Around the holidays, it seems that every event for children includes face painting. Birthday parties, carnivals, and even holiday events all have face painters on hand. Sadly, most commercial face paint contains toxic materials that could potentially injure your children. The best way to avoid risking your children’s health is to make your own non-toxic face paint at home.
The Dangers of Commercial Face Paints
According to a random face paint test by the FDA, 10 out of 10 face paints contained toxic levels of lead and 6 out of 10 paints contained nickel, chromium, or cobalt. Every Single One of Them! The levels of these materials inside face paint far exceeded the FDA-allowed concentrations for cosmetic products. Even paints labeled as “non-toxic” or “hypoallergenic” sometimes contained these dangerous ingredients anyway. Some face paint also uses colors and formulas not approved for use in many countries. That’s scary, and it’s not stuff I want on my face or my kids’ faces, that’s for sure.
Making Your Own Non-Toxic Face Paint
So what is a savvy parent to do? Prepare for your child’s future and present by making your own version of face paint!
My daughter and I tried four different homemade recipes with varying results, so you don’t have to guess at which formula is right for your needs. If you have stockpiles of corn starch and natural dies, then you are all set to create non-toxic face paint at home. I did not have any natural dies when I made my paint and simply used food coloring, but natural dyes would make the paint even safer for children.
Recipe 1: Lotion, dishwashing soap, powdered paint (or food coloring and corn starch)
Squirt a small amount of lotion in a container or on a paper plate. Add 1 drop of food coloring and about a ½ teaspoon of powder coloring. Mix the formula together and apply with a small paint brush.
My daughter liked this version of paint the least. It never dried and smeared easily. It was hard to apply without looking gloppy.
Recipe 2: Cornstarch and shortening
Place about a tablespoon of shortening and a tablespoon of cornstarch onto a paper plate. Mix in a few drops of liquid food coloring. Mix with a fork until blended. It can take a while to mix the starch into the shortening.
This paint created a thick paste that was similar to traditional face paint. It dried quickly, but it was still difficult to apply. My daughter said this was the least irritating formula for her skin. When my daughter washed her face after the experiment, this recipe left color stains on her cheeks.