Halloween is just around the corner and so far, we have a potential Batman, Wonder Woman and a possible panther. My kids love to play dress up year round and are often making their unique pretend identity using anything they can find and adding to it by painting their own faces. They used to sneak and use finger paints for this, until I bought them their own non-toxic face paint kit. Like anything else, before purchasing the kit, I did my research having seen past news stories and articles about lead and other heavy metals found in face paints. Below I outline why it’s important to avoid the mainstream brands and share the ones I found to be natural and safe after talking to the owners and representatives of companies themselves.
Why Does Using a Natural, Non-Toxic Face Paint Matter?
A few years ago, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics came out with a report on just what is lurking in most of the mainstream face paints sold in the United States. What they found is scary, especially since it is used on the largest organ of the body – the organ that absorbs much of what gets put on it.
Here’s some of what they found:
•Ten out of 10 face paints tested containe lead.
• Six out of 10 face paints tested containe known skin allergens nickel, cobalt and/ or chromium – at levels far exceeding the recommendations of industry studies.
• Labels containe misleading claims, such as “hypoallergenic,” on products with known skin allergens.
• Hair colors and other cosmetic products containe hazardous chemicals that are banned or restricted in Europe, Canada and Japan and containe colors not approved for use in cosmetics by the FDA.
Why does it matter if there’s lead and heavy metals in face paints?
For starters, at any level of contact with the skin, by mouth or by inhalation, lead is poison. “Lead exposures during prenatal development, infancy and childhood can cause attention deficits, hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, IQ deficits, reduced school performance, aggression and delinquent behavior.
Girls may experience delayed puberty from lead exposure. It can also impact fertility, including increasing risk for miscarriage and reducing sperm quality. Early-life lead exposure can even increase risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Lead also contributes to a wide range of mental health issues throughout people’s lifetime”(Campaign for Safe Cosmetics).
Other Toxins Lurking in Face Paints
Some of the worst ingredients such as formaldehyde, phthalates, parabens, dioxins, and other petroleum-derived products can cause a range of health issues from skin irritation to cancer.
Aren’t These Face Paints Tested Before Being Sold?
The short answer is NO! There is no current regulation, but there are a few companies that do their own testing. There are times when a random test is done by the FDA to see if products on store shelves meet their requirements and at that point, those kits testing high are pulled off the shelves.
Are There Safe Face Paints?
Fortunately, Yes! I spent a week contacting all of the self proclaimed natural companies selling face paints to dig deeper than the marketing. Here I only include the ones that stood up to being non-toxic. Please note that I personally reached out to all of these companies and feel safe using these products with my own children.
I did not include companies that do not openly share ingredients. I also did not include any with synthetic ingredients. Synthetic pigments that have never been tested for toxicity can be labeled “non-toxic” because there is no data to prove otherwise. I have included affiliate links for some of these products. These links don’t cost you anything extra, but they do give back a small percentage to Raising Natural Kids. Thank you so much for your support.
Kiss Freely manufactures their non-toxic face paint in micro batches in a small facility in CO. This facility only produces organic cosmetics, along with Kiss Freely’s face paints. According to the company, their face paints do not contain lead or any toxic or harmful chemical. They are free of the top 8+++ allergens (milk, wheat, soy, egg
Kiss Freely Ingredients: aqua (pH-balanced distilled water), jojoba seed oil , limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed oil, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) gel, montmorillonite (Brazilian rare clays), cetearyl olivate, sorbitan olivate, cetyl alcohol, iron oxides, titanium dioxide, candelilla wax, leucidal liquid(Radish Root Ferment Filtrate), sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid).
Go Green face paints are certified organic being that they are made from organic, plant based ingredients. Also made in the U.S.A., they contain zero lead or synthetic dyes.
I reached out to Malcolm, the owner of Go Green, to find out about why and how the company came to be and he shared that when they started their company in 2014, he and his wife went to a party with one of their daughters and there was another girl crying because there was face painting there. She had severe allergies and was not able to have her face painted. This prompted Malcolm to research face paints. He came across an article by Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and found that make up and face paint has so many dangerous ingredients that he had to find a new way. It was then that Go Green was founded. Since 2014, they have added 4 different kits of completely organic grease type face paint, 4 different kits of vegan water based face paint, 2 make up kits and a set of edible finger paint.
Go Green Ingredients: Black, Red, Brown: Organic jojoba oil & castor oil, iron oxide, sericite, cosmetic grade rice powder, triglyceride (derives from coconut and palm kernel oil), polyglyceryl oleate (vegetable folic acid), 1% phenoxyethanol-SA (a safe alternative to paraben preservatives) •Yellow, Royal Blue, Light Blue, Aqua, Hot Pink, Light Green, Dark Green, Purple: Organic jojoba oil & castor oil, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, tin oxide, sericite, cosmetic grade rice powder, triglyceride (derives from coconut and palm kernel oil), polyglyceryl oleate (vegetable folic acid), 1% phenoxyethanol-SA (a safe alternative to paraben preservatives)
Made in the U.S.A., the base of these face paints are jojoba oil. According to the company, there is zero lead in their face paints. Their face paints are all natural, hypoallergenic, and safe for eyes, lips and sensitive skin. A safe alternative to petroleum-based mix-with-water face paints.
Kooalo Ingredients: Organic jojoba oil & castor oil, iron oxide, sericite, cosmetic grade rice powder, triglyceride (derived from coconut and palm kernal oil), polyglyceryl olate (vegetable folic acid), 1% phenoxyethanol-SA (a safe alternative to paraben preservatives).
This company is unique in that they make a ton of DIY type kits that children can use to make their own products, such as lip balm, lip gloss, bath bombs, hair chalk and even non-toxic face paint, using natural ingredients – nothing toxic (unlike most of the other science type, make you own on the market). So you get two for one with this in that it is an activity as well. This is a Canadian company that has stricter standards to adhere to then in the United States. This is the one company that I have not heard back from after several attempts to contact them. Amazon is out of stock on many Kiss Natural kits, so I am wondering if they are still in business. I hope that they are.
Kiss Naturals Ingredients:Cream Base: Water (Aqua), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Soja Hispida (Soya Bean) Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Palm/Coconut Oil), Emulsifying Wax NF, Glyceryl Monostearate, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol (fatty acid), Allantoin, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol and Caprylyl Glycol. May contain/Peut contenir/Puede contener: Red Carmine (CI 75470). Blue: Ultramarines (CI 77007). Yellow Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxide (CI 77491). White (Blanc/Blanca): Mica (CI 77019) Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Black: Iron Oxide (CI 77499).Texture Base: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Mica (CI 77019), Magnesium Stearate, Corn Starch
Made in the U.S.A., “Natural Earth Paints are certified non-toxic, and natural. They have been tested by government approved toxicologists and third party labs and are 100% non-toxic.” These paints are clay and mineral-based including skin conditioners such as organic, fair-trade shea butter and organic castor seed oil. I did some investigating and am fully confident that this company is what it say. In fact, it was started by a mother and an artist wanting safe supplies for her own family!
Natural Earth Ingredients: distilled water, natural clay & mineral pigments, organic castor seed oil, certified organic beeswax, Certified Organic Shea Nilotica (Fair-trade shea butter), cetearyl alcohol (from natural vegetable oils), carageenan seaweed, olive-mulse (olive based emulsifier), and 1% Optiphen (a formaldehyde-free and paraben-free preservative).
If you are looking for a safer alternative to mainstream nail polish, look no further than Poofy Organics. Poofy Organics offers salon quality without the major toxins. Plus, their nail polish remover has no scent and rates a zero for toxicity by the Environmental Working Group. They have over 90 colors to match any need.
FREE of Formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, TPHP, camphor, xylene, parabens, fragrances, phthalates, and animal ingredients.
Although nail polish can never be completely natural, modern polishes are full of toxins that you breathe in, as well as absorb them through your skin every time you paint your nails. This is significantly worse if you have your nails done at a salon. POOFY POLISH does NOT have any of the major toxins!
The major toxins found in nail polish are:
Toluene- A human reproductive toxin.
Formaldehyde- A known carcinogen, plus they pickle dead bodies in it. YUCK!
Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP)- Known to cause infertility, uterine cancer, testicular cancer & fetal defects just to name a few!
Camphor – Poisonous & can cause liver damage.