In this post, I share which lip balms are gluten-free and which are not. While some mainstream brands may be free from gluten, the one brand that is always gluten-free is Red Apple’s Lip Balm. Use my exclusive code GOODFORYOUGF to get 20 percent off any purchase at Red Apple. Please see my disclosures.
Are you concerned that your favorite lip balm brand may contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and sometimes oats?
If you’re going gluten-free in response to a celiac disease or gluten sensitivity diagnosis, you need to be cautious about anything – food and non-food sources – that come in contact with your mouth.
As a lip balm addict myself, I know how attached one can be to their favorite lip balm brand.
I’ve suffered from dry lips my whole life. I discovered this is common in people with celiac disease, likely due to nutritional deficiencies caused by damage to the small intestine.
One study even found a “significant association” between celiac disease and dry mouth, specifically a decrease in salivary flow by 36 percent among celiac patients.
You can read more about the connection between dry mouth/lips and celiac disease in my article, I Know Why You Have Dry Lips: The Connection Between Celiac Disease and Chapped Lips.
Ingredients to Avoid in Lip Balms
When assessing a lip balm for hidden gluten, avoid products with wheat, barley, or rye listed on the ingredient label.
Also, avoid all sources of oats, as oats are notorious for containing traces of wheat due to cross-contamination. (Read: Are Oats Gluten Free? Unpacking Confusing and Contradictory Information.)
However, there are also many not-so-obvious gluten-containing ingredients hidden in lip balms (and other cosmetics), including but not limited to the following:
- Avena sativa (oat bran)
- Colloidal oatmeal
- Hordeum vulgare (barley)
- Oats (must be “gluten-free” labeled oats if used)
- Secale cereale (rye seed)
- Tocopherols (may be derived from wheat)
- Tocotrienols (may be derived from wheat)
- Vitamin E (most commonly derived from wheat, but can be derived from soybean or other sources)
- Triticum Vulgare (wheat bran)
When you see these ingredients, put the product back on the shelf and find a safer alternative.
Are These Lip Balms Gluten-Free?
I spent the past few weeks researching more than a dozen lip balm brands to find out which are safe for the celiac disease and gluten intolerance communities to use.
Unfortunately, a lot of the mainstream brands do not offer gluten-free options.
The good news, however, is there are several brands that offer gluten-free or certified gluten-free lip balm options. I encourage the gluten-free community to support the brands that care enough to support them.
The brands with a thumbs up 👍 next to their name offer safe gluten-free options, including Badger Balm, EOS, Kiss My Face, and Red Apple Lipstick.
The other brands are up for debate or are not gluten-free.
Aquaphor manufactures a lip balm that doesn’t appear to contain any gluten-y ingredients. However, Aquaphor does not list allergens on its website, so it’s impossible to know for sure.
I sent Aquaphor an email and got the same reply as I did for the Nivea inquiry since the same parent company owns the two companies. Please see the Nivea response for more details.
(2) Badger Balm 👍
Many Badger Balm products are certified gluten-free, including its full lineup of lip balms. The company says most, but not all, products are safe for the gluten-free community.
“Gluten refers to certain proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. People with gluten-related disorders or sensitivity don’t tolerate the proteins found in foods containing these grains.
“Most Badger products are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO). Products certified gluten free contain 10ppm (parts per million) or less of gluten. The GF logo on a Badger product means that product meets strict gluten-free standards that have been independently verified.
“Badger’s Lip Tints, After-Bug Balm, Shave Soap, Shampoo Bar, and all Canadian Sunscreens are produced offsite by sub-contract manufacturers that have not been certified Gluten-Free. These products cannot be guaranteed gluten-free.“
I checked the ingredient list for Blistex Medicated Mint Lip Balm to see if I could identify any sources of gluten. While there are plenty of ingredients I don’t recognize, I don’t blatantly see any gluten ingredients.
I emailed Blistex to confirm my findings and received the following reply:
“It is to the best of our knowledge, based on the non-proprietary information provided to Blistex from raw material vendors/suppliers, the products may be considered gluten-free. We are attaching a copy [below] of the lip care products that may be considered gluten-free.”
- Blistex Lip Ointment
- Blistex Medicated Mint Lip Balm
- Blistex Medicated Berry Lip Balm
- Blistex Medicated Lip Balm
- Fruit Smoothies Melon Medley, Orange Cream, Triple Tropical, Peaches & Cream, Berry Explosion, and Strawberry/Banana flavors
- Complete Moisture
- Deep Renewal
- Global Blend
- Herbal Answer Lip Balm
- Lip Medex
- Lip Serum
- Lip Vibrance
- Moisture Melt
- Nurture & Nourish
- Orange Mango Blast
- Raspberry Lemonade Blast
- Silk & Shine
- Simple and Sensitive
- Triple Essentials
- Ultra-Rich Hydration
- Soft & Lush
- Blissful Butters
- Bliss Flip Soft & Silk
- Bliss Flip Ultra Moisturizing
Blistex originally included Five Star Lip Protectant on this list, but a diligent reader pointed out that it contains wheat germ! Always check labels, even if a company says it’s okay to use or consume.
(4) Burt’s Bees
Burt’s Bees is one of the most popular lip balm brands, and you can easily spot the big Burt’s Bees displays in most grocery stores and big box retailers nationwide.
Unfortunately, despite Burt’s Bees “natural” appeal, the company says it can’t guarantee its products are free from gluten and, therefore, safe for someone on a gluten-free diet.
Burt’s Bees writes on its website:
“We cannot provide a list of Burt’s Bees products that are safe for use with your [gluten] allergy because our products may have been manufactured on a shared line with products containing gluten, or raw materials used in our products may have been processed in a facility that also processes products containing gluten.
“Therefore, we are unable to state that any Burt’s Bees products are “gluten-free.” Several of our products are known to contain certain allergens because raw materials that contain or are made from the allergen are intentional ingredients in those products.
“Please carefully review the ingredient list of any product prior to use, particularly because the listed ingredients for a product may change. If you have a known allergy to gluten, you should always consult your physician if you have questions regarding whether it is safe to use a particular product.”
Based on this information, you should proceed cautiously when using Burt’s Bees lip balm. However, please note that Burt’s Bees lip balm doesn’t appear to contain gluten. The issue is the potential for cross-contamination.
When I was a kid, everyone was carrying around a container of Carmex, using their index finger to spread the jelly-like balm on their lips.
At the time, I didn’t think much of it, but today, I think dipping your finger in a tub of gel and rubbing it all over your lips is gross. But that’s just me.
Today, Carmex also sells lip balm tubes; no finger is needed to spread the goop on your lips.
I reviewed the Carmex ingredient list and did not see any gluten-containing ingredients. I also emailed the company to confirm, and here’s what a company representative said:
“Thanks for reaching out. Carma Laboratories does not use gluten in the manufacture of our Classic and Daily Care lip balms. The colloidal oatmeal in Comfort Care may contain some gluten (as a result of inadvertent contamination when processed).”
On ChapStick’s FAQ page, you’ll find the following information about gluten:
Does ChapStick lip balm contain any oats, rye, or barley? No
Here’s the strange part … ChapStick’s FAQs address oats, rye, and barley but not wheat, which is by far the most common source of gluten in the U.S.
I emailed the company (twice) to get to the bottom of it but did not get a response. ChapStick is the only company that did not reply to my inquiry.
(7) EOS 👍
EOS, which stands for Evolution of Smooth, says in its FAQs:
“Our products do not contain gluten and are not exposed to gluten during manufacturing. The oat ingredient found in some of our products is certified gluten-free. Our products are also checked in the final stage for gluten traces as an added precaution.“
The bottom line: EOS says it tests its products for traces of gluten before selling them. And while the product is not certified gluten-free, I think the gluten-free community can feel confident using EOS lip balm. You can shop for EOS products on Amazon.
(8) Kiss My Face 👍
Kiss My Face says all of its products are gluten-free, including its lip balms. You can find them on Amazon.
(9) Lip Smackers
Lip Smackers lip balms are not gluten-free nor safe for anyone on a gluten-free diet.
The company states on its FAQ page that its products contain gluten, and you can clearly see wheat germ on the product label as well.
Remember, not all Vitamin E is derived from wheat germ. For example, Red Apple Lipstick sources its Vitamin E from gluten-free sources vs. wheat germ.
I did not see any gluten ingredients in Nivea’s lip balm, but I emailed the company to verify. Here’s what a company spokesperson said in an email:
“Thank you for contacting us as to whether or not our products have gluten-derived ingredients. We understand how important this information is for you. If you have concerns about gluten and its derivatives, we recommend avoiding all products with ingredients derived from wheat, rye, barley, and oats. The ingredient names are: TRITICUM VULGARE (wheat bran), SECALE CEREALE (rye seed extract), HORDEUM VULGARE (barley), and AVENA SATIVA (oat bran).
“At Beiersdorf, we strive to offer our consumers the best products possible, and therefore we may reformulate them when improvement is possible. The information we give you today regarding our ingredients may not be accurate if we reformulate a product. We encourage you to always check the product ingredient labeling for the above-listed ingredients.
“Eucerin Skin Calming and Eczema Relief products do contain colloidal oatmeal. Although our other products may not contain the above ingredients, it is possible that there may be traces of gluten since ingredients and products are not manufactured in gluten-free facilities.”
(11) Red Apple Lipstick 👍
Yes, Red Apple Lipstick’s Ralleye lip balm is certified gluten-free! In fact, ALL Red Apple Lipstick products are certified gluten-free.
If you’re on a gluten-free diet and serious about being gluten-free, Red Apple Lipstick should be your go-to brand for lip balm, lipstick, and other cosmetics.
The Rallye Balm is a fantastic lip balm. It makes my lips feel hydrated and silky, leaving a slight glossy shine behind.
For a long time, the Ralleye lip balm was available in lipstick containers, which created a lot of confusion over which tube was my lipstick and which was my lip balm.
As of 2023, Red Apple began to offer lip balm in a gender-neutral tube that looks like an actual lip balm tube!
Vaseline is made of 100 percent pure petroleum jelly, and the brand’s lip balms are made from a blend of mineral oils and waxes along with tocopheryl Acetate.
As you might recall, tocopheryl Acetate is Vitamin E, and Vitamin E may be (but not always) derived from wheat germ. Mineral oil is also derived from petroleum, so don’t be fooled by the pretty name.
I emailed Vaseline to find out the source of its vitamin E, and here’s what the company said:
“We do not specifically test our products for the presence of gluten. Gluten may be present in products that contain derivatives of wheat, oat, rye, and barley. In labeling our products, we follow the guidelines established by the International Nomenclature for Cosmetics Ingredients (INCI) process. Therefore, if we use an ingredient derived from a grain such as wheat, oat, rye, and/or barley, those names will appear on the label.
“We recommend consumers read the label each time before buying our product. If gluten is present, it is clearly listed in plain language on the ingredient label (i.e., wheat flour, rye, barley, oats, and malt). Malt is a barley-based ingredient. Since product formulations change from time to time, we do not publish a list of gluten-free products. We always recommend that you read our on-pack ingredient labels for the most up-to-date information, as formulations may change.“
Was this information helpful? Not really. The company says it will disclose, in plain language, if a product contains gluten on the label. Read those labels carefully!
A Word to the Wise about Aveeno
Always AVOID all Aveeno products because most of the brand’s products are made with oats. In fact, “Avena sativa” means “wild oats” in Latin. I suspect Aveeno got its name by combining “Avena” and “oats” – hence Aveeno.
While naturally gluten-free, oats are not safe for someone on a gluten-free diet to consume UNLESS they are labeled gluten-free. (Read: Are Oats Gluten-Free for more information.)
The Bottom Line on Gluten-Free Lip Balms
When selecting a gluten-free lip balm, it’s important to read ingredient labels carefully. Gluten goes by many names, not just wheat, barley, rye, and oats. The best and most accurate ingredient information will be on the label itself.
Remember, there are great gluten-free lip balm options available, so you don’t have to settle for mainstream, cheap brands that don’t test their final products for the presence of gluten.
When possible, support certified gluten-free lip balm brands. How you spend your money will dictate how other brands treat allergens in the future.
One brand that is always certified gluten-free and has my full seal of approval is the Rallye Balm by Red Apple Lipstick.
Use my personalized coupon code, GOODFORYOUGF, for 20 percent off your entire Red Apple purchase. The code cannot be combined with other offers.
- I Know Why You Have Dry Lips: The Connection Between Celiac Disease and Chapped Lips
- Everything You Need to Know about Gluten-Free Labeling Laws
- Is There Gluten in Your Medication?
- Gluten-Free Makeup, Skincare, and Beauty Brands
- Guide to Gluten-Free Sunscreen
- The “Bottom” Line on Gluten in Toilet Paper and Personal Care Products
Good For You Gluten Free says
I’m not personally familiar with the brand so I recommend doing more research and contacting the company directly.
Helen Shepard says
Hi, I am recently coeliac and have reactions to skincare, I am desperately looking into affordable make up and beauty brands. Would you recommend Fenty beauty?