My friend, Laura, has been gluten-free for a few years now, and she feels better since she gave up eating foods with gluten: wheat, oat, barley, and rye. A while back, she told me that she started having the old symptoms that she used to feel when she ate gluten but couldn’t figure out why. Then she discovered there were wheat-based ingredients in her shampoo.
photo credit: anders_hh
Before that incident, I had no idea that there were wheat or gluten ingredients in personal care products. I never thought about makeup as being a potential problem for women who are gluten-free. But there are many gluten-based ingredients used in many ways in cosmetics, often with names that don’t sound like wheat or gluten.
Even though they are not ingested, the gluten ingredients can enter the bloodstream through the skin.
I discovered a website, Gluten Free RN, that is a good resource for those of you with celiac disease or who are gluten-free. They provided a list (about 2 years old) of gluten-free cosmetic companies that included Red Apple Lipstick, Everyday Minerals, Afterglow Cosmetics, Joelle Cosmetics, and Gluten Free Beauty. Bare Minerals and NARS are also gluten-free.
But it can be tricky. Some brands, like Smashbox and Hourglass, have certain products that are gluten-free but others that are not. For instance, the New York Times recently recommended gluten-free Hourglass Cosmetics Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation, but other Hourglass products are not GF. Burt’s Bees used to be gluten-free, but since the company was sold, no longer are all of their products gluten-free. Their website says to contact the company regarding information on individual products.
Even more interesting, Gluten Free RN provided a list of ingredients in cosmetics in which gluten may hide so you can check the ingredient list yourself:
Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour
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
Wheatgermamidopropyl Ethyldimonium Ethosulfate
Vitamin E, tocopherol, is frequently derived from wheat germ, so it’s important to check on its origin in any product you may be using. It can be derived from other acceptable sources such as rice bran.
In the future, I will try to provide information on whether the products I review are gluten-free.
My assumption is that as more and more people avoid gluten, more companies will reformulate their products with gluten-free ingredients. Are there any gluten-free products or brands you can add to the list?