Tag Archives: Cruelty Free

Red Hair, Don’t Care


I’ve thought about henna-ing my hair on and off for a while.  I’ve been trying to lead a cruelty-free life, as you know, and it seemed like a great alternative to those awful chemical dyes.  However, every time I looked into it I was dissuaded.  It’s messy.  It smells.  It’s permanent.  You cannot dye over it.  It can react badly to dyed hair (that is, it can turn weird colors and cause serious breakage).  But this long weekend, as I stressed about the hurricane headed straight for us, I decided to focus my nervous energy into my hair.  It was a bit brash; especially since I am kind of obsessed with my hair, but that is just what I jumped into.  I watched some YouTube videos on Saturday, read some articles, blogs and the like.  Then on Monday I decided to just do it.  I knew the only henna readily available to me was from Lush or Whole Foods, anything else I would have to order and wait for.  And that’s just not my style.  So I went to Whole Foods and picked up Rainbow Research henna.  I have read some mixed reviews about their henna (something about twigs, I didn’t find any in mine, and how it would fade quickly, that one we will see about), but it didn’t have any extra ingredients and it was on sale, so why not?


After reading their instructions I realized they were not dissimilar to most online suggestions, so I followed them.  The only thing I altered was the wait time of the product in my hair (I went with four hours) and the time I let the mix sit (about 2 hours).  I also did something I had never cared to do before (given my adventurous and brash spirit I usually chance it, that has resulted in green hair (unintentional) and highlighted eyebrows (also unintentional)).  I only let the mix sit about thirty minutes before my strand test, and about an hour on my stand of hair, but it seemed fine so I went ahead and applied it to all of my hair.

The mix I used consisted of a little more than half of the container of red and 2-3 plastic tablespoons of light brown (I didn’t want the color to be too orange and I read that the Cassia used in the brown is also very moisturizing).  I added about a cup and a half of just brewed Rooibos tea (only one bag) and a few drops of vitamin-e oil.  I did so slowly and whisking it together with a plastic fork until the mixture was smooth, shiny and had the consistency of yogurt.  It was initially mud green, but as the dyes released it was more brownish.  The smell is awful.  At first it smells like tea, but as you’re applying it (and wearing it) it smells like a farm, even my dog was grossed out and he is of the “the stinkier the better” variety.


The application was not as messy as I had read and the color did not really stain my skin (even the parts I had not covered in oil seemed relatively normal, like my arms and neck), but gloves are a must!  I was also not really bothered by keeping it on my head for four hours while I cleaned my apartment and watched 90 Day Fiance.  I had rinsed my hair immediately before applying it and I felt that the wet (towel-dried) hair made the mix a bit cold so I did blow dry a couple of times (heat is an important part of this whole process).  I also wore two Publix shopping bags over my head.  It was a very romantic experience for my husband all around.

I washed it off with a Giovanni shampoo and conditioned with the same.  Still, my hair smelled faintly like tea (at least the barn smell was gone!).


I am THRILLED with the results.  No itching or burning on my scalp (like with chemical dye), great gray coverage, less hair loss when washing and brushing, thicker and shinier hair, and my hair is still just as wavy as it was before the henna.

I must also note I have been dying my hair for years (decades).  The last time I had dyed all of my hair (root to tip) was late May so I had a pretty noticeable root growth (with so many grays!).  I think the roots blend pretty well with the rest (especially since my grays now look like highlights), and the variations in color look relatively natural.  The tips of my hair (which were so fried they were blonde) look much healthier too!  I guess, in my case at least, three months was enough to avoid any issues with the chemicals.


My roots, before and after (wet and dry).IMG_8991

My hair in dark lighting, before and after.

Overall I think this is a great option (for going red at least, not sure about the other shades) and one that I will stick with. I only hope I can maintain this golden red.  I will share updates, come what may!



The Great Cosmetic Swap & Some New Finds from a Willing Test Subject


It has been almost a year since I began my cosmetic overhaul.  I can happily report several changes:

  1. My skin has never felt or looked better.  I mean, probably as a baby, but I am not counting that time.
  2. I’ve never felt better or more well-informed about what I put on my skin.
  3. My bank account is also looking better (not after the holidays, but generally speaking)!  Who knew the good stuff was affordable?!

So in furtherance of my previous post, I decided to share my better-than-the-original swaps, my misses, my I-still-haven’t-found-what-I’m-looking-for and the best items I have discovered thus far.



The NYX concealer is miraculous. I don’t miss the ever- popular Maybelline stick or any other pricey concealer.  If you’re looking for a liquid concealer their HD is pretty good too, but the coverage is much lighter.  As for skincare, anything Mario Badescu.  However, this pink drying lotion will take care of any breakout in 24-48 hours.



It turns out despite their representations, Almay is not cruelty free (much like Estee Lauder, if they sell in China they have to comply with the testing laws there, but all of these companies misrepresent this information and it is important to do independent research), and so I had to say goodbye to the most amazing eyebrow pencil I have used.  I tried the Milani eyebrow pencil, but I didn’t love it.  I then tried the ELF eyebrow pencil and I like it a lot better, but I may splurge next time and try the Anastasia eyebrow pencil.


Mascara is the current bane of my existence.  I love mascara, I always have.  When I started using Benefit I thought that was it, the holy grail of mascaras, and it absolutely is perfection.  However, they are not a cruelty-free company.  So that’s out.  So far I have tried Milani, Wet n’ Wild,  NYX, Pacifica, BareMinerals, Too Faced, ELF and nada.  If I layer them sometimes it works, but it’s still not right.  I would say Too Faced is probably the closest, Milani is also a top contender, the best look is layering the ELF, Milane and NYX. Really, the search continues!



If you decide to try anything from this list, this is it.  Seriously, I would strongly encourage that you start here.  This tangerine lip balm is under $2, smells amazing and moisturizes like nothing else I have ever tried.  FYI, I also tried the honey version, but did not like the scent as much.


As for hair care, I am still a HUGE fan of WEN.  I prefer the original almond mint scent.  It’s refreshing and leaves my scalp feeling clean and my hair feels very moisturized, but light.  However, a more affordable cleansing conditioner is Nubian Heritage.  The scent is nice, but without the mint it lacks WEN’s refreshing feeling.  However, it is very moisturizing.  If you’re a traditionalist and want a shampoo/conditioner option I love Giovanni’s avocado and olive oil line and Desert Essence’s coconut option.  Both smell great and leave your hair feeling soft and bouncy.


So what’s thee ultimate it product? Well, anything by Mineral Fusion.  I especially can’t live without the Perfecting BB (the other option has a weird shimmer) and the SPF eye cream.