When I as first diagnosed, I never believed that I would be *that* sensitive, whatever that meant. A friend warned me stuff like ibuprofen could have gluten and make me sick. I scoffed, believing I could handle little bits of gluten. Six months later, I came to realise that I couldn’t handle ibuprofen (I now use Aleve or Advil liquid caps, which are gluten-free and easier on your tummy than the generic tablets).
I’d always noticed that my favorite conditioner, Aveda Camomille, made my scalp burn. BURN. As in, I dared not touch it to my head but would use it on the ends of my hair. About the same time I noticed I was reacting to small exposure of gluten in ibuprofen, I realized other gluten-containing body products were irritating my skin. Oatmeal soap. Shampoo and Conditioner with wheat or wheat protein. Aveno face wash (actually that always bothered my skin and I didn’t use it). So, over the years, I gave up a lot of natural products– even though I believed in less chemicals, more plant products– because so many had wheat or oats in them. Remember, oats are naturally gluten-free but always contaminated unless certified gluten-free. My fine hair hated natural products without wheat, it would get so dry and tangled.
Our family stylist slyly whispered to me one day that if I were going to use cheap shampoos without gluten that Pantene would be the best for my hair. Since then, I’ve found that I love the Pantene highlighting conditioner a few times a weeks and the super moisturizing conditioner for fine hair. Problem solved.
I think this is an important point to clarify for friends, family, hair stylists, massage therapists or anyone who might give you or apply skin care products to you– just because we’re not eating shampoo [conditioner, lotion, make-up, etc] doesn’t mean that you may not be sensitive to it. If you have a skin sensitivity to products with gluten, let people know and they are usually so happy to accommodate you. I mean, who wants a burning scalp when they walk out of the hair salon?
Fast-forward a few years to this week. I’ve had some dermatitis on-and-off for the last few years… in hind sight, about as long as I have been avoiding wheat in shampoo, conditioner, body wash and soap. The friendly folks over at Dorset St. Dermatology decided it was time to test me for skin allergies. Fun times. The panel showed I’m allergic (as in, contact reaction that gives me a little dermatitis) to methylisothiazolinone. What the heck??? Yeah, well it turns out that its a preservative often found in… (you guessed it)… shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc etc etc. So now I was back to square one, as Pantene uses it! So, I did some research. Remember, check your labels for your self and re-check as ingredients can change over time!
Here’s the beauty products I tried and liked so far that are: 1) gluten-free and 2) free of methylisothiazolinone. What are your favorite products? Leave us a note in the comments section
Mango Body Builder by Alba Botanica (Hannaford’s)
Momo Shampoo by Davines (note: it does have parabens…) buy online through Davines or Amazon or your favorite stylist. I found it through Lara at Rock Paper Scissors. I will say that I like the Davines website as it is quite easy to determine which products have gluten in them (and other common plant allergens). I just wish they had more GF styling products.
Aveda Rosemary Mint (but note the conditioner has barley extract!)
Nature’s Gate makes some delicious natural shampoos (organic too!) that leave your hair smelling great. I don’t prefer their conditioners– just not sufficient for my long, thick, fine hair but great for others– give it a try.
Momo Conditioner by Davines. I’ve only used this a few days so far but I am loving it!
Aveda Scalp Benefits (both shampoo and conditioner are gluten free. They are also sulfate-free. Find them at Stephens and Burns on Church St!).
Threw out my old Dove body wash because of the methylisothiazoline, but have replaced it with Dove bar soap for now.
Face wash & lotion
Both Cetaphil and CeraVe have been recommended to me by dermatologists and both are on my personal “safe” list. CeraVe is incredibly moisturizing (look for the big pot of lotion you can use on your face and your whole body) but it does contain parabens that turn-off some folks. Cetaphil doesn’t contain parabens and doesn’t make your face quite as soft and you might buy their regular lotion for the rest of your body. Cetaphil does make a gentle skin cleanser that is easy to splash off with warm water if you’re in a hurry. Both make chemical sunscreen versions of their lotion.
Burt’s Bee’s products are great for their natural ingredients.
I have used Clinque for awhile– good quality, gluten-free… It just feels like a low-risk solution to me. Some other options are mineral make-up, such as Bare Minerals or Everyday Minerals. The dermotologist also recommended La Bella Donna, although that takes you into a whole other price category 😉 Eos makes a great lip balm that is also soy-free.
It’s little things… like realizing you didn’t read the ingredients on the hair spray can before the stylist sprays you down (shoot, what if I inhale that!?). “Paranoid as you wanna be” runs through my head. Well, at home where things are in my control, I use products I know are gluten-free “just in case.”
Mantra Om Foam: for those nights when I need a little body (does contain almond). It may have been discontinued?
Aveda Phomollient adds texture and volume at the ends of hair
If you want to learn more about how gluten may affect you through beauty products, I recommend the following articles and sites:
Does it really matter if your make-up is gluten-free (Allure Magazine)
Now that your beauty products are all healthy, get out there and enjoy your self!