Monday, July 5, 2010

Prerogative body-care!

There is something common between Penelope Cruz, Aishwarya Rai and Cinderella apart from the great looks. Yes. Luscious locks, lustrous manes and flawless skin. Who doesn't vouch for all those? Truth is, they are not just characteristic of the glamour or the fantasy world. Every human head comprises of the same dead cells, with a protein called keratin, that make up each strand of hair and every human body is covered with the same layer of epidermis (barring geographical and genetic barriers). A little awareness about the kind of products we use goes a long way in ensuring the perpetuity of healthy hair and body.

Reform starts at home. Let us try asking any lay person we know, or not, as to which shampoo/soap/toothpaste they use and 200% given chance is the product must be laden with toxic chemicals creeping unknowingly into the body and making way for unsustained transient 'benefits' to the user and the environment as well. We have till now come across news about plastic, improper waste disposal, pollution and global warming as the known propellers of the environmental downturn but I leave it to the seasoned writers to crib about that and rather choose to emphasize on this smaller but important side of chemical 'abuse'.

There is a plethora of corporate bigwigs producing brands, by grands, of personal care products across the globe. L'oreal, Garnier or Wella continue to be India's favourite picks of shampoos. What we don't know is they are all kinfolk, in the sense that they all contain super harmful chemicals called Sodium Lauryl sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) which are responsible for the foamy lather primarily. SLS and SLES, for starters, are surfactants. In common parlance a surfactant is a detergent based emulsifier used for washing clothes, cleaning floors and toilets and un-greasing cars. Imagine what it does to our hair! With the same intensity. Gross, eh? We squander scores of money to poison our hair. Go figure! Not only shampoos but soaps, toothpastes and other toiletries/cosmetics containing parabens (methyl and ethyl) aggravate the problem. When these chemicals come in contact with the body they increase the pH of the skin, reduce the surface tension of water and cause latent damages like early ageing, dryness, eye irritation, fuzzy hair and even higher diseases like early menopause, male infertility and breast cancer. Dioxane in SLES is a known carcinogenic compound. Upon washing away they reach the water treatment stations where most of them refuse to separate themselves from the water molecule mostly because they are not detected. This untreated water reaches our households and the cycle continues. On an average, each day millions of litres of such water is released out.

Yet we like to think we are not at much fault. People are stupid enough to believe whatever is fed to them. When we don't know, its pardonable to an extent, but when one throws caution to the winds and repeats the act even after being guided, it becomes a sin. Someone said 'To sin is human, to indulge is divine!' It doesn't fit the bill here though. The question is why do our governments allow the use of such bio-assassins? Simple - because it is cheap and easily accessible. Reason enough? Also these products are manufactured by the top notch companies and get approved by governing authorities like the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). To top it all they are glorified beyond imagination by matinee idols on the idiot box. Some one should walk up to those pipsqueaks and ask, 'Dude, did you even use it?' Of course it forms their responsibility to make sure the products they endorse are nature-friendly.

So how do we bail out? A simple pointer - make a note of the ingredients that go into the product. Key is not to get carried away by the name. Sometimes a 'green shampoo' turns out to be not even a mile close to greenness, as canvassed. But today, I know there are hardly any choices. Its difficult, yes but not impossible. There are alternatives like John Masters, Miessence, Burts bees and Aubrey Organics of which we might not have heard much of. These names are private entities set up by diverse people in lieu of promoting health and environment without pissing off Mother Earth. They incorporate the modified compound of Di sodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate in their products, in place of SLS, which is not as lethal as its arch rival. Plus there are other natural compositions that help nullify any negativity. Here's a link to the official site of that gives accurate ratings of products in different categories. Best part - they are against animal testing.

The only catch is we have to loosen our purse strings to afford them. Besides in Vizag there is zilch awareness and no 'douche' would spend Rs. 150/- on a soap just because it is fruitilicious. No shop here even holds a franchise for such things. In a good product the cost of production goes up on grounds of innovation and introduction of better compounds. Good things come at a price and there are a few good things left. There are ways to access too, nevertheless. We either get them from better cities, buy online or let Vizag to know for itself. Now, another possible doubt that may arise is that our bodies are mostly covered in germs, dirt and sweat. It might be some task for the 'sissy' soaps to get rid of them. We must understand that there is no tough or soft soap. Its either harsh or skin-friendly. C'mon, why don't we bathe with Rin Supreme or Exo dishwash bar? Bottom line: Go grab one asap!

On a higher note, let us all ban the use of plastic, not waste water, follow the method of carpooling instead of having the whole car for our own smelly feet, stop littering places not entitled to us in our will, discourage animal circuses and harsh zoos and act responsible towards every concern of the country. Its not just development. Its sustainable development. For today, tomorrow and many years to come.


  1. Ah! I like this new one of yours except that it sounded like a science text book in the starting! But you picked up the tempo gradually and sounded like you again all lashing out! Also you should have added Indian and herbal alternatives and brands that are more commonly and easily available in India like bodyshop, lush or forest essences! why I would even suggest girijan coorp for eco-nuts. Au naturel! Lots of people will have absolutely no idea what Burts bees is or John masters is! Though i agree that they are absolutely indulgent and delicious smelling! Ah! Bliss! But wonderful effort neverthless, you cant write about everything in one blog! Maybe next time!

  2. Yes that's why I mentioned those names, to make people know. Also yes, kitchen is the best parlour. Will enlighten on that aspect later on.. thanks for the suggestion..

  3. Overall it is a pretty good and well gathered information for the publick....but it sounds like a PM or FM budget for the 'poor' but catering for the upper segment of the 'society'.
    That means middle calss people can not aspire for such 'dreamy' things. Is there anything in store for this class ?

  4. This one is aimed at awareness and not exactly the monetary part of it. Anyone who doesn't mind a few extra bucks is welcome. But pop, PM or FM budget? C'mon that is a total exaggeration! Of course I'll make sure I cater to an undivided society in the future.. Thanks.

  5. The debate is on. There is talk of "Companies should take the resposibility for a decent burial of their products. Their job is not done once their products are made and sold. They should "love" their products till their end." Well, how this needs to be done has to be figured.