Choosing Halloween Face Paint for Sensitive Skin

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, even after I passed my candy-grabbing days. It’s a holiday where it is literally okay to be someone else, and that’s pretty fun. (Every year I want to be someone without sensitive skin, by the way.) However, long, long ago when I was a youngling, I still remember one fateful Halloween. I had decided I wanted to be a vampire. I got some fake teeth, a cape, and some face paint to turn my face a ghoulish white. I put on the costume and did the face paint last. It worked well enough to turn me pasty. Unfortunately, it also made me almost immediately itchy. I ignored it, of course, there was candy to be gotten.

I continued to scratch throughout the night, and by the time I returned home, the red of my face was already showing through what white was left on my face and not under my nails. Needless to say, it was so bad that I had to sta,y home the next day switching between oatmeal and aloe to make the swelling and itchiness go down. That’s my first memory of sensitive skin. I haven’t let it ruin Halloween for me, but I have been infinitely wearier of face paint. Despite this, face paint is still often a crucial part of many Halloween costumes. So if you, like me, are irritated by whatever is in typical face paint, here’s how you can help stop sensitive skin from ruining your holiday.

Finding Safe Halloween Face Paint for Sensitive Skin

Cosmetic ingredients aren’t really well regulated by the FDA, and as such, face paint is probably even more overlooked. However, while those cheap sets that you can find at ye ol’ Walmart are probably going to have something in it to trigger your sensitive skin, it doesn’t mean all face paint is the devil.

There are actually quite a few hypoallergenic brands of face paint out there for people just like us, but you probably will only find them online or, at best, a dedicated costume shop. However, as I always say, hypoallergenic doesn’t always mean that it is completely safe. What you need to do is look at the label, make sure it clearly identifies all the ingredients it uses, and then look for any of your triggers. The more natural ingredients it uses, the better. Unless of course, you have natural allergies too, then things can get complicated. If you aren’t sure of your own triggers, in most cases it is the synthetic dyes and chemicals that really do people in. However, you really should make the effort to discover your cosmetic triggers, it will make everything, not just Halloween, easier for you and your poor skin.

As for recommendations for good natural Halloween face paint, here are my best picks:

Where to Buy
Vegan Face Paint Kit
Face Paint – Certified Organic, Hypoallergenic, All Natural Kit - Cosmetics Grade
Kooalo Face Paint
Face Painting Kit Non
Food Coloring Liqua
Eau Thermale Avène Cold Cream

Making Halloween Face Paint at Home


Unlike makeup that can be kind of fussy if you try to DIY, Halloween face paint is actually much easier to make yourself. After all, you are really just using it for one night so it doesn’t need to be perfect. Furthermore, you have complete control on what you are putting on your face. The best news is that simple face paint can usually be made with no more than three ingredients.

Making White Base Face Paint

If you want to look ghoulish, the best formula, consistency-wise, is a mixture of 2 tablespoons corn starch with 1 tablespoon of solid shortening. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you can be understandably skeptical of putting shortening on your face. It just makes things nicely pasty, but if you are worried about breakouts, you can use cold cream instead.

Making Colored Face Paint

You can easily use the above recipe for white face paint and add food coloring to it for colored face paint. However, you can also mix food coloring into things like diaper cream or your usual face cream to create colors. Be sure to remember (or look up on Google) your color wheel when making complex shades.

The key here is you want to use thicker creams for larger areas and more fluid creams with smaller brushes for detail work over top. The base will keep the colors made with the looser consistency creams bound, so you don’t have to worry about it sliding off.

Fake Blood

I always made my own fake blood. I found it fun. My old formula was to use a few drops of red food coloring and corn syrup to get that good consistency. If you need gore for whatever reason, I found that dipping toilet paper into that mixture is pretty effective. Due to the corn syrup, it sticks to skin fairly well too. Once on there, it is easy to move around on the face to create scars, cuts, or whatever you want.