Walk through the Halloween aisle at your local store and you'll see piles of makeup kits. Our advice? Keep walking.
The manufacturers of these kits are notorious for using some of the most toxic ingredients on the market. We read the ingredients on a random kit and spotted 17 of our Big Baddie Ingredients including PEGS, parabens, and coal tar dyes! To make matters worse, many of these kits are marketed for and applied to children's faces.
You might think, But I'm only going to use it once a year ... what's the harm? But the danger is real; we promise.
A few years ago, I applied makeup from a standard Halloween kit to my son's face. He wanted to be a punk-rock zombie, and who was I to deny him? He sat there patiently while I painted, but something seemed ... off. He became very quiet and seemed to be swallowing more than usual.
Within a few minutes, he began to complain his throat was burning. About halfway through the makeup application, we could see the areas of his face not yet covered with makeup growing pale. We rushed him to the bathroom, where he vomited white foam several times. Keep in mind that this makeup did NOT get in his mouth.
After tending to him and removing all traces of the makeup, he began to feel well again. We then studied the labels on the back of the kit and were shocked at what we found.
There were warnings on the back label about not using certain colors in the palette near the eyes or mouth. Imagine that ... a makeup kit, targeted at kids, meant for faces, that warned the user not to apply the contents to the face. How scary is that?
We contacted the manufacturer, who emphatically stated the makeup was nontoxic, despite what had happened to our son. We argued with them about their lack of responsibility in the safety of such products, but it was obvious we were getting nowhere. Additionally, we contacted the customer service center at the big box store we'd purchased the kit from to tell them about our son's reaction, but these same kits are still being sold year after year.
Needless to say, this episode is one of the events that prompted our family to take a deeper look at the ingredients we were not only eating but also applying to our skin. It's yet another example of how we truly need stricter regulations regarding product safety.
My advice to you? Beware and leave faces clean this Halloween. If you need to apply face makeup, opt for nontoxic eyeliner, lipstick, and blush manufactured with top safety standards.
Make sure to really read ingredient labels, and avoid anything that contains the following:
- PEGs (polyethylene glycols): petroleum-based compounds that are known carcinogens
- FD&C color dyes (coal tar dyes): artificial coloring agents that may cause skin irritation and allergic reactions
- Phenoxyethanol: preservative known to cause skin, eye, and lung irritation
- Parabens: synthetic preservatives linked to many acute and chronic health problems
- BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene): preservative linked to an increased risk of cancer in animals
- Formaldehyde releasers (DMDM hydantoin, imidzaolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, quaternium-15): chemical compound that slowly releases formaldehyde, a chemical linked to irritation and cancer
Look instead for natural, chemical-free makeup that's certified organic, or with natural certifications such as Cosmebio, Ecocert, or NSF.
Or, opt for a DIY costume so you know exactly what went into it!
Photo Credit: Getty Images