Why do companies put gluten in lipstick and other beauty products?
Let's chat about baking for a moment (I promise this ties in to lipstick). In the days before Wonder Bread, people actually used to make their own bread and gluten was a key part in the success of baking a perfect loaf. Gluten is a binder that essentially helps the ingredients "stick together". Companies use gluten in lipstick, eye shadows and other cosmetics for the same reason.
Another way gluten finds its way into cosmetics is through tocopheryl (also known as Vitamin E). Vitamin E is known for its antioxidant and moisturizing properties. Most often, tocopherols are extracted from soy oil. However, tocopherols can be derived from wheat germ as well.
Lipstick isn't a food, why do I need to use gluten-free lipstick, lip balm and chapstick?
Whether you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the bottom line is our bodies react to gluten. Our skin is the largest organ of the human body and what we apply on our skin does get absorbed into our skin. The FDA regulates what we eat and requires the eight major food allergens to be clearly identified on the ingredients (ie Contains Wheat). So the big question is, who is responsible for the safety of cosmetics? When I began digging deeper into the pharmaceutical end of gluten-free cosmetics, I was definitely taken aback. According to the FDA:
"Companies and individuals who manufacture or market cosmetics have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their products. Neither the law nor FDA regulations require specific tests to demonstrate the safety of individual products or ingredients. The law also does not require cosmetic companies to share their safety information with FDA."
So we're pretty much on our own...
The average woman uses (and consumes) approximately 7 pounds of lipstick over a decade.
- via Dr. Oz
How do I know if my lipstick is gluten-free?
It's rare that you'll find "gluten" listed clearly as one of the ingredients in your lip products. You need to be your own advocate -- research and ask questions. If the product isn't clearly labeled "gluten-free", contact the manufacturer and visit their website FAQ's. When in doubt, find another product that you know is safe. Check out the listing below for names you might not instantly identify as gluten (or even be able to pronounce).
Stearyl Dimonium Hydroxypropyl
Tocopherol (Vitamin E derived from wheat germ oil)
Triticale (hybrid of wheat and rye)
Beta Glucan (often derived from both oats & barley)
Triticale (hybrid of wheat and rye)
Many equate putting on lipstick to slipping into a pair of high heels or a party dress. Lipstick instantly adds polish and a bit of glamour. You just feel good wearing it (even if you're sporting sweatpants and a bit of bed head).
Whether you choose a sultry Marilyn Monroe red or a soft pink shade, lipsticks offer full pigment color that draws the eye to your oh so lovely lips.
Lipstick options abound from long-wearing to moisture infusing as well as matte, satin and sheer.
Gluten-Free Lip Gloss
Lipstick can sometimes be intimidating. The color that looks fab in the tube somehow ends up looking overdone on your own lips.
Lip gloss is perfect for those who want a hint of color on their lips, but not the full solid color of a lipstick. These glosses add color and shine. I love a good lip gloss when I want to go bare faced, but still want a bit of color.
Bonus Points: Present day lip glosses have come a long way from the days of "my hair keeps getting stuck to my lips" stickiness.
Free from Gluten, Phthalates, Parabens, Sulfates, Propylene Glycol, Mineral oil, Petroleum, Peanut Oil. Cruelty-Free. Vegan.
Free from Gluten, Dairy, FD & C dye-free. Parabens, Talc & Alcohol. Cruelty-Free. Some glosses are Vegan.
Gluten-Free Lip Stain and Lip Tint
You know how some fruits stain your hands? Like when you're pitting cherries or picking blackberries and accidentally squash a few? Lip stains do just that to your lips (well, except for the whole fruit picking/squashing portion).
Lip stains tend to stay on longer than lipsticks by leaving a "stain" of pigment. I use my stains to add color to my cheeks & lips.
One aspect to keep in mind is that lip stains and tints tend to be drying. Adding a layer of gloss or balm once the stain dries is an easy way to combat any dryness.
Going gluten-free isn't easy, but you've got this! With a bit of research and whole lot of support from our fab gluten-free community, you'll find what products work best and what's best for your body. Luckily there are many gluten-free lipstick brands on the market.
Never assume! At the time of this article, the above products are gluten-free. However, companies can change their formulas and ingredients, so always check before you apply. Trust me, I've lived and learned from it, so as Nike says, "Just do it".
Have a question about gluten-free cosmetics? Need to vent about the evil hidden gluten you just found in your all-time favorite lipstick? Share in the comments below!