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Tips for a Non-Toxic Halloween

Beware of harmful chemicals lurking in Halloween face makeup

Written by: 100% PURE ®


Boo! Here’s something spooky: Lots of Halloween face makeup is loaded with toxic chemicals and potential skin-damaging irritants! Even more creeper is many of these chemical villains lurk under hard-to-pronounce ingredients and are not even intended for use on skin. 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.

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!

Don’t blink – your false lashes might get you! The glue that adheres false eyelashes to your eyelids commonly contains formaldehyde. This toxin can hide in an ingredient list as formalin, or formaldehyde-releasing preservatives like DMDM hydantoin, Bronopol, Imidazolidinyl and Diazolidinyl urea.

Avoid letting that warty witch nose land you in a sticky situation. Many prosthetics – body parts, horns, and even skin – is commonly applied using harmful adhesives. Spirit gum and liquid latex are common adhesives, that can contain drying alcohol and 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, which 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, in many conventional cosmetic formulas. What are we talc-ing about? Yes, that known carcinogen! Talc is 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

Makeup is the easiest way to get gruesomely great results at your upcoming Halloween party. Halloween is perfect 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, or damage to your delicate skin when it’s coming off at the end of the night.

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

Wash prosthetics
That characteristic “new smell” – called off-gassing – that you think may smell pleasant in a new car isn’t so innocuous. Halloween prosthetics have the same effect! Off-gassing occurs when new, manufactured products release VOCs and other chemicals as they’re worn in. It’s important to wash prosthetics before using, to rinse away the stench of off-gassing chemicals.

Wash and repeat
Halloween makeup tends to be heavy, so you’ll need a 2-step cleansing routine to get it all off. We recommend first using a cleansing balm 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, nitty-gritty 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, deeply hydrated skin.

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.

5 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 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? Try our Gemmed Lip Glosses: these lightly-tacky glosses are made with skin-healthy vitamin E, pomegranate oil, and real gemstones! You can also get crafty and go for a DIY vegan and kid-friendly glue recipe using ingredients like organic sugar, distilled water, white vinegar, and arrowroot powder.

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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