Review: “Superfine Eyeliner,” “BB Cream” and “Stay Natural Concealer” from Essence

essenceAfter checking the ingredients of several eyeliners, I found out that a few select Barry M and Essence eyeliners contain no tocopheryl acetate. If I can’t confirm the source of the tocopheryl acetate, I avoid using the product. It could be where gluten is hidden!

I usually wear liquid eyeliner – never use eye pencils. I find liquid eyeliners have a more defined, precise and neat look. I checked out the Barry M Wink eyeliner. The nib was too thick for me, and the tip was far too flimsy to be able to draw a proper defined line. It cost 30 AED here in Boots.

My next option was to try out Essence. They have an online booklet where all product ingredients are mentioned. After poring over the ingredients for days, I made a list of all the items that would be safe for me. Since they haven’t replied to my email yet, the ingredients I was on lookout for were: tocopherol, tocopheryl acetate, denatured alcohol, and of course gluten, soy and corn.

eyelinerThey have quite a few makeup products that are safe from these ingredients. I chose Superfine Eyeliner because the name fit what I was looking for. I wore the eyeliner today and I don’t know why, but for the first minute or so, it tingled and I felt a slight burning sensation. It went away after that. I hope this eyeliner is okay for me – I don’t want to go hunting for another gluten free eyeliner again!

Anyway, so the eyeliner is pretty nice. It creates a nice, dark line and it’s very easy to use. The nib is also pretty sturdy, unlike the flimsy Barry M one. The nib is very thin so you can create a well-defined line. It cost 17 AED. If I have no adverse reactions to this product, I’m going to stick to it. I quite like it! I also like how I don’t have to keep dipping my eyeliner brush into a bottle. This just makes life so much easier. Also, it dries up pretty fast. No need to wait a few minutes before using eyelash curlers! Give it a few seconds and it’s set!

Since I contacted MaxFactor and P&G replied, asking me to look at their website for information about the source of tocopheryl acetate, which I haven’t been able to find AT ALL, I have decided against using my MaxFactor foundation. Gluten free foundation and concealer is rather hard to find. Almost all of them contain wheat. I accidentally even tried on some Essence foundation that had gluten! Thank goodness I had only tested it on my hand! I was terrified though.

I tried on their BB cream in shade 02 Natural. It was quite nice. It minimized my pores, and kind of created this dewy look. Gave a little glow. It only cost 25 AED, so that was a bargain. The good thing was that their BB cream was fragrance free. The downside was that the BB cream had a funky smell. The smell wore off after a few minutes but it was still a bit odd. Moreover, later I noticed that my skin was a tiny bit itchy. However, that could be due to how hot and humid the weather was. I was about to buy this product but upon looking at the ingredients list, I noticed that it contained sorbitol. Sorbitol can be derived from corn and I’m sensitive to corn. I figured it would be better if I stayed away from it, as I have reacted to corn in my makeup before. Better safe than sorry! Really wish I could have bought it though! Seemed to give decent coverage. It wasn’t perfect, but workable. Better than no foundation!

concealerSo I ditched the BB cream. Now what the heck was I going to use on my face? I figured I’d just buy the “Stay Natural Concealer” and use that to cover up. It worked quite well actually! Again, the coverage isn’t that great. It doesn’t make my blemishes disappear, and when I tried it on in the store, along with the BB cream, coverage was quite good. On its own, it’s okay. Just kind of reduces redness and makes blemishes a little less prominent. It comes in a nice little pen-type tube. You have to twist the bottom quite a bit before the concealer comes out. You can apply it directly using the brush tip or apply a little on your hand and then use your finger to dab it onto your face. Cost 16 AED. Pretty good for the price! It will make do for now – until I find some actual gluten free cosmetics with non-threatening ingredients.

Essence is supposedly “hypoallergenic” and it’s aimed at young teens. I find it odd though that their products contain parabens (just like so many other brands out there). Even so, apparently no one has had any complaints about Essence products with regards to allergies, accordingly to what the sales lady told me. Hope that’s true! I wish I could confirm if these products were manufactured in a gluten free facility, and if there was no risk for cross contamination. I figured I’d just check the ingredients carefully since almost all cosmetics companies cannot guarantee being gluten free. Essence products are very affordable and they do the job. Not as well as I would’ve liked but fair enough – it’ll do for now.

Glutened by Makeup?

I love my makeup. I just wish manufacturers would stop using allergens in it!

For a couple of (horrifying) weeks, I went barefaced. No makeup, whatsoever. This was because I was feeling really ill for some reason. Normally, if I get glutened, I recover in about 3-4 days. In May, it seemed like I kept getting glutened somehow. I was sick almost everyday for more than a month. I noticed that everytime I did my eye makeup and wore my red lipstick, I would feel ill.

I stopped wearing my red lipstick. But I was still feeling sick. I have no idea why. In fact, I still don’t know. I have about 4 lipsticks which I use frequently. All of which have tocopheryl acetate listed as an ingredient. This ingredient can be derived from wheat sources. I have written to the companies (Flormar and L’Oreal Paris) to ask about this but there has been no response. So I just gave up on wearing lipstick for a while.

Last week, I did my makeup as usual but skipped the lipstick. A few hours later, I started feeling a bit weird. My stomach started feeling very stuffy, if that even makes sense. I was so confused. What could possibly be glutening me now? I wasn’t wearing any lipstick at all!

With horror, I realized it could be my eyeliner. According to what I’ve read on some gluten free websites, eyeliner can get on the waterline and gluten can get into your body that way. I swapped my daily Lakme eyeliner for my special-occasion Chanel one. I also avoided using a rouge that I have always associated with zit breakouts. I felt somewhat better that day. But still not quite there.

Wearing my favourite red lipstick - Flormar Pretty Cream & Glaze Lipstick P324

Wearing my favourite red lipstick – Flormar Pretty Cream & Glaze Lipstick P324

Yesterday, I reached into a different eyeshadow palette, and along with the eyeliner, I swapped my daily Flormar mascara for my Armani one. Used only my bronzer and shimmer. I was going out for dinner so I had to be a little dressed up – I could absolutely NOT skip wearing lipstick. I wore the same red lipstick I had abandoned a couple months ago. Funnily enough, no symptoms this time! I cannot help but think that there is some gluten lurking in some of my makeup items. I just don’t know which ones they are! I am absolutely thrilled that my red lipstick is not causing symptoms this time. I LOVE that lipstick. It’s the perfect shade for me! I will use it sparingly though, because I’m not sure if it’s gluten free since the manufacturers won’t respond to my queries. I’ve ordered some lipsticks that are guaranteed to be safe and not only gluten free but also allergy friendly from Red Apple Lipstick. At least this way, I’ll have one makeup item that I won’t have to worry about!

Now along with food, I have to do a trial-and-error of my makeup items. Boohoo. A lot of people say we don’t need to worry about makeup being gluten free but ask the hundreds of us who get glutened by makeup and feel sick later. I don’t react as severely to gluten in my makeup as I do to food, but there are still some symptoms present. More than that, I’m worried about how it might be damaging my body internally. I’d just rather not take the risk. I’m going crazy looking for some gluten free eyeliner and mascara now. I’ve contacted Boots with a list of products that I want to know about. Still waiting for their reply! What’s worse is that some companies claim to be gluten free, but some of their products list wheat as an ingredient! What the heck, guys?! Grr! If you have any recommendations for gluten free makeup, do let me know! I’m losing my mind looking for some!