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Tips for a Non-Toxic Halloween

Beware of harmful chemicals hiding in Halloween face makeup

Written by: 100% PURE ®


Here’s something spooky: most Halloween face makeup is loaded with toxic chemicals and skin-damaging irritants! Even creepier is the fact that many of these chemicals lurk under hard-to-pronounce ingredients, and are not intended for use on skin at all.

We’ve come up with a quick guide detailing the do’s and don'ts of Halloween makeup, and why it could be toxic for your skin. Also included are the best products for removing stubborn costume makeup, to keep pores clean and clear after your costume debut.

Common Halloween Products Made with Toxic Chemicals

We think it’s pretty scary that lots of Halloween face makeup contains ingredients that aren’t FDA approved. In fact, many Halloween face paints have been recalled because of the potential dangers they pose to skin.

Costume makeup often contains artificial dyes, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), fragrances, and allergenic metals. All of these ingredients can clog pores, cause breakouts, and severely irritate the skin.

To ensure that your All Hallows Eve doesn’t turn into a real fright night, we’ll shed some light on which toxic ingredients to avoid!

The glue that adheres false eyelashes to your eyelids commonly contains formaldehyde. This toxin can hide behind an ingredient called “formalin”, or formaldehyde-releasing preservatives like DMDM hydantoin, Bronopol, Imidazolidinyl and Diazolidinyl urea.

Many prosthetics – horns, warty witch noses, and even skin – are commonly applied using harmful adhesives. Spirit gum and liquid latex are common adhesives that can contain drying alcohol and can cause allergic reactions. Prosthetics may also contain silicones, which infamously dehydrate skin and clog pores.

Halloween face makeup is a make or break type of deal: it might make a costume, but can easily break you out. Cheap costume makeup often contains chemical dyes that can clog pores, cause breakouts, and irritate skin. It's not unusual to see severe reactions to these cosmetics – specifically around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Eeek!

There is a high risk that asbestos is lurking in talc powder, which is used in many conventional cosmetic formulas. Talc is a known carcinogen and a common ingredient in blush, face powder, and eyeshadow. It can be dehydrating to most skin types, which may lead to irritation and clogged pores.

Halloween cleanser
Helpful Hints for Using Halloween Makeup

Halloween is the perfect opportunity for getting creative with your face makeup, and taking your costume to the next level! But as with any makeup, it's important to properly apply and remove it. This means gliding on smoothly without irritation, and coming off without damage to your delicate skin.

Use a primer
Are you looking for a flawless makeup base that can double as a skin bodyguard? Choosing a face primer creates a barrier between your skin and petrochemical dyes, adhesives, and heavy glitter. It will also help your makeup go on more smoothly.

Wash prosthetics
That characteristic “new smell” that you get from a new car can also happen with Halloween prosthetics, and it’s called “off-gassing”. Off-gassing occurs when new, manufactured products release VOCs and other chemicals during the first hours (or days) of use. It’s important to wash prosthetics before using, to rinse away some of those off-gassing chemicals.

Wash and repeat
Halloween makeup tends to be heavy, so you’ll need a double cleansing routine to get it all off. We recommend first using a cleansing balm and gently exfoliating konjac sponge to sweep away even the most stubborn face makeup, debris, and impurities. For the second wave, use a water-based cleanser or micellar water, which will purify and tone your skin.

PRO TIP: For removing heavy face makeup, start with the cleansing balm to take away the bulk of debris. Next, focus on deep pore-purging by activating a detoxifying powder cleanser with a micellar water. The result will be squeaky clean skin and not a clogged pore in sight.

Face paint
Face Makeup That’s a Horror Story for Skin

This isn’t a trick: many costume makeup products contain ingredients that aren’t FDA approved. Even glow-in-the-dark makeup, which contains fluorescent and luminescent dyes, isn’t recommended by the FDA for use on skin due to higher risk for burns and allergic reactions.

Creams and liners used for Halloween makeup can be dyed with toxic metals like arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, and mercury. The FDA has done extensive research on these colorants, and many have been deemed unsafe for use around the mouth, eyes, and nose. Basically, everywhere you’d want to apply Halloween face makeup.

Potential dangers to skin and recalls on Halloween makeup have sparked a real need for natural alternatives. While many consumers are parents looking for kid-friendly makeup, skin irritants and allergic reactions are no longer only a concern for parents, but for everyone.

7 Tips for Avoiding Toxic Halloween Makeup

First, perform a patch-test
The FDA recommends testing makeup on your arm at least a few days before applying it to your face. This will help determine if the face makeup will trigger an allergic reaction; an especially important tip for those with sensitive skin or a history of allergies.

Use natural makeup instead
Want to keep your skin from looking scary the morning after Halloween? Fruit pigmented® cosmetics are everyday products that double as Halloween-worthy tools. No need to spend extra money on toxic one-time-use products!

Never apply to mouth, eye, or nose area
The majority of Halloween face makeup contains toxic chemicals and heavy metal dyes, so it’s wise to heed the warnings of the FDA: avoid contact with the eyes, nose, and mouth. Heavy metals are not safe if they are accidentally ingested, make contact with your eyes, or infiltrate your lungs.

Avoid products with formaldehyde
Halloween face makeup is mass-produced, and often made with cheap formaldehyde preservatives. Cheap glues and nail products are common suspects made with formaldehyde. Avoid this potentially cancerous ingredient altogether by using a sticky natural lip product instead of glue, and switch to a 10-FREE nail polish that will NOT contain formaldehyde.

Never use glue on skin
Want something sticky, without the toxic chemicals in glue or spirit gum? Go for a DIY vegan and kid-friendly glue recipe using ingredients like organic sugar, distilled water, white vinegar, and arrowroot powder.

Pay attention to recommended age
Have you noticed that the face paint stocked at Halloween stores has a recommended age? If your little one is looking to use face paint this year, be sure you’re using age-appropriate ingredients. Opt for mineral pigments, or naturally-derived paints that use botanicals as key ingredients. The biggest ingredients to avoid are formaldehyde, parabens, and lake colorants.

Paint a face mask instead
Want to avoid chemical colorants on your skin? If you have sensitive skin, an easy work-around is painting or decorating a fabric face mask. While it may not be as fun, it can give you a bit more flexibility if you can’t find ingredients that suit your skin.

Having a scary face for All Hallows Eve is perfectly okay, but you’ll want your face back to normal the next morning. While applying your Halloween makeup and taking it off properly is key, it’s equally important to know what’s actually in your face makeup and what to avoid in the first place.

Want more tips on how to avoid toxic Halloween makeup? How about skin-safe Halloween makeup looks and tutorials? Check out our blog to get the latest on these topics and more!

We carefully hand-select products based on strict purity standards, and only recommend products we feel meet this criteria. 100% PURE™ may earn a small commission for products purchased through affiliate links.

The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.

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