Shake The Hand of Your…Shampoo Provider?

Because my shopping list & meal plan for week 1 of the Echallenge (see the EChallenge page for more details) provided more than two weeks’ worth of food, I’m taking a teensy break from the daily documentation of new meals until I’ve worked my way through the leftovers!

We all know how important it is to know where your food comes from – to “shake the hand of your farmer.”  Eating locally and supporting farmers who use sustainable farming practices and commit to grass-feeding and grass-finishing their livestock is an integral part of the Paleo/Primal lifestyle, and a key ingredient in living appreciatively. (A great resource if you’re interested in this approach is Eat Wild.)

My farmers are the folks at Cherry Grove Farm and Jennings Farm. I spent an hour yesterday with Mary Beth at Jennings Farm – took a tour of the farm, talked about what’s new in soil management and grazing practices, and left with some gorgeous eggs. I also learned that they’re trying to increase their flock of chickens but haven’t found anyone locally who is selling chickens that have not been de-beaked. Truly sad.

It occurred to me a few weeks ago that while I have total confidence in my farmers, I have very little knowledge of the cosmetic products I use. Taking a peek at my Overpriced Designer Hair Conditioner, I noticed HYDROLIZED WHEAT PROTEIN as one of the ingredients.

WHAT?

So my conditioner contains gluten. Awesome.  (If you weren’t aware, it’s basically legal for cosmetic producers to put anything and everything short of explosives in your make-pretty stuff. Check this out.) Beyond that, a second look at most of my soap-related ingredients was pretty disheartening. Sulfates and Parabens, oh my!

Awhile back I snickered at a tanning lotion I saw that was labeled “gluten-free.” I self-righteously told the seller that gluten could not be absorbed across the skin. Technically that’s true. But my skin almost always has some kind of cut, scratch, or over-itched bug bite. That means an open channel to my bloodstream. Not to mention that I’m pretty much constantly yapping about something. I probably swallow about 2 sticks worth of chapstick every week.

So it irritates me that my efforts to stay gluten-free are being thwarted during my daily* shower ritual. While “Celiac Disease” refers solely to intestine-specific gluten issues, Gluten Sensitivity is also widespread, systemic and has everything to do with gluten in the bloodstream. While I’m not super gluten-sensitive, I’m pretty adamant that gluten is bad news for everybody, whether from a political “damn-the-man” standpoint or a total health view.

Enter the Gluten-Free Savonnerie. They sell a wide range of gluten and allergen-free soaps, hair products and personal-care products…not only that, but they’re paraben-free and they WORK. While I’ve toyed around with the idea of going “No ‘Poo” – using baking soda and vinegar to wash and condition my hair – these products are the perfect alternative to adopting a full-on hippie crunch.

The Shampoo of Non-Greasers.

My hair is so soft and balanced with these products it’s unbelievable. It doesn’t oil up in 24 hours as I thought my hair was programmed to do, and I can skip daily washings without the Danny Zuko look of years past.

No, my friend. Grease is no longer the Word.

I would use this product over any other product, whether or not I was trying to avoid gluten.

And best of all? I emailed them and got an immediate and very gracious response from Christine. Because I’ve got friends with babies, I wanted to find out whether their soaps were good for infants, and discussed the subject with Christine. There’s no reason to use regular infant soap – from the likes of Johnson & Johnson – because even their “natural” products contain massive amounts of industrially-produced ingredients. Christine recommended Dakota Free.

This sure felt like the next-best thing to a Handshake. Heck, it may have even been the next-best thing to a Milkshake. Maybe even the Shake Weight.

*by “daily” I mean “I reserve the right to go stinky and showerless if I so choose.”

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3 Responses to “Shake The Hand of Your…Shampoo Provider?”

  1. Just checked out the ingredients on my conditioner. It’s sulfite -free, but includes at least ten lines of other ingredients. (Not ten ingredients, but ten lines of ingredients). I have no idea what they are, or their source.

  2. Great post! but i think its really important to look beyond just the shampoos and conditioners. Living a primal lifestyle and buying locally grown produce is great, but what about the other “stuff” in your house? Its great to try to keep your body healthy, but I wonder if most people know the effects that the other “stuff” has on the environment. Yay for having a healthy body, but a lot of good that’ll do you when you are having such a negative effect on the environment. Trying buying all natural cleaning supplies, shampoos, conditioners, recycled products and so on.

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