Not long after my diagnosis, I realized that topical forms of gluten were also affecting my skin and health. And when I went to the salon, the gluten-rich shampoos and conditioners would leave my scalp itchy, and broken out in a rash. For years I remember washing my hair as soon as I got home from the salon, but I always assumed some residual color was still on my scalp, I never suspected gluten.
So for years I decided to avoid salons all together. I colored my own hair, by simply calling the help number or any hair color box you can pretty quickly find out whether all of it’s contents are gluten-free. And most hair color boxes are, though a few do contain gluten in the conditioner. I even took the scissors to my own head, trimming and cutting my own locks. Fortunately I had always favored stylists who perform edgy, almost messy cuts, and I had been paying attention.
But coloring your hair at home is always risky. Some months I was super blond, some I had long roots, and sometimes my hair was slightly reddish. So after years of avoiding the salon, I decided to go in for a round of professional color. I selected an Aveda salon, as at least their products are “more natural” than others. And I was sure I had seen gluten-free product lists for Aveda online.
Here’s how things went:
- For Shame Aveda: Before my appt. I contacted Aveda for an updated gluten-free product list. I had seen similar lists on forums years ago, so figured that by now, like most major hair care lines they would have phased gluten out of most products, and have an updated list handy. Instead, they informed me that no such list exists and that ingredients are listed on the product packages. Sadly, Aveda is also still one of those companies that does not even list product ingredients online, pretty unusual for a “natural” brand.
- Guard is Up: Remember how your mom used to embarrass you at times while trying to protect you, well as much as I hate to walk into a salon and tell them: I’d rather have some root than have any color touch my scalp, I need to see what shampoos and conditioners you have and check the labels for gluten, and I’ll have to preapprove any styling products that you’d like to use one me–I simply had to, for my own health.
- I Spy Gluten: Fortunately my appointment was late in the evening, so the salon had pretty much cleared out. This meant that I was free to roam. So while waiting for my appointment to begin, I quickly checked the shampoos and conditioners and found that only the Scalp Benefits pair would do, as it was the ONLY Aveda conditioner I found that did not contain gluten ingredients. Then while my color processed, again I set about checking product labels. I did find that their Brilliance shine spray was gluten-free, and only one of the many hair sprays I checked was gluten-free. So all in all, it seemed like while many companies are phasing gluten out in response to consumer demand, Aveda is moving backwards. I also spied several ingredients that I am not a big fan of, but that’s a whole other post.
- My Final Results: In the end, I was very happy with my color, and the stylist had been so understanding of all of my specific product restrictions. I don’t think that my scalp broke out in an actual rash, but it did itch quite a bit, so once I got home I washed my hair with yummy, naturally scented Desert Essence Organics products and all was good and right with my hair.