RSS Feed

Category Archives: Cosmetics

My Glutenfree Salon Experience

The Package Is You, A Complete Makeover Experience

IT started in her smile, rose to her eyes, and then floated like soft smoke around the tiny room.  Past the striking artwork, over the antique writing desk, and amid the fresh, bright yellow daffodils, IT slid into my body on a sip of tea served from a proper English teacup, infiltrating the tension I carried within me.  As the “aah” of relaxation cracked through mDSCN0452y stress, I looked back up at her gratefully.  There IT was in her face…that warm, open, healing love of compassion.  It was like getting a big, gentle hug from your mother or grandmother.  I knew the next hour or so would be extraordinary. It was.

Don’t get me wrong with all this oohing and aahing, Karen Lane is a no nonsense biologist/artist, who has mastered her crafts.  Working for years as a scientist in the medical field left her feeling not quite satisfied.  The tug of creativity, art, and beauty called.  With a career change to cosmology, she not only finds herself owning and operating her own makeover salon, but teaching theory, anatomy, and science in the Cosmology Department at San Jose City College.  For 22 years now, she has found a perfect venue to balance art and science.

Karen has taken the posh salon experience and ratcheted the standard up a notch.  Walking into her salon, you will not hear three or four blow dryers or smell any nasty chemicals.  No, hers is a private salon.  You will be her sole client.  She will devote 100% of her attention to you for the allotted time.  How often in our electronically pinged lives do we get to experience peaceful, refreshing, devoted attention?  What a powerful gift.

An added bonus is Karen’s devoted commitment to designing a nontoxic, allergy free program of products and services to fit your specific needs, be it gluten intolerance, scalp issues, or other allergic sensitivities.  Special attention is given to Gluten Free products, due to her own gluten sensitivity.  For the first time, ever, I had a cut and color without an adverse reaction the next day.  My reactions to the harsh chemicals, even when gluten free, in hair salons were so severe that I knew not to schedule anything important the day after an appointment.

Appreciative of the organic, eco, GF products, I was skeptical of how effective the color treatment would be.  “How would it hold up?” I wondered.  I happily report after five weeks and counting, I have not noticed any loss of color, shine, or intensity.  Tools for the sensitive person are a consideration, too. Unlike industry standard brushes, Karen applies color with a rubber bristled brush, which does not prick the scalp, opening the skin to minute absorption.

Because the products do not contain the harsh chemicals that drive the color, shampoo, and conditioners quickly into the hair, she allows the non toxic products to have a little extra time on the follicles.  For example, she leaves the conditioner on for a full 20 minutes.  However, for a bit of extra money, she will give you a mini facial during that time.  Of course I opted for that! Covered with a “healing” quilt, I relaxed to her feather fingertip massage on my face.  My head wanted to flop down when she tried to lift it indicating that the facial/conditioning experience was over.  “You have to hold your own head up now,” she had to gently whisper in my ear.  I had relaxed into a wet-noodle state.

“Okay,” I was thinking, “This woman certainly has the nurturing gene, but can she cut hair?”  I like a haircut where the cut speaks for itself with very little intervention on my part.  My normal hair dresser is a master at a stylish cut.  With my skepticism in full bloom, I sat in the hair dresser’s chair ready to receive a mediocre haircut for the cause of a blogging review.

As we discussed what would look good on with my facial structure, I knew she had been sincere when claiming to be an artist with people as her canvas.  Thus, her other services: make-overs, personal color analysis, ward robe redos. To help people try to safely be comfortable in their bodies and more authentically themselves is her mission statement.  If the compliments by family, friends, store clerks are anything to go by, I got a great haircut.  Is there any aspect of this business at which this woman does not excel?

For one and a half hours I was steeped in soothing music and nurturing and pampered with wicked expertise the likes of which I had never experienced.

GO! Go to Karen, not only if you are gluten intolerant, allergic, or scalp challenged, just to be wrapped in her MAGIC!

Practical considerations:

Address:   The Package Is You

501 N. Santa Cruz Ave. Ste C

Los Gatos, CA 95030

Office 408-395-6927,   cell 408-204-8945

Rates: Cut & color: $140.00

Just color: $70.00

Weaves: $40.00+

Mini facials: $20.00




Hair Product Alert


Just saw Wheat as a main ingredient in a hair detangling spray.  Be careful out there, everyone!

Cosmetics Too?

Cosmetics Too?

Don’t even talk to me about cosmetics! Just when I finally felt I’d mastered the intricacies of hidden glutens…purged the kitchen of all things wheat and gluten…just when I’d achieved a fair level of confidence converting regular recipes to gluten free, I happened to look at the ingredients in my lip gloss.

“Oh brother!” There it was. Wheat germ oil. “I never dreamed I’d have to check cosmetics!”

I had spent months putting out heroic effort to convert the kitchen, my diet, family recipes into safe foods. “There’s more?” When will this conversion be done? The pervasiveness of wheat in our lives is simply unbelievable!” I railed, running down the hallway to our bathroom medicine cabinet. There ensued a morning of ripping one bottle after another off the shelves, out of the shower stall cubby…reading ingredient lists. “Wheat germ oil is in everything,” I mused as I dropped yet another bottle in the almost full, black plastic trash can. “I need a bigger trash can! This is crazy!” Shampoos, conditioner, bar soap, bath gel, shaving cream, lip sticks, toothpaste, deodorant, body lotion, self tanning lotion, toner, face powder, liquid make-up, mascara, eye shadow. “How harmful can a bit of absorption through the skin be?” I wondered. “Clearly, mouth items are dangerous: toothpaste, mouthwash, etc. But skin products? I better not chance it. I have come too far to muck up my recovery now.”

Of course, after the product purge, came the necessary trip to the store to replace my toiletries. Thirteen years ago, gluten was not the buzz word it is now. Consequently, I spent three hours in the nearest Whole Foods (a 45 minute drive from my house) reading cosmetic labels and scouring the shelves for safe products without successfully replacing all I needed. “Now what I am supposed to do?” I wondered about the irreplaceable items.

Luckily, in the coursework for my Master’s Degree in Natural Healing, I had to take a class on natural cosmetics. I had a textbook on how to make all kinds of skin care products from common household ingredients. After the Whole Foods cosmetics shopping disaster, I went home and started creating my own lotions, lip glosses, toners, etc. The problem with homemade lotions and skin care products, I soon found out, was not the effectiveness and luxuriousness of the products on the skin, but the spoilage. Most of the products only kept a maximum of two weeks and putting them in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life sometimes changed the consistency of the product or made the product ingredients separate. At the time, there were no gluten free products on the market for some skin care items, so… I was working hard every two weeks turning my kitchen into a cosmetic laboratory. Even though there are lots of companies making gluten free skin care products now, I still make my lip gloss…simply because I like it better than anything on the market. Plus, it is so easy to make. I have included the recipe at the end of today’s blog.

Today, with readily available online research, I found that the current AMA physician opinion on the safety of gluten in skin absorbed products is that it is most likely, safe. Their logic is that gluten intolerance involves the digestive tract, so anything absorbed through the skin, bypassing the digestion, should be okay.
However, I still do not buy any product containing gluten that either goes into or touches my body. I figure with my ultra sensitive system this practice is just safer for me. I may be overly careful, but until the gluten skin rash and its relationship to the blood stream and a possible adverse immune system reaction is addressed in more detail, I am going to continue to use only gluten free products. I do not want to be a casualty of further research. Until more in depth research is completed, I will be using gluten free skin care products.

Kitchen Kosmetic’s Lip Gloss
1 part beeswax
1 part olive oil
1-3 drops of GF vanilla extract or GF flavoring of choice

I melt the beeswax in a non stick pan. Turn off the heat. Add the olive oil and flavoring. (I do not heat the olive oil with the beeswax, because heated olive oil loses some of its healing properties. If heated to too high a temperature, the oil can be a bit toxic to your system, as I understand.)

Then I quickly pour the mixture carefully into lip gloss tubes. Although you can buy empty, new lip gloss tubes online in bulk, I just buy regular lip gloss at the store, scrape out the product, sterilize the empty container in boiling water, and then refill with my simple concoction. I only need a few containers, so doing it this way is easier for me than ordering bulk items online.

As the mixture cools in the tube, sometimes it settles, and I have to top it off a bit before putting on the lid.

Voila! A creamy lip gloss.

This mixture seems to keep much longer than two weeks. I have kept it up to two months. If it ever starts to smell like rancid oil, it has spoiled. Empty your tubes and make a fresh batch.