An article by Nicole on whether we should be using gluten free makeup.
When I adopted a completely gluten free diet, it was quite an adventure making sure that every product that I bought did not contain any gluten. Gluten is a composite of proteins found in wheat. And let’s face it. It can be quite sneaky. Imagine my surprise, for example, when I discovered that wheat was one of the ingredients in my favorite lipstick!
Is gluten lurking in your cosmetics bag? And do you really need to ditch all of your makeup if it is? Read on to discover what my research turned up after I did a little digging on this topic.
The Danger of Gluten
If you suffer from celiac disease (CD), even the smallest amount of gluten consumption can be harmful. Research has shown that the consumption of as little as 1/64 of a teaspoon of gluten can cause small intestinal inflammation and damage. To read more about the devastating effects of celiac disease, click here.
Gluten ingestion can be harmful to other people as well. I personally do not have celiac disease. However, I have been diagnosed with a wheat allergy and suffer from eczema, and I also have many of the symptoms associated with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). See here. People with NCGS can suffer many of the same symptoms as a celiac patient but without the intestinal damage.
So, for those suffering with CD, NCGS, or a wheat allergy, it’s vitally important to know where the gluten is lurking.
Is Gluten Lurking in Your Cosmetic Bag?
Alice Bast, the founder and president of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), observes, “Lipstick, lip-gloss, mouthwash, toothpaste—they can all trigger a reaction in people with celiac disease…Even if you don’t experience any symptoms, you could be doing damage on the inside.”
Bast makes clear that those who suffer from CD, NCGS and wheat allergies should steer clear of gluten-containing lipstick. If the label does not specify gluten free, check with the manufacturer.
What About Cosmetics Other Than Lipsticks?
Since gluten cannot be absorbed directly through the skin, those with CD and NCGS don’t have to worry about most makeup (unless, of course, the makeup does contain gluten and somehow makes its way into the digestive track). This is possible if applied to the face, especially around the mouth. It is always important to wash hands to avoid accidently ingesting any makeup.
However, those with a wheat allergy may have more of a problem. Gluten-containing makeup applied directly to the skin could potentially cause an allergic reaction.
For people with wheat allergies, the skin often reacts to surface contact with gluten. For example, studies have revealed that atopy patch tests can be used to determine if someone suffers from a wheat allergy: see here and here. Since I have a wheat allergy, I have decided not to buy any beauty products that contain gluten on the ingredients list.
Not all people with CD and NCGS have this external sensitivity to wheat, but gluten may not be the only reason why you should consider buying a new brand of cosmetics.
What Other Dangerous Compounds and Chemicals Could be Lurking in Your Makeup?
After discovering that my lipstick contained wheat, I was even more surprised to discover that it also contained aluminum and lead!
This wasn’t unique to my lipstick. A study by Katherine Hammond, professor of environmental health sciences at the University of California at Berkeley, “found traces of cadmium, cobalt, aluminum, titanium, manganese, chromium, copper and nickel in 24 lip glosses and eight lipstick brands.”
Lipstick is not the only culprit. This article from Time shares the findings of two journalists who investigated the cosmetics industry in their 2010 book No More Dirty Looks. They reveal, for example, that “mascara contents may include mercury, a neurotoxin, and coal tar, a carcinogen; eye shadow can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, linked to cancer.”
A Healthy (and Beautiful) Solution
After discovering the ugly truth of the makeup industry, I felt heartbroken. I’d always enjoyed browsing through Sephora, and I loved playing with eye shadow and eyeliner. I might step out of the house without putting on all my makeup, but never without at least a touch of lipstick.
What was a girl to do?
After researching online and taking a trip to my local health food store, I found out that there are lots of gluten-free and all-natural cosmetics brands to choose from. One of my favorites became Gabriel Cosmetics. Their 100% natural, pressed mineral cosmetics are certified gluten-free, and they have a lovely range of lipstick colors to choose from.
Since adopting a gluten-free diet, my eczema has cleared up considerably. And now when I put on my makeup, I can have peace of mind. No poisons. No gluten. Just a dash of color and fun.
Is your lipstick gluten free? What are your favorite all-natural makeup brands?
Read this next
How I Overcame My Fear of Going Gluten Free
5 Essential Steps to Prevent Gluten Cross Contamination In Your Kitchen
8 Life Lessons from Cooking Gluten Free
7 Ways to a Carefree Gluten Free Vacation
- By The Way Bakery: A Must-Visit Gluten Free Bakery in Manhattan - November 14, 2015
- Is Your Lipstick Gluten-Free? - October 9, 2015
- How To Make Coconut Whipped Cream - May 14, 2015
- Sardines on Cauliflower Toast with Gremolata - April 15, 2015
- Gluten Free Dining at Colors Restaurant, NYC - January 28, 2015
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Francene Stanley says
Very informative, thought provoking post. Lucky I don’t wear make up.
Thanks, Francene! Yes, that would be another solution. 🙂 On some days I end up only wearing lipstick.
Great article! I never would have thought that wheat was an ingredient in cosmetics. I am fortunate that I currently don’t have any food allergies (that I am aware of anyway), but I do know a couple people who do have wheat allergies. I will definitely make sure they know about this! 🙂
Yes, having allergies makes you stay on your toes. 🙂 I was definitely surprised by all the toxic ingredients hiding in cosmetics. Just like wheat, they’re absolutely not necessary. Thanks so much for sharing the article with your friends!
Outstanding article! I didn’t realize gluten was in makeup, and will pass this on to family members and friends who need to stay gluten free. Thanks!
Thanks so much, Ruthanne! I am glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for sharing!
Amy Bovaird says
My friend could not have any soy and where and how soy is found is very similar. It comes in a variety of names and is in nearly every product. She has to make everything from scratch! It could well be in lipstick, too!
Oh, yes, I can imagine that would be very difficult as well. It would be fun trying to make cosmetics from scratch — I imagine they would be much healthier. 🙂 Thanks for reading!
It’s so ridiculous where they hide it! I’d just rather not wear any makeup at all. :p Thanks for sharing this at Savoring Saturdays!
Thanks for stopping by, Raia! Yes, I agree, it can be very frustrating at times.
I use Red Apple Lipstick’s products and I love them. I use their mascara and lipsticks. I bought some of their eye shadows, but I am not really an eyeshadow person. They are also coming out with some new eye pencil colors, for those of us who do not like black all the time. It’s a great line and I love it. I haven’t heard of Gabriel Cosmetics, but I will look into them. I did find some mineral makeup from Avon that I can wear, but I am also open to trying something new. I was horrified when I found out about cosmetics a few years ago, and ended up throwing out conditioner, shampoo, and body wash for sensitive skin. They all were making me itchy and I didn’t know why. It would be great if doctors would tell us what all to look out for, wouldn’t it?
I have never heard of Red Apple Lipstick! Thanks so much for the recommendation, Mari. My health food store only carries two or three makeup brands, so it’s always nice having more choices. Do you have a favorite lipstick color from Red Apple? I will have to check them out.
Brianna @Flippin' Delicious says
I need to go and check my make-up bag! Such an informative, and important post. I think make-up is overlooked far too often when people go gluten-free. I am featuring this post on Savoring Saturdays. Thank you for linking up! I hope that you stop by again this weekend, I am excited to see what you share. 🙂
Thanks so much for featuring the article on Savoring Saturdays, Brianna! I am glad you found it informative. It is so true — we often don’t think of lipstick as something we might accidentally consume.
Very good article. Shared! Many times people do not realize the many toxic ingredients including gluten, in lipstick and other makeup that can be very harmful. I always glad to see a post on this. Visiting from Healthy Living link up. Have a healthy happy blessed Christmas.
Nancy A @ obloggernewbie.blogspot.com says
Enjoyed reading your informative article (which I pinned) and understand about gluten sensitivity. Funny, I shared a post about spaghetti squash marinara for gluten free eating at the Healthy Living Link up. Wishing you a Happy New Year and Many Blessings in the New Year. Nancy A @ obloggernewbie.blogspot.com
I must thank you again for this post. Prior to this I didn’t know of any other companies but the few I mentioned in an earlier comment. Gabriel is more affordable and I will be placing an order shortly. I love Red Apple’s products, and they are great. I have a ton of their lipsticks and mascara, and love them all, but at twenty three dollars a tube, there are just some times that I can’t afford them. The mascara is also very good, but there are times I can’t afford it. Gabriel mascara and eye pencils are much more cost friendly and highly rated by users on two sites. I love the color choices too. Can’t wait to get my first order from them. Thanks again for this post. It took me awhile to get around to acting on it, but I finally did. It is nice to have two reputable, caring companies to order from, and it is lovely to be able to splurge once in awhile. This week I will be splurging on Gabriel, and getting more. Who can argue with that?!
Thanks for your kind comment! I hope you enjoy the products you order from Gabriel. I love that they have such a wide selection. 🙂 If you run across other companies like these, do let us know!
The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Lip Shine has NO gluten.