Verdict, Opinions and the What-ifs!

The news bothered me more than I thought it would. I logged into my Facebook group to see the reaction of other moms regarding the verdict.

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As expected, there was this verbose post fuming a hot discussion on which brand we should trust next, all the while arrowing expletives on everyone who works for J&J. Most of the moms who contributed to the thread didn’t seem to be personally affected by the judgement though, for they claimed to have never used J&J talcum powder for their babies. Wearing their invisible lab coats, they hauled us (the victims) over the coals for missing out on the benefits of other brands – Sebamed, Mama earth, Chicco, Himalaya et al., that are considered to be relatively safe. It looked no less than an open war between various cosmetics brands, except that the participants were all customers/consumers who gain no benefits (if I am not wrong) out of the argument.

What is talc? Why is it considered harmful and when exactly it poses a cancer risk?Questions like these barely got into discussion. (Also read this).

Everyone defended their favorite brands/products so well that I wanted to switch off my analysis and buy them all in one go, before Amazon runs out of stock.

The moment we (the super moms) gain a tiny bit of confidence in raising the child right, we begin recommending products to other helpless moms in the planet, no matter how half-baked we are in terms of understanding that product inside out. Most of the Facebook groups I’m part of, would lose their charm in case they decide to disallow baby brand recommendations.

It isn’t bad to suggest a product to others. But how sure are we, about the quality and ingredients they hold? I’m concerned because I am one among the clan that falls for WOMM and promising recommendations.

Here’s my story. Anything green and labeled BPA free goes into my cart without a second thought. When it comes to baby essentials, we initially used J&J for our child since the entire family recommended it despite the societal controversies.

My mom who is so fond of J&J talcum powder applies it all over baby D’s body and says it reminds her of my babyhood when she used to nearly bathe me in Johnson’s powder to ensure I smelled divine throughout the day.

Our Johnson’s baby boy is ready to sleep“, she says, proudly looking at her grandson curling aside for a nap. The traditional baby fragrance along with the brand name is inordinately intertwined with her good memories. I’m not much into talcum powder as I’m slightly allergic to its dusty texture.

She is a first-time grandmom who often overstates the love for her grandson, so I could not say No to the daily talcum dharshan even though I sort of wanted to. Thus the talc continued to play a part in our lives, despite my reluctance. Until one fine day, when news channels threw accusations on the brand, the powder dabbas, soaps and even lotion bottles crept out of the house like animated centipedes (Animated it, as real ones scare the $#!+ out of me!). Ideally, it’d have been still fine if we had just gotten rid of the talcum powder and continued using the products of the same brand. It sounded risky, hence we skipped J&J goods altogether.

What next? I had to choose another brand that would not let me down for a lifetime. Before I could dive into the ocean of variants available online, somehow I got reminded of the heap of baby essentials we received as gifts. There were various brands and I didn’t want any of them to go unused.

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I unpacked the Himalaya products first simply because I had them in bulk. I immediately fell in love with their talcum powder as its fragrance was different from the traditional J&J smell my nostrils had been over-used to. Moreover, when my eyes perceive the green fonts, the “no parabens, no synthetic colors” statements, my ears spit out a major portion of common sense, making me trust the brand without bothering to even check the entire list of ingredients. I also convince myself saying that baby products go through intense screening process. After all, no one would genuinely want to mess with a baby’s safety, would they?

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Knowing my new love for Himalaya products, the other moms in my circle recommended another brand named Mama Earth. There was a pattern in the way they acknowledged its goodness which called for a ground work from my end. “This one seems to have adopted a better marketing strategy than the latter“, the leftover common sense declared. These guys are specific about their target audience and send their free supplies or samples to reputed Instagrammers and established mom bloggers who inturn recommend their baby products out of gratitude. We do not know for sure if they really use them for their babies, but our brain perceives the information that way. Surprisingly, I didn’t come across even a single negative review for Mama Earth products. May be it’s really good. Just like how J&J was, few years ago. You know what I mean.

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My mom friends also recommended Patanjali because Babadev Ramji performs Yoga and Yoga is good. Sounds preposterous in words, but yeah, in real, this is how we make certain decisions in life. Those handful of smart ones who remained insensitive to the Yoga tactics fell for its Swadeshi aspect of nomenclature like Shishu, Saundarya and similar follies. A couple of my friends remained resistant to even the above idiocies but instantly gave in when our “Make in India” monks made flex boards that depicted the carcinogenic effects of mineral oil, adding further information on how (only) their products are devoid of it.

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Sebamed is a German product, so is Audi. “Anything German is worth worshipping, you gotta opt for it!”, compels my anti-Indian friends.

I’m sure it isn’t just my brain that’s choking with all these brand promotions. Everyone of us come across these promises in some form or the other on a daily basis. Almost all of them are deceitful, yet adversely influential enough to suppress the basic knowledge as well as the common sense of consumers like us.

Subconsciously we perceive certain colors, words, facts and images as safe for consumption. For example, green colored soaps, full-white covers, words like med or medi, organic, natural, 100%, trusted, safe, tested, baby, indian and foreign, images of aloe vera plants, paddy field, water droplets, religious mudras, birds, babies and baby-related logos are some of the traps that work in favor of the manufacturers (and against us).

I’m glad an awareness on talc in general has been finally brought under spotlight. J&J, being the most widely used international brand was scrutinized thoroughly as soon as one of its products triggered a massive general public outrage. My question is, just because other brands are not caught in the act (yet?), does it mean they are all safe?

Isn’t it high time we should resort to homemade herbal cosmetics just like our great grandmas did? Why do we still cling on to brand after brand anyway? Just wondering.

5 thoughts on “Verdict, Opinions and the What-ifs!

Add yours

  1. I think everyone is caught in marketing strategy of different groups. Talcum powder is not a pharmaceutical product. It is a fast moving consumer good. A talcum powder is not taken internally. Chances of cancer is minimal. Any day J&J powder will be better researched than that of Patanjali.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m here, Sir… doing well, feeling more alive than ever before. How about you?
      Happy New Year to you too, Sir. I hope you have a healthy, wealthy and peaceful year ahead.
      Your message made my day!!!
      Thank you for noticing my absence in WP.
      It was only yesterday I returned home from a 2 month long vacation at my mom’s place.
      My mobile phone needs a new battery and our laptop conked out yet again, which is the main reason for my unannounced hiatus. Now that I am home, I’ll get them repaired and hopefully will resume blogging before the week ends.
      Have a nice day, Sir 🙂


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