My clean-shaven head gave me one less reason to be perturbed through the lockdown, as I didn’t have to worry about salon woes. But the stubble still doesn’t groom itself, and skin always needs pampering. But hey, if you aren’t taking care of the largest organ on your body — again, it’s skin — then are you appreciating the gift of life enough? These then have been my go-to products for self-care during the lockdown.

ARATA

Arata is an all-plant based range of products, vegan and cruelty-free, as also gender agnostic. I have enjoyed their shower gel, body cream, and face wash, and now I am going to up the ante by getting their toothpaste too. The aromas were always soothing and natural, nothing too forced or heady. Premium packaging at modest prices, this is a good homegrown effort.

THE SKIN PANTRY



The Skin Pantry has a great range of very premium products — vegan, cruelty-free, and organically farmed plant-based. Go for their body milk, and face moisturisers. They aren’t cheap, but they are a worthwhile investment.

SUNBLOCK



The earning of the lockdown has seen us all get out to walk, cycle, or run, and all three mean sun exposure. My go-to product here has been the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch. Then there is Sun Fluid by Forest Essentials, a natural materials based product, but heavy perspiration will wash it right oƒ. Sports Sunscreen on the Ustraa site is a paraben and sulphate-free option that fared much better. Most of these are SPF 50, or higher.

SKIN ELEMENTS

This is another good homegrown brand. The two unique products that I love are the anti-chafing cream (which is excellent for sports activities in areas where friction and seat can lead to a painful rash), and the hygiene wipes (well, they were even more relevant when travel was more frequent, but now they accompany me on all road trips).

MANICURE SET

Beauté Secrets sells extensive kits, but if you find that excessive, you can compile a set (like I did), and here is what you need in order of what you will keep longest to what you may replace quickest: Victorinox and Zwilling make great clippers and nail files, Tweezerman for tweezers, and just about any buƒer you can find online.

PAHADI LOCAL

This is another autochthonous favourite, and their Himalayan clay mask and apricot meal scrub became excellent face care regimens during the lockdown. Naturally sourced, hand-worked to grind or sift, they are low-intervention products with time-tested benefits. Or, otherwise put, given their chemicalfree origins, you can’t come into any harm using them. The Lake sediment salt face wash is very unconventional and yet, quite rejuvenating.

PHILIPS ONEBLADE

Every time I hold this device, the line ‘One Blade to rule them all’ oddly echoes in my silent conscious, like some hallowed announcement from above. It’s a small little thing, but does a brilliant job of shaving or stubble maintenance. It feels and moves like a regular shaving blade, so the handling feels much more intuitive than other trimmers. The blade is sharp and lasting, and not frightfully expensive to replace. It’s just a tad noisy, but it works surprisingly fast, so one really won’t need it on for too long.

XIAOMI MI TRIMMER

Although it’s more conventional in shape, it has excellent battery life and super pricing. What I like about this model is that it has a unique locking system, so that the machine doesn’t accidentally come on in your packed luggage, and discharges completely en route. Travel might be curtailed for the moment, but I was tired of arriving at my hotel for short trips and finding that my trimmer was juiced out, and I hadn’t carried a charger for the sake of compactness.