The smell of Cherry Chapstick takes me back to my childhood (NOT the Katy Perry version). As you may have read in my Gluten-Free Lipstick article, "The average woman uses (and consumes) approximately 7 pounds of lipstick over a decade. #1 That's gross. #2 So that's where those few extra pounds I gained came from!
As I count the number of chapsticks and lip balms I have in my house, car, and purse, I wonder if I have a problem (more on if chapstick addiction is real below). I'm typically not a lipstick kind of girl (unless I'm getting gussied up and actually leaving the house), so I love a bit of chapstick on my lips. I also have the habit of licking my lips, hence the need for gluten-free lip products.
Which brings us to two important questions: Does ChapStick have gluten? Is there gluten in lip balms? Because if I'm eating 7 dang pounds of this stuff, I'm definitely glutening myself. For those of us with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the need for gluten-free cosmetics is real. Check out my Gluten-Free Cosmetics: Ultimate Guide to Avoiding Gluten post for a more in-depth explanation of why you need to be aware of not only what you're putting in your body, but on it as well.
Wondering if you're putting gluten on your lips? Read on for details about the ChapStick® brand, other brands we generalize as "chapstick", and lip balms. Educating yourself is the key to complete health and well-being!
Is ChapStick® Brand Gluten-Free?
From the ChapStick® website's FAQs:
Question: Does ChapStick® lip balm contain any oats, rye or barley?
I was surprised/confused that wheat was not mentioned anywhere in ChapStick's® FAQs, so I called their Customer Consumer Information Line and asked "Is ChapStick gluten-free?". The representative I spoke to was not able to answer my question and escalated the call. Customer Service quickly followed up with a return call and provided this information:
Answer: We do not directly add any gluten ingredients to ChapStick®. However, we cannot guarantee cross contamination.
2nd Follow Up: I received a follow-up letter via e-mail (super impressed with ChapStick's customer service) with this response: "We do not directly add gluten to our Chapstick®, but we cannot guarantee there are no trace amounts of gluten or cross contamination at any point from the raw materials that end up in the finished product."
The issue of cross contamination in any brand is a difficult one to nail down as information on what is manufactured on the product lines as well as how the lines are cleaned in between product manufacturing is not readily available. See below for other manufacturer details on gluten in lip products.
Fun Fact: ChapStick® Secret Spy Mission
ChapStick® played a part in the early 1970's Watergate Scandal. Microphone bugs were hidden in the empty ChapStick® tubes and were used as evidence at the Watergate burglars' trial.
Manufacturer Information on Gluten-Free Chapstick & Lip Balms
I reached out to several companies who carry lip balm products that range from the classic "chapstick" to scented or medicated balms. Here are the responses I received via e-mail, phone, or on their websites:
All Badger products (except Sunscreens, Soaps, Diaper Cream, and Lip Tints & Shimmers) are certified gluten-free and can carry the recognizable Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) logos. These GF logos will appear on our labels and packaging in the coming months. Via website
Carmex Lip Balms: Carma Laboratories does not use gluten in the manufacture of our Classic and Daily Care lip balms. The colloidal oatmeal in Comfort Care may contain some gluten (as a result of inadvertent contamination when processed). Via e-mail
Is Burt’s Bees chapstick gluten-free?
We cannot provide a list of Burt's Bees products that are safe for use with your allergy because our products may have been manufactured on a shared line with products containing gluten, or raw materials used in our products may have been processed in a facility that also processes products containing gluten.
Therefore, we are unable to state that any Burt's Bees products are "gluten-free." Several of our products are known to contain certain allergens, because raw materials that contain or are made from the allergen are intentional ingredients in those products.
Please carefully review the ingredient list of any product prior to use, particularly because the listed ingredients for a product may change. If you have a known allergy to gluten, you should always consult with your physician if you have questions regarding whether it is safe for you to use a particular product. Via website
Can I become addicted to Chapstick or Lip Balms?
The short answer is "no". But some lip balm and chapstick ingredients can irritate your lips, causing you to reapply more often because the products aren't actually moisturizing. Red, sore, or cracking lips indicate a more severe reaction to lip products known as Contact Dermatitis. Ingredients that can cause irritation include menthol (dries out lips), salicylic acid (used to exfoliate lips), fragrances, and flavors. Of course, gluten ingredients are off limits.
Sigh - bye bye Bubble Gum lip balm.
What's the best gluten-free chapstick or lip balm you've used? How many do you have to moisturize your lips? Be honest, no judgement here. Share with the Hold the Gluten community in the comments below!
At the time of this article, the above brands provided specific information. Please remember that companies can change their formulas and ingredients, so always check before you apply. My mission is to drill this message into your gluten-free noggin.