The safety of mainstream makeup is a hotly debated topic.
Some companies tell you "all our products are gluten free!"
Others say some of their products are gluten free.
And some just tell you nothing at all.
Meanwhile the blogosphere debates. Do these companies know what they're doing? Is their definition of "gluten free" good enough? Can mainstream makeup really be gluten free?
Let me tell you a quick story…
Once upon a time, there was a non-gluten-free company who decided to make gluten free products. They plastered “Gluten Free!” on the packages and stocked the stores, expecting sales to come pouring in. After all, this was 2008 and the gluten free craze had truly begun.
Not long afterwards, two different mothers bought the products for their wheat-allergic children. And after consuming them, both children were rushed to the ER.
Naturally, the mothers threw a fit. But the company blew them off with the insistence that the products were safe.
Then a hero stepped in- The Chicago Tribune. Chomping at the bit for a story, they sent the products to be tested in an independent lab.
The results came back with outrageous news. The products all contained between 116 and 2,200 parts per million of gluten.
In late 2008, the Chicago Tribune discovered gluten in Wellshire Farms’ labeled gluten free chicken nuggets.
To this day, we don’t know how gluten came to be those products. Was it an accident? Was it on purpose? Or was it something they shrugged at and let go, thinking it wasn’t enough to harm anyone? Wellshire Farms isn’t talking, so we may never know.
But one way or another, our favorite poison was in clearly labeled gluten free products. And nobody knew until it was too late.
Since then, FDA gluten regulations have been passed. So now that scenario is unlikely to happen. With < 20 ppm being the standard, as long as you can handle 20 ppm, food that is labeled gluten free should be safe for you.
But that’s all food. How is this story relevant to makeup?
Because today's world of personal care is at the same place as Wellshire Farms was in 2008.
It says “Gluten Free” so just Believe It
Dozens of personal care companies are leaping on the gluten free bandwagon. It’s the latest and greatest in advertising. Slapping “gluten free” on the box is trendy, makes them look health conscious and has absolutely no regulation surrounding it. If a company wants a personal care product to be gluten free, all they have to do is say “this product is gluten free.”
See where this is going?
Just because a company says a product is “gluten free” does not mean they have any clue what gluten free actually means.
And yet if you email the company, they will likely email back and give you a list of all their gluten free products. If you search on the internet, you’ll find blogs reiterating what the companies are telling them. “XYZ is safe! Yay!!”
I wish. But that’s simply not true.
If you’re Topically Sensitive to Gluten, Large Companies are Not Safe.
At this point in time, no large company understands what it means to be gluten free.
I have spoken to every major personal care cooperation in the US. They have gone through the screening process for every company ever considered for the Gluten Free Makeup List. And every single one of them commits one or more major errors that makes their products unsafe for topically sensitive people.
They tack on “Gluten Free” because they know it sells. Not because they’ve done the research to know what it means.
They don't know what their gluten free customers need. All they know is that you want it. And if it says gluten free, it’s enough for the large number of faddish people who don’t need the real deal.
The sad part is, this is unlikely to change any time soon. Because the gluten sensitive population is not their target market, it doesn’t really matter what our needs are. If every single person who needs gluten free makeup boycotted their products, they wouldn’t even notice a blip in sales. We’re just too tiny for them to care about.
We need a Company to Fight for our Safety
In order to beat the villain Gluten, a company has to be dedicated. They have to be willing to put the effort into learning where gluten hides and how to get rid of it. This isn’t a battle you can just take a swing at and hope you hit the right place. We’re talking about our health here. This is a battle which a company has to be prepared to fight.
Mainstream companies do not have that dedication.
Do you really want to trust your safety to a company that doesn’t know how to keep you safe?
In the End, Your Safety is Your Choice
Everyone's level of sensitivity is different. If you are not terribly sensitive, perhaps traces of gluten in your makeup is OK for you.
I’ve chosen to only allow companies on the list who are dedicated to being gluten free. These are the companies who can be used by anyone who’s sensitive to wheat or gluten. No matter how sensitive they are. It’s strict and exclusive, yes. But it keeps everyone safe.
Whether or not you choose to use mainstream personal care products is entirely up to you. Your level of sensitivity is your own. What you’re comfortable with is something nobody should argue against.
You define what is safe for you. Because at the end of the day, you know what you need far better than I do.