Gluten Is Not Just In Your Food

Homemade lotion

One of the things I never thought about when doing my gluten-free trial or when I first went gluten-free was the gluten that hides in personal care products.  It wasn’t until I read Living Gluten-free for Dummies by Danna Korn and skimmed through sections of The G-free Diet by Elizabeth Hasselbeck that I gave it any thought.  It was interesting that both women have somewhat opposite views on gluten in personal care products.  I fall in the middle.

I realized that I truly do have a problem with gluten in personal care products about 6 months after going gluten-free.  I had some lotion in my bathroom cabinet that I stored until I was done using another bottle.  I stored it before the change in diet.  For 3 days I felt sick – fatigued, bowel issues.  I kept thinking to myself that I felt like I was glutened, but I knew I didn’t ingest any food with gluten in it.  So I was baffled.  I started thinking, what changed 3 days ago?  Oh, right.  The lotion.  I checked the ingredients against those listed in The G-free Diet for personal care products.  Yup.  Gluten in my lotion.  Jergen’s.

I tossed it out and went back to making it myself again.

I did a trial without the Wen Cleansing Conditioner I was using because it had hydrolyzed wheat protein in it.  As soon as I used it again, I was sick, no matter how careful I was to not let it get near my mouth.  It made me a bit more sad than all food I can never eat again.  It was the only hair cleansing and conditioning product that prevented the static I get in the Winter and kept hair from falling out as much as it normally does with other shampoos and conditioners.  This is hair loss unrelated to my hypothyroidism. I still have the unused bottle for guests to use who do not have issues with gluten.  Someone might as well enjoy it if I can’t!

I know some people seem to be so sensitive to gluten that any contact with it on the skin causes problems.   My problem is with anything that does or could potentially come into contact with my mouth.  This means any lotion, soap, facial scrubs, face masks, makeup, shampoo, and conditioner.  I could be missing something.

I make my own:

  • Lotion – I started this back in 2003, but stopped doing it for a while
  • Sugar scrub and face mask to exfoliate.
  • Soap – I start back in 2004 and haven’t stopped
  • Bubble bath
  • Facial toner/astringent
  • Hair wash and rinse – baking soda to wash and apple cider vinegar to rinse

I use:

  • Bare Minerals makeup
  • Aloe vera gel for scalp moisturizer and as a styling product (when my hair will cooperate)
  • If I have to use shampoo and conditioner, I use Aveda
  • Kiss My Face shaving lotion

My homemade list is a little longer than my store-bought list.  Most of the items take only a few minutes to make with items you already have in your pantry and can save you money.  I like using lavender water for my toner.  It is a by-product when extracting the oils for lavender essential oil.  You can make it yourself by using dried lavender in water and letting it sit for about 2 weeks, then straining out the lavender.  Or you can use witch hazel.

Lauren-Lucille Vasser, aka The Celiac Diva, has several lists of gluten-free products on her FAQ page.  Check them out and her videos.  She really is as spunky in person as she is in her videos.  A cutie patootie to boot, too!  The G-free Diet has a list of gluten containing ingredients used in personal care products as well as listings of some products that are gluten-free.

If you are eating gluten-free and still feeling sick, check your personal care products!

Sugar Scrub


Mixing up the scrub


While I’m working on developing some recipes I figured I’d share some more of my aromatherapy arsenal.

How many of you spend a bunch of money on brand name exfoliation products?  Heck, even generic products can be expensive.  Chances are, you have at least one ingredient in your pantry that you can use.  Sugar.

I like to mix mine with vegetable glycerin that I buy from Camden Grey.  I buy most of my stock for my personal care products/aromatherapy from Camden Grey.  If you decide to use them, let them know I referred you when you check out. 😀

You can use equal parts sugar and vegetable glycerin with some essential oils.  Sometimes I’ll use a 2 to 1 sugar to glycerin ratio.  Depends on how I feel.  I use about 10 drops per 2 tablespoons of sugar.  The sugar and glycerin tend to separate when you store it.  I’m sure I could find a way to emulsify the two so the sugar stays suspended, but I I like keeping it simple and I don’t mind give it a little mix with my finger when I’m ready to use it.


The finished product


I use the sugar scrub about 3 times per week after washing my face.  Just enough to cover the first third of my finger.  My face always feels refreshed and invigorated when I’m done.

For this scrub I made for the pictures, I used a lavender synergistic blend I keep premixed.  How can I have a lavender blend?  I used several different types of lavender.  Yes, like fruits and vegetables, there is more than one type of lavender.  I have several synergistic blends I keep premixed.  My lavender and Heavenly blends are my favorites to use.  Granny loved my Citrus Pick Me up blend.  Stick loves my Orange Blossom blend.  Auntie C loves my Heavenly blend.  Auntie J loves my Rose Bushes & Lavender Fields Blend.  My mother-in-law loves my Sandal Patch blend.  If you’re wondering, I am planning on using the blends to mess around with perfuming.  🙂   The key to using essential oils with your products when you are just using them for scenting is to use the ones that make you smile when you inhale.  Yes, you must inhale.  It’s good for you.  Trust me on this.

Let me explain synergistic blends real quick for those of you who just read the above paragraph and feel a little lost.  Synergistic blends are simply a mix of different pure essential oils blended before diluting them in a carrier such as oil, soap, lotion or glycerin.  Blending them before using them in a product or even in an aromatherapy diffuser gives them time to work together for a bigger punch.  This is especially helpful when you are using essential oils for the sole purpose of aromatherapy.  The best way to blend them is to add them together in an bottle (like I have pictured above), cap it, then roll it between your palms.  Essential oils have different weights so if you hold it up while doing this you can see them swirling and blending together.  If rolling it doesn’t feel enough to you, turn it upside down once when your done, then upright it.  Easy.  Simple.  Done.

Back to the scrub.  There is another exfoliation product that I love to use, but I can’t take credit for it because I got it from a YouTube video that Bunny showed me.  It’s an aspirin mask.  Simple and cheap.  Uncoated aspirin, a few drops of water, and some honey.  That is all, folks.

Happy exfoliating!