Product REVIEW: Red Apple Lipstick and Eyeshadow and FLASH GIVEAWAY!

Gluten in Makeup- it’s a hot topic these days. I’ve seen a few articles in magazines and online. Some people insisting gluten is important to remove, while gastrointerolgoists still state that they haven’t seen enough evidence to recommend that makeup could affect the gluten intolerant and specifically the celiac population. Of course they are basing that statement on the fact that they don’t see more damage in the small intestine. Nonetheless, celiac disease is an AUTOIMMUNE disease that attacks the small intestine…..and as we see that with diseases like Graves, the autoimmune factor can still play a roll even if there is no thyroid to attack, it makes sense that keeping your immune system happy and not exposing it to gluten is crucial, especially since makeup or lotion covers lymph nodes and is near mucus membranes, which are parts of the immune system. (The skin itself is actually part of the immune system as well!) In addition, there has been plenty of anecdotal evidence and enough “common sense” information that women ingest their lipstick (think lip lickers, eating, etc.) that I still believe it’s crucial to have gluten-free makeup and cosmetics. Two year ago, I wrote an article on this blog, Are Your Lipstick, Conditioner, or Lotion making you sick? and I still stand by that.

In fact, just today, Elana Amsterdam posted an article about gluten in lipstick. She mentions a few lines I’ve tried. Mineral Fusion has some lovely, earthy colors, but is drying. Zuzu Luxe has an add on gluten-free sticker for their display in the store, but when you look on their site, they have a gluten-free symbol for all the cosmetics, but seem to only claim the lipstick as “gluten free.” So at this point, I personally don’t trust the purity and I’ve had problems with that line. There are several other lines that claim gluten-free but use ingredients such as Oats. I saw one line try to claim gluten-free with “barley” clearly listed in the ingredients. The bottom line is that the cosmetic industry is even less educated about gluten than the food industry. I picked up a “Cosmetic Dictionary” once only to see it define “gluten: a protein found in wheat flour.” Yikes! So, you (the celiac or gluten intolerant consumer) have to know exactly what you are buying when you buy a Gluten-free claimed cosmetic or body care because cosmetic claims are even more unregulated than food claims. And that’s a challenge because of the chemical names and herbal names (Latin??) That most of us don’t understand. Thus,
Companies that put on their websites and on the product, “TESTED free of Gluten” are by far my first choice.

Another point to realize is that most people are starting to worry about the lipstick because most people lick their lips and ingest the lipstick specifically. However, I’m a firm believer that if your body doesn’t like gluten, you’re not doing your largest organ (your skin) any favor by smothering gluten all over it. Besides, how many times do you run your hands through your hair typing or looking at something only to put your fingers to those lips? How many of us kiss a loved one on the cheek or the tops of our sweet children’s hair? I get sick with gluten in my body care. End of story. My son breaks out in bloody, oozy scales even with a small amount of oat in any body care. I hope the doctors will catch up with their understanding how much the exterior of our bodies matter, but in the meantime, there are some great products paving the way despite the lack of research.

Good gluten-free lipstick is difficult to find, partly because it’s difficult to know which ones to trust. It turns out, one company gets it. Red Apple Lipstick. They not only realize what Gluten is, but they take huge precautions to ensure their cosmetics are gluten-free. Red Apple Lipstick guarantees a 100% gluten-free, paraben free, vegan and a toxin free lip and eyeshadow line. In fact, while some companies “claim” gluten free, Red Apple certifies and lab tests their gluten-free cosmetics. Their FAQ page states: (safe for celiac) 100%. You should never have to worry about any Red Apple cosmetics. They are all lab tested to include spot testing, batch testing and rigorous procedures to keep cross contamination out.”

The product line is also soy free. Apparently they do have some regular lip pencils that contain soy, but the rest of the line is soy free. I’m beginning to look for Soy Free makeup, lotion, and hair care not only because of the GMO usage of soy, but because soy is a phytoestrogen which can disrupt hormone balance. As I said earlier, makeup coats or is near your lymph nodes and mucus membranes, so it makes sense to me to keep toxic ingredients, such as parabens and soy away from these important parts of your immune system. Soy is also one of the big 8 allergens and is in so many products, that I prefer to avoid it as much as possible in order to keep my exposure down.

Back in August, Red Apple debuted eye shadows. I’ve been using loose mineral eye shadows for a few years, that while pretty tend to put dust in my eyes and cause irritation. I actually had to stop wearing contacts if I wanted to wear eyeshadow. So, I was excited to see a pressed eye shadow finally available. I purchased one of the Smokey Magic Foreshadow pallettes, a Ruby Slippers lipstick, Firestorm lipgloss, and the sale included a Ralleybalm and wet-dry eye shadow brush for free.

I had no idea what to expect with this makeup. The colors were some of the prettiest I’ve seen in a gluten-free line. When I opened the Ruby Slippers, I was amazed. This lipstick glides on silky and smells luscious. My lips stay silky for several hours, and keep a lovely color. It’s a beautiful, red-tinged color with a shimmer that brightens up my entire face. When I tried the firestorm lipgloss, I felt sassy. It has a pop that you rarely get in a lipgloss. Left to right- Firestorm lipgloss, Firestorm Lipgloss and Ruby Slippers, Ruby Slippers 2 swipes, Ruby Slippers several swipes. (Please click on the link in the previous paragraph above to see what a beautiful color it is!) It’s a fun color which is more solid than most lipglosses, but has a huge gloss and shimmer factor. It has plenty of color to be worn alone. Here are the colors on my arm so you can see the comparisons. However, the RAL picture on the site provides a much prettier picture.

One of the things I love about the RAL eyeshadows is that they are fantastic quality, seem to be lasting, and when you purchase a foreshadow it comes with application instructions.

I’ve always prefered pressed shadow over loose, so it’s nice to get a mineral pressed shadow. These colors can be as subtle or bright as you want. They mix well with water to create a quick dramatic look, or use without to create a much more subtle look. I’ve found that even if I wish to apply the gray and blue dry, I prefer to use water to apply the buttercream.  I’ve had this Buttercream for ButterCreamalmost 2 months now, and it looks barely touched even though I use it every day. I also think using water allows for a more precise application.



Here are some swatch samples from the foreshadow- Smokey Magic. The first picture is shadows swiped several times without water.


In this second picture, shadows are swiped once or twice with a wet brush. You’ll notice a line of black as well. I took an angled brush and used the black with water to create a quick eyeliner. I love multipurpose makeup!

RAL’s Ralleye Balm is also lovely. I have the tub because that’s what came with my order, but I’ll probably eventually grab a stick for more control. Regardless if you prefer a tub or stick, it’s a great product to have on hand. I’m waiting for the new fall colors to come out to send in my drying lipsticks for RALs LipStick Exchange, but the Ralleye balm actually helped me to use the other products with much more comfort.

One of the things that must be a priority when switching from gluten containing makeup to gluten-free is to change out your brushes….all of them. Unfortunately, that does add up quite a bit. The problem is, you don’t want to contaminate your pure, tested gluten-free makeup with gluten all over again. Ulta has some brushes on sale at the moment if you need to make that leap. I use EcoTools for most of my makeup brushes, which aren’t on sale from what I can tell. I think Walgreens also sells the EcoTools. They are reasonably priced and last well. However, RAL carries a fantastic wet-dry eyeshadow brush. If it doesn’t end up in their sale tomorrow as a free gift, make sure to add one to your basket. It’s multipurpose and allows me to use quite a few techniques with this one brush depending if I add water or not. It’s one of my favorite brushes and I can use it in many ways.

It’s crucial to let go of those favorites and embrace all new, pure, clean product. Don’t mix your old brushes that contain gluten with your lovely new makep. And don’t mix gluten makeup with gluten-free. You contaminate your gluten-free makeup when you use the brush over your face that has the gluten makeup on it. (In other words, new foundation, new blush, new brushes too.)

One more important hint I want include: speaking of contamination, with the wet-dry, I personally do not use tap water. Our water is horrible in my city; I frequently find lots of floaties in my cups as well as mold and white rings in left out glass from watering the plants. I do not want to use regular tap water because I’m concerned my products will become contaminated with ickys and mold from our water. So, to keep my shadows safer, I use a 16 oz bottled water. I keep the water on my counter and then use the cap. It seems to provide the perfect amount of water and you can tap the side. At one point I had tried to use a shot glass with purified water and was losing a lot of eyeshadow. I’ve found I waste less shadow by limiting how wet my brush gets. Keeping a paper towel close by to help wipe off remainder of the shadow and to clean the brush is helpful as well.

Since I follow RAL on Facebook, I know they are releasing some new lipsticks and eye colors for the fall on Friday. I believe they will also be offering some fantastic discounts. I wanted to make sure to get the review of the products up before the sale because I enjoy the products, I believe it’s incredibly important to get gluten out of your body care and cosmetics and I love helping small companies. This was an unsolicited review I personally wanted to time with the sale. The products reviewed are from my personal purchase.

I hope this is a helpful review, especially for anyone who recently went gluten-free. I’m hoping RAL will eventually add blush and foundations. However, if you need something, in order to take your makeup line completely gluten-free, I’d suggest Afterglow Cosmetics or Mineral Fusion for the foundation and blushes. If you need to go inexpensive, you might try the Mineral fusion. They seem to have lovely brushes. Vitamin Cottage, and Sprouts sell them as well as Whole Foods. All three are pretty good about accepting returns if you don’t like them and not badly priced. They are probably most reasonable at Vitamin Cottage/Natural Grocers. Until RAL introduces a complete line, I use Afterglow and it compliments nicely with the RAL eyeshadows and lipsticks. I’ve used the Afterglow eyeshadows and lipsticks. While they are okay, I have decided to make the switch to RAL for my lip and eye needs. The products feel better on my face, RAL has more color in their lipsticks, and I think the quality of those lines are better from RAL. I’m looking forward to see what else they put out.

AND A SURPRISE- I contacted Red Apple Lipstick while I was writing the review to see if they’d be interested in sponsoring a giveaway in time for their sale. That means this giveaway is a flash giveaway so that the winners can get the best bang for their prize. Red Apple is going to give TWO $25 gift certificates to two separate winners- I will pick the winner TOMORROW Friday Evening, Sept 28, 12 about 7pm MST, so the winners have have time to shop and everyone else can still get the best of the sale. That means, I need help getting this giveaway and review posted on facebook and tweeted like wildfire. (To be able to access the sale, you need to join their VIP list which is on their site and they also have it listed how on their page. I joined last month and they are great about not sending you a lot of email. The only email I’ve gotten is info on the VIP sale and a coupon for this month!)
edit: Giveaway is closed. Thanks for entering.
So, to enter-
Required Enter a comment below telling me if you’ve gone gluten-free in your cosmetics and if not, why?
Bonus go to RedApple Lipstick and tell me which colors you’d want to try or which products
bonus Share on facebook, come back and tell me in the comments that you did
bonus Like RAL on Facebook and let me know you did
bonus tweet this giveaway link on twitter, and add @GfAdvocate and @RedAppleLipstic- then add a comment that you did

The rules are simple- You must comment for each entry on this page because I’m picking from this post and the comments only. I’ll use a random generator to pick the winners. Only one household per winner. Gift certificate is subject to RAL’s use and terms for their gift certificates, as well as geographic terms for RAL. I believe they only ship to the U.S. However, if I misunderstood, I will open the contest to wherever they ship.

disclaimer: The products reviewed were purchased at my expense. I’m incredibly impressed with the product and happy to help promote a company that cares about it’s customers and that’s made in the US. I approached RAL to see if they’d be interested in gifting my readers, and they accepted. I created the terms of the giveaway. I hope you’ll enjoy taking a look at their site and their products.
Thanks as always for reading.


Are your Lipstick, Conditioner, or Lotion making you Sick?

The process of becoming Gluten Free can take a while. Often, we learn about the no-no foods first: wheat, barely, rye, spelt, etc. That’s do-able, right? It sucks, it’s hard. Sometimes people don’t even thing about flour being wheat. My brother is constantly offering me pizza, cookie dough, etc. Unless it’s “wheat bread,” sometimes it doesn’t register for people.

Then another layer begins….oats (often we’re told to avoid those right off the bat, though I’ve met several people, who were not warned about oats) and modified food or corn starch. That last one gets tricky because if the product is gluten-free, it may still have modified food or corn starch and it means that it was modified a different way or doesn’t actually contain the wheat starch. However, if the product is not labeled gluten-free, then you are playing Russian Roulette. It might make you sick, it might not. You won’t know till you try it.

This morning, while I was picking up something at one of our local grocery stores that sells more natural items, I came across a mineral makeup display. They were on sale for a fantastic price and I was thrilled to see that they were Gluten Free. While I was playing with the colors, a lady walked by the display looking for something. She asked if I ever used that makeup and I said, “Well, no, but I’m going to try it because it’s gluten-free.”

She looked stunned and said, “wait, I can’t have gluten, what do you mean by makeup being gluten-free?” So, I explained that gluten isn’t in just food. It can be in our makeup and is especially dangerous for celiacs and the gluten-intolerant in lipsticks because we end up ingesting our lipstick. It’s also in our hair care and our lotion, especially conditioner.

Makeup, especially lipstick often contain wheat protein and/or wheat germ. The protein helps hydrate, plump etc. Foundation, lotions, face creams, hair care, hair conditioner, body wash, body lotion, even perfume or body sprays, can all contain hidden sources of gluten. Wheat protein is especially in conditioners that help with body, curl, shine, etc. I’ve found it in a lot of the anti-aging lines. Barley is in many products and with strange names. Of course, many lotions, face creams, even foundations also contain oats, which are by default dangerous unless you buy gluten-free oats that are carefully grown and processed. I think I can say with almost 100% certainty, unless the product is certified gluten-free, the oats are not the “gluten-free” oats. So, run!

She was shocked, but suddenly realized why she continues to have some symptoms even when she’s careful about what she ingests.

Remember, our skin is our biggest organ, if you’re still having symptoms, or your symptoms have suddenly come back after you’ve been diligent, start investigating what you put on your skin, hair and face. When I went gluten-free two years ago, I felt great for about three to four months. Suddenly, my achiness and acne came back and it took about two months to figure out. I was using a curl shampoo, conditioner, and hair mousse that all contained hydrolyzed wheat protein. My body wash also contained the wheat protein. After buying obtaining body wash without wheat, barley, etc listed and gluten-free shampoo and conditioner, etc, I started feeling better.

About six months or so later, I again started seeing lesser symptoms, and after washing with my son’s body wash, I realized one day I felt tired and lethargic. I looked at the ingredients puzzled…no wheat…..but there was oat! At that point, I purchased Desert Organics gluten-free line and again started feeling better. I also stopped using it on my son whose eczema was bad again.

Finally, this summer, I again started to have symptoms. In fact, they were bad enough that I had several “experts” state that we really needed to look over my diet carefully to make sure I wasn’t eating hidden gluten. I knew those sources at least as well as they did. However, that message kept being conveyed to me. Finally, after trying a new lipstick and having a reaction on my lips along with a horrendous headache, I knew what my problems was.

Unfortunately, when it comes to wheat and gluten in cosmetics, you’re looking at an entirely new ballgame. The cosmetic industry has come up with thousands, if not millions of names for ingredients. The lady at the store asked what she needs to look for to avoid gluten. Besides wheat, barley and rye, you are also looking at the latin names, the herbal names, the altered chemical names, which is a foreign language. Some of my journey and frustrations are chronicled in the blog entries “A Witch Hunt” and “Unexpected Grief.”

I’ve spent the last four months trying to hang on to some of my favorite cosmetics. For one, I like the colors, but it’s also incredibly expensive to buy all new makeup and new brushes and I’m acquiring them piecemeal. Here’s the rub: when you start swapping out your old makeup, you need to get new brushes! The old brushes will be contaminated with gluten. The only way to keep your new makeup safe is new brushes too. If you have to, start with cheap just to transition and buy up when you can.

I started with a new foundation and kabuki brush, new blush and new lipstick. I couldn’t afford new eye shadow, or even more new brushes. I’ve simply done without eye shadow, except for special occasions. Within weeks of switching from a primer and a foundation that contained both oat and a possible wheat source, I started feeling better. My skin also cleared up again (for the most part.)

Today I purchased some new less expensive brushes to get me through so I can stop using anything that might be contaminated and a few mineral eye shadows for the Thanksgiving holiday. This evening, I threw out my remaining makeup after I spent about 30 minutes trying to look up ingredients in a cosmetic dictionary where I came across the word “Gluten.” The definition was inaccurate, at best. Gluten: a mixture of proteins from wheat flour. (NOTE: that is NOT the definition, just to be on the safe side.) The dictionary has been unhelpful listing questionable ingredients as, “derived from protein,” or “plant source.” With that definition, I realized that I just can’t know. Since gluten resides in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and triticale proteins, which are all plants, how do I know if the plant source of this questionable ingredient is not wheat or one of those proteins?

So, I have to take the same advice I gave the lady I met at the store today. At this point, only buy cosmetics, body care, hair care, etc that state “GLUTEN FREE.” The only exception to that is if you understand every word and you know it’s not gluten and probably won’t come in contact with gluten. Also, make sure to stay away from any product that contains oats, etc. Finally, even if it says “gluten-free,” I recommend you still scan the ingredients. The zuzu cosmetics for instance state gluten-free, but still contain wheat germ oil. I’ve chosen for now to not even purchase the lipstick because my lips reacted. It could be I’m also allergic to wheat; I would need to get tested.

After trying for months to hang on, I’m done. We are given the advice to buy “gluten-free foods.” Sometimes we can cheat if we know the product well or know the ingredients well. It’s different with the cosmetic industry. Stay with Gluten Free products. And I mean, “Gluten Free.” Don’t even bother with words such as “contains no gluten ingredients” or “Formulated without Gluten.” I’ll explain those problems in another post. For now, find “Gluten FREE” only. Health food stores such as Vitamin Cottage have lists of their gluten-free products. I’ll be reviewing several here soon.

A quick list to try:
Desert Organics line: is fantastic and a great cost. This is our body wash and my kids shampoo.
Himalaya Herbal Healthcare: I love the face wash. They are very herbal.
California Baby: Great stuff for kiddos and very gentle. I’ll need to try some other products on myself, but this will help you get started.
Surface Hair: a professional line that you can try to request from a salon or purchase. This is the hair care line I use and love.
ZuZu Cosmetics and Gabriel Cosmetics: I use the blush. A caution with the lip products- they contain wheat germ. I’ve spoken with the company and it claims that wheat germ can be extracted without gluten. However, if you’re allergic to wheat, you won’t want to use the lip products.
Afterglow Cosmetics Fantastic mineral makeup
Larenim Mineral makeup. I purchased some eyeshadow today. Stay tuned for more info….I have not had the chance to sample them much yet. But they don’t contain Gluten and the price is very reasonable.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned. There is a lot on this subject! In the meantime, please check your body care, etc. especially if you are experiencing your symptoms again.