I stopped in at Grand Isle Artworks again yesterday, because I saw it announced in Facebook that Thursdays are Sylvie's days to be there. I recently met Sylvie at a farmer's market where she was selling her wares and bought several bars of soap. Sylvie is a delightful woman with a French accent -- she is originally from Montreal, she told me yesterday -- who makes beautiful soaps and lotions and body washes.
One exciting thing about her soaps is that she uses sunflower seed oil from the Roger and Claire Rainville farm in Alburgh that I mentioned a while back. There is a little post about their farm here. Talk about local! Her business is mere yards (only a very slight exaggeration) from the farm that produces the sunflower oil, and a half hour from me.
The reason I wanted to go in yesterday is because I wanted to try something I had seen on her website, her goat's milk face cream. In recent years I have gotten off track on my former adherence to as-natural-as-possible, with-as-few-ingredients-as-possible cosmetics. After having read Clean recently, I was reminded that the skin is the biggest organ of the body. My resolve to try to put nothing on my skin that I wouldn't eat [within reason, within REASON!] has returned. I've still been quite happily using Philosophy products, but they are way expensive, and my last two jars of Hope In A Jar turned rancid or something when they were only half gone, and sadly these products do contain parabens, which have been found in high concentrations in breast cancer tumors, so I'd really rather not put those things on my body, thankyouverymuch.
When I got to the shop, I told Sylvie that this was my quest (to put nothing on my skin that I wouldn't eat). She proceeded to explain to me in detail the ingredients in the face cream, their derivation, their function, and why each one was desirable and necessary to make a nice face cream that isn't too greasy, that soaks in, that contains humectants. She spoke with convincing knowledge and authority, and said that yes, I could eat this (though I probably wouldn't want to). The price of the face cream is really reasonable, and so I bought some -- after I tried it first, of course.
One thing I loved about her explanation is that she was so honest and forthright: She told me that yes, there are some preservatives in there, but they are weak ones. This is a new batch, and there is an expiration date of one year hence, but that this product will be best used up within about six months or so -- and not to let it sit in a cupboard somewhere for a long time before I use it, or it will go "off".
But before I left, somehow we got on the topic of another product she makes that, as it turns out, I am even more excited about:
Solid shampoo. It comes in a bar or cake like soap, it is covered in biodegradable plastic shrink wrap (realizing that is an oxymoron, but this is a little bit gentler to the earth and landfills, I suppose) -- no other wrapping, and best of all, no plastic bottle or cap. Most shampoos, she explained, come in plastic bottles that are mostly filled with water. There is very little real product in the shampoo bottle -- the first ingredient is water. This makes it heavy to ship, and you have one more plastic bottle to throw away.
(You know I don't really buy the whole "we are recycling it" thing, right? I've talked at length about this before, that I really doubt that most of the plastic stuff that we, with all best intentions, hope and think that we are recycling, actually gets recycled.)
Once again, Sylvie explained each and every ingredient in the shampoo (which can also be used as a regular body bar) and why it's there.
This is great for traveling, and it's also better for the environment and for the less-plastic lifestyle. I'm excited to try it and I'm really looking forward to my shower tomorrow morning!
And that's not all. There is also the solid conditioner:
While I was there, I bought some raffle tickets for Grand Isle Art Works' grand opening and fundraiser for additional lighting and other things that the new gallery needs, such as chairs for knit night (hint-hint) that is taking place this Saturday. You can buy raffle tickets, too, here.
THE REVIEW IS IN: (added at 9:43 a.m. ET) I just finished my first shower with the solid shampoo and conditioner. I'm very happy. A nice feel, easy to use (I was a bit concerned about that), and though the lather is not as "moussey" as a shampoo from a bottle -- or maybe it could be if you used more, but I was on minimalist mode this morning -- it is wonderful! I used the shampoo bar as a body bar, too, because I loved the smell so much. It's just the smell of milk and almonds, practically nonexistent, but just a hint. Lovely and purifying-feeling. And the conditioner is brilliant! As Sylvie told me, you can feel it going on, and you can control how much you put on by how silky your hair starts to feel. I'm a happy showerer, and I'm sold on all three products. I used the face cream last night (it is really a night cream), and used it after my shower today on my arms. Nice.