gluten free makeup

When you’re getting ready for the day and fluffing powder brushes, gluten is probably the last thing on your mind. Generally beautiful blush and mega-defining mascaras are not thought of as daily items that could be making us sick. However, if you’re sensitive to gluten, eliminating these and other potentially gluten-laden makeup products may prove beneficial.

What it Is: Gluten is the protein found in wheat and certain other grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. Many ingredients in cosmetics contain wheat or are made from it, such as Vitamin E oil. These wheat-derived products add moisture and body to products and are often used as binders. Sensitivity to gluten has been skyrocketing over the past decade, with one in 133 Americans being diagnosed with Celiac disease (a severe form of gluten insensitivity) along with 18 million Americans who have gluten intolerance. 

Why It Matters: While gluten is typically associated with digestive discomfort and internal damage, it can also cause intense skin conditions. One type of gluten sensitivity comes in the form of dermatitis herpetiformis, which causes an extremely painful skin rash. Even if your form of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is digestive, your skin is the largest organ in your body, absorbing up to 60% of what is put on it. While the amount in any given product may be minuscule, the combined daily effect of gluten-containing products could still be enough to trigger symptoms. Alice Bast, the founder and president of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, says: “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.” According to leading institutions such as the Celiac Center and Mayo Clinic, when celiac disease is left untreated or the body is consistently attacked with gluten, further damage such as osteoporosis, infertility, immune disorders, thyroid disease, or cancer may be the result.

Alternatives: There are gluten-free alternatives for nearly every product on the market, but they may not be readily available in your pharmacy’s makeup aisle. Some drugstore companies like Maybelline do offer gluten-free products and will be labeled to indicate it. Other companies specialize such as Afterglow, Gabriel Cosmetics, Red Apple Lipsticks (plus other products), and Emani. They all have full makeup lines free of gluten and offer great color choices and options.

Switching to gluten-free makeup can be an opportunity to experiment with new colors, styles, and products. Embrace the challenge and expand your daily routine, all the while limiting your exposure to gluten. Go forth gorgeous and gluten-free!

Here is a list of the many beauty product ingredients gluten can be hiding in: Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Cyclodextrin, Dextrin, Dextrin Palmitate, Hydrolyzed Malt Extract, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Flour, Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein/PVP Crosspolymer, Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch, Secale Cereale (Rye) Seed Flour, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Gluten, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Starch, Wheat Amino Acids, Wheat Germ Glycerides, Wheat Germamidopropalkonium Chloride, Wheat Protein, Wheatgermamidopropyl Ethyldimonium Ethosulfate, Yeast Extract.

Image via Passion Photography

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10 comments

  1. What are some good gluten free makeup brands? And I used to use my makeup brushes with makeup that is not gluten free. Can I just wash them or should I buy new brushes?

  2. Younique has a wide variety of gluten free products. I cant get enough of this stuff. if you have any questions you can contact me anytime. Also check out my website at http://www.LashLadyDana.com to view our Gluten free and Vegan free products. I should add all our products are 100% naturally based and cruelty free 🙂

  3. Your figures are incorrect that 1 in 133 have been diagnosed with celiac. If you research those figures you will see that is the number found in a research. Actually only about 1% of that amount are diagnosed.

  4. Thank you for this article and the list of ingredients.. My local CDF Celiac Support group discussed gluten free beauty products and body care products at one of our summer meetings. We distributed samples of gf beauty products to our group participants. We will do this again, and I will let members know about your article. Please note, and consider amending in your article the statement “celiac disease is a severe form of gluten insensitivity.” A more accurate statement shares that celiac disease is a life long genetic disorder in which gluten severely impacts the immune system.

  5. As someone with celiac disease, this is something I think about constantly. Thank you for sharing this information with a wider audience!

  6. Thank you of this awesome article! I’ve read a lot of articles lately that basically say gluten free beauty products are not necessary. I like that you shared a list of beauty product ingredients that could be hidden gluten sources. Very Helpful!

  7. Thank you so much for this very practical article. I was recently tested for food intolerances and it did occur to me that many of the foods that I tested positive for were also ingredients in beauty products I was using.

    I use mainly organic, naturally derived, often hand made ingredients and have been avoiding products that contain lots of chemicals and preservatives and additives for years. But eliminating even the natural products that contained my food triggers, such as mint and honey and oats has helped as well. It just made sense to me that if my insides couldn’t tolerate these foods, why would I slather them on my skin?

    Thank you for including a list of ingredients that contain gluten as I was unaware of several of them and will now be able to avoid them in the future. This is a very important aspect of food intolerances that most don’t think to consider. Well done on bringing it to the attention of our Darling community.

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