All photos by: Sam J Bien Photography // @samjbien
Hair Credit: Sarah Stidham Beauty, @sarahstidhambeauty, sarahstidhambeauty.com
Makeup Credit: Heather N Artistry, @heathernartistry, heathernartistry.com.
Disclaimer: This photo shoot is from April 2018, a little over a year before finding out that I have celiac’s disease and going gluten free. The make-up I’m wearing in the shoot isn’t necessarily gluten free. However, the make-up artist, Heather also has celiac’s disease and uses gluten free make-up on herself, but also uses a mixture of gluten free and non-gluten free make-up on her clients unless asked otherwise.
Since July 9th, 2019 I’ve slowly been making the switch to all things gluten free. That means my food, my cleaning supplies, my toothpaste, and my shaving cream to name a few at random. Most importantly and the hardest thing to transition to gluten free has been my make-up. I never considered that something I’m laying on top of my skin could or would have such an impact. I know not all make-up is created equal and I’ve been able to tell from how it looks when I put it on, but most importantly how my skin looks and feels when I take it off.
I’ve gone through phases in my adult years (26 years and older) where I’ve really noticed a negative impact to my skin from what I eat, washing and not washing my face, and of course the products I use. (The crazy thing is when I first started seeing these changes was right when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, read the blog post here.) Eight years ago, I went to a Dermatologist who told me that adult acne can strike at any time and just because I had perfect skin as a teenager/young adult doesn’t mean my skin will stay perfect through my adult years. She gave me antibiotics, Retin-A and Aczone gels that did the job, but literally made my skin peel off. At the end of the day, I can’t be melting my face every time I have a break out or taking antibiotics like vitamins. It fixed the issue for the time being, but I knew there had to be a better solution or maybe a different cause to the skin issues I was having.
After years of going back and forth between good skin and bad skin, I finally made an appointment with a literal miracle working, Sarah Neumann from Ahwatukee Skin and Laser (ASL) and Sun City Dermatology (click to read the Phoenix Business Journal article, or to listen to the Business Radio X interview featuring her.) My sister-in-law Casey, who has perfect skin, met Sarah about 20 years ago as a client while Casey was in hair school (Sarah was her client) and now Casey has been Sarah’s client for all things medical ever since. I should have know my life would be changed when I booked the appointment in April 2019 and her first availability was in October 2019. During that time I found out I had celiac’s disease and guessed that had something to do about my skin issues.
I could go on for days about all of the amazing information that Sarah shared with me, but I will need to dedicate a separate blog post for that. The most important information that I can tell you in relation to any gluten issue is that becoming 1% gluten free or 99% gluten free, there really is no difference. You won’t be able to see any impact at all unless you’re fully 100% gluten free and allow yourself to heal from the inflammation that consuming gluten has caused you. Although I went gluten free in July, I still noticed issues in October because my body was still suffering from the damage gluten had caused. Sarah introduced me to the inflammatory diet, and could tell from looking at me that I have a vitamin D deficiency (I had the blood work to back it up, but that was pretty incredible how spot on she was.) Since October, my skin has become drastically better.
IF YOU’RE GONNA GO GLUTEN FREE, START WITH YOUR LIPSTICK + FOUNDATION.
A couple things I never thought of, but since learning these tips they seem a lot like common sense…
- Lipstick is placed right on your lips which can easily get into your mouth, and is a direct entry into your body. Having a gluten free lipstick, lip liner, lip gloss and chapstick is key!
- If you’re noticing breakouts that could possibly be related to a gluten allergy, applying a foundation, primer, concealer, etc. that has gluten ingredients or contains the risk of gluten contamination is literally putting the exact thing that harms your skin right on the area that you’re hoping to heal. Throw out your sponges or clean your brushes thoroughly before applying your GF foundation!
I WISH I COULD SAY THAT ALL GLUTEN FREE MARKETING IN THE COSMETICS INDUSTRY IS TRUE… NOT THE CASE!
This is the craziest thing I learned of all – it still blows my mind that a company can do this – just because a make-up company advertises their brand and markets their products as being “gluten free” or using “gluten free ingredients” doesn’t always mean that their make-up is actually gluten free. (I mean, WHAT?!) Once I started reading on the company’s website I noticed that some had disclaimers saying that not all ingredients are gluten free in their product line and all products are processed in the same warehouse and on the same manufacturing equipment. Other brands bury the information a little deeper, so I had to email their support center for more information. I received responses saying that although all of their ingredients are gluten free, they share the manufacturing equipment with other companies and their products aren’t gluten free. Since there are no regulations about cleaning the equipment there is cross contamination. Apparently having and using a certified gluten free facility is pretty pricey, having the products tested for traces of gluten is also pretty pricey, and unfortunately the big make-up companies don’t see the value for their customers.
The two questions I ask in my emails to cosmetics companies are…
- Do your products contain ingredients containing gluten?
- Are your products processed in a facility containing gluten?
It’s taken me months to go through my make-up and every company says something different, so I decided to track the information in an excel sheet (click here to view). Instead of keeping this to myself I figured the least I could do is share it with anyone who is just as concerned and confused about all of this as me. Maybe I’m going a little crazy, but this is the only skin I got!
RESPONSES FROM TOP COSMETICS COMPANIES
I wanted to highlight a couple of the top make-up brands who market their products as gluten free, but then responded to my emails with conflicting information. It was challenging to get a straight forward answer from most companies. It seemed as though the customer care rep was unsure or I needed to reply by asking the question again in another way. Finally, by the second or third email, I would receive a response that only a legal team could carefully craft.
I will say that Kylie Cosmetics responded saying that all of their ingredients are gluten free and so are their facilities. However, there is nothing stated on their website about being gluten free anywhere on their website or that their products are processed in a gluten free facility. After using one of my lip kits my lips had a negative reaction, so unless I receive proof about being gluten free I find it a little hard to believe, which sucks because I had hundreds of dollars worth of Kylie, Kim and Khloe lip kits.
Here’s a link to my full excel spreadsheet to read more about what cosmetics companies contain gluten in their products! Comment with questions about brands not on the list and I’d be happy to reach out on your behalf.
Some of the gluten offenders are… Estee Lauder brands like MAC, Smashbox, and BECCA Cosmetics, Bite Beauty, Elizabeth Mott, IT Cosmetics, Kat Von D, Makeup Forever, Morphe, Nars, NYX Cosmetics, Stila, Tarte Cosmetics, The Balm, and L’Oreal brands like Maybelline, and YSL Beauty.
Bite Beauty is one company that claims to be gluten-free on their Instagram and website, however they only have a specific product list on their website that is actually considered to be gluten free products. My question is, do they produce their gluten free products in a separate area or on clean machinery? Their email response is a little confusing! The images below are screen shots of my email chain. The first email is at the bottom of the image of the photo on the right.
Tarte Cosmetics is another company that uses gluten free marketing on their website to promote their products, however if you read through their FAQ’s section on their website you’ll find out that although their ingredients might be gluten free, they are doing nothing to maintain cleanliness from any allergen, which I would assume would negate their vegan claims as well. Below screenshots are taken directly from Tarte’s website and FAQ section.
There is light at the end of the tunnel for all of you who want clean, gluten free ingredients and no cross contamination in your everyday cosmetics! I know of a couple brands that are ACTUALLY GLUTEN FREE! I’m still testing out the exact products that I like from each other their lines and will report back in a separate blog post, but for now I’ve listed them below and tagged my FAVORITE powder that I’ve literally ever owned (gluten free or not!) and it’s light but maintains great coverage – it’s from Jane Iredale and I’ve linked it below.
100% GLUTEN FREE MAKE-UP COMPANIES (I only have 4 so far, but so far they’re all amazing!)
- Jane Iredale Cosmetics – Recommended by Sarah Neumann at Ahwatukee Skin and Laser.
- Farmasi – All products are gluten free except hair products and Starlook. Plus they use separate machinery when producing their gluten free products, so there’s no contamination.
- Julep – Email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm that each GF product was processed in a GF facility. The products I checked are as follows and the * means I currently use it… So Plush Ultra Hydrating Lip Gloss*
It’s Whipped Matte Lip Mousse*
Way Butter Lip Sheer
Blank Canvas Illuminating Treatment Primer
So Radiant Bronzer
Grand Illusions Palette
The Works – Brow Pencil & Gel
- OFRA – Read more on their blog post about Clean Beauty.