When we think of going gluten-free, we think of what we will no longer be able to eat, but some of us do not realize that it is also a good idea to eliminate some of our personal care products.
We don’t realize that we have to think about anything we may ingest, such as chapstick, lipstick, facial wash, hand soap, lotion, sunscreen, shampoo and conditioner. The last two may seem like strange items to have to worry about, but think about it next time you are in the shower, and how easy it would be for it to splash into our mouths or drip down our face onto our lips. Or what about when you use hand soap or lotion and then go to get yourself a snack. What is on your hands is going to end up in your mouth and being ingested. Sometimes it is tricky to tell if a personal care product contains gluten, because of the long, unfamiliar names listed in the ingredients. Sometimes it will be in the fragrance or natural flavors as with food. Sometimes it can be in the form of oats, which is sometimes listed as ‘avena sativa’.
It is easy to let all of this make our heads spin, and can seem so overwhelming at first. Not to mention all of the inaccurate information that swirls around the internet, discussed by fellow writer Tiffany Jakubowski here. Since being gluten-free, my most trusted tool is my iPhone (see apps here). I can be in the grocery store aisle and look up product information or call the manufacturer directly. There is lot of misleading information out there that can lead you astray if you do not do the research. I had a personal experience with this the other day when I was really missing my favorite pre-gluten-free shampoo, Infusium 23. Earlier this year, I had read on a message board that it contained gluten, so immediately, I replaced it. Then I realized…I don’t see any obvious gluten items in the ingredients and I never actually called them, I just took the word of some stranger on a message board. I called them myself and learned that my favorite shampoo and conditioner are actually gluten-free!! I went straight to the store to buy some and washed my hair immediately. My hair missed it so much!
I was also ecstatic to learn that my favorite hand soap and cleaning products, made by Mrs Meyer’s Clean Day, clearly lists on their web site that all of their products are gluten-free and peanut-free.
A simple call to the manufacturer can clear up misleading information, and give you piece of mind when wondering whether to throw away that $15 Mac lipstick. Which by the way, many of the Mac lipsticks are gluten-free, but not all, so it is important to call to confirm which ones are safe. Last week, I called Garnier to ask about their Skin Renew daily anti-fatigue eye cream, and they didn’t have that item on their gluten-free list, but they said they would call me back after researching it further since they did not see any gluten ingredients. Sure enough, a few days later, I received a call assuring me it was gluten-free. Typically, Garnier is able to quickly answer a gluten-free question, but it is nice to know they will do the research to find the definite answer.
It may be a good idea to set aside an afternoon and go around your home and list all of your products and phone numbers and start calling.
The bottom line – when you are unsure of a personal care product, with their unpronounceable ingredient list, call or check their web site, or other reputable sources.