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Beauty Roundup: November 4, 2011

Gluten-free has become a big business in food, begging the question of whether cosmetics products need to be, too.

There are roughly three-million Americans believed to suffer from Celiac Disease — a genetic disorder that can trigger intestinal upset when touched off by gluten — and millions more have some form of gluten-intolerance. That begs the question of whether cosmetics products need to also be gluten-free.
Ann Whelan, editor and publisher of Gluten-Free Living thinks it is a personal choice. However, there are those who believe even wearing any beauty products can make them ill. On chat rooms and forums, in fact, celiacs discuss what products are safe to use for those who suffer.

A new study published this week found that using some cosmetics products on lips, face and body could cause potential problems. The study, “Information About Cosmetic Ingredients is Difficult to Obtain: A Potential for Celiac Patients,” focuses on the top 10 cosmetics companies in order to gauge the availability of information about ingredients and the accessibility of gluten-free products.

Gluten-free has become a big business in food. There’s nary a category in grocery that doesn’t tout a product sans gluten. Pizzerias have gluten-free pizzas; there’s even gluten-free pasta. But in beauty, there’s still a lack of readily available information about ingredients. Researchers combed through Web sites of beauty firms to search “gluten” and “gluten free” to determine products specifically manufactured without gluten.

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Additionally, the ingredients for each cosmetics product were also researched using an independent Web site. According to the study, only two of the top 10 cosmetic companies in the U. S. offered detailed ingredient information on gluten. However, no gluten sources were identified. The independent sites offered ingredients from five companies, and again no gluten sources were identified. Ingredient information was unavailable for four companies and none of the cosmetics companies specifically offered gluten-free cosmetic options, according to the study findings. The research was prompted by a physicians’ patients complaining about exacerbation of her celiac symptoms and a skin rash after a body lotion was used that was advertised as natural. When she stopped the product, the signs lessened.

“This study revealed that information about the ingredients, including the potential gluten content, in cosmetics is not readily available,” said Pia Prakash of George Washington University, who worked on the study. She advised that some of the big manufacturers should increase their information regarding whether the products can be safely used by individuals with gluten sensitivity.

While natural has been a push for the beauty industry, perhaps examining the gluten-free aspect is also another direction the industry needs to examine.

People, Places and Things

A few words with Joe Fracassi, president and chief executive officer of Pacific World on the merging with W.E. Bassett Company. The combined companies will now be the fifth biggest beauty firm in the U.S. and the second largest nail care firm.

WWDBeautyNews: What’s behind this move?
This represents a merger of two strong global cosmetics accessory companies. It is a case of one plus one really equaling three. We have many opportunities to grow together and bring even more innovation to consumers. This is our fourth acquisition and we are always looking for more ways to serve our consumer. We know that retailers are looking to consolidate vendors and this makes us an even bigger player in nail care.

WWDBeautyNews: Nail care is on fire, what do you have planned?
We have a big launch of SensatioNail, one of the first at-home gel nail manicure systems on the market. It has an LED light and we think we really used our technology and knowledge to do it right. It will be out for the holidays.

What’s In Store

Walgreens Implements iPads: The world of self-service retailing is transforming at warp speed as pharmacists at Walgreens use iPads to find information at a button for patients. That same technology could shortly come to providing beauty advice in its new designs, too. For example, a shopper looking for a skin care products for acne, could access a roving clerk who could do the research right in the store. As part of its new direction, pharmacy in select stores has been moved near the entrance of the store. That can bode well for beauty since customers waiting for prescriptions might tend to wander into cosmetics, company executives said.

Febreze Does Halloween Costume Swap: Febreze Fabric Refresher just finished a novel costume swap where people brought back used Halloween costumes and they were freshened up and given to new people.


To keep the momentum going, full-size Fabric Refresher samples were handed out for parents to try at home, as well as samples of other products, including Febreze To Go and Febreze set & can make them ill. refresh.