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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Naturally Bare

Ok, I admit it. I was totally sucked into a product greenwashing experience this last week. You see, sometimes I'm not totally game or have time to make my own sugaring solution for waxing my parts and I succumb to pre-made products. I really like Moom, but it's hard to find, so occasionally I will cheat and buy the pre-wax strips. There's a lot of waste, so I really don't like doing this.

Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon a new product that touts that it is "pure, all natural honey, sugar, chamomile and lemon", just like the simple ingredients in Moom home sugaring! Not only that, but the spatulas are made of natural birch wood and, the clincher, the removal strips are made of biodegradable corn recyclable packaging! There's a happy photo showing the four main ingredients all encompassed in a circle: honey, turbinado sugar, chamomile and lemon.

The product is actually by Sally Hansen and is called Naturally Bare Honey Wax Hair Remover for Body. Had I found the holy grail of sugaring? A product that was readily available in stores and, as they advertise, "gentle on your skin, gentle on the environment"? Um, no. First of all, the product stank. Moom smells like honey and not much else. This stuff smelled like a chemical lab explosion. It spread on easily, but was difficult to remove.

And those corn based biodegradable removal strips? Really hard to use, got gunked up fast and generally resulted in a painful, ineffective experience. When I bought the product, I was under the impression that the entire ingredient list was the happy 4 products shown in the circle, based on the packaging. But, when you read the small print, the main ingredients are: corn syrup, fructose, glucose, sucrose and saccaride hydrolysate. Then come the more herbal ingredients. Finally, to top things off, are two nasty customers: methylparaben and propylparaben.

In case you don't remember, parabens are synthetic preservatives and antimicrobials used to extend shelf life. Studies have found that parabens mimic estrogen in the body and disrupt normal hormone function, and they have been found in breast-tumor biopsies. So, while Moom uses naturally occurring preservatives, this product has resorted to something potentially cancerous. And, how is this "good for you, safe and effective. The ideal wax for a healthy, natural lifestyle"?

The "soothing aftercare gel" also includes sodium methylparaben, sodium ethylparaben and sodium propylparaben in case you didn't get enough from the wax itself. I'm highly disappointed in this greenwashing. If the product were actually effective, I could overlook the awkward corn based removal strips. But, since it wasn't easy or useful and it contains ingredients I would like to avoid (and was duped into thinking weren't in the product), I give this product a huge two thumbs down.

The sad thing is that most people will be sucked into this product, much like I was. So, the take home lesson is that, if it is too good to be true, it most likely is.


mudnessa said...

I bought a kit on a whim and came to the same conclusions. It was advertised as a natural product, don't remember the actual brand. When I opened up the package and read the paper inside parabens, parabens, parabens. Tried it and was quite disappointed. Homemade sugaring worked much better for me.

Bucky said...

Okay, I actually read the entire post, Crunchy. And that's saying something.

Not really a subject that much interests me.

But I was particularly amused by this phrase: "The ideal wax for a healthy, natural lifestyle."

Just seems to me that waxing the pubes and "natural lifestyle" may be somewhat mutually exclusive.

I'm just sayin'.

"Natural" is the big braided lady afro bush that sticks out the holes of the macrame monokini.

(Apologies ladies, but EEEWWWWW)

Okay, so I'm a big homo, and I'm no expert on lady parts. As if any man is from what I hear? And I'm not underestimating the power of a little ladyscaping either. Less really is more for me in this particular situation.

But I'm no fan of the totally waxed look. I've always said that if I was actually interested in sleeping with a hairless man that looked like a pre-pubescent boy then I would become a Catholic priest and ... you know ... just have sex with a pre-pubscent boy.

Looking like an adult is mostly a good thing.

Except for back hair. That shit just needs to go.

[In case anyone is humor deprived, let me state for the record and the authorities that I am not interested in nor advocating sex with pre-pubescent children ... or children of any age ... or frankly anyone under the age of 35]

[Neither do I mean to imply that all Catholic priests are gay and/or child molesters ... all of them are not ... just most of them.]

Madz said...

great post. thanks for the heads up.

Sharakh said...

Bucky, you are hilarious. But don't forget that women come, like men, with hair from the pubes to the ankles. Even if a lady doesn't wax her privates (and I'm right there with you on thinking that's creepy), there's a lot of real estate that you see on the street every day and which society says should be hairless. Even people with only an academic opinion of ladies' privates often feel their legs should be properly maintained.

Sarah said...

Sharakh: "Properly maintained"? Here's to hoping that more people who want to live a "natural lifestyle" change up social norms so women aren't embarrassed of their bodies (including their hair) and "proper maintenance" means occasional washing.

Bucky said...

Some very good points, Sharakh.

And I will admit that when I hear about women waxing, I immediately think about delicate lady bits.


I live in Texas, where most of my heterosexual female friends spend an inordinate amount of time talking about the painful removal of all of their pubic hair. Seems that straight Texas men like that.

How strange.

I'm constantly telling my girlfriends that if their husband/boyfriend/neighbor thinks that they are supposed to be totally hairless he is either watching far, far, freakisly far too much porn or he's into little girls. Both of which are a sad problem in a relationship. And if you need to wax your pubes into a "landing strip" to help your man zero in on the important parts, you need to worry less about waxing and spend more time finding the right yard man or pool boy to help take care of things. Trust me on these things ladies.

Sarah, I appreciate your comment as well. I certainly know more than my fair share of butch lesbians to realize that women can be very beautiful without conforming to heterosexist norms of beauty. Raxor be damned!

However, I can't stop thinking now about a picture I saw of a certain celebrity at a recent red carpet awards ceremony. (I think it was Monique, but I can't remember.) There she was in a beautiful knee-length yellow dress and some very expensive dainty heels and showing the hairy legs of a long-lost Yeti.


While I appreciate her decision to go natural, can we at least agree that there is a time and place to parade the body hair? And the red carpet isn't one of them. This goes for men as well. Don't need to see that hairy belly. Button up that damn shirt.

Unless you are Hugh Jackman. In which case you should always be shirtless no matter what. Always. Assless chaps might be a good idea too, Mr. Jackman. Just a suggestion. But that's just a personal thing that I'm working through in therapy. [Note to self: make appointment for Friday. Three hours. Bring visual aids.]

Sarah said...

While I appreciate her decision to go natural, can we at least agree that there is a time and place to parade the body hair? And the red carpet isn't one of them.

Nope, don't agree with that, even a little. Any more than I'd say fat people shouldn't attend fancy events because so many people find them unattractive.

Marissa said...

I sugar my lady bits and my upper lip...I wish I could afford to sugar my entire body though. I am not a fan of body hair at all. For some it is perfectly natural not to have much hair, and for others it is perfectly natural to be a sasquatch. Unfortunately I fall into the second category and I prefer the first. It has nothing to do with societal norms at all. At one time perhaps, but not anymore. I just hate body hair.

And to be quite frank, adults do NOT look like prepubescent boys or girls when they take off the hair. My boyfriend shaves and I can promise you no one would mistake him for being a child. Other things happen in puberty than just hair growth.

I am fed up with "green" razors and don't really know what to do now. I have tried sugaring my own legs and that just doesn't work.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Ok, I'm going to go out here and make a statement.

On one hand there is the social ideal that women (mostly Americans) feel the need to remove their body hair. This has certainly increased in the last decade with the popularity and open acceptance of Brazilian waxing and the like. To me, this just means that this hairlessness is a look women like and are doing it not just for their men.

On the other hand, there is the backlash to this cultural ideal, where some (usually women) feel enlightened by not partaking in hair removal.

Well, here's my opinion on the matter. Neither party is right or wrong. If you want to remove your body hair because it makes you feel better about yourself or because you feel cleaner, then go for it.

If you like keeping your body hair because it makes you feel better about yourself or you don't want to deal with hair removal, then go for it. Unfortunately, you are in the minority in this country.

I think we are all entitled to our opinions on what we find "beautiful". But, to be fair, humans have been manipulating their bodies through tattooing, piercing, scarification, hair removal and whatnot for thousands of years.

The idea of removing body hair didn't happen overnight and won't be resolved any time in our lifetimes. I don't think many women who remove their body hair feels like they are shackled into a society ideal - they do it for personal preference.

Stating that women that shave/wax/otherwise are "embarrassed of their bodies" is, frankly, a little insulting.

Krista said...

Hmmm... I don't remove hair because I am "embarrassed by my body." I remove hair because I don't like it. Saying that is just as silly as if I were to say that you don't remove hair because you are embarrassed by your body and trying to cover it. Neither one makes sense.

I fully support the right of anyone to be as hairy as they want to be, but really don't want to have to look at it. I keep my fat covered, so can't Monique keep her legs covered?

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

Well stated, Ms Crunch. I have an interesting story about how men's attitudes about pubic hair can screw up a woman's thinking. But that would be for private conversation.
Anyway, some folks look damn good fully fuzzy, some don't. I remember when I was a kid reading about Native Amazonian tribes using sap from rubber trees to remove body hair, both men and women, and I was fascinated! Whatever greases your pan.

Bucky said...

Yona, every conversation here is private.


Our lips are sealed.

Our typing bloggy fingers not so much. But our lips -- totally sealed.

Your secrets are safe(ish) with us.


Crunchy Chicken said...

Yeah, Roger. Spill it.

Bucky said...


Who is this Roger?

And why and what is he "spilling?"

And Crunchy, I'm not sure that "spill it" is appropriate talk when discussing women's nether regions.

Some of your readers with less than pure thoughts might misinterpret your words.

Not that I have any idea what I'm talking about, of course.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Roger (aka Equa Yona (aka Big Bear)).

Bucky, you have an interesting imagination. But, then again, so do I so I'm not going to comment any further.

Farmer's Daughter said...

I've never waxed or sugared... prefer to shave or pluck. But the idea of ripping out hair gives me shivers.

And since it's winter here and I'm 33 weeks pregnant, I'm in no rush to shave my legs any time soon. I was thinking I'll probably gross out the docs when I deliver the baby.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Abbie (aka Farmer's Daughter) - I'm fairly certain the last thing the doctors care about during delivery is how much hair you are sporting.

I would be much more concerned with pooping on the delivery table :)

Sharakh said...

Sarah - "Properly maintained" is the opinion many people have about the whole thing, not necessarily one I agree with. I utterly failed at conveying that part of my meaning. Thanks for pointing out that some do prefer the alternative!

Bucky - I don't immediately think of delicate lady bits when I think of waxing because I'm old enough that I think of it as being a rare kink to want to remove the hair there. I'm getting the idea it is mainstream behavior now, but I'm not used to it.

Farmer's Daughter - I'd think that obstetricians would be accustomed to hairy gams at delivery - doesn't it get just plain hard to reach anything below hip level around nine months?

Farmer's Daughter said...

Haha! Can I tell you that my brothers have been tormenting me about that possibility since they found out I was pregnant?

As I read in a labor book, "all doors need to be open" when delivering a baby :)

Bucky said...

Crunchy, PLEASE keep commenting. We all love to know what you are thinking.

Really. We do.

And Sarah, I haven't forgotten your comment. Just was trying to formulate the right response.

I'm pretty sure this isn't it.

While I'm mostly just joking around here, you seem so very serious. So I'll mostly try to give a (somewhat) serious reply.

I said: While I appreciate her decision to go natural, can we at least agree that there is a time and place to parade the body hair? And the red carpet isn't one of them.

You replied: Nope, don't agree with that, even a little. Any more than I'd say fat people shouldn't attend fancy events because so many people find them unattractive.

Damn. We can't agree even a little?

Not just a smidge.

That's harsh, S. [May I call you that?]

Okay. First off, let me remind everyone that I never made any disparaging remarks about fat people (hi mom!). Certainly I never wrote that I thought that fat people shouldn't attend fancy events. If that were the case I'd find myself alone at every family get-together. (Which might not be such a bad thing if you knew my family.) So for the record, I'm not dissin' the heavies.

And I certainly never even implied that I find body hair unattractive.

I just think that there are appropriate times to be showing the fur and other times when when maybe not so much.

No matter the gender.

Formal events are all about conFORMity. Like it or not. That is just how it is.

I don't always like it myself, but I understand that it is what it is.

The cardinal rule of formal events is to not draw any attention to yourself (unless you are the bride or honoree).

Showing a hairy leg outside of a Scottish wedding is just wrong.

N.L.G. said...

Ugh. Thank you for sharing this! I actually have this product in my bathroom, but haven't used it for some reason. Now I know I won't. Where can I find Moom?

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Elena White said...

Hi Crunchy!

I have SO enjoyed the comments on this post, I am now following. Wouldn't dare not, since I might miss out on more titillating commentary :)
I'm a green blogger, too. Please check out my blog, Life the Green Way (www.lifethegreenway.org).
BTW, you all made my afternoon!

baby eczema said...

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Angel said...

Thank you soo much for this post. I was thinking of purchasing this product as the name caught my eye - I buy other green products from a webstore called Naturally Bare. I love the whole "going green" idea and I've been slowly trying to change all my products to ones that are healthy for the body AND for the earth. My newest find are Body Scrub Truffles...love, love, love them! http://www.bonanza.com/booths/NaturallyBare

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