By Stacey Privack
At birthday parties and other community events where children are involved these days, some type of entertainment is commonly included, ranging from clowns or princesses to bounce houses or pony rides. Among the most popular of activities at children’s events is face painting.
Children and parents alike enjoy the colorful flourish that face painting brings to parties and events. Face painting has become such a common staple at gatherings that face painting ‘artists’ abound. Therefore, it is important to verify that the products all face painters use are safe as well as colorful.
As a professional party entertainer and face painter, I can say with confidence that all of our products contain ingredients that are cosmetic grade and FDA approved. However, not all products are created equal. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes that products too frequently assumed to be safe (including those labeled “non-toxic”) are neither ideal nor particularly safe for use on skin, especially on our children’s faces.
Just because a product is labeled “non-toxic”, it shouldn’t be assumed that it’s appropriate for face painting. Non-toxic may not mean that it has been specifically tested for use on skin. Research has shown that the skin is very active in metabolizing chemicals and that these metabolic processes affect the way the body absorbs (or does not absorb) a particular chemical. Sweat glands, sebaceous glands and hair follicles can all contribute to the way chemicals are absorbed through the skin.
In addition, the skin of babies and small children may allow more chemicals to pass through than the skin of adults. Check the Summary of Color Additives on the FDA’s website. There’s a section especially on colors for cosmetics. If there’s a color in your makeup that isn’t on this list, the company that made it is not compliant to relevant law. Don’t use it. Even if it’s on the list, check to see if it has FDA’s OK for use near the eyes. If it doesn’t, it’s best kept away from your children’s eyes.
Products that makeup artists and better face painters use are specifically designed for use on skin. The same can be said for glitter, which should be cosmetic grade-made of polyester, for this particular application. Again, uninformed entertainers sometimes use craft glitter for application to skin and this is not ideal or optimally safe as it could get in and scratch a child’s eye.
The easy solution is simply asking whoever is doing the face painting at your event about the products they use. Is your face paint designed for this purpose? Have you researched the products and evaluated the ingredients to be certain that it is appropriate for this application?
It is often assumed that your entertainers and face painters are using the most suitable products. Everyone knows the old adage about assuming. Children should both have fun and be assured of their safety at celebrations and where face paints are involved this happy ending is best assured through verification.
Stacey Privack is the owner of Parties by Stacey, an entertainment company that has been serving Sourthern California since 1993.