Laure Juilliard, the blogger behind Une Parisienne à Montréal (A Parisian in Montreal), is a diehard foodie and a devotee of slow travel. Increasingly aware of her consumer habits, Laure opens up about her shift toward embracing a healthier lifestyle. We chat about her journey so far and her wellness tips, but also about her hair care routine. ATTITUDE offered to break down the ingredients in Laure’s favourite shampoos and she was more than willing to play along!
Tell us more about you!
My name is Laure, I’m originally from Paris, and I moved to Montreal about 10 years ago. I came here for university and I was quickly bitten by the blogging bug. That’s how I came to start writing Une Parisienne à Montréal. When I first started out, my posts were mostly about brunch, a North American tradition that was completely foreign to me at the time! I loved exploring all the different restaurants and neighbourhoods in Montreal. Today, Une Parisienne à Montréal is much more than just a guide to brunch spots. It’s also an urban blog that talks about culture, travel, and the art of living in general, but which is also starting to focus more on the importance of well-being.
You’re starting to move toward a healthier lifestyle. What caused your priorities to shift?
I watched a few documentaries that really affected me. We’re living in an era of awareness: awareness of what’s on our plates and what’s in our cleaning and personal care products. Awareness of how the clothes that we buy are made, and why it’s so important to buy locally.
There are questions we need to ask about everything we buy: What’s really in this product and where does it come from? Never before have we spent so much time reading labels. We support local businesses, we buy organic food baskets, we go directly to the farm…
What’s your formula for a healthy, balanced lifestyle?
I do yoga and barre exercises at least three times a week. That’s really the foundation. Then I try to be a responsible consumer. No one is perfect, of course. I think we have to choose our battles, but I at least try to be aware of what I’m buying, to know where my fruits and vegetables come from, and to buy them in season, for example.
I’ve also become a lot more aware of what I’m eating. I gave up eating meat for ethical reasons that are very important to me, but also to see what effect it would have on my health. It’s still at the testing stage, but I’m already blown away by the results!
What’s your relationship with your hair?
I have a long love-hate relationship with my crazy curly hair! Straight hair has always been the style, so I spent years straightening mine until, one day, I finally cracked. I tossed out my straightener and just let my hair do its thing! I don’t even own a blow dryer anymore! I’m happy that I’ve finally embraced my hair for what it is, especially since it’s virtually become my trademark!
Tell us about your hair care routine.
Before each shampoo, I slather my hair in coconut oil, which I leave on overnight. Then I wash it with a natural shampoo, followed by a moisturizing and detangling mask, which I leave on for five minutes. After that, I apply oil or a moisturizing cream to my wet hair. Once my hair is dry, I smooth on a hydrating oil or serum. I try to wash my hair only once or twice a week to avoid drying or damaging it too much.
What’s the one hair care product you couldn’t live without?
My mask. I could never give up my mask! If I skip that step, my hair is so dry I can hear it crinkling between my fingers. We’re talking Sahara-desert dry!
What’s most important to you in a shampoo?
The most important thing is a feeling of softness. As you might have guessed, I need my hair to feel silky and smooth!
How do you choose your hair care products?
I put my trust in the sales clerks at speciality stores and, of course, hairdressers, who are the real pros. I ask for shampoos for dry, frizzy hair that are as natural as possible. I assume they know what they’re talking about and that they’ll recommend only the best products.
Do you ever look at the ingredients in the shampoo you buy?
I don’t really look at the ingredients, mostly because I have no idea what I’m looking at. It’s just a bunch of long, complicated words! But there are two ingredients that stand out for me: silicone and parabens. When I see “paraben-free” on the label, I tend to think the product must be somehow better!
We took a look at what’s in your shampoos. Care to know what we found?
Your shampoos: 51% and 31% potentially harmful ingredients.
Your mask: 38% potentially harmful ingredients.
“On average, conventional cosmetic products are made up of approximately 30% potentially harmful ingredients.”
We discovered that your hair care products contain ingredients that are known or suspected to be cancer-causing by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, but which are still legally tolerated. They also contain non-biodegradable and non-renewable synthetic ingredients that could be harmful to the environment or aquatic life, as well as many allergens listed by the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS).
The shampoo you use once or twice a week contains 53 ingredients, and 27 of them are potentially harmful! Of the more than half (51%) of the potentially harmful ingredients, 33% contain cancer-causing contaminants.
Surprised? Angry? What do you make of these results?
Not everyone has the time or the knowledge to understand what’s in their shampoo. This really upsets me! Especially knowing how many questionable ingredients are in the brands that I trusted!
We want to help you understand what’s in your shampoo:
- Take a picture of the ingredient list on your shampoo bottle.
- Share the photo on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #whatsinmyshampoo.
- Our experts will decode it for you!
Fostering curious minds
To understand how we analyze product ingredients, read more about our development criteria here. There are worry-free alternatives out there and it is possible to change the ways of designing personal care products.
At ATTITUDE, encouraging people to dig deeper into the effects of the products they use on a daily basis is part of our DNA.
There are also tools out there that can help you to better understand and decrypt the ingredients on your product labels. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has created the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, which contains toxicity and environmental impact profiles for more than 70,000 personal care products. Check it out!
Photo credits: Torontrealaise.
Check out these blog posts to find out more about what’s lurking in your personal care products and about the health impacts of contaminants: