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10 Things About Hair Smoothing Treatment That You Should Know




Hey Gals and Pals,

You would have seen on my Snapchat and twitter about my latest outing to JCB for a hair treatment service. I have been to JCB some two weeks back for a Cysteine treatment. If you recall, I had a partial cysteine treatment done on my hairs this January by Juice Salon and it was a good experience.

I have to turn down some complimentary Hair Spa including the one with Macau Tourism and one for Fusio dose as I wanted to get the Cysteine done before my wedding anniversary :)

Why Cysteine: Off late due to stress, water among other issues, my hair quality have gone down. They have become dry, rough and thin. I wanted to bring back the original shine and sheen but on a long term basis. Hence, having tried Cysteine once,I wanted to go for it again. However, my regular stylist Athing at JCB suggested me to try hair smoothening or smoothing for a longer term effect. Oh yes, my Cysteine got worn down within 2 months 

Hence on Athing's recommendation, I went for Hair smoothening treatment. You can watch the entire treatment at my YouTube Channel or here-



Here are 5 things about Hair smoothing that you may want to know


1) Chemically loaded treatment: It is a chemical treatment for hair unlike Cysteine that has lesser chemical in comparison

2) Different than hair straightening: Hair Smoothing is different than Hair Straightening as it does not really change the natural structure of your hair but reduces frizz and makes it softer and shinier. however, some smoothing treatment do break certain parts of your hair bonds and glue them back in a sleek pattern

3) Duration: The stylists will claim that hair smoothing will last for 6 months, however, the best results lasts only till 4th month. Since I got one done, I am going to monitor and share my experience with you all

4) The Process: Smoothing process esp the one that I had, goes for 3 hours. It starts from hair wash followed by blast dry. Then the cream is applied on your hair and kept for 30 minutes before the rinse. Rinse is followed by another blast dry and hot ironing that lasts 30-40 minutes. Post which, a neutralizer is applied on your hair [from scalp] to close the pores. Keep the neutralizer on hair for almost 10 minutes. Post 10 minutes, go for rinse and blast dry using a paddle brush. The look is finished with leave-in serum.

5) Cost: Hair Smoothing costs starts from INR 3000 to INR 10000 depending upon your hair length. I have shoulder length hair and JCB charged me Rs 8000 plus taxes [sob sob]. However, you can try some other local salons that charge lesser say around Rs 4k-5k for the same.

6) Risks and Side Effects: They are chemically loaded and some products contain formaldehyde. You need to check the products for chemical composition. Your stylist may say that it is "free of formaldehyde" but it may not be. Formaldehyde is more of gas that contains methylene glycol, formalin, methanal, and methanediol—ingredients that release formaldehyde when heated or mixed with water. It is more risk to the people who work with it than you and hence exposures needs to be limited. Since salon treatments don't require FDA approval, you need to do your own due diligence if you want a formaldehyde-free service. 

We mentioned Formaldehyde above and an inclusion of it could cause nausea, headaches, teary eyes, skin rashes, throat, and nose irritations. I had nausea, severe headache and wheezing post this Wella Smoothing treatment at JCB that could also be accorded to weather change. This was a learning curve for me.

7) Post smoothing care: It is not a standalone treatment but requires due care including the duration of hair wash, oiling etc. It may be exhaustive and hence I will do a separate post on it.

8) No Major Loss in Volume: Unlike Cysteine, this process will just ease out your frizzy hair and make them softer and shinier. Except for the initial week when you hair may look flat post the treatment, they will come back to original volume post 2-3 washes, signifying the cut/waves that you may have. 

9) The Frequency of the Treatment: You will indeed love your hair post-treatment and when it starts wearing off, you may feel the urge to re-do it.  I am not saying do not do/repeat smoothing treatment. Do go for it but do not get it frequently. In my humble opinion, you should not do smoothing more than twice in a year. 

10) Smoothing is an alternative, not a solution: A lot goes behind keeping your hair healthy . It can genetic, lifestyle, diet, fitness or so. Thinking that one treatment will solve all your hair problem is unfair. You need to substantiate your quest for good hair with a good diet, proper lifestyle and good level of hygiene. 

Haute Kutir Views: 
Anything chemical or unnatural, have their own side effects. If a cream can change the look of your hair, they will also have a changing impact on your hair cells. Sometimes smoothing can make your hair weaker and thinner. Well, that can hold true with hair products including shampoo, conditioner, serum and styling products. Hence, be careful and inquisitive about the treatment you are doing. Talk to your stylist and do follow a proper skin and hair care regime. 

Post smoothing, I am liking the way my hair is looking. They look more neat,sorted and manageable. Though I am recovering from my fever and cough post the treatment, I am not linking it totally to the treatment and giving it a benefit of doubt as of now. I am also facing some dandruff and hair fall issue but that is not the first time issues and can also be due to monsoon.

Like I said, it is too early for me draw conclusions. Let me revel in with my hair and in meantime fix dandruff and hair fall issue. I will keep you posted on hair condition. Stay Tuned.

Do try out hair smoothing treatment and let us know your experience. For any query/tips/collaborations, do write to us at hautekutir@gmail.com or tweet #AskEkta for any beauty/hair tips.

Ah! do not forget to #Subscribe my +YouTube India channel

Love,
Haute Kutir



How I TLC My Nails with Sally Hansen #AskEkta #BeautyTips


My Nail Story
Let me confess, I was [err still am] an inveterate nail biter who used to derive some kind of nail-gasm biting my finger nails. You may accord that trait to lack of calcium, an overloaded stress system, however for me, it was the pure habit. The Irony was that I used to have all the lovely nail paint shades, hues, and range in my dresser from brands across the globe but I would barely have any nails to paint as my nail size would never exceed beyond the finger top. So much to the nail chewing till the last possible mile.

Not that I cared much. I grew up a very footloose kind of person who loved makeup but not much on self. Simplicity had always been my signature statement as I would find that convenient, highly wearable and natural to me. It is like I blog about fashion but that doesn't necessarily mean wearing all kinds of cloths, posing and getting my pictures clicked. After all, a doctor need not be patient you see.

Not that I never desired to have those long, well-polished nails like a lot of people around who will get up with a nail paint and sleep with another. For me, hygiene and convenience are more important. More often I would end up scratching my face with my own nails, giving fodders to people's unruly imaginations. However, I was fascinated with the nail arts and in spite of some repeated attempts, I could not manage to grow or sustain all my nails longer and in the same size for a befitting nail art. 

How I worked it out: Nail Gym 
My nail biting and "I care a damn" habits lead me to chipped or broken nails. My attention to details was confined only to my work and personal hygiene and painting my nails were never a big priority for me. and then one day I decided to get some faux nails for a beauty shoot for Navratri Looks.

Officially, that was the first time that I took to gel or acrylic nails and much again my wishes, the beautician decided to make it little longer so as to suit the shooting needs. They looked lovely but the end of the day they were artificial and made me very uncomfortable. Next morning I called up the beautician and got all the faux nails removed from the right hand and for my left hand, I got them trimmed. It took some week to get in peace with them but it was accomplished

My faux nails chose to stay a little longer contrary to the suggested tenure of 1 week, they were my guest for almost a month or two until they started coming off naturally or with a friendly push from my side. In spite of looking glam, the faux nails did another good thing was to bring down my habit of chewing nails or restricted it to my right hand only.

And then I Discovered Sally Hansen Natural Nail Growth Activator


This comes with ingredients like natural botanical, sea minerals, and Vitamins to re-hydrate and boost the growth of nails. This product provides instant hydration to the dry and brittle nails, and you will love the mild growth it brings on your nails.




How to Apply: After washing my hands, I apply at least two coats of this activator at the front, from the bottom to tip and also at the back of my nails. You can also use it on top of your nail paints. Post application I rub them with fingers so to allow it to penetrate deeply into my nails.

It is odorless and I loved the texture. I got it for Rs 775/- long back [13ml]





Nail and Hand TLC with Sally Hansen
Sally Hansen Nail Growth Activator earned its place in my vanity bag and is my favorite nail product, I loved the brand so much that I have teamed it with the Radiant Hands Nails and Cuticles creme. Its a "hand and nails" cream that softens hands, smoothes cuticles and also claims to strengthen the nails. An all rounder kind of creme. I bought this at INR Rs 775/- for 99.2g and used scantily thus far.



How to apply: Squeeze a tiny portion from the tube, apply as needed and then massage fingertips to wrist and then concentrate to cuticles.

Off late, I have got thirsty, rough hands and guess this will provide all nourishment.

The creme has Vitamins- A,E,C, Grape seed oil, and Chamomile. It is totally non sticky and non greasy so far.

This NY brand has won me over and I heard they are No 1 in UK too. I am planning to buy Sally Hansen's 7 in 1 complete Nail treatment next. Heard among it multiple benefits that it also is good as base coat and the top coat, now that is a product that I am looking for.



So got a nail problem? Seeking some nail related suggestions/ advises/ tips/ tricks? Write to me at hautekutir@gmail.com with a subject "#AskEkta" or tweet to me at @numerounity using hashtag #AskEkta

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5 Tips to Keep Your Home Happy & Healthy This Monsoon

source
It is Monsoon time and where there is rain, there will be moisture, seepage, and other problems. In monsoon, it is not just our skin or our hair, but our homes face a great risk from the unruly weather conditions. Hence, it becomes imperative to not just identify the monsoon-related problem but to nip them at bud.


What are these issues? And how could you keep your home protected from them? Well, read more to know more.

source

Common Construction Issues during Monsoon

The three things that you should be mindful and watchful are best summed up as-

Cracks | Stains | Sparks


Here's how they pose a threat to your beautiful abode and how can you identify them to mitigate the risk and Keep your Home Healthy and Happy.

5 Tips to happy and healthy Homes

1) Tame the risks of Electrical Sparks: Electrical spark or fire hazard could be a serious threat. Before the onset of monsoon, get your house' electrical connections thorughly checked and fixed in case of any loose wires or unsafe plug condition to keep fire hazard at bay. If you see a spark even after that or have a slight feeling of shock, get the wires checked and rectified.

source
2) Wall Happy: Tame the Creepy Crawly Cracks. Cracks are inevitable but good news is they can be fixed. Check for the cracks and anything thats exceeds width more than 1/4 inch, fix them up using waterproofing acrylic, cement or Polyurethene. If the cracks are big, get them filled to avoid rain water seeping inside.







3) Attic Happy: A small stain here or a small drip there is fine. however, if its constant, get your attic checked as it may signal a probale issue/damage in the roof. We all know how a leaky roof can disturb your house. It is like an umbrella or a cap over our head. If the umbrella has holes in it, it loses its utility

source:Sherasolutions

4) Wood Safe: If you have wooden flooring and furniture, they need extra caring in monsoon. The high moisture in the air leaves a bad impact or swelling in the wood especially doors. Ensure that you polish or wax them properly to safeguard. Store some neem leaves or camphor balls in your wooden wardrobes. When I can't find them, I use cloves to keep the insect at bay

source
5) Well- floored:  Excessive rain water may make your floor and stairs slippery and dirty. A happy home is not just about clean indoors but is also about clean and hygienic outdoors. Keep the common area cleaned and devoid of mosses and moulds. Use anti skid tiles with lesser gaps

source

Well these were the top 5 issues that our homes faces in monsoon and tips on keeping them in check, or say rain-checked. We all know that "Healthy" Homes are the "Happy" homes.

Home & Garden
by
Haute Kutir

Haute Kutir's Guide for Buying House in Mumbai [Real Estate]

A home is not just a brick and mortar structure. It is our identity, our living pad, a commitment that we have made for us, for our family. A home is not just a monetary investment but has many strings attached to our heart, life, joys, and career. So when you are investing into something that touches so many chords of your life, you need to be careful, diligent and acquaint of what you are getting into. 



Investing in a house in Mumbai
Living in a rental apartment in Mumbai has its own limitations and the ever inflating rentals costs are not helpful either. I have not seen any decline in residential property rates in last 10 years and believe they will continue to upsurge. Are you planning to buy a residential property in Mumbai but not sure of how to go about it? I have something informative for your perusal. Hope they will help you as much they have helped me.

Here are the three things that I think are imperative to consider while buying a house in Mumbai- 

1. Know Your Parameters: I evaluate every property on these five parameters
a.       Budget
b.      Location
c.       Size
d.      Amenities
e.      Possession
Every property that I see, I make note of details under these broadheads.

2    Know Your Priority: From the above 5 parameters, I list the priority in Descending order and evaluate each property against them which give me fair idea v/s the comparison and clarity

3. Know Your Sourcing: There are plethora of mediums like Property Mela, Ads, Real Estate Agents from where you can learn about a probable property for sale. While Word of mouth plays a great role, you always look for a little more credibility as the investment and stakes are quite high. More than the builder’s net worth or credibility, it is also about financial outlook and support. You then start looking for names associated with the projects. For an example, I went to see a couple of upcoming properties in Andheri East on my Birthday via an estate agent that my friend from the industry suggested. The properties that we saw were good but one project was a totally new discovery for us. However when we learned that project is backed by HDFC, we were assured of its quality and merit.

This is where the credibility comes in and this is where HDFC Red comes in.

What is HDFC Red and How Is it Helpful?

HDFC is my preferred banking partner over the years. When I heard about their new initiative called HDFC Red, I could not pass it as just another app but took notice. You can accord that to my new found interest in real estate while looking for suitable properties to buy with my husband or this business strategist keeda in me that wants to go beyond mere what is visible to eyes. 

Unlike a lot of women, I had no time nor patience to go around, check properties that real estate agents want to “showcase” to me, collect brochures [read waste paper printing], spend time with real estate marketers, compile all brochure, compare et cetera. Remembering www.hdfcred.com was easier for me and I was delighted when I opened the website. The landing page has my thoughts talking to me in terms of parameters I were looking at.

In less than 6 clicks which actually filtering down my requirements from no of bedrooms to gauging my spend allocation spectrum to desirable amenities, the portal showed me a list of properties that qualified my “requirement” in no time. 

Here's how-







Open Sesame with HDFC Red

Here’s the final result with options to “shortlist” the ones that I liked and “contact Builder” directly. The list is quite exhaustive. It also shows an under construction redevelopment project that is next to my building with all the details.

The listings had details like-
  1. Cost per square foot
  2. Developer’s name
  3. Floor plan
  4. Total saleable area/ super built
  5. Location details on Google map
  6. Loan calculator 
  7. Fitment ratio or Relevance score to my requirement with a preview of missing element from the requirement. For ex- I selected Lotus Springs by Lotus Group in Yari road [see picture below] the property doesn’t have Sauna as sought by me in amenities that was highlighted at the right-hand corner at the bottom


I liked the portal and do you know it has 24000+ different types of properties, 7000+ new Builders project across 23 cities. The website also has app for both iOS and Android enabling the convenience of browsing at your fingertips. Click the OS type to download the app,

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead, explore and make HDFC Red your alibi while Buying house in Mumbai or any other city of your choice.

Live Haute, Live Beautifully
Ekta

[Picture Courtesy: 1, Rest from HDFC Red website]
_____________________________________________________

Like our content? If you want us to write for you, drop us a mail at hautekutir@gmail.com

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Rainforest Restobar Mumbai, The Launch Party and the Experience

We all love theme restaurants that are done neatly and gracefully. Don't we? Well, I was invited to attend the launch party of the Rainforest resto bar that opened its another outlet in Mumbai at High Street Phoenix mall, Lower Parel.





It was a monsoon Friday and I was invited to the launch and the preview Party. We have been off late doing very fewer food reviews as it gets cliche wherein restaurants looks at you doing reviews at the cost of integrity. At Haute Kutir, we do not believe in Free meals but we believe in doing transparent and straight forward reviews. So why rainforest?

The restaurant theme looked interesting. They have an outlet in Navi Mumbai which has garnered a good name. I wholeheartedly accepted this invitation as it came with grace, humility and promised good company. I am glad that I accepted this invite. If you want to know why? I suggest you must visit them to know more.

The Ambiance
The most striking feature of the place is the beautifully and aesthetically executed theme that gives you a "different and unique" experience as you enter. 

As the name suggests rainforest, this resto-bar is done in an elegant jungle-forest kind of theme. From outside decor to interiors, the restaurant is done in great taste. You enter to a small bridge overlooking man-made waterfall [ a lot like this jungle theme restaurant in Gurgaon Ambiance mall] 





  
It is a great place to hangout with your friends, family or host dinner parties over live music



The Service


It was the day of launch and the place was bursting with guests, their different parties which spell "over-occupancy". Yet the staff was amicable, prompt and attentive. 


Live Music
The resto-bar had a live music band that played Hindi music and music on request too. Not sure if this is a regular feature or arranged for the launch event.



Food and Beverage


Given the excellent ambiance and the theme, I was looking for some intersting food / menu. We tried some pre-select menu that unfortunately wasn't as great as anything else.  I did not mind the over the top delay in serving the food or the fact that set menu for veg was quite a cliche that has- a typical bruschetta, a typical cheese ball and a very bland paneer [another typical]. There was a variety for sure. Bruschetta were amazing, crispyi yet soft. Paneer Angarey were quite bland and chewy. Cheese balls were nice, though.  I also tried the dry veg Manchurian served with falafel.






Main course had Indian bread basket, white rice with Thai curry and biryani. 









The "sabji hussainabdi" was succulent but wasn't very impactful. The Thai curry and rice was comforting and soothing. I liked the bamboo serve wares they were bought in.  By the time Biryani was served, we have lost our appetite.

The desserts were nice but we were quite full with the highly hospitable starters to relish the desserts.

It was the launch day and the menu if not ellaborative, could have been better. Given the theme, I missed that important roast or dum flavor you could associate with it. The beverage was almost missing except for soft drinks and vodka.Interetsingly, the demand exceeded the supply but am not complaining as I was ahppy drinking my room temperature water. The food lacked a big punch though.




Haute Kutir Verdict: Overall, the place was good and an interesting one. I loved the place and can give the food another chance. You can go with friends, family and even host your get together. I would love to visit them again


Our Rating

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 3/5
Ambiance 5/5



The Birth of a Logo- Haute Kutir

Branding and Positioning have always been my favorite reads. I have read few books on them but could always relate to the subject matter. Every time I watched a TV ad or newspaper or any other Media AD, I would often ponder on the creativity, the storytelling, the visuals and more.

The world of branding, communication, and marketing is maddening yet highly addictive. To me, it was more about those colorful pages, glossy designs, and global brands. To me, it was also about the unspoken words that brands used to target, communicate and engage with their audience, consumers and businesses alike.

Who doesn't love great visuals?
If there is anything that speaks volume about a product, other than its superlative quality, it is the impression the brand creates with their advertising, packaging, and other such visuals. Ahoy! this ain't an article on the concept of positioning, designing and merchandising. This is a post on an insider perspective of how "Haute Kutir" was conceptualized and goes behind designing this blog that we consider "Birth of a Dream".

Birth of a Dream- Haute Kutir
I have coined Haute Kutir from the word "Haute Couture". Simply cause the latter was not available and we were neither planning to build just a fashion blog. Hence, we Indianized the phonetic French beauty replacing "Couture" with "Kutir". Besides, we are not all about Fashion you see. There is an element of Beauty, Fashion, Style, Luxury, Food, and above all, all amalgamating into "Lifestyle".



Haute Kutir, a name in Beauty, Food & Lifestyle
When we started certain brands took us lightly saying that we are not complete "beauty-beauty" blog. We refused to narrow it down to a limited label as for us, beauty has many elements that often traverse with each other like makeup, skin care, accessories, leading to fashion, styling and to food and to lifestyle.

After we listed the objective, we needed to work on the design. Having a different idea is not sufficient enough, the way you present is also important. We skimmed through various templates and narrowed down a "pink and girly" shopping theme. Here's a quick preview-





That was October 2013 And the design was quite loved by few. However, we faced some technical issues and given our limited technical and coding abilities, we could not plug different tools and wanted to change

In 2014, somewhere around march, we found a unique template that echoed our sentiments and we had this re-born-




White Background, open spaces, a unique slide down pictures on a page view, neat design with social media icons on top and more.  It has an "enter to see more" functionality attach to it, which kept all detailed layout inside while giving you a clean and neat front page.

I remember we had some of the best content there and irrespective of it, brands and readers wanted to have a more elaborate page with more widget and plug-ins on the front page. The original template design was surely an eye-catcher and no wonder, we saw many fellow bloggers adopting the same template. Flattered? Off course, we were. By the end of December 2014, we felt worn off with this template and much against the time and technology constraint, we re-modeled our blog.

In February 2014, we redesigned the blog into one of the most visually stunning and classy looking templates that we still love. The advertisers, Brands and PRs loved this template and inundated us with great feedback. It was unique, chic, visually appealing, photo focussed and simple to maintain.





We designed our first logo too.

And made it brighter too. The design concept was simple, classy and inclusive. Being my favorite colors, the classy black and white found their place in my logo.

My self-brief to the logo was clear. It has to be classy, contemporary and different. It also has to concur with the fact that - I do not know Photoshop or any other such design tools/ software. Hence, I need to use my imagination, my taste, and website ethnicity and my limited skills. I was indeed happy with what I got, so were some business that liked my design and had incorporated the same for their sites. Imitation is the biggest form of flattery and, flattered we were, we continued with our logo


As time moved, Haute Kutir earned a decent name in lifestyle sphere.I tried to incorporate some magazine style template which did not work and we reverted back to our "kamera" free version. And then we found some design limitation and bugs in our template that we could not fix. I almost bought the template and then changed the mind. Back from our Goa holidays, I re-worked on the logo and gave it a "holiday and new year festivity" twist. After lots of permutations, combination, and our limited design tools, Here's what we finalized-


It replaced the current logo at website banner/ masthead. We continue to use the previous logo in our pictures. Happy with our logo, we moved on to the design and further worked on our template and changed it into present day's template as you can see on this blog. Maybe one day we shall write about what we loved in this new template and what you too should see. As of now, it has remained one of the unique templates around. I worked day and night to make this template work rather outsourcing it.

Why do we not outsource our Design/ extra?
We have a simple funda, if you can not own it up, do not work on it.Haute Kutir was not just another Blog but was born out of my passion, my extensive interest in lifestyle that made me travel and live across different parts of country/ culture/ Lifestyles. Hiring a designer is easier than customization. Notwithstanding the pain of "outsourcing", I have kept the design baton in our hands so far.


New Logo/ Mast Head
Time has come to wear that creative cap again.I have re-designed our blog banner/ logo head and thought of unveiling it here. Here comes our new banner/ logo head for the blog-



Hope you will like it. As usual, the design principal was to "keep it simple and classy". We added a dash of Olive Green to it, keeping with our thrust with the environment.

Important to note-

1) The new logo is original, self-designed and under patent
2) Re-use, reproduction without permission is not allowed
3) This is the masthead and logo at photos, or other such documents may vary [ we will update them soon]
4) The old logos will not get change/replace them from old posts/ socials

-------to be continued

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