LUSH Snake Oil Scalp Treatment Bar

snake oil bar

Okay so this is a product that I picked up due to its uniqueness and even though I will not repurchase it, I have to review it for the same reason. I have got used to LUSH shaking up some of my very basic assumptions about beauty products, what with solid shampoos and conditioners, solid toothpaste and solid henna bars. So when I saw this solid oil bar ( LUSH calls is Treatment Bar), I just had to pick it up.

First things first, it’s not like the “solid” oil we have seen- namely the coconut oil that solidifies in the freezing North Indian winters and then you put the bottle either in the sun or in hot water before using it. This one is meant to be solid and is not solid because of extraneous conditions. And therein lies the novelty. The name “Snake Oil” had me a bit worried specially as the bar smells pretty bad. But thankfully it doesn’t have snake oil ( is there such a thing I wonder ?). Apparently it’s supposed to be helping irritated, flaky scalps with dandruff that are shedding like a snake and at the end of it scalp comes out as good as new. Hence the name.
The oil bar is pink in colour with a “S” marked on it. The smell is pretty strong and not in a good way. Like all LUSH products that have strong smells, it is better you try it beforehand. The list of ingredients is pretty impressive – Cade oil, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Alkanet Extract, Peppermint Oil, Cade Oil, Lavender Oil, Tea Tree Oil,*Geraniol, *Limonene, *Linalool, Perfume. While cocoa butter is the secret behind the conditioning property of their henna bars, Cade oil is known as an effective fungicidal and antiseptic and is also used in the Soak and Float Shampoo Bar ( another nasty smelling thing!)

LUSH tells you to – “ Melt it on to your fingertips then massage it right into your scalp. Let the antiseptic essential oils to do their work for 20 minutes or so, and then wash off with shampoo. For best results, try our Soak and Float shampoo.” While this method will work well during summers ( you may even try to directly massage it onto the scalp), in winters it is difficult to use it like this. What I did was to scrape it off into shreds and heat those shreds either in microwave or on gas and then massage it into the scalp the way you would any oil. The peppermint leaves a nice tingling feeling on the scalp and while the lavender does mask its bad smell, yet the smell is something one should check out carefully. LUSH recommends it leaving for 20 minutes or so and I have normally left it for more than that, say 30-45 minutes. After that I shampoo it off with either Soak and Float Bar or any other LUSH shampoo. I follow it up with a conditioner as my hair is always on the dry side. Someone with normal hair can probably skip the conditioner as the Snake Oil does have a liberal amount of cocoa butter.

My take on the product

As I said at the very onset I picked it up not because of any scalp problem but because of the novelty of it. I don’t have any scalp problems but for occasional dandruff. With that this Bar helped me out. But so does any hair oil (I’ve been using TVAM and Forest Essentials hair oils). A friend who has severe dandruff and scalp problem tried it but sadly it did not help her. I guess the results will vary from person to person.
Will I repurchase it? No. I didn’t get it because of any scalp problems but out of curiosity. Once that is over, the curious cat( i.e. me) is going back to good old liquid oil. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures to share as I used it up before I thought of writing about it :-/ The picture I have put is from LUSH website.

For a quick recap-

PROS-
1. LUSH is a cruelty free brand. So any product you pick up from them, you can do so without any burden on the conscience.

2. Since it is in solid “bar” form, there is no danger of spillage. However, in warm weather the product is likely to melt and thus not be so convenient in travel.

3. It claims to help with scalp problems – Some do stand by the claim, while others not so much. In any case it’s a natural product so well worth a try for any scalp problem before you go the chemical way.

CONS-
1. The smell is pretty strong and not at all pleasant. Better check out the product before purchasing it. If you can’t tolerate it even for 30minutes, no point wasting money on it.

2. At Rs 530/- for a palm size bar ( 1.9 oz) it’s pretty expensive.

3. Don’t see it helping with chronic or severe scalp problems.
Available at all LUSH stores and on line at www.lushindia.com

Grey’s Back

G's Ana..vl b back

Yay!! It’s back..good ol’ Grey’s Anatomy that is. Okay  it’s been on air since almost a month now so this post is maybe somewhat late. There is however a reason for it. Unlike its departure, which despite months of warning, seemed abrupt, Grey’s return did not feel like home immediately. For starters, while I am grateful to Zee Cafe for bringing it back, the channel itself leaves a lot to be desired. It’s not HD which after continuous HD viewing makes the screen look a bit blurred. Yeah I should remember the days of disturbed Doordarshan transmissions when one of us would hang on the antenna like a monkey while the other guided this person hanging on the pole from inside- “Move left..no, no. Not so much. Voice is gone..now picture is gone..move back..yeah that’s it” Can anyone recall those days of DD terror? Well I guess I should remember those days and not complain but what can I say? Technology has spoilt me. To top that there was this silly ticker at the bottom of the screen flashing messages from the audience as the aam junta celebrated Grey’s return. Was it just me or did anyone else find that ticker irritating as well? Thankfully it was just for a day. But the long ad breaks are here to stay. Anyways having grumbled and complained enough about Zee Cafe, the fact remains that I am glad it’s back, though I would have been more glad if Star World had brought it back!

After almost a month of Grey coming back to restore sanity to my universe, here I am once again writing about it. So how does it feel to be back at Seattle Grace Mercy West, or Death, as Alex Karev sardonically pointed out? Yeah it feels like home..finally. A home that was taken away from you, and is not exactly as you left it, but is home nevertheless. What with Derek Mc Dreamy zipping around recklessly and all other doctors at various stages of PTSD, I was wondering if Season 6 was going to start on yet another tragic note.

Which brings me to a question that has been bothering me since Season 6 started – isn’t there way too much tragedy in the series? Yes it is based in a hospital and revolves around the lives of surgeons so death and tragedy are inevitable. But I’m talking about their personal lives. Is so much of pain and tragedy really required in the personal lives of these people? I can’t think of a single character whose life is bereft of what often feels like uncalled for tragedy. It’s not only Meredith who has her shares of heartbreaks, what with Derek vacillating between her and Addison ( anyone who knows about the forthcoming seasons also knows that she is headed for more trouble on Derek front apart from her fertility issues) and after a troubled, neglected childhood loses her mother, but all seem like children of misfortune. Not that Derek has had it easy- having had his father shot to death in front of his eyes, growing up in a houseful of sisters, finding your wife cheating with your best friend- not an easy past to let go off undoubtedly. Yang lost her father young and is left stranded on the altar by Burke; Izzie has grown up in a trailer, paid her way through medical school by modelling in lingerie ads, loses the love of her life Denny, is struck by cancer, marries Karev and eventually flee the scene. Karev himself has battled abusive father and a crazy mother. A girlfriend who goes nuts and a wife who deserts him are the cherry on his sundae of woes. Sloan for all his rakish ways and exterior is hit by misfortunes as well, the latest being Callie, pregnant with his child, being in a life threatening accident. Callie herself has weathered an impulsive marriage, a cheating husband, a realisation of her being a lesbian( heterosexual actually), her lesbian partner abandoning her and now when things do seem to be working out for her, albeit in a twisted way, she’s in an awful accident. So it goes on and on and I can carry on recounting each character’s tale of woes ad infinitum. Thankfully I don’t see so much never ending pain, misery and drama in lives of those around me. And to think of it we are just at Season 6 Season 7 right now. Season 10  Season 9 is apparently being aired in USA. By then, I fear half the cast might be knocked off, apparently for no better reason but to give the series required angst and twists.

Do I like it any less for all these tragedies? Strangely, not quite. The mishaps keep me hoping that nothing untoward happens while somewhere in the back of my mind I know that it’s just a matter of time before tragedy strikes yet again. I still love watching the “twisted sisters”, their bonding being something I missed even between Carrie and her friends in “Sex and the City”. Perhaps being face to face with death in its various avatars 24×7 makes us value what we have even more. And when I think of it, this perhaps is the reason that the tragic vein runs throughout the series – as if to reinforce, time and again the “carpe diem” theme that has run in literature since Horace. Yes let us all “seize the day” – that is what Grey’s Anatomy seems to be telling us. And that is what I tell myself- Zee Cafe, for all its shortcoming, will soon stop airing Grey’s Anatomy. So my dear, seize the day and enjoy it while it’s there for who has seen tomorrow – there maybe yet another “One Tree Hill” to suffer!

Because we’re worth it

leapingbunny

L’Oreal punch line, “Because you’re worth it”, never made much sense to me- Because I’m worth what?? All the money that I blow up on buying their products? Am I worth the 5-in-1 remedy their shampoos offer or the lipsticks or the eye liners they sell? Or, as I recently discovered, on a more sombre note, am I worth the cruelty the animals are subjected to as such products are tested on them ?

From the beginning I have a love hate relationship with the brand. When L’Oreal first came to India with its “salon excusive” tag I loved it- the shampoos, the felt tipped liners, the foundations, the lipsticks. Gradually however I outgrew the products…most of them anyways. Shampoos and the in salon hair treatments made the hair look great for a while but at the end of the day, I was just pumping more chemicals into my system. Get a dazzling new hair colour, combat the dryness by a shampoo meant for coloured hair, get hair smoothing treatments done- it was a vicious cycle I was caught in until I decided to chuck it all up, including the premium L’Oreal brand Kerastase and go natural. Likes of LUSH, Body Shop, Forest Essentials , Biotique came to my rescue. That I had, unknowingly, also moved to the realm of “cruelty free” cosmetic products, I just recently discovered.

A few days ago I accidentally came across a Facebook page called “Speak for Sasha”( https://www.facebook.com/SpeakForSasha ). Some friend had performed the universal action of “liking” or “sharing” something from that page. While I usually ignore such posts, the picture of a Beagle with soulful eyes caught my attention. And as I read it, all I knew was that I would never be able to pick up a cosmetic product again without checking first whether it is cruelty free or not.

“Animal Testing”, like so many other issues we grapple with, is a very controversial topic to debate. While its proponents would argue that for medical advancement such testing is inevitable, those against it say that many such tests fail on human beings thereby negating the very purpose of such testing. Honestly I don’t know enough about animal testing to have a well formed opinion. But what I do know is that no living creature should be knowingly and unmindfully subjected to cruelty or pain especially just to satisfy human vanity. The human race is as much capable of mind boggling sublimity as it is of unimaginable cruelty, not only towards another species but it’s own kind as well – Think Hitler and his well orchestrated dance of death. Animal kingdom, for all its ferocity and wildness, is not capable of something in similar vein. Being lower down in the chain of evolution does have its advantages it seems !!Does being higher up in this chain give us the right to subject the animal kingdom to anything we deem fit? Was the “purpose of their existence” just to satisfy human needs and human greed? What all will we excuse in the name of human advancement? How does one justify animal cruelty to make a better shampoo or lipstick? Where does one indeed draw the line?

In a country like ours, where human life comes cheap, it’s rather farfetched to talk of animal rights. When human beings are denied rights and justice, what can one expect for these poor creatures- be it in the lab or out of it? What to talk about others, I myself never spared a thought for it until recently. Not that I intended being cruel or promoting cruelty but I was simply unaware. “Awareness” – that to my mind is the key to it. Thereafter it’s each individuals personal call to take. Some may consider it yet another fad as “cruelty free” products are promoted or voice raised against animal testing. Some, like me, may decide to look for alternates to the extent possible. Some may jump in whole heartedly and work for this cause.

Do I have something personal against L’Oreal that I’ve taken their tag line as a point of departure? Not at all. Quite to the contrary I still love Lancome , Kerastase and The Body Shop, though the latter after its sale to L’Oreal is apparently no longer considered “cruelty free”. “Cruelty free” is not going to be an easy choice- Lotus, one of the cruelty free brands, I’ve never till date bothered to explore and MAC will be a tough call to replace. I’m unable to find the alternates for contact lens solution but at least I’m aware and making an informed choice. And that is what we all should do- be aware and make an informed choice. And yes, I would love a to see a rabbit instead of Aishwarya Rai promoting a “cruelty free” brand with a similar tag line- “Because we’re worth it”. Using such a product, at least I know I’ll sleep better at night with a clear conscience.