We talk a lot about food on this blog (yum!), but there are other traps for gluten-free gluttons like ourselves that don’t relate to food at all. The biggest one? Makeup and skincare products! More products than you may realize have gluten hiding in them and if you are badly allergic or have celiac’s (or both like me!), just getting gluten on your skin can really bother you and lead to hives, a rash, or swelling–not pretty! Some eye shadow, for example, makes my eyelids swell and get droopy. Nothing says “I feel pretty” like droopy eyelids! (Please note sarcasm.) But, seriously, that’s the whole point of makeup right? To look and feel pretty?
Everyone has a different level of gluten-sensitivity and it can be really tricky to navigate the world of gf beauty products, especially since (unlike with food) most labels don’t say: “Is produced in a plant that also process wheat, corn, ect…” I always recommend checking a company’s website before making a purchase or giving their customer service line a call.
My sister (who is not gluten-free) is a hair stylist and a serious product junkie who has a blog of her own all about beauty products. She’s always recommending awesome stuff for me to try and is really good about checking the labels for me. Definitely ask your stylist or esthetician for some product advice and always let them know that you are gluten-free before you receive any service. Believe me, you do not want dye containing gluten all over your scalp or–even worse–a new gluten-filled moisturizer slathered all over your face and neck during a facial or a massage! Most of these pros are well up to speed on new products in their industry and are always trying new things out, and they definitely don’t want you heading home from the spa itchy or sick.
The products I use and love include:
Covergirl LASHBLAST Fusion Mascara (I throw away my tube at the end of each month and get a new one, so I keep my mascara inexpensive)
Dessert Essences Skincare Line for Dry/Sensitive Skin (they have a ton of gf products and you can test these out at your local Whole Foods)
Again, these products don’t bother me, but some of them are processed in plants that process other items with gluten, so you should test them out at your local Sephora or Ulta before making a purchase, especially since make-up can be a major splurge! I also highly encourage you to check the ingredients every time you buy since companies can change their ingredients without advertising it. I check in to my favorite brands’ websites and email customer service every once in a while to ensure nothing has changed, and you should too. Better safe than sorry!
I like to go in to test with clean skin on my arms in a short-sleeve T-shirt or tank top. Then I wander around checking labels. If a product seems gluten-free I’ll rub a little on my arm and mark down the product name and it’s location on my arm in a small notebook (I know I probably look crazy-face doing this to other mall shoppers, but not any more crazy-face than I do with droopy eyelids!). Then I go window shop for about 30 minutes. If my skin hasn’t reacted by then, I know it’s probably safe to buy the product!
This isn’t a fool-proof method, obviously. I’ve definitely gotten home with a few products only to find that by the third or fourth wear I’m itchy or droopy or swollen. (I have quite a few allergies, so sometimes it isn’t the gluten at all, but some plant or other chemical.) But it’s a risk I’m willing to take since I love makeup and I’m not about to give it up just because I’m gluten-free! This method works best at makeup stores like Sephora that have testers for everything. But you can employ the same method at Target or Wal-Mart for lotions and body wash–just don’t open all their makeup to test it, OK? You will get in big trouble for that!
Here are some other great resources for tips on gluten-free makeup and product options or to check the products you already own for ingredients or known allergens: