Bidding Adieu to MAC

A few months ago, a realization as haunting as a dentist’s visit struck me. I am a vegetarian by birth and have continued to stick to it despite all the challenges. But does staying away from meat define a cruelty-free ideology ? I realized that there is much more to it than just saying no to meat. In a world so consumed by interpretations, it is hard to define what exactly drives your motivations. To better my stance for a cruelty-free world, I decided to take things a notch higher and deeper. I decided to rid myself of all things that are not cruelty-free!

What motivated this post is my last night’s dream where I was faced with a question that nibbles away on my mind constantly. When I go out to eat with friends, I am invariably made fun of for eating “grass and leaves” and every new person I meet asks me this horrifying question – “What would you do if you found yourself with no chance of surviving if not for eating an animal?”. All these taunting questions surfaced as my dream last night where I found myself dying in a desert and my only chance at survival was to eat a dead snake. Well, honestly, I don’t have an answer. But what I do know is that all of you need to stop harassing vegetarians and just let us be! I have never forced anyone to stop eating meat, I can only hope that they will.

In my attempt to go cruelty-free, I sold my couch because I couldn’t tell if it was pure leather or not. I have decided to get rid of all cosmetics that test on animals, I’m just waiting to empty some of them. It really is a hard decision because it entails saying goodbye to some of the best cosmetic brands and those that I am very accustomed to. I was so sad to find MAC, Olay, Cover Girl and Bobbi Brown on the list of cosmetics that test on animals. For a while now, I have loved Aveeno’s cleanser and body wash and sadly, Aveeno turned up on the same list. If anyone’s interested in checking the list for products that you use, here’s the list organised by PETA:

http://features.peta.org/cruelty-free-company-search/index.aspx

Here’s another comprehensive list: http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/companies-that-test-on-animals/

I am yet to find alternatives to some of the products that I have removed from my closet. Some of my favorite cruelty-free brands are : 100% Pure (I have a review of their shampoo and conditioner on my blog, I also love their lip balms), Urban Decay, Smash box, bareMinerals, Bath and Body Works, Stila CosmeticsPhysicians Formula, Josie Maran Cosmetics and a few more. Here’s a list of cruelty-free cosmetics:

http://www.mybeautybunny.com/cruelty-free-brands/

As a consumer, I believe each of us has a responsibility to educate ourselves about the consequences of our indulgences. It is easy to turn a blind eye to the intricacies of a self-absorbed consumerist market such as ours, but it should never become a choice to evaluate the tangents to it. I understand that it is everyone’s prerogative to decide what may or may not constitute their lifestyle, I only ask that we are mindful of our choices and decisions.

“With great power comes great responsibility.”  – Albus Dumbledore

Stay wise!

Megha Kaiwar

Hair Scare & Hair Care

It’s a typical Monday morning in Bangalore, birds chirping, cars honking, street vendors fighting for a spot and amidst all the chaos I hear loud noises from the kitchen. I can tell my mom hates Mondays just as much as I do. My limbs are in a state of inertia, refusing to climb out of bed and my bed feels cozier than ever. Did it feel the same yesterday? But my mind can think of just one thing: My hair! What do I do about my hair today? I know I tried to set it yesterday and I also know it’s going to be back to its crazy self today. So what do I do?! With the sole purpose of finding enough time to set my cranky hair, I wake up early going against everything that I believe in. That is, sleeping until it is absolutely necessary to wake up. So I wake up, blah, blah, blah, set my hair, not regretting waking up early because my hair is finally manageable and I also make it to my first class for the day. I excuse myself to the restroom and Ughhhhh! My hair is all tangled and I look like I could scare a kid or two.

Well, this has been my story since I was a teenager. Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, PCOD struck, leading to hair loss and what not. I never really had long, thick, sumptuous hair that I could afford to lose ! Moving to the US took a big toll on my hair and it refused to acclimatize to the weather, water and chemicals here. The water here is lead treated and can be disastrous for sensitive hair and skin. I live in Phoenix, dry as hay with 48 degrees of dry, scorching heat. I tried hanging onto the shampoos that I used in India for as long as I could, but in vain. I never once tried setting my hair after that, for the fear of losing more hair. During the 2 years of my Masters, I hardly had any time to give my hair the attention it needs. Hence, everyday has been bad hair day ever since.

Now I am back to caring for and supplementing my hair growth. I recently started using an all natural shampoo “100% Pure Shampoo” and haven’t regretted switching to this shampoo. I use KELP & MINT VOLUMIZING SHAMPOO which has helped reduce hair loss. It doesn’t weigh my hair down and leaves it looking healthier with every wash. It does make my hair a little frizzier than before but I would pick frizzy hair over no hair any day! The best part is the shine it adds to my hair that no other shampoo has ever done. Well, for what it’s worth, I am glad I am not subjecting my hair to chemicals anymore, names of which I cannot even pronounce. The ingredients of this shampoo make me very happy: Aloe, Coconut, Kelp, Neem, Calendula, Honeysuckle, Burdock, Peppermint, Organic Green Tea and many more.

I also use a combination of Honey, Coconut Oil and Castor Oil before washing my hair, leaving it in for 2 hours or more. This has helped keep the scalp free of dandruff due to dryness and it also conditions the hair. I have been supplementing my hair growth with Biotin, three times a week (only because I hate tablets). I can’t tell how much any of it has helped, but I have decided to not think too much about it and stress myself out. For all the girls out there suffering from similar problems, I would suggest you stick to a routine and give it a few months before you decide to switch to something else. Also, don’t stress!

I regret not listening to my mom about hair care. When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to start using all the shampoos advertised and get rid of all the “natural” therapies. I hated applying shikakai or any other home made products. Now, I give my mom a earful for letting me use shampoos 😉

Moral of the story: “Moms know best, listen to them!”

Stay Natural!

Love,

Megha Kaiwar

Oh, how I love Target !!

Target is “the” place for you if you are stationery-crazy , beauty products-crazy , lingerie-crazy or if you are just looking to waste some time. Well, one of the days when I was “just wasting time”, I stumbled upon a face mask called “Que Bella“. I had never heard of it before and I immediately googled to see if anybody had ever used it at all. I did find some great reviews but I am always skeptical about any skin product as are you, am sure. However, at that price, I’d be willing to buy cement and use it. Well, it turned out great and here is my review of the product.

I bought the “Replenishing Dead Sea Mud Mask” because who doesn’t love mud masks. I purchased a tube although there were sachets available and the prices varied from $1.50 – $2.50. The tube however, seemed like a better option at $5.49. It is going to last 10-12 times for me as against a sachet which, I’m guessing, will last twice. The mask is pretty thick in texture and I generally refrain from such thick masks. Surprisingly, this mask feels extremely light once you put it on and is easy to wash off as well. The instructions read that you need to wet your face before applying and I did just that. I left it on for about 15-20 minutes and wham-bam, the results were great! To provide a little background, I have combination skin, as do most women, which tends to be much drier in this horrid desert. I have had problems with black-heads and pores for as long as I can remember. This mask not only works on my black-heads but also on my pores. It’s unbelievable what you can find while not looking for it. My only complaint is that it leaves my skin feeling very dry. I am not too unhappy about it since I also found a great something in Target that day, to help with my dry skin.

I found a bath and body oil from a company called “Shea Moisture”. I picked up “Argan Oil & Raw Shea”. I absolutely love anything with Shea and this oil works great for me. The consistency is really thick but I don’t mind it as much as I thought I would since it gets absorbed real quick and doesn’t leave your skin all oily. If you are looking for a great oil to wear before your moisturizer, I would definitely suggest you try this, it costs about $10. We all know the benefits of Shea by now and Argan oil is rich in Vitamin E which keeps the skin smooth. The ingredients also include Jojoba oil and Safflower oil, thus giving it a great organic composition. There is a slight fragrance in the oil which I wasn’t too happy about initially, but I hardly notice it now.

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Que Bella, Replenishing Dead Sea Mud Mask

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Shea Moisture, Argan Oil and Raw Shea

If you are looking for a miracle, I suggest you buy coconuts and head to your nearest temple. These products work just like others in the market and they work well for me. If you are looking for some great face/body oil and something to work on your black heads, I would definitely suggest trying these products. If you have extremely dry skin, don’t count on just the oil, use a moisturizer alongside. If nothing helps, do consult a dermatologist. I am always concerned about dry skin since I ended up in a desert and dryness is all there is!

Stay hydrated, stay smart.

Until next time,

Megha Kaiwar