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