Thursday, October 25, 2018


Photo credit:  Kristin Olsson 

post originally written and posted 10/2017

Kids love face paint. What better way to become a pirate or a princess or a butterfly or tiger than with face paint, right?   

Unfortunately, most store bought face paints have really toxic chemicals including   lead (and high levels of it) talc (linked to cancer), chromium, barium, endocrine disrupting fragrance chemicals (for more details on what is in your face paint check out an article I wrote for The Tot recently) 

I now cringe when I see a face painting station at  birthday parties or fairs because, truthfully, the struggle is real.  The kids LOVE getting fun designs and I don't always want to be the mean mom that says no.

So this is what I have decided:   when we are at home we will make our own
face paints (recipes below).  This becomes a fun sensory activity the kids love and we can do together and I know the paint is 100% safe.

If we go to a birthday party and the kids really want to get their face painted I allow the kids to get their faces painted but I ask the paint not to come close to the mouth and I try to remove the face paint when we get home (ie dont leave it on to be absorbed by the skin the entire day).  Luckily, this does not happen that often so I find it is a happy medium.  However, if you have very young children or babies and want to paint their faces for a costume - or for everyday fun- I would encourage only using safe nontoxic face paints.   Babies and young children are especially vulnerable to all chemicals.

Tips for Buying Non-toxic face paints
1. Remember labels like 'non-toxic' and 'natural' really mean nothing.  Companies are not required to disclose the ingredients they use in face paints to any governing body so they can - and do- put anything in there (including lead and the chemicals I just mentioned!).  These labels that seem indicative of good ingredients are not certified by anyone either.

2.  Look at the ingredients and look for paints that get their tints/ colors from food like beets, blueberries etc

I like: 

Glob All Natural Paint Kits

Face Paint – Certified Organic, Hypoallergenic, All Natural Kit - Cosmetics Grade - locking Stackable Jars for Easy Storage and Carry, Best for Parties, Makes Halloween Costumes Even Better!

While these are truly non-toxic and safe face paints, making your own face paints at home are surprisingly easy, and require minimal effort and ingredients you probably already have at home

It is actually a fun and easy activity for fun sensory play for babies and children of all ages.

There are various ‘recipes’ you can use (see below).  For tinting you can either purchase non-toxic food dyes or make your own by boiling 1 cup of different hued vegetables and fruits (blueberries - blue, beets - red, onions - yellow etc).  

recipes 01:
 2 TSP corn starch
 1 tsp non toxic body lotion/cream
 1 tsp water.
 Food color (DIY or a natural brand) 
 Mix all the ingredients except the food color and put them in separate containers. Add more water if need be and make sure to mix until a creamy mixture forms without any lumps.  Add the desired food color. 

recipe 2

  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp water to make paste
  • 1/2 tsp Diaper rash cream(California Baby and Burt’s Bees are good and natural.)
  • Add food coloring or DIY pigments.
  • Mix the first three ingredients together to make a thick white paste. Then, take a little bit of the base and mix with different foods to create your desired colors.

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