Dear Gluten Free Makeup Gal – Is Physician’s Formula gluten free?

physicians_formula_gluten_free


I noticed that Physicians Formula says that they are gluten free. At the bottom of the page they mention it more than once. Would you feel it's safe enough to use as a Celiac?

Sharp Eyed Seeker

Hey Seeker,

I have been trying to get an in-depth reply from Physicians Formula about this for years. Despite multiple emails spread out over time, I have yet to get a satisfactory answer. But that page you linked me to is really helpful! Thank you for that!

Since I do not have a direct reply from them about anything, I can only go by what they publicly state on that page. So...

From those answers, plus the answers on the "Ask Joanna" page, I would not consider Physicians Formula gluten free, or safe.

The reason for this is two-fold:

  1. They talk about "most of our products in [X] line are gluten free!"
  2. Their continual avoidance of the question "is your tocopheryl gluten grain derived?"

    In my experience, these two vague answers together means at the very least they are using gluten derived tocopheryl and using the <20 ppm gluten argument to call it "gluten free". If the FDA regulated makeup as well as food (which they don't), then this definition of gluten free would be fine by their standards. But there is no regulation for gluten in makeup. Nobody holding these companies accountable. So if a gluten derived ingredient is used in a product, you simply have to trust the company to be using a truly <20 ppm version of it. You have to trust that no slip-ups have been made and that the natural gluten is actually mostly gone, like they say.

    That said, I do not agree with the <20 ppm level anyway. I've spoken to far too many Celiacs who have issues with any gluten, internal and external, for me to feel comfortable saying "Oh sure, you should be OK with it".

    <20 ppm works for some people, but it doesn't work for others. I've seen it both ways time and time again.

    At the end of the day, I believe if you don't have to risk getting sick, don't risk it.

    Tweet: If you don't have to risk getting sick, don't risk it! - via @GFMakeupGal - http://gfmg.us/physiciansformulaglutenfree

    If there's a chance you'll get sick, it doesn't make sense to take that chance if you don't have to.

    So no, I do not consider Physician's Formula gluten free, or safe for Celiacs. In fact I highly recommend you stay away from them, even more so because thus far they refuse to straight up answer certain questions.

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    Placed into drawers: Dear Gluten Free Makeup Gal, Featured, Gluten Info, Not Safe

    • Luna Hayelasdi

      i reacted to physicians formula makeup, specially to two products that they told me were gluten-free and soy-free : so they’re definitely full of it. don’t trust that company. don’t put it on your skin.

      • Oh no! I was afraid of that… Thanks for sharing your experience. I really did hope that they’d be safe to use.

    • Christina Kanosky

      I used to use physicians formula all the time and couldnt figure out why i had a rash and then when I went gluten free because of Celiac I figured it was because of the makeup, I had a rash all over my chin

      • That certainly could have been it! It’s only been in the last year or so since Physicians Formula started to claim gluten free. Before that, it wasn’t even on their radar.

    • Krysten Hager

      You’d think if you use the word gluten-free it would mean, “free of gluten,” wouldn’t you? Sheesh! Maybe one day there will be a gluten-free drugstore makeup that’s completely safe. Thanks for the heads up. I was wondering about this company, too.

      • You would think! I too hope for the day when a drugstore makeup will be truly safe. Who knows- maybe it’ll happen soon? Fingers crossed!

    • Laura

      If you go to the website for their Mineral Wear line it’s gluten free. They even have the little symbol on the page. https://www.physiciansformula.com/en-us/product-line/mineral-wear.html
      It has all the products in this line listed with photos of them.

      • Oh that’s good to know! Thank you Laura!

        I would still like to know what their definition of “gluten free” is. They use tocopherol in some of the products on that page, which can be derived from wheat. Since it can be considered a “gluten removed” product, many companies still be call it “gluten free”. However a surprising number of people do still react to it, even if the gluten has been “removed”.

        Thanks for the link, Laura! I had not seen that before. 🙂

    • Jenny

      I also have suddenly been reacting to Physician’s Formula makeup line. (Currently awaiting test results, but it is suspected I have Celiacs, with DH.) Makeup reaction coincided with a stress event and sudden obvious gluten sensitivities. I don’t wear makeup often, so I thought I had a handle on it going gluten free, but anytime I put it on, Bam. I never thought of gluten in makeup until today. Thanks for the info.

      • You’re more than welcome! There are other people with stories similar to yours who also concluded that they were extremely sensitive to topical gluten. So it sounds like you may be right that the gluten in Physician’s Formula is what’s bothering you.

        Though Celiac is a life-changing diagnosis, if that’s what you have, I’m relieved to hear that you and your doctor are on top of getting it solved. Sorry that you have to deal with it, but excited that you’ll be able to control it and live a healthy life.

        Please feel free to ask any questions you might have! And thanks for sharing your story!

    • Bethany

      I work as a cosmetician at a store that sells Physicians Formula and I thought Id give it a try since buying online is always expensive, and I recently moved & I need to save where I can. I reacted horribly. I broke out with welts all along my cheekbones & I was so insanely itchy. I would not trust Physicians Formula at all for being gluten free.

      • Oh my gosh! That’s HORRIBLE! I’m so sorry you had to deal with that… But thank you for sharing your experience with us!

    • WinterSong

      Hello, do you have an update on Physicians Forumla as this post is two years old? I believe that all of their products are gluten free now. I called them and they said that their suppliers have confirmed that the ingredients are gluten free and there is no chance for cross contamination. Thanks so much.