At One Time Secretive, Now a Bit Wiser – CoverGirl

At One Time Secretive, Now a Bit Wiser  –  CoverGirl post image

With flashy models like Taylor Swift, Queen Latifa, Christie Brinkley and Drew Barrymore, CoverGirl and its ads draw the consumers eye where ever their products are sold.  Taylor Swift even has a CoverGirl booth at her concerts where her fans can go and get a makeover.  Their product line is extensive, their colors are gorgeous and the price is always right.

On CoverGirl’s Facebook page, someone asked about the gluten content in their products.  A quick search uncovered several threads on some Celiac forums of some very disgruntled folks who got less than satisfactory answers to their inquiries.

Says one gal who started a thread-

I’ve been using CG cosmetics since I was 15. I recently sent an email specifically listing 3 products I use and if they were gluten-free, or if a product contained gluten, would they list “gluten” or “wheat” in the ingredient list (like they do with the mineral make-up–lists ‘oats’. Before I emailed them, I tried for 1/2 hour to get thru on a customer service line and never got thru. This is the response I recieved today and I’m VERY disappointed and will most likely end up switching brands–even though this is the only brand I don’t break out with

Thanks for contacting us.

I understand how frustrating it is to have allergies! We want to help and ask that you have your physician get in touch with us listing the ingredients you are allergic to, and the product you use that might contain them. I know this sounds unusual, but because of the competitive nature of our business, specific ingredient information isn’t generally released.

Please have your doctor send a written request on office letterhead to: P&G, P.O. Box 599, Cincinnati, Ohio 45201.

Or if you prefer, fax it to us at: 1-513-983-2881

P&G Team


That’s just one example of multiple threads from multiple forums.   One thing all these threads had in common though was the date:  This thread was from July 2008.

Since then, CoverGirl has changed their tune, to the relief of everyone involved.

Thanks for contacting CoverGirl, The Gal.

We know Celiac is a serious disease, so we want to give you clear information regarding the use of our beauty care products. If wheat and/or gluten aren’t directly added to a product by us, these ingredients won’t be listed on our packages. Like many companies, we often purchase the scents for fragranced products from outside suppliers, and the components of these substances are proprietary information belonging to those companies. Therefore it’s possible that a very small amount (generally parts per million) of gluten may be present.

We sought advice from physicians; they told us it would be very unlikely a person with Celiac disease would have a reaction from a trace amount of gluten coming into contact with his skin or hair. This is because wheat, rye, barley and/or gluten generally cause symptoms when they’re ingested. Since our beauty care products are designed to be used externally on the skin, their use shouldn’t be an issue for someone with this disease.

Since gluten sensitivity can vary among people, it would be best if you consulted with your physician about the use of all types of consumable goods, if you haven’t already. You might even consider using one of our fragrance free products that doesn’t list gluten or wheat extracts on the label.

Thanks again for getting in touch with us. I hope this response has been helpful to you. For more information about Celiac, you may want to check out and

Thanks again for contacting us!

CoverGirl Team

Looks like the outrage of Celiac consumers may have had some effect.  All I can say is that I’m glad they are upfront about it now.  Their answer is truly a helpful answer, though I’m not sure what to think about the links to the sites at the end.  Wouldn’t someone inquiring about gluten already know about them?  Makes me wonder how well they know their Celiac customer.  The same with the bit in the middle  about speaking with their physicians.  If I wasn’t concerned I may be having a reaction to gluten in their products, I wouldn’t be asking about it, would I?  And if I’m having a reaction, all the doctors in the world saying it’s impossible wouldn’t stop it, would it?

Anyway…  At least CoverGirl isn’t covering up gluten anymore.  We Celiacs thank you for that much, P&G.  🙂

P.S.  I’m still working on that article about topical gluten.  There are some people I am trying to contact to get some official advice on it.  Wish me luck and hope that I can finish it soon!  😀

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Placed into drawers: Gluten Info, Not Safe

  • Layla

    Thank you for this! I do have problems with topical gluten. I had a horrible reaction to my Redken shampoo and conditioner, as well as a styling product of theirs that had hydrolized wheat protein in them. I never thought to check! Now I check everything, even my hand soap. A one time use doesn’t seem to bother me, but after about a week, I’ll have serious rash/bumps issues. Cosmetics companies need to realize that everyone is different and not everyone only has a problem when gluten is ingested!

  • Candi

    Thank you so much for this information. Very helpful. I definitely have issues with topical gluten as well. If it’s in my shampoo I get red bumpy rashes and over time my hair actually starts to thin and fall out. I also have issues with makeup. For the longest time, I was having issues with my eyes getting blurry and puffy, and just downright uncomfortable. I went to the eye doctor and they continued to tell me everything was fine. I started to get a rash in the corner of my eyes and didn’t realize that it was caused by the Estee Lauder eyeshadow I was using. As soon as I stopped using the eyeshadow, my symptoms cleared up (after about a week or so). Thanks again for the information. I’m cvurious if any other celiacs out there have issues with topical gluten.

    • Oh, yikes! That’s awful! But I’m glad you figured it out. 😀

      Yes, lots of other celiacs have issues with topical gluten! There’s many theories on why that is, but more surprisingly, there are “experts” who still claim that a Celiac canNOT react to gluten. At least, not because they are a Celiac. I TOTALLY disagree and plan to address that in the post about Celiacs and topical gluten.

      Thanks for commenting! 😀

  • I have break outs or rashes and itching in reaction to topical gluten.  Also, if my skin is irritated or open, like getting highlights with chemicals that open up my cuticles/pores… YOWSA!   Instant burning and pain.

    • Ick!! That makes my skin hurt just to think about it! But at least you know what triggers the reaction!

  • Oh, and shampoos or conditioners with gluten make my hair fall out in handfuls! 

  • Tessa Gray

    I don’t know about topical gluten for me, but I live by the phrase, “What gets on your skin, gets in your mouth.” We all touch our faces, hair, etc, and don’t always wash our hands every single time we eat something…so even if I don’t have a purely topical reaction I stay away from any wheat-containing product.

  • Sherri Villarreal

    My wheat allergy scratch test gave me an internal reaction. My doctor says she has never had that happen in all the years she has been an allergist. Is that a topical reaction? Yesterday I put on eye shadow…my eye turned red instantly and swelled shut with itching. I’m new to this so I’m still learning. I’m frustrated as heck on this make up stuff.

    • Well Sherri, I must admit I’ve never heard of this before. But I guess it makes sense, actually. The scratch test purposefully breaks the skin barrier and puts the allergen past that skin. Gluten cannot penetrate the skin to cause an internal reaction, but through a scratch? Sounds like your body may have actually absorbed the gluten as though you had ingested it. But that is just a guess, from what you told me. What did your doctor recommend doing next?

      But your eyes turning red and itching? That’s TOTALLY an allergic reaction. From what you said about your wheat scratch test, gluten could absolutely be the problem. But there’s also the possibility of other allergens too, which we need to keep in mind. Either way, toss that eyeshadow ASAP. One way or another, that formula is not working for you. Has your doctor officially diagnosed you with wheat allergies now? If so, then you absolutely need 100% gluten free makeup. Not “gluten-less gluten grain” makeup and not “no gluten ingredients but cross contaminated” makeup. There are a lot of brands out there who claim “gluten free”, but will still contain traces of wheat (and gluten!) in them. While it can be argued that these products are fine for Celiacs (they aren’t, but ok…), there is absolutely no way this is OK if you have an allergy. Would trace amounts of peanuts be OK for someone with a peanut allergy? Nope. But rest assured, my list will be SAFE for you. I do not allow wheat on my list at all.

      I recommend you check your current makeup collection against my gluten free makeup list. If the brand in your collection is not on the list, toss it. Or if you really love it, feel free to ask me about it. Drugstore brands are almost never safe and I’ve talked to nearly all of them. So you can toss those for sure. But if it’s a natural company, or small-ish company, there’s always the chance I haven’t looked into them yet. 🙂 But don’t use it until I find out if it’s OK!
      Replace these products with products from my list, which will be safe for you. I recommend starting out small and just getting a few products to test the waters a bit.

      But the bottom line is, if you are definitely allergic to wheat, you need gluten free makeup and you need it now. There’s always the possibility you’re sensitive to something in addition to wheat, but getting rid of the wheat will be a good start.