Let me go on record as saying that I bear no malice towards adult pleasure Service Providers, nor am I against your constitutional right to eat your breakfast on the street. So let me explain…I promise my post title will make sense by the end!
It’s not enough that we Celiacs have to read every single freakin’ word on every single freakin’ thing that we want to eat. Oh, nooooooo….there’s more: we have to read the ingredients on most of our cosmetic items too.
Now, unless you have a topical contact gluten allergy or DH (Dermatitis Herpetiformis) on top of your Celiac or ingested gluten sensitivity, you probably won’t be too worried about gluten in your mascara or eyeshadow, as it’s unlikely that they will be ending up in your mouth. But you should be aware of what you’re putting on your body and facial skin, your lips, and your cuticles, because chances are good that you will at some point be putting your hands in your mouth, licking your lips, etc.
Sometimes, the cosmetic and personal care product manufactures will do us a solid and write the ingredients in plain English so that we can pick out the offending gluten ingredients and avoid that product like the plague. We know that we should NOT be risking using products with wheat germ oil, malted anything, barley, rye seed oil/flour, or oat protein anywhere that could come in contact with our mouths.
But sometimes they get all cute on us and list their products in the botanical Latin plant terms. Because that just makes avoiding gluten extra-fun. We don’t have enough challenges, right?
I was doing yet another four-hour drive recently, and was about to dig into a bag of quinoa snacks. I’d remembered that my hands were feeling dry earlier, and that I had pulled out and used a new, free sample of handcream that the girl at the cosmetics counter had recently given me. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I should check and see what I’d just coated my hands with. I snapped a photo to blow up so that I could actually read the tiny letters. Here is the label:
Blah, blah, chemicals. Blah, blah, botanicals with English in brackets. Notice anything? I almost didn’t. Towards the very end, there was something that I didn’t recognize: Hordeum vulgare cera/spent grain wax. What the hell could that be? I Googled it: it’s barley extract wax. Maybe it’s not gluten because it’s “spent” wax. Nope. It’s gluten.
Yes. Gluten. Gluten for which the manufacturer didn’t bother to list an English translation.
Having nothing in the car to rid my hands and steering wheel of gluten, I did a wipe down with the remainder of the cup of yesterday’s black coffee from the trash bag of my car on a napkin. Which basically fell into the “better than nothing” category of sanitizing.
While the following list is by no means exhaustive, (for more complete information, go to Celiac.com or Celiac.ca), here is the short list of the most commonly-seen cosmetic botanical ingredients with gluten:
Wheat = Triticum Vulgare
Barley = Horedum Vulgare, Horedum Distichin
Rye = Secale Cereale
Oat = Avena Sativa
So very simply put, consider your “Vulgares”, “Horedums”, “Cereales”, and “Avenas” as all bad. More things to memorize and look out for! By just looking for the first few letters of those gluten ingredients (and by making myself a wonderfully wholesome sentence with which to memorize it), I can now quickly pick them out any potential gluten from even the longest cosmetic ingredient list:
VULGARe HOREdum CEREALes AVEnas
So watch out for those Vulgar Hores eating Cereal on the Avenue…and stay far away from them!