If you're a guy with soy allergies or a caretaker for a child with soy allergies, read on--this affects you too!
Having worked as a makeup artist for fourteen years, I got to know thousands of products and ingredients over the years. At each company I worked for, I would get 'mysterious' reactions from products and realized with trial and error that I'm allergic
and get contact dermatitis to: dimethicone and all liquid silicone derivatives, nickel, lanolin and most PEGs, Vitamin E (tocopherol acetate), stearic acid/vegetable stearic acid and glycerin or vegetable glycerine which are from soy.
Those of us with nut allergies are lucky that not too many bath, beauty or skincare products contain nuts, but to avoid the slight possibility, always ALWAYS read ingredients. To clear up confusion with whether coconut oil or palm oil is from a nut, here is something I found. That said, always consult your allergist before trying anything new.
Two years ago, after many soy allergy reactions at work and not enough organic cosmetics or truly USDA Certified Organic products, I decided it was time to leave. I was also fed up with the superficial nature of the cosmetics industry and wanted to immerse my heart into works on canvas, not people's faces, which would get washed off.
While working amongst thousands of cosmetics, skincare and fragrances, I was only able to use one foundation whenever my eczema on my face was acting up and then that product suddenly started adding dimethicone. I remember the looks and comments I would get from people I was helping or doing makeup on when my soy allergy or dimethicone allergy was causing peeling, rashy issues around my lips and nose. I tried to exfoliate it, but it seemed to continue to peel no matter how much Vaseline or lip balm I applied. I tried to cover it with makeup, but skin texture and peeling skin is always visible, no matter what you do.
What you see in the mirror is all that matters.
At my last job, one older lady I was helping with eyeliner made a face and asked me why my skin was so dry, looking at the lower part of my face. When I tried to explain that it was eczema, (my skin was peeling within an inch and a half radius surrounding my lips) she went on to curtly advise me to start using Vaseline at night, since "its what helps her." When I said I tried that and its from eczema from allergies (which I don't even know why I bother explaining), she cut me off and told me again her prognosis on how to fix it and went back to looking for her eyeliner. Really?
Being the 'Sensitive Sally' that I am, I promptly walked to the stockroom to wipe away the tears that had already started creeping up. Who knows, maybe it was that time of the month for me. My co-workers were amazingly supportive, telling me not to let her get to me...that she was just an aging woman who was probably just jealous and trying to pick on me.
I felt better. Yet, everytime I looked in the mirror I got sad.
Love looks through a telescope. Envy, through a microscope.
That day, I went on a mission to my nearby health food stores to find soy-free and dimethicone-free makeup and discovered two brands who seemed to have some safe items. Since that time, one has added soy to their products and the other never got back to me when I questioned them about the Vitamin E in their products.
Makeup, skincare and bath product ingredients are constantly changing; for this reason, you have to constantly read the ingredients of the same products you buy. Glycerin (usually derived from vegetable oil or soy) is in practically everything, as is Vitamin E (tocopherol acetate), PEGs and lecithin (also from soy). Let's not forget about GMOs and 'natural flavors'....for this reason, its a good idea to stick with USDA Certified Organic products since they are required to avoid GMOs. I also try to avoid parabens (preservative in foods, cosmetics, skincare and bath products) since propylparaben and anything with the suffix -paraben in the ingredient is known to have been found in breast cancer tumors. For people who have open cuts or rashes, it is a good idea to avoid all parabens so that they don't go directly into your bloodstream.
The reason why this really sucks is because I have found that theatrical makeup or makeup used for stage such as Kryolan, Ben Nye and Mehron, or even cheaper knockoffs like Coastal Scents usually have soy-free and dimethicone-free products but almost all of them use parabens as preservatives!
For people with eczema or severe allergies, most cosmetics and skincare is a catch-22, you can risk long-term cancer or get an allergic reaction.
Which one do you think is the lesser of the two evils for most people? Yes, that's right, the 'cigarettes' or the paraben-laden products....that is, until they or someone they love gets cancer
Another company, Afterglow Cosmetics happens to be all of the following:
Ultra Pure Mineral Cosmetics also carries some soy-free and gluten-free products; read ingredients to be sure.
According to their website:
About gluten: "Badger does not use any gluten or gluten-derived ingredients at our facility in New Hampshire, so our balms, oils, Anti-Bug Shake & Spray and Anti-Bug Stick are filled on machinery that has not processed gluten materials. However, Badger is not a certified gluten-free facility, so there cannot be a 100% guarantee. When using a new product for the first time, it is a good idea to read our full-disclosure labels carefully and/or perform a skin patch test prior to full use."
All the Body Oils and Massage Oils (including Baby Oil and Damascus Rose Face Oil) are filled using the same machine that fills the Anti-Bug Shake & Spray bottle. Although we are careful to perform GMP compliant cleanings between all batches to reduce the chance of cross contamination, we are not a certified Soy-free facility.
All balms packaged in the tins are made on machinery that has not touched any soy ingredients. So, although we are not a certified soy-free facility, these items have very low risk of any cross contamination. When using a new product for the first time, it is a good idea to read our full-disclosure labels carefully and/or perform a skin patch test prior to full use."
Most if not all of their products are USDA Certified Organic and many of their products are completely soy-free, dimethicone-free, paraben-free and gluten-free. For this reason, they are my go-to brand for their Madagascar Vanilla Lip Balm and the Anti-Bug Balm (it works and smells sooo good) which I always have in my bag during the warmer months when I go to the beach, nature trails or anywhere bugs may thrive.
For facial skincare, a couple of Twitter friends recommended Premae Skincare from the UK whose products are reknowned for being allergy-safe and free of nuts and soy! So exciting...they even have anti-wrinkle creams!!! Their vitamin E is coconut-sourced and all other ingredients can be found in their 'ingredients' section.
If you or your baby is as sensitive as I am and on a budget, your best bet is to MAKE YOUR OWN soap. Lately, I've been using Allafia African Shea Butter Soap which I buy from Whole Foods. Its SO much cheaper than California Baby products and is fair-trade certified. The only ingredients are: African Mint (Ocimum canum) Extract (Aqueous), African Black Soap (Saponified Shea Butter* (Butyrospermum Parkii) and Palm Kernel Oil (Elaeis guineensis)), Lauryl Glucoside, Peppermint Essential Oil.
*Certified Fair for Life-Social and FairTrade by IMO. You can use it as shampoo, shaving cream and soap. I'm not too keen on the peppermint smell so I revamp it!!! I add some Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla from my kitchen pantry to about 1 cup of the soap to warm up the scent and about 25 drops of soy-free vitamin E (find the link on this post) to preserve the product.You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to make it antibacterial.
As for conditioner, the best way to keep it soy-free, dimethicone-free and gluten-free is to honestly make it yourself. I've found even products for the MOST sensitive skin make my skin sting or aggravate my eczema. Here is a recipe I found on Pinterest. Hopefully it works for you!
You really can find a DIY (do it yourself) recipe on Pinterest for practically anything. Sure, these recipes might be time consuming but some are definitely worth it. For lotions, I use pure olive oil, jojoba oil or extra-virgin organic coconut oil after the shower (which doubles as deodorant because of it's antibacterial properties).
I also found this DIY Body Butter recipe. OMIT the almond oil and use olive instead. Also omit the lavender oil if you're allergic to legumes and if you need a scent, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, like ylang ylang or clove (for a warmer, spicier scent). Follow the rest of directions precisely.
So here is the run-down of trickier soy derivatives to avoid when examining ingredients in beauty, bath and hair products:
- Vegetable protein or vegetable oil (usually soy-sourced)
- Soy lecithin/lecithin
- Guar gum (close legume cousin of soybeans or 'finished' with about 10% soy during manufacturing)
Mono/Di/Tri-glycerides (are frequently soy-based glycerine)
- Olive Oil (if imported it likely contains soybean oil. Only trust USDA Certified Organic)
- oleic acid - from vegetable oil which is usually soy
- polyamide 3 - usually derived from soy protein
- PEG 5 (soy sterol)
- PEG 10 (soy sterol)
- PEG 16 (soy sterol)
- PEG 25 (soy sterol)
- PEG 30 (soy sterol)
- PEG 40 (soy sterol)
- Glycerin/glycerine/vegetable glycerin (Usually comes from soy but sometimes comes from palm or coconut)
- Glycine soja - soy amino acid that works as texturizer for hair
- Stearic acid/vegetable stearic acid - Usually from soy; may come from palm or other plant sources; to be sure, contact company if source isn't labeled. Be aware that this ingredient is also in many supplements and medicines.
- Magnesium stearate
- Vitamin E - (tocopherol acetate/tocopherols)
- 'Natural flavors' - This ingredient is iffy, since some natural flavors are GMOs which are made from soy/corn.