Friday, September 9, 2011

Who Decides What You Put in Your Body?

The question first came to me while reading the article, "Cetaphil: Why the popular cleanser isn't doing your skin any favors" by Melisse Gelula on

Melisse quoted Spirit Demerson who analyzes skin care ingredients for her own blog and made the point that none of the ingredients in Cetaphil are beneficial for your skin, in fact some are even harmful. There are eight ingredients in Cetaphil (water, cetyl alcohol, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, stearyl alcohol, methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben) and the only one I personally know to be healthy is water. Though it is the first listed ingredient, and therefore the most abundant, its health benefits are canceled out by the overwhelming effects of the other substances which are known to respectively clog pores, help substances enter the blood stream, over-dry skin and cause cancer.

It is especially unnerving to learn this about Cetaphil, which is one of the top cleansers recommended by dermatologists. In fact, my own dermatologist instructed me to use Cetaphil cleanser and lotion! So what then is the appeal, if the cleanser is not actually so great for the skin? The appeal is the relationship most doctors have with Galderama, one of the largest pharmaceutical distributors in the country. Regardless of the product's effectiveness (or lack thereof) doctors receive bonuses for pushing the product on their patients.

If you have a wandering mind like mine, you're probably wondering "what other cosmetic products should I be worried about?" I ran across a PSA video by Annie Leonard called "The Story of Cosmetics" which provides further insight into how to read ingredient labels, what to look out for and how to make healthier cosmetic choices.

I've already begun to address this issue by making most of my hair and body products, and choosing all natural products when I buy them. How will you take measures to make healthier cosmetic choices?

Wash N' Go My @$$!!!!

I know it the title sounds a bit harsh but hear me out. This isn't a criticism of anyone's styling choices, just a realization I came to as I thought of my own struggle to "define" my curls and rock a so-called "wash and go" style.

When I hear the phrase "wash and go" I immediately think of a two-step process: washing my hair (which includes conditioning) and going out the door. The reality of the wash and go style for most kinky haired naturals is that there is a huge step in the middle that can be divided into multiple sub-steps.

After the hair is washed and conditioned there is sectioning, detangling, applying leave in conditioner, sometimes applying an additional cream product, applying a gel product, raking or brushing the product through, constantly spritzing the hair to keep it soaking wet throughout the process, awkwardly avoiding touching the done sections of hair as you move on.

This process can take up to 2 hours, especially if your hair is long, thick and more kinky than curly!!!!!! And you're not even guaranteed satisfactory results. Umm... what happened to the two simple steps of washing and going?

To address this misnomer, I want to redefine the "wash and go" style. My true wash and go styles are pigtails or two large cornrows (if my hair was washed loose) and bantu knots (if my hair was washed in twists).

If you had to limit your wash and go to a truly simple routine, what would you choose?

When spending a week on the beach, who wants more than wash and go hair? I lived in these cornrows!