Friday, 12 November 2010

The hunt for gluten-free makeup

Anyone following this blog will know I have been making a cupcake tower for my step-daughter's wedding. Today I will ice the cakes and take them to the venue, which is a pretty scary prospect. Tomorrow I will assemble the tower and cutting cake and hope it looks gorgeous and tastes good. I'll continue to post pictures of both activities. However, in order not to be outdone by the cakes I have been putting some effort into looking gorgeous or at least adequate myself.

Before I gave up gluten I had really large deep shadows under my eyes. I used to wear eyeshadow regularly as I liked to try to have the eyeshadow above my eyes a darker shade than the eyebags below my eyes, so I had a collection of navy and plum eyeshadow. I had tried to get some sort of makeup that would cover the bags a bit, but really loathed wearing foundation, and seem to missed out on the notion of concealer. However, since giving up the gluten I don't have the bags and rarely wear makeup at all.

I have passed on the kind offer of having my makeup done with the bride and Matron of Honour and the Bride's mother - they are all blond and used to wearing makeup and don't have to worry what is in the stuff.

I had some makeup put on a couple of weeks ago - ground-up rocks or something which looked fine and didn't feel like I was wearing anything and didn't fall off immediately. The assistant carefully read all the labels for me and we avoided gluten, though I was a bit bothered by her using brushes that had been used on other people. The next morning I woke up with a red patch in the middle of my face about the size of my hand. The stuff had Zinc Oxide in it, and I react very badly to the tape physiotherapists use so reckon that must have been the problem. I went back to tell the assistant so she would know why I hadn't come to buy any makeup after she had been so helpful, and took her some carrot muffins as her mother has coeliac disease. Interestingly it hadn't occurred to her that the gluten in toiletries and cosmetics could be an issue.

I tried a foundation from Clarins, where all the items have full ingredients listed on their boxes, so that as long as you have patience and glasses you can be sure of getting a safe product. Unfortunately the colour that matched was called 'wheat' which, quite irrationally, gave me the heebie-jeebies. I took a small sample away to see what I thought of it. Going back to get some a couple of weeks later I couldn't really remember which brand I had tried and the store had been reorganised and the Clarins assistant was away so I ended up talking to the Clinique person. Astonishingly the assistant had not considered gluten as a product that customers might wish to avoid - I say astonishingly as all their advertising talks about hypo-allergenic etc.
I had her put a tiny bit of stuff on my face then wandered off to see if I reacted. She had been pleasant enough but hadn't filled me with confidence, so I went into another store where there was another Clarins stand.

This person offered to 'do' my face for the wedding and did I want to book an appointment. It hadn't occurred to me that such a thing was possible. I declined as the only way that would work is if I got 'the face' today and kept it on undisturbed for forty hours. She tried out several versions of eyeshadow, and rather surprisingly all the deeper colours I would have worn pre-gluten free looked awful and as if I had been socked in the eye. She also gave me permission (I know, it's sad) not to wear foundation and introduced me to a nifty little tube of concealer that gets rid of the blotches - I am half a century old this month after all and could do with a little help.

So, it is possible to shop safely. In the past I have bought stuff from Boots, where they do have ingredients but in a file you have to get from a concealed drawer. I tried once to shop at Body Shop, fighting my way past the aroma at the door, and they have a ring binder the staff can fetch for you to read full ingredients. One store I asked for information in said they would ask the manufacturers if there was gluten in their products and I am still waiting to hear - about two years later. I have looked on websites, I have written to manufacturers, but often get no reply. The most helpful response to a query on a website was to ask me which particular product I was interested in and they would let me know.

Just one more area where being gluten-free is extra effort, but at least I found that it is possible to acquire a full set of reasonable makeup with the certainty that at least the gluten issue has been dealt with. Of course they may be other things, like the zinc oxide, that I don't even know are a problem yet. I'll either look very nearly immaculate or as if I have been dragged through a hedge backwards ........

1 comment:

  1. Okay I am officially DUH! I wore Lancome last week twice and wondered why it was bothering me. I had thought about the makeup/gluten relationship before but on the day I had to wear makeup, I must have left my brain outside of the bathroom.

    The second time I wore the makeup, I came directly home and showered it -- and the hairspray and perfume (I rarely wear anymore) off.

    Agreed about the undereye bags -- mine are also on their way out.


I reserve the right to edit or not publish comments