Has anyone else been using the additional time during lock-down to improve their self-care routines, maybe having the odd pamper?
I certainly have, and having instigated more 'home spa' activities with no expertise whatsoever, it has got me thinking about more than just diet and exercise when it comes to living gluten free. It should also be said that this change of approach is of course, directly related to no access to professional beauticians and hairdressers, as well as the overall bloated, neanderthal look I seem to be embracing. Coupled with a little too much alcohol, and new spots the size of a small country, it's time I took matters into my own hands.
The jury is still out on the true impact of using topical health and beauty products containing gluten for those with coeliac disease. The resounding message is to avoid accidentally ingesting it- for example, this being more risky with products such as lipstick or hand cream. Despite this common message, is it not totally sensible to avoid products with gluten-containing ingredients if you have a MAJOR sensitivity to it, with skin and hair being porous systems?
I have been using cruelty free products for a long time, which has nothing to do with my chronic illness, it has everything to do with my moral stance on animal testing, but that's another story. However, the commonality I have found with choosing to go cruelty free, is they often have less man-made nasties in them, and much clearer ingredient lists; that don't require a chemistry degree to dissect them.
Many of the brands I have included in this post have proven inadvertently helpful for those with a real sensitivity to certain ingredients, and talking to other coeliacs has confirmed that many of you are buying 'organic', 'natural', or 'independent' so you can be confident that what you're putting on your body is as important as what you put in your body.
There is bathing, showering, shaving, skin care, dental care, hair care, styling, and for those of you who wear it, make-up and cosmetics; those products that remain on the skin for some time, day in, day out. Can you be certain you know exactly what is sitting pretty but could be doing internal damage? I have read articles about avoiding powders and products that are airborne; such as dry shampoo, as this could be inhaled and ingested. How far do we need to take this for our lifelong health?
All those inexplainable flare ups, where you have obsessively monitored every droplet or crumb that enters your mouth. Have you ever considered it could be something far less obvious, but is an absolute integral part of your daily routine?
I have not considered any gluten free beauty regime in great detail for the most part of my adult life. But the last two years, this has been rightly or wrongly, the focus of my habits, and I intend to continue regardless of what scientific studies tell us. We are taught to trust ourselves with our understanding of our own body and mind, and to listen to them whilst engaging in what feels intrinsically 'right'.
Here is my tried and tested list of beauty products that are a breeze when it comes to buying gluten free:
Lush is my growing obsession when it comes to bath, shower, cleansing and hair care, and all you have to do is read the label or speak to a sales assistant, and it's pretty self-explanatory as to what you're going to find. What's really reassuring, is you can speak to a member of the Lush team when you walk into a store, or shop online, discuss your requirements, and they will tailor the range of products available to you. What's more, the majority of packaging is paper, with recyclable plastics a plenty if this is not possible.
Green People do amazing shampoos and conditioners, with the certified GF symbol right on the front. They don't weigh heavy on your hair, and for someone with very fine locks, this is an important factor. I am yet to try their other products, but have high hopes after a great first trial with them.
Superdrug is my overall 'go to' health and beauty chain for cruelty free ranges, and are the obvious choice in my humble opinion, for anyone wishing to try all things 'better' on the high street. They still stock the major, man-made and animal-testing giants however, so getting to know your brands is important. Superdrug's own lines are extremely good quality, and reasonably priced, they just need to step up their plastic-free efforts. You can contact customer services if you are unsure about anything ingredient-wise.
Body Shop offer a telephone or email service to check the exact ingredients of their products and again, their ingredient lists tend to be less laborious than their global cosmetic competitors. Once again, use of plastic could reduce where possible, but you get less product build up thanks to the more natural aspects of the company's formulas.
Urban Decay and Bare Minerals offer gluten free products with no gluten derivatives, however, they can't guarantee zero cross contamination thanks to the production methods used with their makeup range. You can request individual testing of products you wish to purchase however, and it may be worth it if you find that product you just can't live without.
There are many many more products out there, but these are the whittled down favourites from months of trial and error. Get on Google and have a look yourself. As we know, things are constantly changing, and this includes established product lines.
I would love to hear from others who may have chosen to go gluten free in all aspects of their lifestyle, or from those who haven't. As I mentioned, the decisions I have made with regard to cosmetics is wholly down to personal preference, and until there is a clearer picture with regard coeliac disease and absorption of gluten through beauty regimes, I'm sticking with it.