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A blog about all things allergen-free and delicious

Entries in cosmetics (2)


Gorgeous, Gluten-free (and Less Toxic) From Head-to-Toe

Think Differently About Your Skin

Ah, the pretty little bottles on your bathroom shelves. I used to arrange mine to display perfectly: logos front, colors coordinated, and carefully chosen for aesthetic appeal. One day, I turned them around.  Their ingredients read like a James Joyce novel. Daunting and unrepentant with long words that I had to look up. Even some of my favorite “natural” product ingredients translated into scary chemicals.

What I truly didn’t expect to find was that my toothpaste, lotions, shampoos, make up, and nail polish contained gluten. No wonder I was feeling like crap. Another piece of the puzzle of healing fell into place. My own body was in a constant, mid-grade allergic reaction because of what I put on my skin.

You might say, “I don’t eat lotion, what’s the big deal?” Think about it this way. You wash your hands and immediately put on lotion. A few minutes later you prep a chicken, cut vegetables, and kneed the dough for some fabulous gluten-free muffins. You wash your hands again and use lotion. You eat the roast chicken and lick your fingers. If your lotion or lipstick contains gluten, and it probably does, it just became an ingredient to your meal.

Researchers believe that gluten particles are too large to enter through the skin, but they can get into our blood stream through our eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Plus, many people are skin-sensitive to gluten. Look for hidden gluten in ingredients like Tocopherol or Vitamin E, since both are often derived from wheat or barley (aka, “gluten”).

Read about the study here.


515 Toxins on your Skin, Every Day?

Article also seen in May 2013 Women's Lifestyle Magazine
If your favorite labels make your eyes cross, consider something else. Your skin is your largest organ and it is very absorbent. That’s why the smoker’s or hormone patches work. Current laws for beauty products still have some gaping loopholes, which allow for a mind-boggling number of cancer-linked chemicals and hormone disrupters that CAN be absorbed into your system through your skin. For instance, “fragrance” is considered a trade secret, so companies don’t have to disclose their fragrance ingredients, even if they contain potential allergens or harmful chemicals, as long as they meet the standards of the word, “fragrance” and as long as their levels are “safe.” More research has shown, however, that we women use as many as 515 chemicals on our skin through different products. Is this safe? You tell me. Gluten is only harmful to those who are sensitive to it, but some of these chemicals are harmful to everyone.

Read about this research here.

Pick up a copy of one of my favorite books, “No More Dirty Looks” by Alexandra Spunt and Siobhan O’Connor for an eye-opening look at what’s in your cabinet. These chicks have been a change-inducing voice in the beauty industry and also keep us up-to-date on their blog


If you think you won't find any products that will work for you, I'll start you out with a few of my favorites. Most of the packaging isn't fancy, but each is gluten-free, and made with real stuff, not chemicals.


Desert Essence Organics – Fragrance Free

If you don’t want to smell like a coconut or a mango, choose fragrance free. The shampoo and conditioner leave hair feeling healthy and shiny. After washing, I add a few drops of an essential oil (like bergamot), which helps detangle and leaves me smelling like I want to smell.


Desert Essence Organics – Natural Tea Tree Oil and Neem Toothpaste

Believe it or not, many types of toothpaste contain hidden gluten and I was not looking forward to the switch. But I was shocked at how much I liked Dessert Essence toothpaste. My teeth feel cleaner than with most commercial brands, so I’m super pleased.


Keys Island Rx Foaming Facial Wash

Keys Tortuga or Luminos Facial Lotion (Night)

Keys Solar Rx Facial Lotion (Day)

I love, love, love Keys products. They are gluten-free, chemical and preservative free, and vegan. My skin feels nourished. The labels are clearly marked and ingredients are in every day language so you can see if these products work with your allergies. Solar Rx was developed to work underneath your cosmetics to protect skin (not for the beach or water).  Wendy Steele , Keys CEO and Founder, is a melanoma survivor, and developed this for people with sensitive skin.



Mineral Fusion

Check out last year’s Tender Foodie article on Mineral Fusion Gluten-Free Make up. Still lovin’ it this year!


Keeki Pure and Simple

I met owner (and Michigan girl) Natalie Bausch at a gluten-free fair, and was intrigued that one of her inspirations for creating a gluten-free, non-toxic nail polish was that young girls tend to bite their nails. The company might be named after her teenage daughter, but the fabulous nail polish colors range from fun to sophisticated. They also lack that toxic paint smell, which is SO awesome. The polish might not last quite as long as the formaldahyte laden competitors, but it is also easier to remove, so you can be more creative and change up your colors more often.  I also appreciate the care Natalie has put into the design of her packaging.  I love a product that looks good on the shelf!


What are your favorite non-toxic and / or gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free beauty products?  Talk to me.




About the Author

Writer, owner of Blue Pearl Strategies, and lover of all culinary delights, Elisabeth is a Tender Foodie. She started The Tender Palate, a website (and this Tender Foodie blog) for people with food allergies, sensitivities and intolerance, where she consults with experts from every area of the Tender Foodie life. She believes that everyone should live deliciously and have a healthy seat at the table.


Stephen Colbert, from Cows to Cosmetics, You've Led Me Down a Sticky Path



As I research the new gluten-free labeling initiative, and answer some interesting questions about it, I am reminded of other sticky issues bubbling for attention in the background.  When I watched this video from Stephen Colbert's Oct., 6 2010 show which was posted on this morning, I decided to give these bubbles a little attention.  The foodista post was simply intended to show that the raw milk controversy has gone mainstream.  That's it.  But this is an interesting subject to me, since certain groups are proclaiming that raw milk will help cure dairy allergies.  As a person who suffers from the same, I am intrigued, but not about to run out and guzzle a giant glass of moo cow.  Or even a tiny one.  Thus, mine will be the cautious path and I'll do some heavy investigation before even commenting on it.  (However, if you are one of those folks who have had your dairy allergies actually cured from raw milk, I soooo want to hear from you.  Moo.)

The video clip itself, however, innocently drew me into other sticky issues.  This clip is really more about civil liberties than it is about the benefits or risks of drinking raw milk.  Which is interesting, but in today's times, civil liberties usually ends up in an "us" versus "them" discussion, which is ...  well you tell me.

Pasteurization without representation.  _Ron Paul

Individuals are stupid.  _David Acheson, former Assistant Commissioner for the FDA on Food Safety

But my attention stuck on something else that Stephen mentioned in the clip:  New York's stand on the health risks of dangerous chemicals in common household products.  To be fair, in his own words:

“… New York State will start enforcing a 40-year-old law that requires manufacturers of household cleansers to reveal the chemical ingredients in their products and any health risks they pose.  Way to spoil the surprise Bloomberg!”

But wait, the sticky issues don't stop there.  Have you read your cosmetics labels lately?  Pick up a copy of "No More Dirty Looks" to see why this is important.  Or simply read this quick article by the authors of that fine book.  In short, certain terms like "fragrance" are covered by trade secret laws, which means that, as long as there is an ingredient list outside of the word "fragrance", any company can put any chemical into any "fragrance", be it listed on a perfume, household product, or cosmetic.  To give you a different perspective, Europe has banned over 1,000 chemicals that are listed for use in cosmetics, while the U.S. has only banned nine.  Why would companies put carcinogenic or harmful, sometimes deadly chemicals into our household cleaners, let alone our skin care products?    Laziness?  Naughtiness?  Hatefulness?  Ignorance?  Mis-guided Creativity?  Greed?  Your guess is as good as mine. 
Regardless of the answer, it's worth becoming a little more educated about the products we are using.  Our skin is our largest organ and it absorbs what we put on it quickly (think:  hormone creams, "The Patch", etc.). Research, like this study done by the University of Michigan School of Public Health, reveals that chemicals in anti-biotic soaps are damaging the immune and hormonal systems in both children and adults.  What's more, they "increase the risk of hay fever and other allergies."  Weren't anti-biotic soaps supposed to be good things?  After all, I remember seeing the commercials and rushing out to buy them. 
In the end, we are what we eat, slather on, and breathe.   It stinks that some manufacturers don't just "do the right thing" or think about the outcome of their ingredient choices on their own customers.  But many don't.  The good news is, we can make choices that influence the market and support those good guys who have a more wholistic, knowledgeable and caring vision.  Need some inspiration?  Just start reading labels.  And spread the word about the good things you find.