Makeup Brands That Offer Gluten-Free Makeup Options

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

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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, we 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 our 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 our alphabetical list of makeup brands, plus what each brand has to say about the gluten content of its products.

Gluten-Free Makeup Brands

  • Afterglow Cosmetics. Afterglow Cosmetics products are made in a gluten-free facility and are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), which requires products to meet stringent standards of less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of gluten (lower numbers are better). 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. Exercise caution with other products, especially if you're particularly sensitive to trace gluten.
  • Bare Minerals. This company states many of its products don't contain gluten, but it can't guarantee that they're gluten-free. They are made in a shared facility or on shared equipment. Many people with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity do report using Bare Minerals products without issue.

    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-free.

    The 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."

    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. However, it does sometimes use shared equipment.

    The bottom line: E.L.F. cosmetics are quite safe. 
  • 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.

    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 GFCO, 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. IT is also certified cruelty-free.

    The bottom line: Avoid the mascaras, but the rest of IT Cosmetics' product line should be okay to use.
  • 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 is not transparent when it comes to gluten-containing ingredients in its products.

    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 company also doesn't perform animal testing.

    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 couldn't provide a list of gluten-free products.

    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 adds that there's a risk of cross-contamination due to shared facilities.

    The bottom line: You'll have to check ingredients carefully on Nivea products to make sure gluten grain ingredients aren't present. This isn't the best brand for anyone who's particularly sensitive.
  • 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.

    The bottom line: I would steer clear of Revlon products.
  • 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. Everything might be processed on shared equipment.

    The bottom line: I would steer clear of any Smashbox products.
  • Too Faced Cosmetics. The company's entire line of cosmetics is gluten free with the exception of our Borderline Lip Pencil, but products may be subject to cross-contamination in manufacturing. The company is cruelty-free and has an extensive vegan-friendly product list.

    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 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, which requires products to ensure they contain fewer than 10 parts per million of gluten. Most Zuzu Luxe products also are corn-free and vegan, according to the company.

    The bottom line: Zuzu Luxe products are perfectly safe for people with celiac and gluten sensitivity to use.

Should I Buy Only Gluten-Free Makeup?

As you probably know, your reaction to gluten stems from your digestive tract, not from your skin. Therefore, makeup and skin care products (such as moisturizers) that you use on your skin but don't ingest shouldn't—in theory—be an issue unless you're using them on your lips. That's what many experts on celiac and gluten sensitivity will tell you.

But (and this is a big but), the problem with this answer is that it's difficult or impossible to apply makeup or other skin care products without risking ingesting a tiny bit, either as you're spreading the product on your face, or later, because you got some on your hands or under your fingernails and didn't wash it off thoroughly enough.

How many times have you noticed that weird, sometimes metallic, often fragrance-y makeup taste in your mouth? If you use skin care products every day, I'll bet you notice it fairly often. And that's the problem, in a nutshell.

It Only Takes a Little Tiny Bit

When it comes to gluten cross-contamination in our food, it only can take a crumb (or for those who are particularly sensitive to trace gluten, even less) to induce nasty glutening symptoms.

Many makeup and skin care products contain gluten ingredients (often in the form of hydrolyzed wheat protein, which is processed but not enough to remove all the gluten). So it only would take a taste of one of these products to potentially gluten you. Why take the risk? 

What If I Want to Take the Risk?

Okay, so you love your products and you don't want to switch. I get it, I really do. Here's what you'll need to do in order to stay safe while using gluten-containing makeup:

  1. Avoid gluten-containing lip products like the plague (you obviously ingest some of these each time you use them, and so they're banned when you have celiac or gluten sensitivity).
  2. Never use a gluten-containing product anywhere near your mouth.
  3. Skip powders that contain gluten, since they could become airborne (inhaled gluten is a problem).
  4. Wash your hands thoroughly, including under your nails (especially if you bite your nails), every time you touch the gluten-containing product.
  5. Make sure you don't rub your face and then touch your lips (or worse, eat a gluten-free brownie or something) without washing your hands again first.

If you follow these rules, you should be able to eliminate as much risk as possible... and potentially pinpoint any symptoms you might have more quickly.

A Word From Verywell

No, you don't technically need gluten-free makeup (with the exception of anything that goes on your lips). As long as you're incredibly careful to never allow any of your gluten-containing makeup products to get near your lips, you'll most likely be fine.

However, if you'd prefer to avoid gluten in makeup, the good news is that there are many brands with completely gluten-free or almost gluten-free lines. And if you use gluten-containing makeup products but find you continue to have symptoms, consider switching to gluten-free—you might find it helps.

Source:

Gluten Intolerance Group. Lifestyle: Beauty and Supplements Fact Sheet.

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