Which Makeup Brands Feature Gluten-Free Options? (Updated June 2016)

Twelve makeup brands check out as safe, while 12 do not

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Which makeup brands are gluten-free?. Getty Images/Hiroshi Watanabe

Many of us with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity find we feel better when our makeup is gluten-free. However, sleuthing out ingredients in makeup products — and then deciphering their chemical names to determine if they actually contain the protein gluten or not — is no small task.

To help you wade through the thicket of information and Latin ingredient names, I contacted a wide variety of makeup brands, both small and large, to ask about gluten ingredients in their products.

Below are makeup companies' statements on gluten (where provided), and my conclusions about whether you should feel confident using their products, should exercise caution, or should avoid them altogether. In most cases, the decisions will depend on how forthcoming the company has been about possible gluten ingredients, and how large a risk of gluten cross-contamination there is in the manufacturing of the products in question.

Here's my alphabetical list of makeup brands, plus what each brand has to say about the gluten content of its products.

Gluten-Free Makeup Brands,  A through I

  • Afterglow Cosmetics. Company founder Kristin Adams' mother and sister both have celiac disease. To serve them and other gluten-free customers, Afterglow Costmetics is certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, which requires products to meet stringent standards of less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of gluten (lower numbers are better). None of the company's products contains gluten, and everything is made in a gluten-free facility. Afterglow Cosmetics uses Vitamin E (tocopherol) derived from organic cotton seed oil and organic olive oil (not from wheat germ, as is common in the cosmetics industry. The bottom line: I would use anything from Afterglow Cosmetics without any hesitation — the products are completely safe for the gluten-free community.
  • Alima Pure. Alima Pure makes eco-friendly, mineral-based makeup that's cruelty-free. According to the company: "All of our loose powder products are gluten free, as is our Lip Tint, Velvet Lipstick, and Natural Definition Mascara. However, only our loose powder products are created in a designated gluten free facility." The bottom line: You're perfectly safe to use any loose powder products from Alima Pure. If you're particularly sensitive to trace gluten, exercise caution with the other listed products, especially the lipsticks (since you'll inevitably ingest some).
  • Bare Minerals. This company states that "many of our products do not contain ingredients derived from barley, oats, rye, spelt or wheat, which are commonly known sources of gluten. However, due to the wide range of raw materials and equipment used during the manufacturing of our products, we cannot confirm that our products are free from any traces of gluten. If you have specific questions or concerns regarding gluten, and the ingredients contained in our formulas, we recommend that you consult your physician." Many people with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity do report using Bare Minerals products without issue. Learn more about shared facilities here: Should you eat foods made in a shared facility or on shared equipment? The bottom line: Exercise caution, as Bare Minerals does not claim any products are gluten-free.
  • BITE Beauty. BITE Beauty, which makes only lip products, sells through Sephora. The company also offers BITE Beauty Lip Lab, a shop in SoHo in New York City that will custom blend lip products for you. The company's products are certified gluten-freeThe bottom line: BITE Beauty products are perfectly safe for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.
  • CoverGirl. Here's the statement from Cover Girl: "If we add gluten, wheat or wheat extract directly to a product, it will be listed in the ingredients on the label. Still, we cannot give a 100% guarantee that trace levels of gluten are not present. Many ingredients used in our products are purchased as a raw material and we do not have information on the make-up of these raw materials or if they have been in contact with other materials before they arrive at the plant. 
    Also, if it has been added to the perfume (at a very low level) by one of our suppliers, this will not be listed in the ingredients. Like many companies, we often purchase the scents for our products from external suppliers, and the components of these scents are proprietary information belonging to the suppliers. As a result, it is possible that a very small amount of gluten may be present in our products which contain fragrances." The bottom line: You'll have to check ingredients carefully on CoverGirl products to make sure gluten grain ingredients aren't present, and there's always the possibility of cross-contamination if you're particularly sensitive.
  • Ecco Bella. This is a safe brand for those of us with celiac or gluten sensitivity. From the company: "There is no gluten or wheat protein in any Ecco Bella product. All our products are safe for customers with celiac sprue." The bottom line: I would try anything from Ecco Bella, and use it with confidence.
  • E.L.F. This brand uses all gluten-free ingredients, and also does not test on animals or use ingredients derived from animals, according to the company's statement: "Our products do not contain gluten or beeswax. Please be aware, however, that we cannot guarantee that the machinery used to process our products are completely gluten free." The bottom line: E.L.F. cosmetics are quite safe. We use them ourselves without issue.
  • em michelle phan. This brand is made and marketed in partnership with L'Oreal. The company will not disclose whether or not gluten-based ingredients are used in its products. Here's the company's full statement: "Most ingredients derived from these sources are highly refined and retain no traces of allergenic proteins. For less refined ingredients from natural sources, L’Oreal USA has established strict limits on the level of potentially allergenic proteins. we believe that this policy minimizes the likelihood of reactions to these proteins in the majority of sensitive individuals. However, since individuals exhibit a wide range of sensitivities to these proteins, if you have any questions or concerns you should discuss with your medical care provider. Also, you can contact consumer affairs for further detailed information in regards to individual products at 1-866-247-2998." The bottom line: You'll have to check ingredients carefully on em michelle phan products to make sure gluten grain ingredients aren't present, and there's always the possibility of cross-contamination. There are safer brands out there.
  • Gabriel Cosmetics. This all-natural, paraben-free line of cosmetics has been certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, which requires products to include fewer than 10 parts per million of gluten. Gabriel Cosmetics also is vegan (with the exception of its makeup brushes, which are cruelty-free). The bottom line: Anyone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can confidently order and use anything from Gabriel Cosmetics.
  • IT Cosmetics. IT Cosmetics makes two gluten-containing products: Hello Lashes mascara and Tightline mascara. The rest contain no gluten ingredients. The company adds, "we are also proud to share that IT Cosmetics is certified by PETA for being a cruelty-free brand! Our products are not certified vegan with the exception of our amazing, luxe brushes." The bottom line: Avoid the mascaras, but the rest of IT Cosmetics' product line should be okay to use.

Gluten-Free Makeup Brands,  J through R

  • Lancome. This brand is owned by L'Oreal, so you should refer to the answer from L'Oreal, directly below.
  • Lili Lolo. Lili Lolo offers mineral makeup, including foundation, powder, blush, lip, and eye products. According to the company, everything in the Lili Lolo line is gluten-free except for the BB Cream, which contains wheat germ. The bottom line: Definitely skip the BB Cream, but you should be able to use other products in the makeup line safely.
  • L'Oreal. This makeup conglomerate doesn't provide a very satisfying answer when asked if there's any gluten in its various products: "There is no evidence that symptoms associated with Celiac disease can be caused by the topical application of gluten-containing products such as cosmetics, skincare and hair care products.  Scientific research shows that proteins such as gluten are not absorbed through the skin. Most ingredients derived from grain sources are highly refined and retain no traces of gluten proteins. For less refined ingredients from natural sources, L'oreal has established strict limits on the level of potentially allergenic proteins. We believe that this policy minimizes the likelihood of reactions to these proteins in the majority of sensitive individuals. However, since individuals exhibit a wide range of sensitivities to these proteins, if you have any questions or concerns you should discuss with your medical care provider. All the ingredients we use in a product are listed on the package or the label of the product itself. For products too small to accommodate the list, a separate ingredient list is available on the display unit in the store for your convenience. Since some ingredients are known by more than one name, we use the standard industry FDA-recognized names. A review of the ingredients that are listed on all of our products or packages will alert you to the presence of this type of ingredient." The bottom line: If you really want to use a l'Oreal product, you'll have to check ingredients carefully to make sure gluten grain ingredients aren't present, and there's always the possibility of gluten cross-contamination even if you don't spot something that's obviously gluten-y. There are better choices available.
  • Maybelline New York. Mabelline also is owned by L'Oreal, so see the answer from L'Oreal directly above.
  • Mirabella Beauty. According to Mirabella, all its products except for its skin tint crème are gluten-free (there's wheat protein in the skin tint crème). Mirabella reports that its vendors test ingredients for trace gluten "and are AMAZINGLY thorough." Gluten-free products may be made in a shared facility, but Mirabella takes special care to clean the equipment in between batches. The gluten-containing skin tint crème is not made in the same facility as the other products. Mirabella Beauty does not test on animals ("Amber, our Creative Director, does all the testing on herself"), and the customer service rep told me that "I believe our line is completely devoid of animal products or byproducts." The bottom line: Mirabella Beauty takes a careful approach to serving the gluten-free community. I wouldn't hesitate to try any product, with the exception of the gluten-containing skin tint crème.
  • NARS Cosmetics. A NARS customer service representative states that "many of our products do not contain ingredients derived from barley, oats, rye, spelt or wheat, which are commonly known sources of gluten. However, due to the wide range of raw materials and equipment used during the manufacturing of our products, we cannot confirm that our products are free from any traces of gluten." The bottom line: I would steer clear of NARS Cosmetics products, since the company doesn't promise to disclose specific gluten-containing ingredients, and uses shared equipment.
  • Nivea. According to Nivea, gluten-containing ingredients in the company's products include: triticum vulgare (wheat bran), secale cereale (rye seed extract), hordeum vulgare (barley), and avena sativa (oat bran). Nivea urges customers to check labels for these ingredients, and adds: "Although our other products may not contain the above ingredients, it is always possible that there may be traces of gluten since ingredients and products are not manufactured in gluten-free facilities." The bottom line: You'll have to check ingredients carefully on Nivea products to make sure gluten grain ingredients aren't present, and there's always the possibility of cross-contamination.
  • NYX Cosmetics. This company does not provide ingredient information and does not pledge to disclose any gluten-containing ingredients. The bottom line: I would steer clear of NYX Cosmetics products.
  • Pangea Organics. Pangea might not truly count as a makeup company — it makes three lip balms, but mainly creates beauty products such as cleansers, toners and creams. However, the company is extremely careful when it comes to gluten. All of its products are considered gluten-free, with the exception of its Oatmeal Bergamot Bar Soap, which Pantea doesn't include on its gluten-free list because of the possibility of gluten cross-contamination in the oatmeal from nearby wheat fields. Pangea Organics also states that "our Vitamin E is sourced from either soy or sunflower, rather than wheat germ." The bottom line: You can order anything from Pangea Organics with confidence (with the exception of the oatmeal soap).
  • Red Apple Lipstick. Despite the name, Red Apple Lipstick makes far more than just, well, lipstick. The company boasts lip pencils, lip balm, lip exfoliators, eye shadows and eye liners. All Red Apple products are gluten-free, with rigorous testing (aiming at zero parts per million of gluten) to ensure there's no trace gluten present. The company then follows that up with routine batch lab testing to ensure purity. The bottom line: I would use anything from Red Apple Lipstick, including products designed for my lips, with confidence.
  • Revlon. Revlon does not test for gluten, nor does it provide any information on gluten-containing products: "Unfortunately, because of the way cosmetic ingredients are made and transported, we cannot guarantee that a product is gluten-free." The bottom line: I would steer clear of Revlon products.

Gluten-Free Makeup Brands,  S through Z

  • Smashbox. This brand is a subsidiary of Estee Lauder. The company states that consumers can provide it with the name of individual products, and that it will respond with information on those specific products. However, it will not provide consumers with an overall gluten-free list. Smashbox/Estee Lauder states that it uses "a vast number of raw materials from many different suppliers and sources," and notes that any of these ingredients may be processed on shared equipment. The bottom line: I would steer clear of any Smashbox products.
  • Too Faced Cosmetics. "Our entire line of cosmetics is formulated to be gluten free with the exception of our Borderline Lip Pencil. Please note, whereas these products are formulated to be gluten free, we cannot guarantee that our manufacturing facilities do not come in contact with gluten. Too Faced Cosmetics is proud to be a completely cruelty free company." The company has an extensive vegan-friendly product list. (More on a gluten-free vegan lifestyle: How To Go Gluten-Free and Vegetarian). The bottom line: I'd feel comfortable using anything from Too Faced Cosmetics with the exception of the Borderline Lip Pencil.
  • Urban Decay. According to the company, some products do not include gluten-y ingredients, but Urban Decay does not test for trace gluten. The bottom line: Urban Decay will tell you which products contain no gluten ingredients if you contact them at (800) 784-8722. We've used these products before, but always be aware of the possibility of gluten cross-contamination.
  • Zuzu Luxe. This brand, made by GFCO-certified Gabriel Cosmetics, also is certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, which tests products to ensure they contain fewer than 10 parts per million of gluten. Most Zuzu Luxe products also are corn-free. The products also are vegan, according to the company. The bottom line: Zuzu Luxe products are perfectly safe for people with celiac and gluten sensitivity to use.

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