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A Glorious Mouthful: The Best Gluten-Free Red Lipstick

A Glorious Mouthful: The Best Gluten-Free Red Lipstick

May was Celiac Awareness Month, and to cap off a month of gluten free goodness, gluten free make up and hair artiste C. Eden Di Bianco (who is our very own go to green glam girl) shares her latest gluten free/vegan beauty find.  Prepare to channel your inner siren!

My favorite way to finish an outfit isn’t earrings, though those are nice.  It’s not a belt, though my Dad has been trying to get me to wear one for years because he’s cooler than I am.  For me, it’s red lipstick.  Most of us remember lipstick as our first foray into all things girly.  At 4, I called it “mystic”, which amused relatives and captured the way I felt about it perfectly. I remember watching my mother put it on in amazement at how it brightened up her face and squealed excitedly whenever a female relative would leave a tiny imprint of their kisses on my cheek.

Red lipstick is bold, powerful, and instantly glam.  If you’re not sure which shade is right for you, this helpful guide can help steer you in the right direction.  It can be daunting enough to find a vegan red lipstick that stands up to your demanding day and looks luxe and appropriately dangerous.  Add concerns about gluten sensitivity, and you might be ready to throw in the towel and let your lips go au naturale.  (Perish the thought!)

What’s the big deal about buying gluten free lipstick anyway? Well, the average woman inadvertently consumes about 18 tubes or 4 lbs of lipstick in her lifetime.  Many brands have gluten in them, which sneaks into lip formulas in a variety of ingredients from Vitamin E to emulsifiers, and are labeled so ambiguously that there is no way of knowing what ingredients in there might pose a threat to a Celiac sufferer.

Some seriously unpretty truths:

Aside from gluten and icky animal ingredients, a startling number of lip products on the market have been found to contain toxic impurities such as lead, arsenic, beryllium, and a host of nasty potential chemicals like FD&C Red #3 and propylene glycol.  Do you know what propylene glycol is?  It’s an ingredient in ANTIFREEZE–and it can enter the bloodstream via ingestion or through skin absorption!  It is then stored in the body for days and weeks at a time, where it can cause kidney damage and liver abnormalities.  The scary thing is that use of this harmful ingredient that we expose ourselves to every day we wear lipstick is perfectly legal because it is only considered toxic in “large doses”.  I don’t know about you, but I’d say eating 18 tubes/4lbs of something potentially dangerous constitutes pretty large dose over the course of a lifetime!

Enter Gabriel Color Cosmetics and their fashion color line, Zuzu Luxe to save the day.  Vegan, gluten free, lead/PABA/petrochemical free, and chock full of beautiful plant based lip conditioners like Jojoba and Safflower seed oil, I was eager to try them out.

ZuZu Luxe Lipstick Gluten & Lead Free, $18

I tested several of their reds in a variety of finishes (satin, matte, gloss), and this is what I found:

The satin finish colors were Gabriel Color in Currant and Pomegranate.  I generally don’t wear a lot of satin/creme finish lipstick in darker colors because they tend to lose some of their depth with the shine, but more moisture rich products in bright colors look very fresh.  You might also prefer a satin or creme finish because dry lips with a bright color on them attract the wrong type of attention!

On hot days, I keep my creme or satin lipstick in place by using lip liner in a coordinating shade and filling in my lips very lightly to give the color a base to stick to, applying lipstick, and blotting very lightly.  I then reapply a little more color with light taps to the top and bottom and pressing my lips together GENTLY so as not to kill the sheen, and then finish with a precision concealer brush around the lip line to provide a barrier against my natural skin oils and sweat contributing to any feathering…plus it gives a nice clean and sharp line around the lips.

Pomegranate: a vibrant, deep red with a violet/bluish undertone, very true to its namesake, and very come-here-and-kiss-me-if-you-dare.
Currant: more of a neutral red, almost like a brick red (but not like the mud colored stuff we used back in the 90s!) More of a little red schoolhouse brick red.

See Also

Gabriel Color also has several matte finish shades, and their Matte Rose was far more sexy than the demure sounding name implies.  By far my favorite of ANY red I’ve worn, the Matte Rose wore like a dream all through a busy day with minimal touch ups and reads as a bright warm chili red with a slightly orange undertone.  I have light skin with yellow/warm undertones and am pretty pale, but I think this color would work well on a wide variety of skin tones because of its orange tone.  Bonus: brights and white on white are so in this season, and this color sets off a golden (spray) tan and a white linen ensemble with an ease and elegance that Lauren Bacall would envy.

I tried Zuzu Luxe lipstick in Siren and Starlet and the gloss in Caliente.  The lipsticks were also moisture rich, but with a slightly drier/more matte finish than the Gabriel Color Satin finishes, I found.  Siren was a more low key brownish red with a hint of gold shimmer, perfect for every day wear with a 5 minute face and work clothes.  Zuzu Luxe Starlet is a bright true red with a good balance of blue and red.  Bonus: true reds can make your teeth look whiter!  I blotted it down to more of a stain finish and topped it off with a smooth coating of the gloss in Caliente and felt like a movie star even while sporting jeans and slight garlic hummus breath after lunch!

If you’ve been wanting to try reds but were held back by want of a vegan or gluten free option, you are now out of excuses!

C. Eden Di Bianco is a NYC based Aveda trained Cosmetologist who specializes in cruelty free on-location hair & make up services for the conscious beauty.  She has lent her talents to the likes of GGA’s own Chloé Jo Davis, author of Living Vegan for Dummies and The Great American Detox Diet Alexandra Jamieson, the 25th Anniversary Farm Sanctuary Gala, and NY Fashion Week.  The recent Mrs. Di Bianco lives in Queens with her husband, their rescue pitbull Franklin Beans, and a porch full of enviably large bright red geraniums.