What do you think is the scariest horror awaiting you this Halloween? Haunted Houses? Scary Movies? Your sugar-crazed children eating their way out of a pile of candy? All good guesses, but perhaps the scariest aspect of Halloween is what we too often and too casually allow to come in contact with our child’s skin … Halloween makeup.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states plainly that no safe blood lead level in children has been identified, and that exposure to lead can jeopardize nearly every system in the body. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. And effects of lead exposure cannot be corrected.
That bears repeating – there is no (as in zero) safe amount of lead in the blood of our children. How horrifying is it then that in 2009 the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics issued a report stating that 10 out of the 10 popular children’s face paints contained lead. 10 out of 10! In addition to lead, many of the products tested contained other harmful metals such as nickel, cobalt and chromium, and several products contained hazardous chemicals banned or restricted in other countries and not approved by the FDA.
OK, so now you’ve locked the doors and hidden beneath the bed. But before you tell the kids that this Halloween their costume choices are “bedsheet ghost” and “child with hat” let’s explore five steps you can take to enjoy the holiday without sacrificing the fun.
- Choose makeup carefully – Yes, 10 out 10 products tested contained lead, but fortunately there are more than 10 choices out there and parents and responsible companies are waking up to the problem of dangerous makeup and face paints. There are now much safer choices on the market, such as Elegant Minerals and Natural Earth Paint. Read the ingredients carefully, and apply the same standards you use when choosing an all natural, paraben-free skin or hair care product for everyday use. Use mineral based makeup as an alternative to heavy metals, and if you’re not sure if a product you are using is safe, check the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetics database. Always know what you are putting on and in your body, and your children.
- Perform a patch test – In addition to dangers when absorbed in the bloodstream, many products tested contained highly allergenic ingredients such as chromium. Before applying to your face, place a small amount of the makeup under your arm or at the base of your neck to test for a reaction. Pay special attention to anything that creates a bright or luminescent color and extra special attention to anything used around the eyes and lips.
- Consider natural alternatives to makeup – Mix natural food coloring with corn syrup for fake blood, or cornstarch, flour and vegetable shortening for a spooky ghost or skeleton face. Use Original Sprout Natural Hair Gel with glitter for a safe, fun way to achieve a magical, storybook style!
- Use a primer – before anything touches your child’s face, use a safe primer as a foundation to create a buffer zone. Consider a zinc-based primer, or even a sunscreen such as Original Sprout’s Face & Body SPF. Just as it protects your skin from the sun, the Face & Body SPF creates a layer of micronized zinc above your skin, preventing face paints from being absorbed through your pores and into your bloodstream.
- Remove all makeup as soon as possible – When the trick-or-treating is done, and the candy has all been swapped and largely consumed, it can be tempting to save the cleanup for the following day. Don’t do it! Remove all makeup as soon as possible and strictly adhere to the instructions – the safest removal is not always with soap and water, so be sure to hold on to the packaging for reference, even if you’ve used all of the makeup getting ready for the big night.
Hope these tips help take some of the horror out of your holiday. From our family to yours, we wish you a safe and Happy Halloween!