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I did not take any pictures when I bought the Forest Essentials Bhringraj Oil as I had no intentions of writing about it simply because this is one oil that has been written about the most. In fact, I can imagine it having some sort of an attitude owing to its popularity. However, as I started using it, it smelt and felt vaguely familiar. Soon I realised that it reminded me of Patanjali’s Divya Kesh Taila that I had used long ago in extreme despair and distress. Hence this post – a comparison between the chic, uber cool Forest Essentials Bhringraj Oil and its poor country cousin, Patanjali’s Divya Kesh Taila. As I sit down to write about these, I cannot help but be reminded of movies like Ram aur Shyam or Seeta aur Geeta – tale of two long lost brothers ( or sisters if you please) who are alike in every way but by some quirk of fate end up in different hands as infants only for one to turn out as smart suave adult and the other, a country bumpkin. Pretty much like these Bollywood movies, these 2 oils are very alike in basics, only the externals are widely different. So how do the two compare?

1. Smell  – Forest Essentials Bhringraj Oil has a distinct smell but is not very strong. In any case, the smell fades after a while and one could call it “fragrance” instead of “smell”.Coming to the country bumpkin, Patanjali’s Divya Kesh Taila, the smell is overpowering and I think most people won’t like it. It’s infact the smell that made me make the connection between this oil and FE’s Bhringraj Oil. Only that the FE has really toned down the smell and made it tolerable. FE smells is, as I said above, not overpowering and it tends to fade and settle in a while. Patanjali oil’s smell is not going anywhere until you wash it off. My family regularly discards my company when I have this oil on, not that I care

2 Texture– The Patanjali oil gives the word “chip-chip” and “oily” a different meaning altogether. Logically it follows then that shampooing it off is not for the faint hearted and is a Herculean task. Even a pro at oiling like me has to be extra cautious that it comes off. You will definitely need to shampoo twice at least. It is a thick, dense oil not as thick as castor oil but quite thick specially in front of the refined texture and feel of the FE oil. FE oil is not very “chip chip” and thus easy to wash off. The colour of the two is, however, strikingly alike. DSC07813C

3.Packaging– Just look at the pictures- do I need to say anything? FE is classy, suave, chic. Patanjali on the other hand is a sorry looking bottle with an equally sorry cap. The paper on it will soon start falling off or just becomes messy. Clearly, fancy or even attractive packaging, as with most Patanjali products, is not its strong point. It does not have an inner stop cap, which can cause leakage in travelling or even spillage. While fancy or attractive packaging is something one can do without but functional packaging would be welcome. FE comes with an inner stop cap that has a hole pierced in it for easy usage and I reckon would hold well in travel.DSC07814c

4.Ingredients– Both oils have Sesame oil as their base and  Bhringraj as  the primary component. Mulethi, anatmool are some other common ingredients.

5.Benefits – FE says, “Nourishing hair oils use the finest-quality herbs to arrest hair loss, promote the growth of healthy new hair, thicken the hair and improve its overall texture”. I finished the 50 ml bottle in about a month and it did help me with my occasional dandruff. Interestingly every time I used this oil, no matter which shampoo I used to wash it off, my hair came out incredibly soft. As for the Patanjali oil, it simply states (in hindi) – “useful in hair loss, greying of hair and other hair problems”. Big words are not its style one could say. I religiously used it years ago when after my son’s birth I was dealing with worst possible case of hair fall and this oil saved the day, and hair, for me. Again years later as I ruined my hair with all kinds of chemical treatments and bouts of dieting, this oil came to my rescue. That it worked in the most hopeless of situations, at least for me, I can vouch for. That is what makes it worth all the hassle – be it the smell or very greasy texture.

So which one is for you? Patanjali is unadulterated Ayurveda  and that too for the common man – Not someone who shops in Khan Market or Sephora but our average “aam junta”. The packaging or presentation of their products is almost hideous but the quality is uncompromised. Honestly when FE oil reminded me of Patanjali’s Kesh Taila, I had mixed feelings. I was glad that FE was using genuine ingredients and not taking us for a ride. But that I had dished out Rs 250/- for a 50 ml bottle of FE oil where a 100ml bottle of Patanajali Taila costs only Rs 80/-, I felt a bit of an idiot for blowing up my money thus. Which one you should opt for is entirely a matter of personal choice. Forest Essentials, as they say it themselves is “Luxurious Ayurveda”.  I recently read an interview of FE founder Mira Kulkarni and when asked about her products, I think she summed it up best herself – “We base the products on old, authentic recipes that keep the therapeutic benefits strictly intact but make the look and feel user friendly. So the oil may be lighter or more fragrant and so on. Typically, an Ayurvedic treatment would be highly beneficial, but not pleasantly scented, and would be messy to use”. I rest my case.