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cruelty free

Embracing my natural hair

When I was about 11 years old I participated in my older cousin’s Sweet 15. On the day of the party, all the girls had to get their hair done. The style was a simple, blow out – not wavy but pin straight. I saw what I looked like in the mirror and I couldn’t believe how great I looked. This was the first time I had ever saw myself with straight hair and began hating my natural hair.

Bleach. Dye. Gel. Repeat.
All through middle school, I rocked a pony tail with my frizzy hair because I didn’t know how to style it. Once I hit high school I would wake up, dunk my head in water, then in a tub of gel (which held a BUNCH of alcohol as ingredients) that I would buy from the dollar store, make it nice and crunchy and then break the gel once I got to school. If I couldn’t be bothered to do that or flat iron it, I would just wear pigtails and call it a day.

 

The darkest time my hair faced was college. During those years, I had blue, purple, green, orange, yellow, red hair and that meant a lot of dying and frying. I was completely oblivious of the harsh chemicals bleach gave off and on top of that, I would take a flat iron to my damp hair. I wouldn’t even let it completely dry before going over it with my Chi flat iron.

Blue da ba dee
At the age of, oh, let’s say 28 or 29, bleaching everything and dying my whole head blue sounded like a good idea. Not highlights, not ombre – all blue. Although, I wanted to fuck with my hair as much as my dark roots allowed me to, I made sure to talk to the colorists and stress the fact I wanted to protect my hair as much as possible and they understood. From then on, I began to deep condition my hair, use cool/cold water, and only wash it once or twice a week.

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Blue and pigtails, once again, because my hair wouldn’t cooperate.

As much as loved my blue hair, I found myself actually missing my curls and decided mid November 2017 that I will no longer straighten my hair. Of course, to achieve my goal, I would have to give up dying it as well. I was conflicted! On one hand, I have always loved having extreme hair since college, my husband adores and encourages it, and we joke that our dogs can always spot me out because of my blue color (yes, dogs can see blue). While on the other hand, my hair will never reach its full potential of healthy curls, I’ll be spending over $100 every couple of months for the upkeep, and constant frizz!

So, I decided to switch up my hair care
I started to research articles, magazines, and YouTubing beauty gurus. CurlyPenny has an excellent YouTube channel where she shows her curly hair routine, what products she enjoys, and even searches for products at reasonable prices. I use only CF (Cruelty Free) make up so it is only natural I look for CF hair products such as the Shea Moisture line. January 27, 2018 was the first time I did a cowash, meaning, when I went to wash my hair, I washed with only conditioner and omitting shampoo altogether. These were my results after my first co washing, using Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk and using a blow dryer diffuser. Keep in mind, I had not applied heat to my hair for over a two months, I massaged Jojoba oil on my scalp to promote hair growth, and limited my use of products with sulfate and parabens.

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My natural hair trying to repair itself.

I am stilling in the trial and error phase on finding CF products that work for me. Lots of money down the drain but it’s not as annoying as the next paragraph!

No, you may not touch it
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Please… don’t touch my hair. No, I am not being rude, I’m not being uptight, I don’t think I’m full of myself. This is what I have to do to my hair:

  • Use a satin pillow case, which by the way, IS NOT AS COMFORTABLE AS YOU’D THINK!
  • Use scrunchies because, suddenly, it’s the 90’s!
  • Sleep with my hair in a loose pony tail INSIDE a silk bonnet if my satin pillow case is dirty
  • Immediately use product while my hair is still wet to control my curls. This means my shower routine is still not finished by the time I leave my shower
  • Delicately and lightly dry my hair with a T-shirt BUT ONLY FOR A MOMENT or else frizz happens
  • Carefully scrunch more product in my hair with my fingers BUT ONLY FOR A MOMENT or else more frizz happens
  • Blow dry my hair for about 30 minutes just enough to leave it slightly damp because my arms are exhausted from massaging my scalp, washing my hair, de-tangling my hair, and holding the blow dryer.

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Basically, it takes a lot of work, patience, and time for me to “just” wash my hair to get my hair as healthy as I possibly can during this time. Second, third, fourth day hair is even harder to manage because any touch can make my hair frizz. Once my hair is finally grown out I can do the big chop (unless I just start getting trims) and maybe I won’t need to work so hard and I won’t be as anal about people touching my hair.

Love what ya got!
Straight or curly, just love what you have. All straight haired girls would love to have our volume and bounciness while we, us curly haired, would enjoy waking up, brushing our hair and going out the door. Both have their pros and cons but at the end of the day, you just have to accept what you have and find the beauty in it.

 

Why I Choose Cruelty Free Make Up Products [warning: graphic images]

When I first started my switch to cruelty free cosmetics, I took a trip to Sephora. Once I told one of the reps what kind I wanted, to my surprise, she asked me, “Why do you only want cruelty free make up?” I didn’t know I had to explain myself.

Cruelty free make up are products that do not test on animals. Vegan cosmetics are products that do not have any animal ingredients in them. According to LogicalHarmony, “This includes, but is not limited to, honey, beeswax, lanolin, collagen, albumen, carmine, cholesterol, gelatin, and many others.” What many people may not know is that just because a product is vegan does not mean it is cruelty free. I know, right? MIND FUCKING BLOWN.

What are some brands that are cruelty free?
I have discovered quiet of few cosmetic lines that are cruelty free (some are also vegan!). I have always shopped at Sephora and dug around for the cosmetics that fit my criteria. The first line that comes to mind is Kat Von D. For years she has expressed her love of animals and she has recently (I believe in 2015) decided to become vegan. She posted a YouTube video where she explained her decision (not that anyone needs to explain why) on how she came to this resolution. Not only did she want to lessen the horrific treatment of animals but Kat also realized how harmful breeding cattle is for the environment. I have purchased a bundle of her make up and even posted a review on some products a while back. Anastasia Beverly Hills is also cruelty free but may not be vegan (they have used beeswax in their lipsticks before). I have been trying to get my hands on their lipsticks but either they don’t have the shade I want or simply forget to pick it up!

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If you are looking for cheaper make up (price wise, not product), WetNWild has been my new obsession recently. I absolutely love their Liquid Catsuit matte lipstick and I am determined to get all the shades. They also have vegan make up brushes as well. The best part about this line is it’s available at drugstores. I have been buying all of my WetNWild at Walgreens. I live in PR at the moment so the prices are about $4-$5 which is super cheap for the long lasting wear the Catsuit provides! E.L.F. is another brand that can be found in drugstores, including TJMaxx. Another brand that is not only cruelty free but vegan as well is Pacifica. I haven’t found this yet but I will keep my eyes out for this brand as it also sells in drugstores.

Which companies hate bunnies?
It’s safe to say that big companies such as Bobbi Brown, Maybelline, Avon, Clinique, Cover Girl and the majority make up commercials you see are not cruelty free. I found two lists online to confirm which products are cruelty free and which are not. Some companies that push they are cruelty free can be a little tricky due to their parent company. Tarte, for instance was bought by KOSE, a Japanese cosmetic brand that do test on animals. Urban Decay is another disappointment; they are owned by L’Oreal who also test on animals. I was able to obtain and confirm this information by YouTuber boxes of foxes. She calls them out and raises a few good points. Why “proudly stand by cruelty free” if your parent company still tests on animals? If you’re interested to see what other companies are and are not cruelty free, check out LogicalHarmony and CrueltyFreeKitty.

Basically any line that is sold in China must be tested on animals by law regulations. The practice in which they test on our furry friends is pretty harsh. Along with being shaved to determine skin irritation, they also get solutions dripped into their eyes. After suffering for beauty’s sake, they get forced fed to detect lethal dosages. In other words, the testers want to see how much of the product do you have to ingest until you die. Of course, not every test subject gets that death sentence. The other animals that show bleeding on their skin, organ damage, and even birth defects are not given any pain killers, instead, their necks get manually snapped or are asphyxiated.

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Why I made the change
It’s no secret that I absolutely love my animals and I donate money to the ASPCA. I wanted to make some sort of a change for myself to better the world. I thought about what I could sacrifice or what I could change about myself and as well as commit to. I tried going vegan (and vegetarian)  and that was an absolute disaster. I barely made it half way through the day. So I figured, my make up! Make up is something I definitely don’t need but it’s a luxury, not to mention costly AF! So I did some research and found out a few cosmetic lines that are and are not cruelty free.

Why I am not a hypocrite because I eat meat
Unlike Kat Von D, I do not have the discipline to give up dairy and meat and technically, no, we do not need meat (unless you have a condition where you can easily get the nutrients you need from meat rather than any other form) as well as I don’t need make up. I choose to purchase and wear it, just not at the expense of an animal. I wear sneakers, drive a car with rubber tires, use sugar, and even dye my hair with Rusk. Giving up make up was an easy change and a small change. I have committed to it for over a year now and my next step will be changing my hair products. Although, I know I may or may not ever become vegan or vegetarian, I still feel good about myself knowing there is one less person hurting animals JUST to look pretty.

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I will never lecture someone (except this one blog post) why they should purchase certain brands of cosmetics but if you ask my opinion on what lipstick is long lasting, what blush goes on best, or what foundation I am wearing, I will always recommend a cruelty free brand. If I can just convince someone to change their beauty regiment on the sake of saving animals, then I know I reached my goal.

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Thanks, Charissa!

 

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