new stuff: shampoo and conditioner



I was using La Roche-Posay Lipikar Syndet body wash for much of the summer, because my scalp–like the rest of my skin above the elbows–was itchy and hyper-reactive. This stuff happened to work without drying ut my hair. Unlike the otherwise nicely unreactive Free & Clear / Cliniderm shampoo. But it’s expensive, if using it as a daily shampoo and body-wash. All the more so if you’re traveling and using that one general cleanser for hand-washing clothes, cleaning out a menstrual cup, etc.

My skin has settled down a bit, so I tried a couple of things out on it. Some just didn’t cut it for the basic task of cleaning so I’ve not included them here. Focus on positives.

Avalon Organics fragrance-free olive & grapeseed shampoo: still irritates skin (even just doing the preliminary test of using it for washing my hands, wrists, inside arms up to elbows). I used this some years ago and it was fine and happy; then it was reformulated and less happy; and I’m pretty sure this is that same version. 

So that’s a no.

Earth Science fragrance-free shampoo: I’d used this before and liked it. It, too, was reformulated a few years ago (two? three?) and I found the reformulation to be better. Moister. I like it now. Cleans scalp, doesn’t dry it or hair out, works well as a body wash too and for my other required general purposes. It’s also cheaper than LRP Lipikar, with prices in the area of CAD 8.99 for 355 ml.

INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Sodium Myreth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Chloride, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Panthenol, Lactic Acid, Polyquaternium-7, Citric Acid, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Glycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate.


I used Free & Clear / Cliniderm for much of the summer. It was OK but didn’t do much on wave, waywardness, frizz, and other follicular funny business. It’s a fabulous shaving cream. But it’s expensive: for the Cliniderm version in Canadian drugstores, it’s nearly Aveda prices. Free & Clear online is getting expensive, what with shipping from the USA and the crippling exchange rate.

As with shampoo, I tried out a few others. 

Avalon Organics fragrance-free olive & grapeseed was bad. I wouldn’t say it was catastrophic, that would be a bit strong. But my hair felt a combination of waxily weighty and dry. My scalp and the skin on the back of my neck started to itch while I was still in the shower, so that’s contact dermatitis within minutes. I got the start of red patches behind my ears, something of which I’m wary because that often signals the start of eczema and as often is a sign of plain simple big irritation. Back in the shower I went. Lots of rinsing (and what makes this worse is that we’re in the midst of a fecking drought here in BC and I’ve been trying to be virtuous in saving water including reducing shower length, turning off the water when shampooing, etc.). Back to the boring old stuff that never hurt. Irritation went down over the course of the day. 

So that’s an emphatic NO from me.

Earth Science fragrance-free was absolutely fine. Fairly thick, conditions decently, good as a shaving cream. It’s a keeper and about 1/3 of the price of Cliniderm / F&C, again around CAD 8.99 for 355 ml. 

INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Stearalkonium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Benzyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol.

And then, because the local supermarket had it on special offer, I tried out another conditioner. It’s a winner. On me, feels rather like John Masters Organics Bare (which is basically an unscented version of their citrus & neroli and rosemary & peppermint detanglers). It leaves my hair light, swingy, bouncy. More like I’ve actually used Proper Products on it (not just aloe vera gel) and blow-dried it. 

It feels like it might be too thin and light, but isn’t. On the other hand, it’s too runny to use as shaving-cream.

No irritation on scalp or surrounding skin (neck, ears, sides of face, etc.).

This marvel is Scentuals scentfree. A local BC company, looks OK on the ethical front, and you can’t sneeze at CAD 6.99-10.00 prices. They’re a bit Food Babe (but not as aggressive as a certain other BC company who also make unscented hair stuff) and make lots of yoga paraphernalia–mat cleaners and suchlike–but I’ll forgive them provided they keep making this conditioner and ensure it stays available in regular local shops

INGREDIENTS: – Organic Aloe barbadensis (aloe juice )
– Cetyl alcohol (natural hair conditioner )
– Oryza sativa (rice bran) oil
– Stearyl alcohol (natural hair conditioner)
– Cetrimonium Chloride (vegetable derived conditioner)
– Xanthan gum (natural thickener)
– Prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil
– Hydrolyzed wheat protein
– Argania spinosa (organic argan oil )
– Glycerine 99.5% USP
– Soy lecithin (natural moisturizer )
– Potassium sorbate (natural preservative)
– Sodium benzoate (natural preservative)


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