Choose Non-toxic face paint for Halloween

Have you ever wondered what’s in face paints? It’s actually pretty scary!


Kids love getting their faces painted; at birthday parties, fairs, school plays and, especially, on Halloween.  Butterflies, fairies, lions, superheroes and, of course, scary zombies all come to life with face and body paint.  Just as scary as the costumes, however, are some of the ingredients commonly found in most face painting kits.

The danger with toxic chemicals being found in these paints stems from the fact that our skin absorbs anything that is placed on it.  Additionally, these paints are often placed near our children’s mouths and ingested.  Finally,  children, due to their size and stages of development, are especially vulnerable to the effects of all toxic chemicals. Bottom line?  It is important to do your research before purchasing face paints for your children.

What’s in my child’s ’fun’ face paint?

  • Lead: Yes, the extremely toxic neurotoxin linked to lower IQ, learning and behavior problems is commonly found in face paint.  Some face paints contain shocking amount of lead: 15,200 ppm ( no amount of lead is considered safe for a child)
  • Cadmium: A hormone disruptor that has been linked to breast, kidney, lung and prostate cancer, has been found in over 30% of face paints tested.
  • Chromium: A heavy metal and known skin allergen.
  • Fragrance: Often a composite of dozens of undisclosed chemicals, ‘fragrance’ usually contains phthalates that are hormone disruptors, among other potentially dangerous chemicals.
  • Parabens: These are preservatives that are often added to face paints and cosmetics marketed at children.  They are also endocrine disruptors and have been found in breast cancer tissue.
  • Barium: A rat poison, has been found at levels 40 times higher than their regulated safety limit in children’s face paintBarium, if ingested, leads to severe stomach pains.
  • Talc: Can be contaminated with asbestos, and then considered a carcinogenic. Talc has also been linked to mesothelioma, inflammation and ovarian cancer and found in Halloween Face Paints.

Companies can, and do, use virtually any material in cosmetic products, including face paints marketed at children.  The FDA cannot require manufacturers to register the ingredients they use – even if these chemicals are linked to long-term adverse health effects like cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption or learning disabilities.

The good news for parents is that it’s pretty easy to keep these scary ingredients away from your little one’s sensitive skin this Halloween (and throughout the year!)

Tips for a healthier and safer Halloween:

  1. Look for tints that come from natural sources like organic beets, purple carrots, turmeric, red cabbage and marigold
  2. Don’t rely on labels that claim the paint is “safe” , “non-toxic”,  ‘hypoallergenic’ or ‘dermatologically tested,’ these labels are not regulated.
  3. Avoid products that have an added artificial fragrance (ie “fruity smell”)
  4. Consider using a head piece or mask instead; or better yet make your own with natural paints
  5. Need to remove natural face paint? Try out organic coconut oil!


  • Natural Earth Face Paint: Made with over 70 percent organic ingredients, similar to the body paints used thousands of years ago. These paints are safe – with ingredients like organic shea butter and castor seed oil.
  • Natural Earth Face Paint – Mini: An easy to transport Face and body paint kit containing four paint pots and one bamboo applicator.
  • Wee Can Too Veggie Finger Paint: Looking to paint your own mask? These finger paints are safe enough to eat. Made from organic fruit and vegetable powders: Purple/Blue made with real blueberries, Red/Pink made with real beets, Yellow made with real pumpkin and Green made with real spinach! Simply add water in separate cups as your little artist gets creative.