My Mid-Life Crises and Hair Dye

April 12, 2010

Due to the hectic life that we can all lead and a myriad of bad things that happen, the problem of aging can come along almost overnight, you look into the mirror one morning and you are young and beautiful (well, young anyway) and then what almost feels like the next day you look in the same mirror and find yourself saying ‘how the hell did I get to this?’.

And let’s admit it, we all want to, in some small way (and don’t deny it!) halt or slow down the aging process – but for a vegan, that comes with the ethical choice of not using animals (in products and testing) to gain that ego-boost – that selfish vanity streak that we all have to some extent. And I will admit it – I am not immune to bouts of depression when I think about how life seems to have passed me by – my mirror says it all.

My hair started going grey quite young and it seemed to happen almost overnight; when my dad passed from this plane and moved on to a higher plane – I had already lost my mum and at the time it was almost too hard to bear. Back then I was not vegan so used the average hair dyes that you buy in the supermarket or chemist, but since going vegan I have not dyed my hair at all except for the occasional lemon rinse or homemade rosemary/thyme boiled-up hair gloop, etc. So, for years I have been quite happy with my ‘natural’ look and have been strutting proudly with my ‘cruella de ville’ stripe of silver, but still have this nagging voice (the ego) wanting to hang on to my youth and look good while I am about it.

Well, lately I seem to have been going through a stage of, ‘how can I be this age when I still feel so young?’ I look in the mirror and do not recognise the person staring back. I have the ‘cruella de ville’ stripe of silver running through my hair but notice that the flecks of grey over the rest of my hair are becoming rampant and I have that dull, lifeless, non-gloss look. The ‘cruella de ville’ streak looked quite cool for a while but the greys? No!!! And yes – it does age you, the grey bits just do not look right.

Slowing the outward appearance of your rapid aging comes with a price – a price to the animals – way too high a price – and I ain’t going there for the sake of vanity, their lives are just as important as mine. For the non vegan it is easy just to buy the cheapest hair dye to make themselves look and feel nice – they may not see or may not care about the exorbitant price that animals have to pay – the cruelty – their exploitation and suffering – but I am vegan – I see the price – I feel the pain deep inside me. No animal should suffer being strung up by a leg and having their throat slit, or in pain burnt and blistering by effects of chemicals just for the testing of a hair dye.

I had two options here – 1) breaking my mirror into a thousand pieces and avoiding window shop reflections or 2) looking into getting a vegan hair dye. Well, option 1) was out of the question, I need seven years of bad luck like I need a hole in the head – so #2) won.

So, here is how I see it – I am getting older on the outside but not getting older on the inside – I can keep those two things closer together – lesson the gap so to speak by doing the thing I do the best, so putting my research abilities to work I decided to find a vegan hair dye. I thought at first it would be a mission, living in New Zealand, in what seems the agricultural capital of the world, but it was actually quite simple once I started looking.

Photo from Arrow Pharmaceuticals website

What I found was, Arrow Pharmaceuticals New Zealand Limited has a range of hair dyes called NaturStyle which at first – looking at the ingredients list on their website (link here) ‘seemed’ vegan. And being vegan we know that just reading something on the internet does not mean ‘truth’ So, on the blower I got – and spoke to a couple of lovely ladies there – and they were extremely friendly and helpful – and they confirmed that the ingredients were not animals, animal derived or animal by-products. Well, of course, the other BIG issue is ‘has it been tested on animals?’. They were both emphatically adamant that this product is not tested on animals. It is available at Health 2000 and Radius Pharmacies, to name just two available outlets.

One of the ‘ups’ about being vegan is that your body stays trim, young and healthy – so why have the grey hair to let you down if you can get a cruelty-free ‘fix-it’!!! So, maybe this is my ‘fix-it’ for my mid-life crises!!! I am semi-seriously condsidering it. Maybe I will happily ease my way into old age if I just get through this mid-life crises.

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Clean Teeth Compassionately

September 25, 2009

Many things on my site will be aimed at new vegans or potential vegans and will point out things in which ‘hardened vegans’ learnt years ago and now take for granted as an everyday part of their lives, but new and potential vegans may not be aware of. So, take this journey with me and let us learn together. Today I would like to blog about toothpastes and toothbrushes.

Not only are there many ingredients in toothpaste that are derived from the suffering and death of non-human animals, but there are many companies that use the inhumane practice of testing their products on animals. In New Zealand along with vegans from many other countries we have to be aware of all aspects and look behind the product and into the company that produces that product. What you will find is that many are seriously lacking in compassion for the sake of financial gain. Is the company that makes your toothpaste using animals for testing their toothpaste or any of their other products on? Quite possibly, in fact, more than likely. So to be absolutely sure only buy a toothpaste that states clearly on the label that it is vegan and not tested on animals. There are a couple of vegan toothpastes available but I thought I would introduce you to a lovely product which I just purchased:

lemon-myrtle

lemon-myrtle

Phyto Shield Lemon-Myrtle, Botanical Oral Care Toothpaste.

I bought this 100g tube of toothpaste for $6.10 from Stay Well Pharmacy in Hornby, on Shands Road – the little shopping complex on the left after coming off Main South Road.

Chemical-free and does not contain parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate, added fluoride, sugar and artificial sweeteners. Along with no petrochemicals or chemical bleach.

Suitable for children, vegans and vegetarians.

Not tested on animals.

100% naturally New Zealand

Manufactured in New Zealand by New Zealand Natural Oral Care Company, freephone 0800 red seal or 0800 733 732

 Ingredients:

  • Calcium Carbonate (chalk-mild mineral abrasive)
  • Aqua (purified water)
  • Glycerol and Sorbitol (moisture retaining agents from plant origin)
  • Silica (natural ore for better paste structure)
  • Orange Oil
  • Lauryl Glucoside (mild cleanser from coconut oil)
  • Carboxymethyl Cellulose (gumming agent from plant fibre)
  • Lemon Oil
  • Calcium Magnesium Carbonate (abrasive)
  • Ammonium Glycyrrhizinate (plant derived sweetener)
  • Menthol
  • Aniseed Oil, Peppermint Oil, Thyme Oil, Myrrh Oil, Lemon Myrtle Oil
  • Totarol (in ethanol) Tincture

Sounds all good to me and it is also a very nice tasting fresh-feeling toothpaste.

Maybe your local chemist or health food shop has it in stock, and if they don’t, maybe they would look at stocking it or get it in for you. We live in a very accommodating society when it comes to most retail shops and they are on average only happy to oblige. If you don’t ask, you will never know.

Keeping along with the thought of not supporting companies who exploit innocent animals for testing their products on – think about the toothbrush you use and which company it was made by, are they a company that does animal testing? I just purchased a new vegan toothbrush from SAFE (link in sidebar), 145 Armagh Street in the centre of Christchurch. They have a selection of vegan toothbrushes (and other stuff of course). Go in and check it out and while you are there say hi to other like-minded vegans as well, very approachable and very friendly. And if you are not vegan but thinking about it – good on you, keep getting information and learn – pretend you are a sponge and suck up that information, take things slowly (or not!) because with every step you take towards veganism you are helping the animals, the planet and making yourself healthier – and always remember you are not alone – there are other vegans out there.

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