The truth about face paints

Did you know that many children are being exposed to potentially dangerous levels of heavy metals from face paints and other traditionally used party/Halloween products, some of which claim to be “safe,” “non-toxic” or “hypoallergenic.”

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics sent 10 popular children’s face paints to an independent lab to be tested for a range of harmful metals. All of the products tested were contaminated with low levels of lead (no level of lead is acceptable or safe), which can harm children’s developing brains. “Six of the products were contaminated with nickel, cobalt and/or chromium which can cause lifelong skin problems. Many of the products contained two, three or even all four of these metals. Due to the lack of cosmetic industry regulation in the United States, face paint, hair color and other products on U.S. shelves contain dangerous heavy metals and toxic substances that are banned or restricted in other countries. Disturbingly, parents have no way of knowing what’s really in these products just by reading the labels” (Source: Safe Cosmetics).

Photo:J. Richardson

The Spooky Truth?

  • 10 out of 10 face paints tested contained lead.
  • 6 out of 10 face paints tested contained known skin allergens nickel, cobalt and/ or chromium – at levels far exceeding there commendations of industry studies.
  • Labels contained misleading claims, such as “hypoallergenic,” on products with known skin allergens.
  • Hair colors and other cosmetic products contained hazardous chemicals that are banned or restricted in Europe, Canada and Japan and contained colors not approved for use in cosmetics by the FDA.

What Can We Do?

At the very least – AVOID those products!

Here is a great recipe on how to make your own safe and natural face paints – you can find more recipes including hair spray, hair gel and Face Paints Made with Food – at the SafeCosmetics DIY recipes page!!