back I came across a small section in the Bloomingdales magazine suggesting eyeliner colors that enhance ones eyes –

  •  Brown eyes – Navy/dark blue
  • Green eyes – Charcoal grey
  • Blue eyes – Dark brown

Of course these are just suggestions and the basic point is to use colors that will compliment your natural eye color.  For example, I read some place that a black eyeliner makes someone with green eyes look a little scary (unless of course that is the look you are going for).

I, personally, prefer a dark blue eyeliner on the inside of my upper eye lid for the day/work look.  This really helps in bringing a little definition to your eyes.  For an evening look, I use either dark blue or black eye liner and apply it on the lower lid as well.

I think ladies with blue eyes can play around with brown, mauve or plum eyeliners.  And the green eyed beauties can try brown, dark green or plum.

Once you have figured out the color, the next step is to find an eye liner that does not run; there have been many a times where I have ended up with raccoon eyes by the end of the evening.

It took me awhile to find the ones I like; my favorite eye liners are –

Have fun with your make-up!

-Nusrat Shariff

‘Just a Spoonful of Sugar… Friday, Aug 12 2011 

… will make the rough skin go away.’

Alright, alright! I’ll leave the skill of song writing to the experts and stick to things I have a little knowledge about.

So, for the skin you need pure brown sugar and not just any sugar; many brands use pure brown sugar as their base in face and body scrubs.  A face scrub is a ‘must’ in your bathroom cabinet, right next to your face cleanser!  Using a scrub to exfoliate your skin is not a spring cleaning process that needs to happen once a year; instead you must exfoliate your skin at least once a week.  This helps keep pores clear and gets rid of dry rough patches.

I tend to be a little bit of a nag when it comes to my friends and skin care; I like to blame my South Asian genes for that.  South Asians, and sometime Asians, do not have a filter and (at least the older generation) are not sensitive to how the other person might feel, but let me assure you it comes from a good place.

My best friend was a recent victim to this – I have been pestering her to get a facial for a while, as I thought her skin needed some pampering.  Then one day, out of the blue, she tells me she has booked herself facial at the Aveda salon.  Even though I would like to take credit for my nagging skills, it was not I who was the reason for this decision.  It was her nail stylist.

She was getting her nails done at her usual place and all of a sudden the nail stylist goes, ‘Hmmph! …’  My friend asks if everything is alright and nail stylist gives her a sharp look and says, ‘You need facial! Pores very clogged!’  Of course my friend was way too mortified to say anything but immediately made an appointment thereafter.

Anyway, if you want to avoid getting disparaged by your nail stylist about your skin, make sure you unclog those pores by exfoliating your skin regularly.

My favorite face scrub is the ‘Sugar Face Polish’ by Fresh.  This exfoliating mask has brown sugar, antioxidant-rich wild strawberries along with hydrating seed oils that nourish and brighten the skin.

  • Gently massage your (cleansed) face with the scrub and wash off with warm water

(I would like to stress on the word ‘gentle’ because another friend (yes, I have fascinating friends) told me that she does not use a scrub because she has sensitive skin and ends up with scratches.  Ladies, please do not scrub your face, or for that matter any part of your body, like you would the kitchen floor.  Please be gentle with your skin!)

The results are absolutely amazing!

Happy skin care,

-Nusrat Shariff 

Liar Liar Lipstick Friday, Apr 1 2011 

As someone who is risk averse about everything, I have never really experimented with colors when it comes to makeup, specifically the lips; I play it safe and stick to the more earthy/pink tones and prefer lip gloss to lipsticks.  That said, at the back of my mind I have always wanted to get that perfect 1930s evening look – simple makeup with the right shade of red lipstick for that understated feminine and sensual look!

Being South Asian trying to find the right shade of red (not maroon or burgundy but a red) for my skin color was a problem right from the start.  Most of the makeup brands do not have red lipsticks that complement the brown complexion.   From the Chanel counter to YSL, I always got the same line, “Honey, for your complexion I would go with the darker red.”  Yeah, no… I am not looking to buy a maroon (i.e. darker red); I would like a red lipstick, please!

Finally, this past winter I was browsing the newly opened Burberry makeup counter at a Nordstrom in Chicago and was approached by one of their makeup artists.  I brushed him off when asked if I needed help and he responded with a smile, “Don’t worry I will not suggest any maroons or plum-colored lipsticks.”

I think I got the Burberry lipstick just because he said that!  Just kidding…  He actually tried three colors on me and I fell in love with the one I have right now.  Just like Goldilocks!

I am absolutely in love with the texture of this lipstick; it is smooth and goes on better than any other I have tried.

To achieve that 1930s look –

  • First, use a lip liner (I am not a big fan of lip liners, but for this look you will need one that matches the lipstick) to outline the lip and the edges.
  • Then, using a lip brush, apply the lipstick.  Using a lip brush will give you control on the coverage that you prefer.
  • To tie in the look use minimal makeup but definitely define your eyes with black (or any dark) eyeliner on the upper lid and some mascara.
  • And make sure your teeth are nice and white; red lips make your teeth stand out


The lipstick and lip liner are the only Burberry makeup products I have, but I am definitely interested in checking out their other products.  The last I heard Burberry makeup was only available in Nordstrom.  And since there isn’t a store in NYC, Burberry was planning on opening a counter in the NYC Bloomingdales.

Nusrat Shariff

The Day I Fell in Love… Monday, Mar 7 2011 

… with ‘f r e s h’!

Have you tried out www.spaweek.com? If you have not, then I suggest you subscribe to it asap!  The concept of Spa Week is basically like Restaurant Week where in a particular month you can tryout participating spa services for a reduced rate; this is a great way evaluate spas in your area.

I had heard a lot about fresh products but never got around to trying it out.  A few years back when fresh was offering facials during Spa Week (in New York City), my sister booked both of us an appointment.  The moment the Soy Face Cleanser touched my face, I turned into a devotee and there has been no turning back since.

I was never a big fan of perfumed cleansers and had been using the Clinique cleanser; this would leave my skin a little dry and I had to apply a lot of moisturizer.  The Soy Face Cleanser is a clear (no lather) cleanser that leaves the skin feeling, true to its name, refreshed and well-balanced.  The cucumber in the cleanser wakens your skin with a nice smooth feel to it.  This is definitely one of my favorite products by fresh!

Having used fresh products for quite some time now, I have not wanted to try anything else.  If you are in the market for a new cleanser, my suggestion would be to go to a Sephora or a fresh store and ask them for a sample.  You will not see any immediate effects of the product but will get a feel for it and see if it suits your skin.

And be prepared to hear more about other fresh products that I have fallen for…

Happy skin care,

-Nusrat Shariff


Hello! Monday, Feb 14 2011 

I thought my first entry should be a quick look at what to expect from this blog and a little bit about me… so here goes!

According to Ammi (‘mom’ in urdu) it all started when I was 3 or 4 years old, when we lived in Bhutan; Ammi found me standing on top of a chair in front of the sink mirror rubbing a mango pit on my face.  When asked what in the world I was doing, I apparently said, ‘Aunty D told me to rub the mango pit, after eating the mango, and my complexion would be beautiful!’

Though everyone had (and still do have) a good laugh, Aunty D was actually on point in saying that mango is good for your complexion.  Not only is it good as an anti-aging and nourishing agent, it also increases elasticity of your hair and is one hell of a tasty fruit!  So there… ha!

The reason for starting this blog is because after getting asked about what skin care and make-up products I use by my friends, I thought it would be fun to write about it.  I, of course, made sure by asking a couple of friends if I was being overly presumptuous that anybody would really care, and got a definitive ‘NO’.  And as one of them said that it would be for friends (or anyone) who are interested, not everyone.

An Indian background and growing up in the Middle-East has provided me with a whole bunch of tips & tricks of homemade remedies for the skin and hair.  Also, it does not hurt to get a review about a product from someone who is using it as opposed to an Ad by the brand.

Something to know about me is that I really enjoy learning about nature’s elements and love using the basics to take care of my skin.  I feel natural concoctions (made from things that are already available in your home) that are created at home are more beneficial and effective than most of the products off the counter.  That said, I have come across a few products that have worked wonders on my skin.

So, WELCOME TO SKINESSENCE!! And I look forward to updating this blog with something new and refreshing…