Sally Hansen is a nail polish and care brand that has been around since the 1950s and is still one of the biggest brands in the business today. They also make home hair removal systems and tanning products. Sally is always at the top of the nail color innovations companies, so I was truly disappointed when I emailed them to ask if any of their nail products are gluten free and got a long response essentially saying that gluten in personal care products isn’t a problem. In reality it’s a huge problem, and many people suffer from dermatitis due to gluten in unexpected products like lotions, shampoos, and yes, nail polish – as many of us who suffer from these allergies know! You don’t have to ingest gluten to have a reaction.
Here’s the full response they sent:
“We take very seriously our obligation to produce only safe, high quality and environmentally responsible products. The ingredients used in our products are safe and have been developed, manufactured and packaged in compliance with the strict guidelines and regulations set by each country in which they are sold.
Gluten in cosmetics is a common concern among consumers who suffer from gluten sensitivity. Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat related grains, including barley, rye, and spelt. It is known to cause adverse health problems in those who suffer from celiac disease. In 2009, research showed between 0.5 and 1.0 percent of people in the US and UK are sensitive to gluten due to celiac disease.
There is currently no scientific evidence that gluten used in cosmetic products that are not ingested is harmful to individuals with celiac disease, including those with the skin form of celiac disease. Patients with celiac disease are often advised to avoid cosmetic products that are likely to be ingested, such as lipstick and lip gloss, if these contain ingredients like wheat germ or barley extract. However, up until recently the actual content of gluten in lipstick and other cosmetic products made using ingredients derived from wheat, barley, or rye had not been investigated.
In 2012, the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics published a study under the heading “Gluten in Cosmetics: Is There a Reason for Concern?” that reportedly found no quantifiable gluten in lip products and lotions, each containing at least one ingredient derived from wheat, barley, rye, or oats. Based on the results, the authors concluded that there is no apparent reason for consumers with celiac disease to worry about cosmetic products applied to the skin, such as body lotion, sunscreen, shaving cream, deodorant, makeup and perfume, especially if hands are washed after use.”
Sally makes some of my favorite nail polishes, but I no longer buy them because (1) I have no idea if gluten is in them and (2) the company doesn’t think gluten is a problem in the first place, which is very scary to me. I no longer use their waxing products either (unfortunately!).
If they ever start making gluten free products, I’ll be the first one to stock up. Until that time, I’m sad to say goodbye.