Face painting is a fun party activity. Whether it’s Halloween, Mardi Gras, for a birthday party, or any other occasion, before you start transforming your child’s angelic face into that of a tiger, bear or any other design you can dream up, you might want to consider what is actually in those paints you’re slathering onto their skin.
You probably check the labels on those paints already though and when you see words like “safe,” “FDA-approved,” “non-toxic,” or “hypoallergenic,” you might breathe a sigh of relief. Unfortunately though, even with these labels, there is a better than good chance that these still contain heavy metals like lead, cobalt, nickel, and chromium. That’s scary.
Even scarier, your child can ingest these dangerous heavy metals when you apply the face paint to their lips or if they get the paint from their face onto their hands (and we all know our kids put their hands in their mouth constantly). And perhaps scariest of all, you won’t find these heavy metals listed on the packaging because they aren’t intended to be ingredients. They contaminate the paints when the manufacturers cheap out and use low-quality minerals. These minerals are not tested and hence, the labels get slapped on, giving parents everywhere false reassurance.
So how can you find safe face paints? For starters, look for paints that are independently tested to be free of contaminants from petrochemicals and contaminants. Read the labels to see if the brand you’re considering says it is free from parabens, synthetic dyes, formaldehyde, and other nasty chemicals. Your best options are face paints that are made with natural pigments. You’ll see packaging that says they are made from fruits, vegetables, flowers, or other botanicals.
If you see titanium dioxide, you don’t need to panic. While it is harmful in dust-form, it cannot be absorbed through the skin. That is why you’ll see it in sunscreen, lip products, and face paints. Another ingredient you don’t need to worry about is zinc oxide. Ingesting it creates a mild laxative effect, however it needs to be a substantial amount, much more than you would ever put on your child’s face.
As with all things of this nature, it’s best to keep it out of the reach of children even if it is completely natural. Some brands to consider for safe face paints are Elegant Minerals, Natural Face Paint, and Go Green Organic Facepaint. If you’re not sure of a brand, just delve deeper into what the label tells you.
You can also create your own safe, non-toxic face paints for your child. It can be an easy and fun craft you’ll enjoy doing together for any occasion.