Beauty, Products, Uncategorized

Gluten-Free & Gorgeous

14 Comments 17 April 2013

 Emme-016Hello, I am Marisa de Sa and I am a makeup-aholic.

[cue applause]

Yes, I am a self-professed cosmetic junkie, makeup maven, lip gloss enthusiast, and I’m even known in some circles as “the beauty guru”. I suppose there are worse things to be called.

When I hear the phrase “new product launch” or “latest color collection”, I have an almost visceral reaction and dash to the nearest Sephora or department store before you can say “tinted moisturizer”.

In 2010 I combined this passion with my background in makeup artistry and product development to start my new company The Cosmetic Concierge, a full-service personal shopping and styling service located in New York City. My services take the guess work out of shopping for cosmetics and skin care and helps women to look and feel like their most fabulous selves.

For most of my adult life, ingredients were not something I paid any mind to. All I really cared about was finding the perfect mascara trifecta: lengthening, curling, and volumizing.

Well, as it turns out there was a very big reason for me to pay attention. Three years ago, after a lifetime of suffering with many seemingly “mysterious” ailments, gastrointestinal distress, and an autoimmune thyroid disorder, I finally learned that I had issues with gluten. I was immediately relieved, as there was now a way for me to take control of my health so that I could finally start to feel better.

Of course the relief was intermingled with the initial anxiety that accompanies any new diagnosis that requires a drastic lifestyle change. There was so much to learn, so many changes to make. After reading everything I could get my manicured fingertips on about celiac and gluten issues (definitely not as fun as reading about the latest makeup trends in Vogue), it became apparent that I had to start thinking about not only what I put in my body, but what I put on it.

While it seemed there was still little agreement in the medical community about the potentially damaging effects of gluten in makeup and skincare products, I decided it was best to err on the side of caution.

Then panic set in. How could I part with all of my beloved products!?!

Would switching to GF products mean I would have to sacrifice quality? Would I still be able to remain “on trend” if I used all GF makeup?

I immediately had visions of myself wearing bizarre and garish makeup trends from yesteryear and strange concoctions from the health food store. I mean, I could part with bagels, but blush? Not so sure. I was doomed. My fate was sealed, I was to give up all that was beautiful, all that was current, all that was FUN! I was never again to step foot into a Sephora! *gasp* Phrases like “New product launch” and “latest color collection” no longer pertained to me! *double gasp*

In short, my life was over.

Luckily, after conducting some research, I learned that this was not the terrible fate that was to befall me. As it turned out, some of my favorite products and brands were sans gluten!

Fortunately there are loads of makeup and skincare products out there that are just as high-performance, on trend, and effective as their gluten-laden counterparts.

Here are some of my favorites:


NARS2NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

I recommended this amazing tinted moisturizer to one of my clients when it first came out (she is an esthetician with very discerning taste) and she loved it so much that she decided to spread the love and buy it for all of her colleagues at the spa as Christmas gifts. I’m not surprised, as this is everything a tinted moisturizer should be, and then some. With lightweight, buildable coverage and a healthy dose of hydration, it banishes imperfections and leaves behind a beautiful veil of color. Pores are erased, fine lines and wrinkles are hidden, and discolorations disappear. Skin is left with a healthy, natural glow. As an added bonus, this product is loaded with skin-loving ingredients that promise to improve and brighten the complexion with continued use. SPF 30 provides broad-spectrum protection, the most valuable anti-aging tool in any beauty regimen.


narsNARS Cheek Palette in Foreplay

This luxe palette offers four gorgeous cheek colors inspired by the iconic NARS blush with the naughty moniker, Orgasm. Conveniently housed in this sleek compact are four high-intensity, yet wearable cheek hues. You can go bold, basic or anywhere in between by combining colors or using them individually create your own custom glow. I love using the gold as a highlighter for cheekbones (works well on medium to dark skin tones) and the matte pink adds a beautiful pop of color to the apples of the cheeks. The darker matte peach shade is a great contour color and can also work on the apples of the cheeks on darker complexions. The original Orgasm color is also included in this palette and is the ultimate universally flattering peachy pink.

*I contacted NARS and they said to reference the customer care page on their website. Basically, they state that their products are gluten free, but the facility where they are processed is not.

Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer, SPF 15Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer
SPF 15

Hourglass’s mineral-based, satin-finish primer stands out from the rest for its ability to neutralize redness in the skin while minimizing shine, erasing pores, softening imperfections and fine lines, and absorbing excess oil. Creates the perfect canvas for makeup, allowing it to stay put all day. (Even through my bikram yoga class! Its true, I tried it). While it is on the pricier side ($52), I would gladly forego groceries for a week in order to have this star product in my arsenal.

*Hourglass states on their website that their primer is gluten free.


Smashbox Limitless Long Wear Lip GlossSmashbox Limitless Long Wear Lip Gloss

Normally, “long lasting lipgloss” would seem like an oxymoron, as its usually a matter of sacrificing either shine or longevity. Thanks to Smashbox’s Limitless Long Wear Lip Gloss, we can have both! This luxe gloss, which comes in an impressive range of shades, delivers color and shine that promises to stay put for up to six hours. As an added bonus, the wand is designed to hug the contours of the lips for a comfortable and mistake-proof application. I’m currently hooked on the color “Limitless”, a shimmering coral hue that
brightens even the tiredest of complexions.


smashboxjetsetSmashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eyeliner
This crease-resistant, waterproof gel liner offers the ease of a gel liner and the accuracy of a liquid eyeliner all in one. With the summer season upon us, this is one waterproof staple that will withstand those long days of sun, surf and sand. This wonder in a jar comes in a beautiful array of shades ranging from classic (black) to edgy (purple). I absolutely love the way the deep navy makes brown eyes pop. The pros at Smashbox recommend using the Arced Liner #21 brush for flawless application, but I have used it with multiple brushes.

*I contacted Smashbox corporate and spoke to a representative there. While not all of their products are gluten free, the ones in this article are.

I hope this has brought a sense of relief to my fellow beauty queens. Yes, we can still get our glam on while we take care of our personal health needs!

And I’d love to work with you directly, to select the perfect palettes for your sensitive skin. To book an appointment with me at The Cosmetic Concierge, please call (347) 687-6680 or submit an inquiry on my website,



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Your Comments

14 Comments so far

  1. 1
    Jennifer says:

    Most Jane Iredale makeup is also gluten free!

  2. 2
    Sandy says:

    Arbonne’s products are the best! Everything is certified gluten-free, vegan, petroleum-free, and kosher. I am a consultant, if anyone’s interested.

  3. 3
    Amanda says:

    Gabriel Cosmetics & Zuzu Luxe are now certified gluten free too!

  4. 4
    Effi says:

    I had my hubby get me two of NARS GF lipsticks as a present, and loved them.

  5. 5

    Hi I’m Sarah,
    I’ve been gluten free for 15 years, really strict about it, but only recently read a study which opened my eyes to not using gluten products on the body/skin!! I was devastated thinking how I may have been hurting myself all this time unknowingly! I still have residual digestive issues, developed Colitis & recently have been battling a rash on my face the dermatologist diagnosed as Rosacea, but has not responded to 2 separate meds…so thinking maybe It’s the gluten rash!
    Anyway researched gluten-free makeup & am loving
    IRRESISTIBLE GLOW FACIAL HIGHLIGHTER & SIMPLY FLAWLESS PRESSED POWDER by ALICIA SILVERSTONE for JUICE BEAUTY, a TINTED MOISTURIZER by JUICE BEAUTY, MINERAL BLUSH by BEAUTY WITHOUT CRUELTY( several pretty colors) ECCO BELLA MASCARA (finally no more burning watery eyes ) ELEMENTAL HERBS LIP TINTS ( goes on silky smooth , nice soft colors) HONEY BEE GARDENS JOBACOLORS EYE LINERS ( glides on gently easy to apply & lasts for hours)…….However I will definitely look into the products you recommended above! Many thanx!

  6. 6
    Stephanie says:

    What are some of the ‘dangerous’ ingredients to look for in cosmetics. I’m an expert on food labels. So other than the obvious culprits, what does one look for? Thx! SL

  7. 7

    I never THOUGHT about my makeup – *sigh*. So what should we look for? What brands generally tend to have gluten based ingredients? Thank you so much!

  8. 8

    Check out my fb page MIND ON NUTRIENTS where i have posted a list of gluten ingredients often found in cosmetics

  9. 9
    Celeste says:

    Interesting info about makeup and skin care. What about shampoo and conditioner? Have you come across any studies showing gluten effects on hair care or loss?

  10. 10
    Sue says:

    I see you mention the “limitless” lipgloss from Smashbox, but I’ve contacted the company and they haven’t returned my call, nor email me back like promised regarding their new lipgloss called “legendary lipgloss”. Does anyone know for sure if its GF????? I’m a Celiac. Thanks!!

  11. 11
    Tricia says:

    I use Tarte and like it, but looking for a liquid liner that wont smudge/run. Must be waterproof! Any suggestions?

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Kelly Courson


Thanks for stopping by! I'm Kelly Courson and this is where I've shared my gluten-free finds since 2003. The world has been my gluten-free oyster for 14 years now and I love sharing what I've learned in order to help others adapt to a gluten-free diet. Have a look around and feel free to leave a comment. Connecting with people like you is what has kept me going this long! Seriously.

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