Choose Non-Toxic Face Paint For Halloween

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

little girl having her face painted

As Halloween approaches, kids around the country will have their faces painted as butterflies, fairies, lions, superheroes and, of course, scary zombies. Because face paints don’t require any FDA approval, many ingredients commonly found in face painting kits are even scarier than the costumes themselves.

A report by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics that tested 10 popular face paint brands, found traces of heavy metals such as lead, nickel and chromium alarmingly high levels. But it doesn’t end there. Face paints can also contain a whole host of worrying additives that have been linked to long-term adverse health effects like cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption or learning disabilities.

Children, who these products are marketed at, are especially vulnerable to toxins due to their developing bodies and sensitive skin. What’s more, paints are usually applied near areas such as the eyes and mouth where they can easily be ingested and absorbed.

Toxins to Avoid in Face Paint 

The following toxins or ingredients have been found in store-bought face painting kits and should be avoided at all times.

  • 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 amounts 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 that is widely restricted from use in cosmetics yet still found in face paints.
  • 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. 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 face paints.

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 rest of the year).


5 Tips for a Non-toxic 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 and are often a case of “green washing”.
  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. See our Halloween Shop for ideas.
  5. Need to remove natural face paint? Try out organic coconut oil!


Our Non-Toxic Face Paint Pick

  • Klee Naturals: Made with beeswax, shea butter, and mango seed butter, these paints are free from talc, parabens, phthalates, FD&C colors or dyes, and harsh chemicals

Klee Naturals Sunshine Fairy Play Makeup Kit

Sunshine Fairy Play Makeup Kit





Klee Naturals Rainbow Fairy Play Makeup Kit

Rainbow Fairy Play Makeup Kit





Klee Naturals Rainbow Fairy Play Makeup Kit


Snowy Star Play Makeup Kit





Continue exploring more on Halloween


  • See our selection of the best safe and non-toxic Halloween costumes, masks, face paints and more in our Halloween Shop.
  • Now that you have their fluttering fairy and ghastly gargoyle costumes sorted, it’s time to brush up on the latest tips to ensure your little trick-or-treaters stay safe this Halloween.