If you’ve ever read down the list of ingredients in your lipstick, foundation or even your favorite moisturizer, you might be surprised to find certain additives — like gluten, which sometimes acts as a binder in some beauty products. And if you abide by a gluten-free diet, you may want to do the same for your makeup routine. However, finding the best gluten-free makeup products isn’t always so black and white.
Luckily, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Fatima Fahs says there’s not much evidence that skin care products containing gluten are problematic to those with celiac disease or gluten allergies because it’s unlikely that product would be so thoroughly absorbed by the skin that it would make it to the bloodstream. But makeup and “products applied on the lips and around the mouth can be accidentally ingested, like toothpaste, mouth wash, lipsticks and lip balms” — and that could raise an issue.
Still, if you’d rather play it safe, Marisa Garshick, a leading board-certified dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery and advisor of BioRepublic, says there’s any easy way to find gluten-free options when shopping for makeup or skin care: Be on the lookout for a GF symbol on the packaging, just like you would for food, she says.
“If you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance or allergies, some words to look out for include wheat, barley, malt, rye, oat, triticum vulgare, hordeum vulgare, secale cereale and avena sativa,” adds Garshick, mentioning that some products are produced with oil extracts and flours derived from those grains. Even more, it’s possible that a powder, spray or aerosol containing gluten could become airborne and cause irritation. (The same goes for anyone that rubs their face or bites their nails often.)
Ahead, see where to find the best gluten-free makeup products.
Gluten-free makeup brands
While some brands are committed to being entirely gluten-free, others have specific products that are gluten-free or certified gluten-free, which encompasses any product that’s made in a factory or on equipment with no chance of cross-contamination. Both Fahs and Garshick recommend Ilia, and other brands they both love include Derma E, BareMinerals, Tula and BioRepublic, whose products are also vegan and lactose free.
Julie Rice, a product developer and founder of Inner Beauty Cosmetics, started the brand after an autoimmune diagnosis forced her to switch up her entire routine. “As someone with both sensitive skin and an autoimmune disorder, I can relate to ingredient sensitivities first-hand,” she says. “It was important to me that our products could be used by everyone — not just by those with sensitive skin but for those with other sensitivities as well.”
This versatile multi-stick from Ilia is great for lips, eyes and cheeks — and it’s certified gluten-free.
$3 at Ulta
Available in seven colors, this nonstick lipgloss is a great budget-friendly option.
From $11.99 at Amazon
Top-rated on Amazon and beyond, this lipstick is hydrating and long-lasting.
$23 at Sephora
A sheer lip balm, this vegan hydrator relies on shea and murumuru seed butters to impart hydration.
$49 at Sephora
A great matte option for warmer months, Givenchy’s foundation comes in more than 30 shades.
$44 $4.40 at Sephora
With more than 30 hydrating shades and a top-rated formula, this gluten-free foundation is a must-try.
From $17 at Sephora
A hydrating, medium-coverage skin tint with SPF, this cult-favorite product from It Cosmetics is gluten-free too.
$32 at Alima Pure
Available in 40+ shades, this gluten-free foundation from Alima Pure has more than 4,000 5-star reviews.
$27 at Sephora
A top-rated mascara for its water resistance and ability to separate and lengthen lashes, this pick from Givenchy is gluten-free.
Formulated with 100% natural or naturally derived ingredients, this gluten-free mascara is buildable and won’t clump.
$24 at Inner Beauty
This volumizing mascara is made with argan oil for conditioning.
While Ilia’s mascara isn’t certified gluten-free because it’s produced in a factory that may contain cross-contamination, none of the ingredients in this mascara will bother anyone with gluten sensitivities.
Gluten-free makeup removers
$14 at Glossier
A gluten-free cult-favorite, this milky, hydrating oil dissolves even waterproof makeup with ease.
$29 at Amazon and Ecco Bella
Vitamin E and astaxanthin help improve skin tone and texture — all without any trace of gluten.
$15.29 at Amazon
This certified gluten-free cleanser is also fragrance-free, sulfate-free and pH balanced for sensitive skin.
$17.99 at Amazon
The Body Shop’s gentle, paraben-free, silicone-free, gluten-free formula is also 100% vegan.