There are quite a few things I’ve learned since going gluten-free. Most of them food related, such as what ingredients are naturally GF, which can be modified to be GF, and the ones that are flat-out NOT GF. I would say the trial and error over the past few years has been less than ideal, which is why this platform aims to impart that wisdom on newcomers (I also learn so much from you guys, so thank you!). However, food aside, have you taken the time to consider the beauty and personal care products you are using? Sneaky as it is in food, gluten can pop up in your most-used wellness products. For me, I learned the hard way.
Prior to going gluten-free, I had all sorts of skin irritations and reactions, one of them being crazy dry scalp and dandruff. It was so gross to itch my head (because it was always so itchy) and have flakes of dry skin left behind on all my clothing (avoid black!). Upon changing my diet, the extremity of such conditions went away but I was noticing that I was experiencing bouts of dry scalp from time to time. Initially I played it off as a seasonal issue, then blamed the Toronto water supply, and lastly my hair styling techniques (too much heat is drying my scalp)! Around this time I was also noticing how brittle and dead my hair was looking. It no longer had a beautiful sheen to it. That’s when I turned to my shampoo and conditioner.
Lo and behold, most drugstore and salon brands use some form of gluten in their products, not to mention a slew of other hard to pronounce ingredients. So this got me thinking that, as mindful as I am about what I put into my body, I need to consider what I am putting onto my body. Our skin is our largest organ after all and most topical products are absorbed right into the bloodstream, good or bad.
After throwing out all of my expensive products, I turned to natural gluten-free haircare. Below, I share my top 3 products that have been incredible for my hair health, and I still maintain my styling regimen (just not as frequently). *Side note, if anyone has a good natural dry shampoo brand they use, please share!
I am having a serious love affair with Carina Organics shampoo and conditioner. Not only does their products smell heavenly (sweet pea is one of my favourite scents + a childhood nickname), but the ingredients are organic and sustainably sourced! What’s even better they are free of harmful chemicals such as sulfates, which can be absorbed into the bloodstream and over time accumulate in organs making it difficult to detoxify and function properly. Instead they use extracts, essences and oils from the REAL source, such as coconut oil, flower extracts, and apple cider vinegar.
My hair feels, look and smells great. The issue I have had with other natural brands is that your hair is left feeling slightly greasy still or it doesn’t lather is nicely, but Carina gives you the va-voom you’re looking for without the nasty additives. You can find this brand in any major health food store (I choose Essence of Life in Kensington Market). Hello, luscious locks!
Ok, so this is a not-so-secret trick of the trade, but I swear by coconut oil hair treatments. As I mentioned, I need to style my hair. I have crazy wavy/curly locks, so I need to tame the beast with a curling iron and straightener when the occasion strikes. The heat can do a lot of damage to your tresses, so when you’re in need of a little extra loving, run a small amount of coconut oil along your ends to bring back some of that moisture. If you’re looking for a more full-on treatment, use a little more and run it throughout your entire head, so you can really see the oiliness. Toss it into a clip and sit with it in for at least an hour. For maximum results, put on a hair cap and sleep with the mask on. You might need a couple washes to get all the oil out, but it is worth it! Forget the expensive salon treatment, you’ve got your own in-home version!
This is a fairly recent discovery but since taking zinc supplements, my hair has been shinier and more lush. No joke! I was fan-girling the other day about how healthy my mane was looking. You may not know, but most of us are zinc deficient. It is crucial for proper human growth and immune function. It is also vital for hair, skin and nail health. With autoimmune diseases or any sort of allergy or intolerance, mineral absorption becomes impacted. I was experiencing major hair loss before going gluten-free, the zinc has helped prevent this and now I’ve got a much fuller head of hair! If you’re experiencing any sort of hair issues, I suggest looking into this. It may not be right for everyone though.