Do You Know What Is In Your Child’s Face Paint?

We have all done it, stood for what seems like hours in the line at a festival or market, so that our little ones can emerge looking like a butterfly, fairy, lion or super hero, it is one of the joys of having small children. But do you really know what is in your child’s face and finger paints? The paint being used is placed on the most vulnerable of areas, your child’s face, so it is important to know. I had never thought about it at all when my boys were little, but in recent years have started to take more notice of all of the chemicals we are exposed to in our lives, especially when it comes to my children.

That is one of the reasons I work with our lovely friends at Livos, who provide us with our new range of eco friendly oils and children’s paint products. Angela from Livos has told us that the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (2009) conducted a study that discovered some shocking points. Every single face paint product that was tested, was found to contain dangerous heavy metals and toxic substances which are actually banned or restricted in many countries……Even more concerning, was that they discovered not all ingredients were listed in some of the face paint products, which leaves you in the dark as a parent as to what is being put onto your child’s skin.

They also discovered:

  • 6 out of 10 face paints contained nickel, cobalt and/or chromium (all skin allergens) “at levels far exceeding recommendations of industry studies”.
  • 10 out of 10 face paints contained lead from .054 to .65 ppm.
  • Some contained hazardous chemicals banned or restricted in Europe, Canada and Japan as well as colors not approved for use in cosmetics by the FDA.
  • Labels had misleading claims such as “hypoallergenic” on products containing known skin allergens.

Consumer NZ in 2014, tested 15 face paints. 

They found:

  • All face paints tested claimed they were “safe” or “non-toxic” but also had a warning not to apply near the eyes, lips or on sensitive or broken skin.
  • Some had no or incomplete ingredients lists.
  • Most had no contact information for the importer or supplier.

In Australia, a study carried out by The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (2011) found that there are children’s face paint with excessive levels of lead being sold on the Australian market. Products surveyed included finger, face and body paints (for children), toy-style make-up, modeling clays, play dough and plasticine, sticky ‘goo’ toys (such as slime, goo, noise putty and splat frogs) and art paints, crayons and pastels.

While most of the products surveyed were found to comply with the mandatory standard, Ms Court the ACCC Commissioner advised that:

“If your children are using products that are applied to their skin, such as make-up, face and body paints, or toys that are handled a lot and may leave residues such as play dough and ‘goo,’ ensure you wash them thoroughly from your children’s skin immediately after use.”

Parents and carers are also urged in the report to visit the Recalls Australia website for details on any recalls. However, we feel that all products sold on Australian shelves should be safe – don’t you agree?

All these facts are concerning but the one that worries us the most is that many face paints have no or incomplete ingredient lists displayed. So how are you to know what is in them? Having an ingredient list gives you the power to make a fully informed and educated decision about your purchases. Without this you would never know that there may harmful substances in the products you are purchasing for your child to use.

Lead is banned from cosmetics in Canada and Europe, and Australia has mandated standards. However, Angela from Livos also tells me to be careful of products you purchase online as they are not filtered and may not meet Australian standards, therefore could still contain these toxic ingredients.

If the face paint says hypoallergenic or dermatologically tested, is it safe?

Apparently this is not a clear cut answer. These terms are loosely regulated, so a company can make up its own definition (SafBaby, 2016). In fact, some of the face paints tested by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics were labeled hypo-allergenic and contained the highest levels of lead, nickel and cobalt (The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics 2009).

How do natural face paint products rate?

Natural does not always mean safe. One ingredient to be aware of when buying face paints or similar products is a preservative called Optiphen, also known as Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Sorbic Acid. It has a 5 rating on EWG”s Skin Deep Report with “strong evidence indicating it is a human skin toxicant or allergen” (SafBaby, 2016).

How do Livos face and finger paints rate?

One of the reasons we choose to carry products from the Livos range, is that they openly declare the ingredients in all their products, and have done this since 1984. This means you can make an informed decision. All of the Livos products are made without harmful chemicals and the face paints contain only biologically and environmentally responsible ingredients that are grown without the use of pesticides and are biodegradable.

Our recommendation is to always check the ingredients lists and make sure you make an informed decision about the products you are purchasing for your children – and most importantly beware of online purchases. If a company does not declare or will not advise you of the ingredients of their products, you need to ask why?

We have stocked the wonderful Kunos oil from Livos, which is a multi purpose oil for finishing all sorts of projects around your home, as well as this lovely range of non toxic finger paints and face paints. These non toxic natural paints can be safely used for play and are a high quality paints.

The VIDA natural make-up set is a non toxic product, safe for babies and kids of all ages. The set includes 12 colours and comes with 2 brushes and cotton face cloth. Made from natural raw materials, no preservatives, the paints are skin friendly and have excellent coverage and skin tolerance. They are easy to apply and remove and hold up well to perspiration. Suitable for children and adults, for Carnival time or any time! 0% VOC, skin-friendly also suitable for toys.

Considering the paint that your children use is so important and this set of finger paints with 6 x 0.05 lt. paints from Salis, are are non toxic products, safe for babies and kids of all ages. The set comes with 6 colours, each in a 0.05lt glass container presented in a cardboard box. The eco friendly paints can be diluted with water or used as is and can be applied with fingers, brush or sponge. All colours are intermixable.

References and Additional Resources

With permission from an original article by Angela at Livos

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
Consumer NZ
Toxic lead Levels in children’s Halloween face paints


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to our newsletter

for our regular news PLUS a free copy of tips for a happy healthy home