Beware toxins in Halloween Makeup

We share this story every year, as we get knots in our stomach when the mounds of Halloween makeup begin to appear in stores.  The manufacturers of Halloween makeup are notorious for using some of the most TOXIC ingredients.  We read the ingredients on one makeup 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 directly to children.  Think if you only use these once a year, they are safe?  Read on.

A number of years ago we applied makeup from a Halloween kit to my son's face.  He sat there patiently as we applied the makeup, but it just seemed like something was wrong.  Within a few minutes he began to complain that his throat was burning.  He became very pale, and we rushed him to the bathroom, where he vomited what looked like white foam several times.  Keep in mind that this makeup did NOT get IN his mouth. 

When the incident passed, we studied the labels on the kit and were shocked with what we learned.  There were actually warnings about not using certain colors near the eyes or mouth.  Ha!  Go figure - a face makeup kit warning you NOT to apply to your face!  How scary is that?  We also began to study the list of chemicals that were used in the product.    

We contacted the manufacturer and they emphatically stated that their makeup was non-toxic.  We have yet to find out which irritant/s among that ingredient list caused our son such an adverse reaction. 

Updates Since We First Posted this Story: 

In October 2015, NY Senator Charles Schumer called on federal authorities to take a stance and test Halloween makeup regularly and provide disclosures about the ingredients, as many are mass produced in China and contain metals than can be hazardous to children.  He referenced a report done by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics in 2009 that found lead to be present in 10 out of 10 makeup sets they tested. 

This year, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a new report with some staggering results.  They read the labels of 187 products marketed to kids and then tested 51 of the products through a third party laboratory.  This is a summary of their findings:

  • LEAD was present in nearly 20% of Halloween face paints tested. "The strong association of lead with damage to the brain, nervous system, learning and behavior problems has led the CDC to declare there is no safe level of childhood exposure to lead." 

  • CADMIUM present in 30% of the Halloween face paints tested. Cadmium is a hormone disruptor linked to cancer. 

  • TOLUENE (commonly found in nail polish) a hormone disruptor and developmental and reproductive toxicant, was found in nearly 11% of the products tested hiding under the word “fragrance.”

  • PARABENS  At least one paraben (endocrine disruptor) was found in 34% of products. Two or more parabens were found in 3% of the products.

  • ETHOXYLATED INGREDIENTS   28% of products contained ethoxylated ingredients according to the labels. The manufacturing process can result in two toxic contaminants linked to breast cancer and other cancers: ethylene oxide and 1,4- dioxane.

  • FORMALDEHYDE (known human carcinogen) RELEASERS  were found in 3% of the products. 

You can take action for Kids' Cosmetic safety HERE.

Our Suggestions:

Leave faces clean this year.  Wear a funky hat instead.  If you do want to apply face makeup, opt for non-toxic eyeliner, lipstick and blush with top safety standards. 

100% Pure Makeup Palettes pigmented with fruit
100% Pure makes some gorgeous, nontoxic makeup that is pigmented with fruit.  

Be sure to check out their Punk Princess and Mermaid Palettes!  


Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!


Photo (girl) credit: Schmel: Adobe stock photo

Source: NBC New York, 10/18/15 -

Source: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics: Pretty Scary 2 Report


Margot White


We were getting ready for a Halloween party i had already put some novelty makeup on my 9 year old daughter and i started pulling her hair up out of the way and she passes out falls on the floor and starts puking when she comes to. Scared the crap out of me.. Will never use novelty crap again.

— Kristie

Hi @Nina! – You can view products by scrolling to the top of the page and selecting from the drop down menus based on the category you are looking for. You can also search by brand by visiting the Brands page. We do not carry Josie Maran.

— Margot

Hi!i would like to purchase a clpoue of items you have posted. How do I purchase? Also, josie maran argan oil (small) do you have 1 or 2 available?Thanks

— Nina