Ghosts, goblins, witches, and zombies—it’s that time of year again when all things scary come out to give us a fright. But did you know that the ingredients in the Halloween makeup your kids (and you!) use may really be the scariest things about Halloween?
In a study conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, it was found that the majority of conventional Halloween makeup on the market contains heavy metals such as lead, nickel, cobalt, and chromium.
The study also stated that most manufacturers may not even be aware that these ingredients are in their products:
"Due to a lack of manufacturer testing and regulatory oversight, it is possible that the companies are not even aware that the products are contaminated. These contaminants likely get into the products when poor-quality ingredients are used."
It’s a known fact that lead is found in most mainstream cosmetic brands*, and unfortunately, manufacturers are not required to list “lead” on their labels, whether they know it's there or not. Since there is no safe level of lead in children, it’s important that we protect them from it. Lead exposure in children can cause brain damage, it's a carcinogen, and it can cause learning disabilities.
* Pick up Gillian Deacon’s book There’s Lead in Your Lipstick for some great info on avoiding toxic chemicals in cosmetics and body care products. It’s a great informative read filled with tips and recommendations.
But how do you know if your Halloween makeup contains these harmful ingredients? Just because it says non-toxic or hypo-allergenic on the label, does not mean that it is free of heavy metals such as lead. This is why it’s scary—because by reading the label; there is no way to know. Ingredient concoctions in most cosmetic products are proprietary.
Luckily, there are things you can do to avoid exposing yourself and your children from these ingredients. Here are a few ideas:
Of course, the best way to avoid toxic Halloween makeup is to avoid it altogether. Go for a costume where makeup is not a necessity. A positive to doing this is that there is little to no cleanup after trick-or-treating. And sure, some may argue that the makeup is only worn once per year for a short period of time, but it's still unnecessary exposure. Why take the risk? Keep in mind that all of this does not only apply to Halloween face paints, it also applies to face paints applied at fairs, play makeup, and of course, adult makeup.
There are some great, natural, non-toxic, mineral-based face paints on the market such as::
There are numerous recipes on the internet for homemade, non-toxic Halloween face paints using common kitchen ingredients. Here a few:
Have a fun and safe Halloween!