Gluten-Free Lipstick Essential Tips for Your Vulnerable Lips

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gluten free lipsticks

​​​​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... 

gluten free red lipstick


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).


​​​​Laurdimonium Hydroxypropyl
Stearyl Dimonium Hydroxypropyl

Tocopherol (Vitamin E derived from wheat germ oil)

Triticale (hybrid of wheat and rye)
Triticum Aestivum
Triticum Carthlicum
Triticum Boeoticum
Triticum Lipids
Triticum Monococcum
Triticum Vulgare


Avena Sativa
Sodium Lauroyl 


Beta Glucan (often derived from both oats & barley)
Malt Extract
Hordeum Distichon
Hordeum Vulgare
Phytosphingosine Extract

Secale Cereale
Triticale (hybrid of wheat and rye)

Gluten-Free Lipstick

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. 


Free from Gluten, Parabens, Talc, Lead, FD&C Dye.


Kiss Freely

Free from Gluten, the top 8 most common allergens. Vegan.



Certified Gluten-Free. Free of Parabens, Lead, Talc. Cruelty-Free. Vegan.


Red Apple

Free from Gluten, Parabens, Lead, Talc, Preservative & Petroleum. Vegan.


Gluten-Free Lip Gloss

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.


Ecco Bella

Free from Gluten, Dairy, FD & C dye-free. Parabens, Talc & Alcohol. Cruelty-Free. Some glosses are Vegan.


Mineral Fusion

Free from Gluten, Parabens, Artificial Colors, Talc & Phthalates. Cruelty-Free. Vegan.



Free from Gluten, Artificial Dyes/Fragrances, Parabens, Talc, Phthatates. Cruelty-Free. 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.

gluten free lipstain colors

Vincent Longo

Free from Gluten, Oils & Parabens. Cruelty-Free.


Harlow Skin Company

Free from Gluten, Sulfates, Parabens & Phthalates. Cruelty-Free.


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!

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Maureen Stanley was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2005. Way back before gluten-free was “mainstream“. Maureen created Hold The Gluten blog and podcast in 2008 as a way to connect members of the gluten-free community across the world.


    1. Hi Kris!

      Burning is definitely not a good sign 🙁 Are you using “mainstream” lipsticks or have you tried the organic brands? I’m wondering if you are having a reaction to other ingredients. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2005 and over the years have developed intolerances to other non-gluten foods (ie quinoa and cranberries). Check out Red Apple’s lipstick website — I met Jay Harper (the owner) years back and they are super helpful and knowledgeable. Contact them and see if they have any input or suggestions.

      I hope this helps — please keep us posted on if you find a brand that works and how your lips are doing 🙂

      PS – I’m so not a doctor, so if the burning continues — def speak to your doctor or allergist.

  1. I just found your blog, thank you for posting such valuable information. My little boy and myself were diagnosed with Celiac this summer and although I am very diligent, I still feel like I’m learning something new that is a potential danger every day! It is a bit overwhelming trying to figure out what is safe and what is not. I really appreciate sites like yours to help me in this process.

    1. Hello Ariel!

      I’m SO glad you found my site 🙂 Give yourself a pat on the back because you’re doing a great job in researching and educating yourself about living gluten-free! It’s a learning curve that’s constantly changing. I was diagnosed in 2005 and I’m still learning.

      I hope you’ll stop back here often — please keep me posted on how you both are doing.

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