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Eyeliner: A History and 12 Gluten-Free Eyeliners you need to know!


From the Egyptians to Amy Winehouse to Johnny Depp circa 2005, it’s remained a firm beauty favourite year after year, style after style. From grungy kohls, pencils, liquids, glitters, gels and who knows what's next, one thing's for sure – the eyes certainly do have it.


Cleopatra eyeliner

The first recorded use of eyeliner suggests royals in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia were lining their water lines as early as 400 BC. The more the makeup the higher your status was, so Egyptians would pile on the kohl, winging it out to their hairlines and forming the incomparable, first ‘cat eye.’


Marilyn Monroe photographed by Milton Green

Marilyn Monroe photographed by Milton Green

The 50’s came and so did the rise of the screen siren as buxom blondes and sultry brunettes sashayed onto the household television set. From Bridgette Bardot and Jean Harlow to Greta Garbo, Sophia Loren and the illustrious Miss Marilyn Monroe, so came the Hollywood flick. Alan Snider, make-up artist to Monroe, crafted her signature look, carving out a sleepy eye with a brown pencil traced close to the lashes, flicked up and out to match that wistful persona.


In the seventies, Bollywood taught us the importance of the brow and how to double line. A full brow and cut crease was paired with a thick winged liner on the upper and lower lash line for a glamorous doe-eyed look; essential for those all-important romance scenes.


Eyeliner Greta Nissen

In the 20’s, style took the soft rouge and delicate powdering of 1910 and sexed it up, casting aside the corsets, cutting off their hair and vamping up their makeup to the upmost degree. Unbeknownst pioneers of the wet-look eye, a mix of Vaseline and soot would act as a liner smudged around the eyes. No tight lining, no flick, just a brown smudge around the outer rims of the eye, paired with a glossy brown lip, for ultimate risk factor.



Twiggy’s model portrait

As life swung into the sixties, fashion and music were punctuated with colour while eyeliner went monochrome. À-la-Twiggy, white liner mapped out baby doll shaped eyes, taken right from the waterline to the top of the lid, finished with lashings of mascara for clumpy lashes that paved the mod look.


Grace Jones

Rocking into the 80s, makeup made way for the New Romanticism movement. Advocating exploration and expression, eyeliner took on a new androgynous look. From Prince Charming, Alan Ant and his white stripes, David Bowie’s silver streaks, Boy George’s geometric lines and Grace Jones’ purple dream, liner was soaked with a raving-ready dose of colour, no longer refined to only being on the lid.


Gwen Stefani

Fast-forwarding to the 90’s and a grunge takeover, pioneered by Kurt Cobain, No Doubt, Deep and Moss (swoon) and Winona Ryder saw liner looking lived in. From slept-in kohl around the rims, jagged liner on the lids and smudged shadow on the outer corners of the eyes, time was taken to perfect that just-rolled-out-of-bed look.



The comeback queen, Adele returned to our lives this year with ‘that’ look, but better. Michael Ashton, Adele’s makeup artist since the beginning of her career, has collaborated with the songstress over the years to perfect that statement flick. For her 3rd album riposte, Ashton double-layered gel with liquid to create a patent leather shine; one we should all be recreating.

Eyeliner has been a daily makeup bag staple since cosmetic creation, helping us to look more awake for centuries…

What are the Best Gluten - Free Eyeliners Out There?

11 Makeup Brands That Offer Gluten-Free Options

Gluten-free makeup may be of interest to you if you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Using gluten-free makeup can potentially reduce your risk of symptoms if you are especially sensitive to gluten and get some in your mouth. But does putting gluten on your skin also pose the same concerns?

This article takes a closer look at the pros and cons of gluten-free makeup, including what some of the current research says. It also lists 11 gluten-free cosmetics brands currently on the market and explains which are the safest for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Should I Buy Gluten-Free Makeup?

Many cosmetics and skin care products contain gluten. The most common additive is hydrolyzed wheat protein, which has some has but not all of the gluten removed.

In people with celiac disease, the reaction to gluten ultimately stems from the digestive tract and not from the skin. In fact, the gluten protein is too large to be absorbed through your skin.

Even so, it is possible to get makeup in your mouth with things like lipstick and lip gloss or by touching your face or skin and placing a finger in your mouth. If you are extremely sensitive to gluten, this could very well trigger a reaction.

However, there is some debate on how big the risk really is. A 2018 review from the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel investigated the potential risks of hydrolyzed wheat protein in makeup. It concluded that the amounts used "would not elicit type 1 immediate hypersensitivity" and was therefore "safe for use in cosmetics."

The recommendation was based on a single case in which a person with celiac disease experienced symptoms after using a body lotion containing wheat protein and no longer had symptoms after stopping the lotion.

Gluten in makeup can theoretically trigger a reaction in people with celiac disease if they get some in their mouths. Even so, most experts believe that the risk is low to unlikely.

Even if the risk of gluten reaction from makeup is low, people with extreme gluten sensitivity may still understandably be concerned. If you are worried, here are some "do's" and "don'ts" to help keep you safe whenever using gluten-containing makeup.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly every time you touch a gluten-containing product.

  • Keep your nails trimmed so that you don't bite them.

  • Instead of applying gluten-containing lip gloss to your mouth, try petroleum jelly which has no gluten.

  • Don't apply any gluten-containing cosmetics or lotions near your mouth.

  • Don't use powders or sprays that contain gluten, since they can become airborne and be inhaled.

  • Don't rub your face and then touch your lips without first washing your hands.

  • Don't bite your nails after putting on makeup.

  • Don't bite or lick your lips if wearing gluten-containing lipstick.

To help you wade through the extensive lists of ingredients, we contacted a wide variety of makeup brands, both small and large, to ask about gluten ingredients in their products.

Below are cosmetic companies' statements on gluten and our conclusions as to whether you should use, avoid, or take extra caution when using their products.

Afterglow Cosmetics

Afterglow Cosmetics products are made in a gluten-free facility and are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), which requires products to meet stringent standards of less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. (Lower ppm values are better.)

Afterglow Cosmetics uses Vitamin E (tocophero) derived from organic cottonseed oil and olive oil and not from wheat germ as is common in the cosmetics industry.

The bottom line: The products are completely safe if you are sensitive to gluten.

Alima Pure

Alima Pure makes eco-friendly, mineral-based makeup that's cruelty-free. According to the company: "All of our loose powder products are gluten-free, as is our Lip Tint, Velvet Lipstick, and Natural Definition Mascara. However, only our loose powder products are created in a designated gluten-free facility."

The bottom line: You're perfectly safe to use any loose powder products from Alima Pure. Exercise caution with other products, especially if you're particularly sensitive to trace gluten.

Bare Minerals

This company states that many of its products don't contain gluten, but it can't guarantee that they're gluten-free. They are made in a shared facility or on shared equipment. Many people with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity do report using Bare Minerals products without issue.

The bottom line: Exercise caution if you are sensitive to gluten, as Bare Minerals does not claim any products are gluten-free.

BITE Beauty 

BITE Beauty, which makes only lip products, sells through Sephora. The company also offers BITE Beauty Lip Lab, a shop in SoHo in New York City that will custom blend lip products for you. The company's products are certified gluten-free.

The bottom line: BITE Beauty products are perfectly safe for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.


Here's the statement from Cover Girl: "If we add gluten, wheat, or wheat extract directly to a product, it will be listed in the ingredients on the label. Still, we cannot give a 100% guarantee that trace levels of gluten are not present."

The bottom line: You'll have to check ingredients carefully on CoverGirl products to make sure gluten grain ingredients aren't present. There's a possibility of cross-contamination, which could be a problem for you if you're particularly sensitive to gluten.

Ecco Bella

From the company: "There is no gluten or wheat protein in any Ecco Bella product. All our products are safe for customers with celiac sprue."

The bottom line: This is a safe brand for those of us with celiac or gluten sensitivity.

This brand uses all gluten-free ingredients and also does not test on animals or use ingredients derived from animals, according to the company's statement. However, it does sometimes use shared equipment.

The bottom line: E.L.F. cosmetics are quite safe. 

em michelle phan

This brand is made and marketed in partnership with L'Oreal. The company does not state whether or not gluten-based ingredients are used in its products.

The bottom line: If you're particularly sensitive to gluten, you'll have to check ingredients carefully on em michelle phan products to make sure gluten grain ingredients aren't present. There's also a possibility of cross-contamination.

Gabriel Cosmetics

This all-natural, paraben-free line of cosmetics has been certified gluten-free by the GFCO, which requires products to include fewer than 10 parts per million of gluten. Gabriel Cosmetics is also vegan (with the exception of its makeup brushes, which are cruelty-free).

The bottom line: Anyone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can confidently use anything from Gabriel Cosmetics.


This brand is owned by L'Oreal and does not have a statement regarding gluten in its products.

Lili Lolo

Lili Lolo offers mineral makeup, including foundation, powder, blush, lip, and eye products. According to the company, everything in the Lili Lolo line is gluten-free except for the BB Cream, which contains wheat germ.

The bottom line: The BB Cream may cause symptoms if you're highly sensitive to gluten, but you should be able to use other products in the makeup line safely.

L'Oreal, Maybelline New York

This company does not have a statement about gluten-containing ingredients in its products.

The bottom line: If you're particularly sensitive to gluten, check ingredients carefully to make sure gluten grain ingredients aren't present, and there's a possibility of gluten cross-contamination.

Mirabella Beauty

According to Mirabella, all its products except for its skin tint crème are gluten-free (there's wheat protein in the skin tint crème). Mirabella reports that its vendors test ingredients for trace gluten "and are amazingly thorough."

Gluten-free products may be made in a shared facility, but Mirabella takes special care to clean the equipment in between batches. The company also doesn't perform animal testing.

The bottom line: Mirabella Beauty takes a careful approach to serving the gluten-free community. You should be safe with any product, with the exception of the gluten-containing skin tint crème.

NARS Cosmetics

The company does not have a statement regarding gluten.

The bottom line: If you are highly sensitive to gluten, watch for a reaction when you start to use NARS Cosmetics products to decide if you should continue to use them or not.


According to Nivea there's a risk of cross-contamination due to shared facilities.

The bottom line: You'll have to check ingredients carefully on Nivea products to make sure gluten grain ingredients aren't present.

NYX Cosmetics

The company does not have a statement regarding gluten.

The bottom line: If you are highly sensitive to gluten, watch for a reaction when you start to use NYX Cosmetics products to decide if you should continue to use them or not.

Pangea Organics

Pangea might not truly count as a makeup company—it makes three lip balms, but mainly creates beauty products such as cleansers, toners, and creams. However, the company is extremely careful when it comes to gluten.

All of its products are considered gluten-free, with the exception of its Oatmeal Bergamot Bar Soap, which Pangea doesn't include on its gluten-free list because of the possibility of gluten cross-contamination in the oatmeal from nearby wheat fields.

Pangea Organics also states that "our Vitamin E is sourced from either soy or sunflower, rather than wheat germ."

The bottom line: You can use anything from Pangea Organics with confidence (with the exception of the oatmeal soap).

Red Apple Lipstick

All Red Apple products are gluten-free, with rigorous testing (aiming at zero parts per million of gluten) to ensure there's no trace gluten present. The company then follows that up with routine batch lab testing to ensure purity.

The bottom line: You can use Red Apple Lipstick products if you have gluten sensitivity.


The company does not have a statement regarding gluten.

The bottom line: If you are highly sensitive to gluten, watch for a reaction when you start to use Revlon Cosmetics products to decide if you should continue to use them or not.


This brand is a subsidiary of Estee Lauder. The company states that consumers can provide it with the name of individual products and that it will respond with information on those specific products. Products might be processed on shared equipment.

The bottom line: If you are highly sensitive to gluten, watch for a reaction when you start to use Smashbox Cosmetics products to decide if you should continue to use them or not.

Too Faced Cosmetics

The company's entire line of cosmetics is gluten-free with the exception of our Borderline Lip Pencil, but products may be subject to cross-contamination in manufacturing. The company is cruelty-free and has an extensive vegan-friendly product list.

The bottom line: If you have gluten sensitivity, you can safely use anything from Too Faced Cosmetics with the exception of the Borderline Lip Pencil.

Urban Decay

According to the company, some products do not include gluten ingredients, but Urban Decay does not test for trace gluten.

The bottom line: Urban Decay will tell you which products contain no gluten ingredients if you contact them at (800) 784-8722.

Zuzu Luxe

This brand, made by GFCO-certified Gabriel Cosmetics, is certified gluten-free. Most Zuzu Luxe products also are corn-free and vegan, according to the company.

The bottom line: Zuzu Luxe products are perfectly safe for people with celiac and gluten sensitivity to use.


The company is born from the Founder's struggle with Gluten Sensitivity and Psoriasis. They chose high quality ingredients yet strive for very affordable prices to make sure that it is accessible to everyone who needs their products. They test their products for gluten and also are being accessed by Think Dirty App that reviews products for being chemically and medically clean.

Dr. Liia

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