Kenya Smith


Beauty Review: Garnier Fructis Marvelous Oil 5-Action Hair Elixir

With summer months soon approaching, it is time to get serious about moisture. Aside from protecting our skin and eyes from paotentially damaging sunrays, it is also important to protect our hair.

Garnier Fructis’s Marvelous Oil 5-Action Hair Elixir is nothing short of a miracle product.

As the name suggests, this moisturizing oil has five different uses: a pre-shampoo treatment to prime hair for gentler cleansing, a conditioner booster to improve detangling, a blow dry accelerator for faster drying, an ends finisher for sleaker non-split ends or as an overnight leave-in treatment.

The special blend of Cupuacu and Brazilnut oil is the perfect combination for added moisture and shine. These oils also have deep-penetrating healing power to not only keep hair shiny, but to repair old damage as well.

When I first came across this product, I had the same concern that I always have when I see a new hair oil treatment: build-up. I find my hair can get weighed down from heavy oil moisturizers. It also gets greasy which causes break-outs. I found Garnier’s Moisture Elixir to be one of the lightest serums I have ever used.

It adds the perfect amount of light-weight moisture without leaving product build-up.

This product rings in at an affordable $5.99 and can be found anywhere in stores like Target or Wal-Mart. It comes in a convenient pump-bottle to help conserve the serum.

I find this product gentle enough for everyday use and will use it to keep my hair moisturized throughout the summer months. I’ve also started checking out Garnier’s line of leave-in conditioners and other products, also infused with oils, for additional protection and moisture.

Despite their entertainment value, reality TV often promotes dangerous stereotypes

Our generation has watched reality TV transform into one of the greatest phenomena of our time. From “Jersey Shore” to “Teen Mom,” reality TV has worked itself into the daily framework of many people’s lives. These days, it seems as though producers are willing to turn almost anything into an hour-long, weekly series. I couldn’t help but think twice about reality TV when Bravo premiered its new hit about the online dating life of men. If they can make a reality show about that, then what’s next?

But there are more important questions we should be asking. Does reality TV promote dangerous stereotypes and, if so, should we be concerned? We must admit that “Jersey Shore” has only reinforced the stereotypical image of Italian-Americans. I was often captivated as the gang enacted their daily gym, tanning and laundry routine, ending the night with a crazy trip to the hottest dance clubs on the shore.

The fun was short lived when the crew spent their summer in Italy as opposed to New Jersey. Native Italians saw them as a disgrace and misrepresentation of all Italians. Cast members were heavily ridiculed for having “tan-gerine” colored skin, bulging muscles and vulgar behavior.

“Jersey Shore” was not the only show to bring dangerous stereotypes to our living rooms, though. While some view the show “Teen Mom” as a source of empowerment for struggling young mothers, others see it as a way to further promote teen pregnancy.

We must admit most 16-year-old girls’ pregnancies are unplanned, which can undoubtedly cause stress and hurt chances of graduating high school. Some say shows like this almost encourage young women to get pregnant as opposed to deterring them. It has normalized teen pregnancy in our society instead of reinforcing that it’s probably not the best decision for someone so young.

Another growing concern that may indirectly promote stereotypes is the issue of privacy in reality TV. Participants in reality shows have openly admitted that giving the public access to the most personal moments of their lives is nothing short of a daily battle. Even the slightest blunder can have drastic repercussions.

For example, just recently in the hit series “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” cast member Brandi made a simple comment that she is still paying for months later. As the posh housewives lounged around the pool, one woman refused to enter because she did not know how to swim. Brandi flippantly responded, “You can’t swim? You’re a black person.”

Needless to say, Brandi has since been labeled as a racist and even publically attacked in the presence of her children. While Brandi might have thought it was a light-hearted comment, she angered many viewers by insensitively saying something profoundly stereotypical.

Other shows like “The Real World” and “Bad Girls Club” promote stereotypes of today’s youth as binge drinking party animals. “Buck Wild” promoted the stereotype of Southern “country” people. “Basketball Wives” promotes the stereotype that men who play professional sports are unfaithful, and their wives just spend their money and bicker amongst themselves.

Some say these shows address the issues the rich and famous face on and off the red carpet. While this may be true, many reality TV stars have found the intrusion into their most private matters daunting, and it is not uncommon to see them slowly drift away from the spotlight.

Stereotypes are a sensitive subject and can even lead to some forms of discrimination and racism. Although stereotypes can be used in a positive way to appeal to certain audiences in commercials and advertisements, we must wonder if the blatant promotion and endorsement of them should be as acceptable as we have allowed it to be.

Watch what you tweet

Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner was pronounced dead on June 11, 2011. Within minutes, thousands of alarmed fans shared the news of the sudden passing of an international icon. Comments and condolences filled our Twitter timelines as we eagerly passed along news of this unexpected development to our friends and followers.

“RIPHughHefner” even became a trending topic, with over half of the Twitter population concurrently discussing the death. No one was more surprised at this news than Hefner himself, who responded to the rumor by tweeting, “I’m happy to see how many people are pleased that I’m not dead. I’m pleased too.”

You may be asking yourself how such a deadly rumor could travel so fast. How could a totally fabricated “news” story be so easily consumed, believed and recycled? The answer is simple: Twitter.

Originally termed “microblogging,” Twitter allows its users to post and read statements, limited to 140 characters, known as “tweets.” It has been useful for communicating short notice adjustments to schedules, informing us when the season premiere of Housewives of Hollywood is airing or announcing Justin Bieber’s latest arrest.

Some educators have even started using Twitter as a way to update students on class changes. The service’s convenience makes it an invaluable asset to our daily lives. However, incidents like the one involving Hugh Hefner are not uncommon and point to a societal trend that is rapidly evolving into a societal concern.

As newspapers go out of business and journalists struggle to find work, many critics point to today’s generation as the culprit. The deliberate unwillingness to pick up a newspaper or turn on the 6 o’clock news is exactly why more convenient sources such as Twitter emerged as new leaders in timely information. Tweets take a second to write and a second to read, drastically cutting the time it takes to consume larger messages. Twitter news is credible when it comes from some of the trusted news networks like CNN, ESPN, the Associated Press, NPR and others. However, news from credible sources can be so easily changed and adjusted that one can’t help but wonder where the line between the truth and a lie is.

I do not agree with critics that blame today’s generation for being increasingly picky about what they spend their time reading. In fact, being particular about what one chooses to read and believe may be the remedy for issues like the Hugh Hefner incident.

Twitter is proven to be a useful news source in many ways, but one must learn how to filter what information they believe and, most importantly, repeat. It’s important to be a responsible consumer of news. Students seldom present arguments in an essay unless they have indisputable facts and references to back them up; the same attitude should be taken towards spreading Twitter news.

As society becomes progressively sophisticated due to the increasing availability of news, so must our sophistication in filtering what information is newsworthy and what requires further investigation before passing it on. This is basically the modern rendition of “Don’t believe everything you see on TV.”

Instead of eliminating Twitter from our lives altogether or using it as our sole news source, we should incorporate it into a plethora of news sources to help alleviate the stress of trying to distinguish the real from the fabricated. Many news sources, like CNN, have created smartphone apps that deliver news straight to the device’s home page.

If we learn to increase the credibility of the news we pass along, we will undoubtedly increase the credibility of ourselves.

Honoring the fallen and the forgotten in American history

The land of the free and the home of the brave: praised for its fair democracy, admired for its global power and influence. Founded by men who believed in the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Despite the centuries separating the age of Christopher Columbus from the present, not much has changed. To many, the United States is a symbol of a brighter future – a land of equal opportunity where the rights to religion and freedom of speech are perfectly preserved, a place where hard work and a lot of guts can take you a very long way.

Movies like “The Patriot” swell our hearts with American patriotism. The image of Scarlet O’Hara descending a grand staircase brings back memories of a simpler time when gallant gentlemen swept sophisticated ladies off their feet. On the other hand, beyond this veil of classic American nobility lays a darker and more disturbing reality: America is a nation that was built on stolen land and the backs of slaves.

Early settlers sought expansion with hopes of establishing colonies and cultivating the rich American land. Native inhabitants posed a threat to settlers, who saw them as strange, secular savages. Despite efforts to protect the Native American tribes and their territories through law, settlers could not resist the rich resources that were so close, yet off-limits. Some officials appointed to execute these laws were often heavily involved in the frequent, brutal massacres of the American natives.

Such atrocities were often masked by claims of mission work, which settlers used to justify their actions. They saw it as their duty to convert and discipline the natives, whom they viewed as godless heathens.

African Americans were introduced into the cycle of ill gain under the very same pretenses. Explorers sought to convert Africans to Christianity and free them from certain doom in the afterlife. With expansion into Africa came the expansion of the African slave trade. Thousands of Africans were sold across the Atlantic seas and transported into the harshest of conditions. They were mistreated, stripped of culture and dignity and made to work a land to which they had no legal claim.

Over the years, these injustices were undoubtedly transformed into victories by way of Native American government reparations, the abolition of slavery and later the eradication of segregation. We cannot travel back in time to ask the early settlers whether they felt their actions reflected an inconsistency with their original mission: to claim their basic human rights. And perhaps we will never get an answer. I respect what the United States has become, and I believe in its dedication to democracy and equal opportunity. However, I cannot ignore history.

American history touches our daily lives in unparalleled ways. Women may feel under qualified because of the history of male dominance. Black people may feel the sting of lingering discrimination. Native Americans may despise the prosperity of a land that, arguably, should have been theirs. Whatever the battle, we brush shoulders with all that America is, and was, more often than we may realize.

I sincerely thank the pioneers who fought to create what many have come to know as home. I thank them for fighting for freedom, justice and persevering through the hardest of times. My goal is not to discredit the hard work that built this nation, but rather to remember the fallen. It is to honor the unsung heroes who never knew the taste of absolute freedom and liberty, but who unknowingly paved the way for us to know it.

Had Native Americans not taught settlers how to survive in the unfamiliar terrain, the settlers may not have prospered. Had African Americans not developed the land and increased economic growth, many of us would not currently reside in the United States. The contributions are many, but seldom acknowledged. A hunch is not enough, but I am willing to say that without those who are too often forgotten, this country would be only a shadow of what we know it to be today.