Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, cooking, make-up, travel, art and the occasional rant!

Using Proper Products

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Something that annoys me a lot is that many people think it is okay to draw on children’s face with things not meant for the purpose.  There is a mentality that if something is labeled “non-toxic” then it must be safe.  NOT TRUE!  It only means it won’t poison you if you accidentally get it on your skin.

The reason I’m bringing this up is that there has been a recall in the US by the FDA of a “face paint” product that is sold by Oriental Trading (here are photos of the products:

and here is an article about it:

In this case the product was indeed labeled as face paint… but it is cheap, in tubes and made in China, and, considering all of the problems with imported items from China lately – melamine, lead…

To get back to my non-toxic rant… just because a water pastel crayon or permanent marker say on their packaging that they are non-toxic doesn’t not mean they are really safe or designed for drawing on skin.  Even the manufacturers will say not to use for face painting!

Think about it… jalapeno peppers are non-toxic – do you want your face painted with them?  Or maybe shoe polish?  How about latex house paint?

I had conversation with “volunteers” who were “face painting” using water colour pencil crayons at a public event a few years back.  I explained that the pencil crayons were not actually meant to be used on skin, and the guy said “well they are non-toxic so they are safe.”  He wasn’t interested in what I was saying, didn’t care… and you know what?  The tent and the people in it were from the regional EMS organization… so first responders to medical emergenies!

I’ve seen all of the following used to face paint: acrylic artists paints, tempura paints, felt pens, permanent markers, oil pastels, water pastels, water colour pencil crayons, dry erase markers, homemade mixes of cold cream and paint…. you just can’t imagine what people will do.

Proper face paints are make-up and cosmetic products.  They may be called “face paint” but their label will say something about cosmetic ingredients or refer to it being make-up.   And the government regulations on cosmetics are a lot different that for art products and supplies!!  The testing is different and the ingredients have to be safe for use on the skin – art products are only tested for danger when exposed short term, not for use on the skin!

Good face painting cosmetic products are not hard to find.  You can get a basic starter kit for under $20.  With access to the internet there is no excuse for not being able to find proper products, information, tips and advice from people in the industry.  There are several chat groups and forums where professionals will share everything they know with newcomers!

That’s my rant for today! 😉

Various Brands and supplies available

Various Brands and supplies available


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