Personal care items

Lab gloves, condoms, sex toys

There are many reports of people having allergic reactions to corn starch on lab gloves and also on unlubricated condoms. Rubbery-textured sex toys are also often coated with corn starch.

Powder-free gloves (latex and polyethylene) are available, and lubricated condoms are corn-free. (Trust me, you don’t want to take any chances here!)


Some brands of sanitary pads, maternity pads, nursing pads, incontinence pads, etc. are made with corn starch. Most such products appear to be of the biodegradable variety, but if you’re having problems with a mainstream brand, this could be one reason why.


Corn-based diapers are now available in Canada at environmental-themed stores and online.

Cosmetics and toiletry products

Most brands of talcum/baby powder and many powdery cosmetics contain corn starch. Some other cosmetics, such as lipsticks and hair products, sometimes contain corn oil, but this is actually pretty uncommon.

While cosmetic ingredient labelling is now mandatory in Canada, it is governed by the same laws that apply to foods and drugs. In other words, products derived from corn don’t have to be labelled as such in ingredient lists.

Cosmetics made in Europe and/or the USA and/or sold in health food stores sometimes also list their ingredients. In the case of European ingredient listings, corn can appear as “maize” and/or under its scientific name, Zea mays.

Laundry detergent and fabric softener

The majority of laundry products with ingredient lists seem to be made at least partially from corn derivatives. It is likely that the detergents and softeners that do not list their ingredients are also often made with corn products. If you are not already getting rashes from clean clothes there is probably no point in specifically seeking out corn-free brands.