Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Crater Lake Company Order...Plotting Next Order!

My Crater Lake Company Order

My Crater Lake Company order arrived on Valentine's Day, along with my Mad City Soap (AKA Mad City Sue) whipped sugar scrub. As my favorite conditioner (Burt's Bees) was running low, I was eager to try Sharonn's True Lustre Conditioner. I ordered it in 3 scents: London Lemon Curd (my most favorite fragrance oil from Scent-Works), Dolce Mocha Biscotti, and a custom blend of Dark Chocolate and Buttercream. I also ordered 4 of her 3-in-1 shampoos/body washes as a gift. I bought Aloha Cake, Dolce Mocha Biscotti, Black Vanilla, and London Lemon Curd. They all smell delicious and true to their names. The shampoos contain sulfates, so I am giving these yummy smelling products to someone whom I know will adore them! I should say three of them, as my husband for some reason took it upon him self to bathe the boys with one of them, LOL.

My first impression upon opening the box: to drop to the ground full of laughter. Not a typical response. You have to understand, though. Sharonn and I were emailing and I mentioned how my mom has gorgeous skin, looks much younger than her age and that her holy grail facial product is her trusty bar of Zest (you know..."you're not fully clean 'til you're zestfully clean). I have managed to convert her to my own facial items, with the exception of the be all and end all of facial care--the Zest.

As soon as I opened my box, I encountered a newly boxed bar of Zest. Sharonn truly has a sense of humor, and this was a zinger! Underneath the Zest was her cute note and a box full of scented goodies for moi. Everything smelled divine. The only one that I thought needed to cure a bit was my Dolci Mocha Biscotti. Know that this is typical with all handmade items, though!

First thing Friday morning I washed my hair with Burt's Bees Raspberry Brazil Nut Shampoo. I followed with the Dolce Mocha Biscotti conditioner. It smelled light and bloomed into the rich scent of biscotti within seconds. This is a keeper, for sure! The mocha biscotti scent also blended well with my shampoo and my hair smelled like berry mocha biscotti when using the Burt's shampoo first.

I have since used the other conditioners, and love them to pieces. My hair, which has been in much better condition since I quit sulfates and silicones (and parabens) over a year ago, still benefited! My hair has a nice shine which lasts through the day. The scent in the conditioners lingers on and on.

Customer service at Crater Lake Company is excellent. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, this was my first etailer order (other than tea and paper/scrapbooking supplies) in a couple of years. It could not have been better! Through my one wonderful experience, I will undoubtedly be a CLC customer for years to come. I should also mention--free samples--WOW! Sharonn applied a heavy hand while dolling out the samples. She even took it upon herself to make me a body cream in the same custom scent she did for my conditioner. Smells divine, once again. I am sharing the other samples with some of my bath-happy friends! If I could rate my CLC experience on a scale of 1-10, it'd be about a 22.


Mad for my new scrub!

My Mad City Soap (she is Mad City Sue on Etsy) order arrived Valentine's Day as well.
I wanted a whipped sugar scrub free of propylene glycol and parabens and Sue's fit the bill. I ordered her Whipped Sugar Scrub in Italian Cream Cake on a Saturday morning and it was shipped right out. First of all, this is a VERY true scent. I have a fragrance oil by the same name which I make for my own EDP that I use every couple days and this matches it perfectly. Italian Cream Cake is a complex cake scent--not plastic or fake in any way, shape or form. It is a delicate cake with so many notes, from vanilla to coconut. It is just heavenly. I am embarrassed to admit it, but my scrub is gone already. I love it so much that I have used it from the neck down every night in the tub since I got it, massaging it right into my feet as well. It smells so good; it feels even better on my skin. I layer it with the SLS free Avalanche Cake Shea Body Wash from Coconut Hut. It gently sloughs off dead skin cells, while leaving behind moisture (in a non-greasy way). I am usually a salt scrub girl. I usually putter around my kitchen before my bath, mix up some sea salts with EVOO and fragrance and use that.

I think sometimes people don't "get" that etailers are product lovers, too. As much fun as it is to make products for other people, it can feel like "work" to take a relaxing bath if you're making all the fixings for what is supposed to be a relaxing, thought-free bath. Sue's scrub is the perfect texture. I love the ingredients she uses in this scrub because I am strict with myself about what I will and will not use (read earlier posts for my hard search for palm oil free soap). Almost every etail (and retail) scrub on the market has parabens or propylene glycol (some have both, which to me is baffling--I will use stuff still with tiny amounts of propylene glycol but MIXED with a paraben?) or even worse, a toxin as bad as DMDM Hydrantoin. This scrub has a very luxurious feel. It is ideal for sensitive skin because the sugar granules are quite fine. I am already plotting my next MSC scrub order. I am just going to have to learn to go easier on how much scrub I use...I love scrubs, use them daily--but I get carried away with how much I use when the scrub is as gentle and nourishing as this HG-caliber scrub from Sue!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

On the quest for the ultimate in handmade products

A bit about my quest....

I love bath and body products. No matter how crunched for time I am, I make time to do my facial care routine and moisturize my skin. As you know if you're a regular reader, I *love* my foody scents. It may be silly for a woman in her 30s to say, but I seek out the following scents: chocolate, vanilla, coconut, buttercream, honey & almond. Of course, I do have my favorite "grown up scents", which are Benefit Maybe Baby and Ralph Lauren Romance.

I think I love bakery scents for a couple reasons. First of all, on a long winter's day in Upstate NY, these scents are very comforting. Secondly, I began working the cosmetics field at such a young age (a sophomore in college) that I was surrounded by florals. In the early 90s, I started at Lancome and had a limited selection of scents from which to choose while at work. I wore Poeme (then newly launched) and O'Oui. Tresor was a regular in my scent wardrobe. Thankfully, a more youthful scent, Aroma Tonic, emerged for me to wear.

When I was at Estee Lauder, I wore Dazzling Silver, Pleasures or Beautiful daily. When I left Lauder, Intuition was in the making. As you can see, I was wearing more grown up scents at a young age, so maybe I have things in reverse.


What am I seeking?

Anyway, back on track...if you are looking for bakery-type scents and you want to avoid nasty chemicals, etailer products are surely the way to go. Just make sure you look at the ingredients. Avoid the harsh chemicals, the parabens, the DMDM Hydantoin (avoid this at all costs, as it is one of the preservatives that releases the greatest amounts of formaldehyde and is carcinogen)... I am set in the body lotion department. I also make my own whipped shea for my own use. I don't need facial items or oily scrubs, as I normally whip up a sea salt and olive oil scrub mch like the Salt Glow from Origins. I have been, however, in need of new soaps (I can only ration my last remaining bars for so long), a natural as possible body wash, and a whipped or foaming sugar scrub. I am also seeking the perfect etailer conditioner (silicone and paraben free), and then I should be set.

I have decided that indie etailers are the way to go for all of my bath and body items now. Even my beloved Perlier White Almond bath items have been drying me out, so I am only going to continue buying the hand cream, because I just love it. In an age of price gouging from major corporations, and the fact that most major companies do not give a hoot about what they put into their products, I am very supportive of quality indie etailers, and there are many!


My hope is to find one of each that I adore and buy those indefinitely. I like being "line loyal" if the products and customer service are wonderful. I don't want to have to try 20 different companies, and it is looking like the first time could potentially be a charm on all accounts.


FOUND: The Perfect Bar of Soap


Last week, I reviewed some of my Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soaps from Etsy. I spoke about how much I love her Apple Spice Cake Bar, and how fond I am of her version of Black Raspberry Vanilla. Over the weekend, I tried the Chocolate Coffee scrub bar and yesterday I received my 2nd Aunt Nancy's order. If you read last week's review, you know I am very impressed with Nan's soaps. I am even more impressed now, and I will not even be tempted to buy a bar from anyone else in the future. Here are two more brief soap reviews:

Chocolate Coffee Scrub Bar--This is a rich chocolate brown bar with a very light cocoa scent and with visible coffee grounds. Saturday night I decided to give myself a pedicure, and this was an ideal soap. It smoothed and softened the skin on my feet effectively, yet gently. The scent is much like my favorite drink at Wegman's when I am getting groceries: the Cafe Mocha. It lathered lightly, but the grounds *really* exfoliated well! I have since used this on my knees and elbows, as they are dry at times as well. This is going to be a staple in my soap wardrobe.

Chocolate Peppermint Bar--This is now my most favorite soap of all time. All time. If you know me at all, you know that my most favorite soap of all time has been my signature Miss Honey Buns. Maybe I have used it for too long. Maybe I am just "over" the honey almond scent (and I admittedly have used this soap almost daily for a year...I simply use that or unscented goat's milk in my shower)...maybe I just need a scent change. I kid you not, this is it. This is going to be the most-used soap for me, and I hope Nan always makes this. First of all, the artisan-quality bar is gorgeous. It is creamy white with deep chocolate swirls. It reminds me of a truffle I once had from Joseph Schmidt Chocolatier at a local gift shop (actually, I had this truffle more than once since I walked to the shop almost daily while pregnant with Nicholas).

The bar is almost too pretty to use. Alas, I took a hot bath last night and used this bar. It is very apparent real cocoa is in this, as when I lathered up, there was a bit of brown left on my porcelain skin. It lathered right in and rinsed clean. The lather is rich and luxurious. It is creamy and nourishing. The smell is anything but a foody chocolate scent. The cocoa melds beautifully with the peppermint essential oil and the aroma is just divine. Nan has outdone herself again, and in one week's time (and 2 orders later), she has won me over with her dynamite turnaround time (about 48 hours max for me both times), her friendly customer service, and product quality.

Soap lovers, I implore you to try Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soaps. They are competitively priced, of extraordinary quality, and-- most importantly to me, free of any and all palm oil.


FOUND: A wonderful SLS-free & Paraben-free Body Wash!


In yesterday's mail, I received my first (of many, I am sure) Coconut Hut Beauty (http://www.coconuthutbeauty.com/) order! I ordered the Surf's Up Shea Body Wash in Avalanche Cake and Chocolate Coconut Fondue. I ordered on a Saturday and received it in 6 business days! That is fast turnaround time, especially since she was shipping from California and I am in New York. Lena, the owner, included a sample of Chocolate Sea Shell Beach Whipped Body Souffle. The scent is great on cold sniff, but didn't work with my chemistry. No worries, though!

After enjoying a long bath last night to test the soap I was just talking about, I decided to get up extra early this morning to take a long, super warm shower. It was 3 degrees and snowing again when I woke up, so I needed it.

I took both washes into the shower and decided to use the one I like most scent-wise: the Avalanche Cake, which is chocolate and marshmallows all rolled into 1 yummy, sweet and creamy cake scent! I put a dime sized amount of the almost-clear gel wash onto my shower mitt. It was enough to lather most of my body. I tend to use too much shower gel or body wash because I just love the suds and love the scents, so I poured more into the shower mitt. I didn't need that much, I was just enjoying my hot shower! The scent is the epitome of bakery goodness. This is a repurchase based on the scent alone. I admit that I also tested the Chocolate Coconut Fondue--also yummy.

My take is that this is a great, very lightly moisturizing body wash. It is comparable in texture to the Bath and Body Works Shower Gel (which I refuse to use because it's so full of chemicals and makes my skin itch as if I bathed in a vat of itching powder). What I love about this wash is that I did not itch one bit after my shower. This is the first time in months that I have tried a bath and shower gel/body wash again instead of a handmade soap. Did this moisturize my skin as much as a high-quality cold process soap? No, it didn't. My skin felt like I needed to apply a cream as opposed to a light lotion. It was not tight and dry, but my skin wasn't left terribly moisturized. I do concede that my skin #1) is already dry from the heat being on all the time this winter and because it's windy and frigid and #2)I can make it worse my taking a shower in the AM right after I have taken a long bath 8 hours before.

I absolutely will repurchase this product.

As an aside...I forgot to bring my new bottle of Burt's Bees Raspberry & Brazil Nut Shampoo (on my 5th now) into the shower with me, so I used my SLS-free and paraben-free body wash in my hair. It worked amazingly well in a pinch, although it was obviously not that hydrating. It worked well, though and my hair still smells like Avalanche Cake!


Orders Coming This Week

I am missing two items that meet my criteria thus far: a new conditioner and a new foamy sugar scrub. In tomorrow's mail, I should be receiving my Italian Cream Cake whipped sugar scrub from Mad City Sue (http://www.madcitysue.etsy.com/). I am so eager to try this and I just know I am going to be hooked on this. I am already planning my next scrub order and I haven't even tried hers yet.

Tomorrow I should also receive my True Lustre Conditioner bottles in assorted scents from Crater Lake Company (http://www.craterlakecopany.com/). I am anxiously awaiting this one as well! Of the 2 new to me etailers I have tried, I have been 2 for 2...if this is the trend, I will be one mighty content bather! Reviews will follow!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Review: Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soaps

Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soaps is an indie soap shop over at Etsy.com.

Nan is based in Tucson and makes her soaps from scratch using the cold process method. She uses 50-60% olive oil in her bars, which is wonderful because it makes for a very nourishing recipe. What struck me most about her right off the bat is her great customer service. An ingredients list was not with her soap descriptions, so I asked her about using palm oil in her soaps. I refuse to buy soap made with palm oil (see earlier blog post in this subject), so I needed to know this before adding it to my cart.

The lovely owner emailed me right back and said she does not use palm oil either. A moment later, I had 3 bars in my Etsy shopping cart. Nan had a special going for $12 to get 3 bars. This is a *great* deal, as you save $1 per bar this way. I selected my 3 scents: Black Raspberry Swirl, Chocolate Coffee, and Apple Spice Cake with Honey.

My order arrived in my mailbox this morning. I opened my package, had a hand-written note (something I believe every etailer should do as the norm), and a free lip balm as a thank you. My soap bars were well-packaged in soap paper, and each bar had a wraparound soap label.

On cold sniff, I had an instant favorite: the Apple Spice Cake with Honey. I could not wait to get this one in the shower with me! The Black Raspberry Swirl smelled a little too strong for me. The Chocolate Coffee lives up to its name.

Nick and Ben were being very wild all morning, so I ended up taking a late morning shower. I normally am up and ready before 7:30, so at least I had some new goodies to try in the shower. I would not normally thank the boys for being such wild little monkeys...I like two things before my hubby is out the door: my hot coffee and my hot shower! Today I will thank them for delaying my shower!

I chose my cold sniff favorite for my shower.

The Apple Spice Cake with Honey is just divine! It is a soft pumpkin color--the color of honey, actually. The soap has a gentle, yet very creamy lather. I did not get a very strong lather, but that is not a bad thing. The lather was fine, and it felt really nourishing on my dry skin. The scent is a DEFINITE winner. I instantly could detect the scent of an apple and spice muffin. It really is a wonderful scent. There are no chemical or artificial notes in this bar. Ingredients in this particular bar are: Olive Oil, Aloe Vera Juice, Coconut Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Canola Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Fragrance Oil and Honey.

I used the Black Raspberry Vanilla Swirl (such a pretty bar; an artisan type bar) on my hands in the kitchen. I am always washing my hands, so this one will see lots of use. I am not in love with the scent. It is not an unpleasant scent at all; do not think that. I am not in love with this Bath and Body Works scent, but was wanting to try something different that I do not normally try. The berry is the predominant note in this one. I do not smell the vanilla at all. I still really like this bar as a hand soap, though! If you are a Black Raspberry Vanilla fan for body products, you will like this, especially if you like berries a great deal. This bar is very moisturizing! The soap itself is gorgeous, ivory with deep swirls. The quality of the soap is exquisite. I just ordered a scent I know I am not 100% crazy about in hopes that I might like it better.

The ingredients for the bar above: Olive Oil, Distilled Water, Coconut Oil, Sodium Hydoxide, Canola Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Castor Oil, Fragrance Oil and Organic Cocoa Powder

Tonight, I will try the Chocolate Coffee bar. It is a scrubby soap. It'll be great at exfoliating my hands, feet and dry legs! It looks great, and I can see the coffee in it. It is dark mocha in color. It smells like the Cafe Mocha at the coffee bar in my Wegman's. The ingredients are: Olive Oil, Distilled Water, Coconut Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Sweet Almond Oil, Cocoa Butter, Organic Cocoa Powder, Fine Ground Organic Coffee Beans.


There is nothing super fancy or exotic about these soaps, but I am impressed enough to be planning my next order. I am impressed enough to refer my aunt and uncle in Tucson over to Nancy's booth at an Arizona farmer's market. I am impressed enough to tell all of my soap loving friends about this wonderful new (to me) etailer on Etsy!

I have already been to her shop today looking around. I do not need a new bar right now, obviously, but just ordered her Peppermint Chocolate...sounds too good for me to resist! In a few days, I will open my mailbox and be confident that I'll have another bar of Nancy's soaps to try!

Check out Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soaps right now at www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5188140

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday--Remember to get out and vote today!

As an aside from my normal beauty product talk, I would like to take a moment to remind you that today is Super Tuesday in 24 states. Please carve a few extra moments into your schedule to get out there and vote.

I know we're all busy. I am a busy mom. I will be toting my 2.5 year old and 4 year old over to te church where our voting takes place. It is raining. It's a good "stay inside" and do a craft project and play Candy Land kind of day. I still am taking 15 minutes out of our day to do what I passionately believe is every eligible voter's civic duty.

I've heard it all. We all have..."My one vote doesn't matter"..."This isn't November..." "I have a baby at home..." "It's snowing...." "I have a cold..."

Voter apathy exists every where we turn. Your vote DOES matter. Voting is something not to be taken for granted. It is our right to vote. We've been given this right, a duty and an obligation. There should be no excuses. I waited in line during Election 2004 with horrible morning sickness and a 14 month old on my left hip. Voting, in my opinion, is a moral obligation. This is something I have always felt very passionate about. I realize not everyone share this passion.

This could be the single most important presidential election in our nation's history coming up. Like it or not, we are basically in a recession. My brother in law is in Iraq for at least a year. Again. The election is not just about the war and the economy, however. If you are a busy parent, if you have a child at home...a child who'll one day be off to college...you NEED to vote. Education, health care, poverty....these issues should be and are at the core of the presidential election and today is a precursor to that. Your vote today matters.

The polls open today at noon and are open until 9pm in New York, FYI.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Small Coconut Hut order....and Nick's stitches....

Thanks to "Lipglossina" and her Beauty Musings blog (http://www.beautymusings.blogspot.com), I decided to place another etailer order. It was my 2nd of the weekend. This time I clicked through Paypal (almost as though it's Monopoly money) to purchase some SLS-free and paraben-free body washes from Coconut Hut Beauty (http://www.coconuthutbeauty.com). I ordered 2 four ounce bottles of Surf's Up Shea Butter Body Wash Body Wash and chose to have them scented in 2 foody scents: Chocolate Coconut Fondue and the Abominable Snowman.

I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Lena's shop! I am very eager to try these body washes! I have missed using shower gels/body washes, as much as I love cold process soaps. I will let you know how these are. I am sure they'll be wonderful!

~Nick's First Experience With Stitches~

First and foremost in this world, I am a mommy. If you're a mom, then you know that if your child gets hurt, the pain you feel as a mom goes hand in hand with the pain suffered by your child. Last Tuesday, Nick was running through the play room and tripped and fell. He landed on his Thomas the Tank plastic train track. He landed right on the bony part of his chin. It split it open and the blood was flowing non-stop. I scooped him up, took Ben (my 2.5 year old wild little monkey) by the hand and we got into our hot little sports car...OK, that is a stretch, but it sounded nice...I meant, we got into the Grand Caravan and drove quickly to the ER.He ended up needing stitches (2) and he gets them taken off today after preschool. Just had to mention what a brave little guy he is!

A Long One...Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soaps and Crater Lake Company Raves (again...)

~MORE CRATER LAKE COMPANY CUSTOMER SERVICE RAVES~

If you read my post from the other day, you'll see that I took the plunge and placed an order at Crater Lake Company. I will not give my business to just anyone. I have to thoroughly check out the ingredients. Customer service needs to be wonderful and relatively prompt when it is during the week. One reason I started my own bath and body biz back in 2006 was because of a couple very poor etailer customer service and product quality experiences.

I must say I have been thrilled to pieces with Sharonn's customer service at Crater Lake. As I mentioned, she emailed me right back about the ingredients in her hair products.

I was so impressed that I added 4 shampoos on to my order late last night. They contain sulfates, so these will be gifts. Sharonn noticed I had placed another order. She recalled our e-conversation about ingredients and emailed me to say that they contained sulfates and she knew I was concerned about them. She offered to cancel that order if I didn't want them any longer. She also said that since I had placed two orders 2 days apart that she'd add the totals to make the $35 total required for free shipping. She did not have to do this. It clearly states in her policies section that she doesn't have to add on (many etailers have a similar policy). Her customer care is 1st rate. Like I said before, if her conditioners are as good as I think they will be for my hair, Sharonn will have found herself a lifelong customer.

~I Found a Palm Oil-Free Soaper on Etsy!~

I experienced outstanding etailer customer service today as well! As you all know from my orangutan post, I am on a quest to buy only products without palm oil. This is very hard to do because almost all etailers continue to use palm oil or a blend of palm oil ingredients in their soaps. About 20 minutes ago I sat down here to browse one of my favorite websites, Etsy.

So many wonderful etailers can be found over at Etsy. I found a store, Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soaps, which has great looking Vegan cold process soaps. I sent her a "convo" (private message in Etsy-speak) and asked if her soaps contained palm oil. She replied within minutes explaining her decision not to use palm oil, which goes along with my feelings mentioned in the Palm Oil blog post. She does not use Palm Oil in ANY of her soaps. I just ordered 3 bars of her soap: Black Raspberry Vanilla, Coffee Chocolate, and Honey Apple Cake (yum!). Her prompt customer service impressed me immediately. Her soaps look wonderful in the pictures on her Etsy page, too! I am eager to try them out!

~Until We Meet Again, Soap Making Supplies...~

While we're on topic of cold process soaps, I had a bittersweet moment recently. If you're a regular blog reader, you know that my husband took over my workshop to work from home. He needed an office completely separate from the rest of our home--a place two toddlers absolutely stay away from. The one place that fit the bill was my workshop--two large private rooms closed away from the main living space. I have made our family's soaps for quite some time--since Nick was a baby with his eczema. He is now 4.

I have no safe place (and I need it to be 100% safe) where I can work with a chemical as caustic as lye at home anymore. I have held on to my soap making supplies--the cookware, utensils, loaves and such...I guess I was hoping I'd someday be able to make soap again. I will at some point--but not for another dozen years or so. There is no sense of holding onto it. I just sold off everything I used to make my soaps. It was like closing the door on something major in my life. In some ways, it was.

Miss Honey Buns was the result of many, many failed batches. I put so many sleepless nights into it and it literally took months before I found the "perfect" recipe, in my eyes. After I closed Flour City Bakery, I received over 50 emails from people who had used Miss Honey Buns wanting to buy any extra bars. I had 3 bath and body etailers offer to buy the recipe. One new etailer contacted me and has recreated the bar so that I have been told it's very, very similar--although I never put palm oil in mine. I parted with some Miss Honey Buns--a friend loves this and I gave her 4 bars. I love that friend very much! I am down in the single digits now. It is hard to believe we have gone through this much soap. I am glad, though.

This soap was the only one that my husband FINALLY traded in his "as long as it's in a multi-pack for under $5 at Target it's a good soap" philosophy for! He uses this, and his skin is no longer dry. If only he'd stop putting Irish Spring on his face...If only my lovely mom with such young, pretty skin would stop playing with fire by using Zest on her face (all those will have to go into my future blog on good genetics, LOL).

Anyone, whenever you close one door on a chapter of your life, you welcome an even better one :)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Today it happened....my first etailer order in YEARS!

With the exception of SBS Teas, I have not placed an order from an etailer (unless we're talking for my shop supplies/boxes/labels) since 2006. It was before I thought about opening FCB, and my order was for Bissy's. I ordered four roll-ons in Lemon Pound Cake, Sugar Cookies, Coconut Cream Pie, and Buttercream Frosting.

I was very excited when I heard Crater Lake Company (http://www.craterlakecompany.com) was reopening. I have heard wonderful things about the quality of her products, and I know many of my friends were sad when she closed.

As you know, I am constantly weeding ingredients from my arsenal. I have been "paraben-free" for over a year now. I stopped using almost all sulfates almost a year ago. I do not use products with high amounts of silicone; I do my best to avoid them altogether.

I have found many shampoos to fit the bill. I have made my own (which I do no longer since I no longer work with lye at my home workshop), and have found wonderful shampoos, particularly WEN and BURT'S BEES.

I have had conditioners I have liked that fit my criteria, but none that I am madly in love with.

I have high hopes for CLC!

Her ingredients listing isn't up, so I shot Sharonn (the owner) off an email this morning after I saw on Lemming Central that she was reopening today. I wanted to know which of her haircare products were sulfate-free, paraben-free and silicone-free. She said that she was in the process of working on a new SLS -free shampoo. She informed me that her conditioner, TRUE LUSTRE, is silicone-free and paraben-free.

I just placed my order a few minutes ago. First of all, her shipping on a small order is very affordable at $4.95. I decided to try her conditioner in 3 scents, as I could not narrow the scent list down to fewer than 3.

I immediately chose LONDON LEMON CURD. I know I will love this. I have been ordering this scent, which is an oil exclusive to The Scent Works (http://www.scent-works.com), for quite some time. It is a wonderful lemon scent. I made myself a lotion, whipped shea butter, scrub, shampoo and bath bombs in this scent. It is that delicious. Thing lemon pudding meets a wafer cookie. It is simply divine!

My second scent choice was Sharonn's Dolce Mocha Biscotti. It sounds so good, and everyone who knows me knows that I cannot resist my coffee! Plus, I love biscotti, so this one screams a winner!

The last conditioner scent I chose is a custom blend of Sharonn's Buttercream Daydream mixed with Dark Chocolate. I love both scents (buttercream and dark chocolate) on their own and have blended them for wax items, so I am sure it'll be great in her conditioning formula.

I was thrilled at the fast and friendly response from Sharonn, even on her busy grand reopening day! I've never had the pleasure of talking to her before, and she was a gem to deal with. I have a feeling I will be a life-long customer of her conditioners if they live up to my hopes! I love to change my scents daily, so this could be the start of a new beauty addiction!