Did you know that face paints have dangerous heavy metals and toxic substances, including lead, nickel, cobalt and/or chromium at levels far exceeding recommendations of industry studies? The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics study revealed this stunning revelation back in 2009, and unfortunately not much has changed since then.

So what is a parent to do if their child wants their face painted? There are some safe pre-made options out there, but making your own face paint is also quite easy. This recipe is from Mommypotamus, and is even edible!



  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch (preferably non-GMO) or arrowroot powder, plus extra for dusting the face afterwards to create a matte finish
  • 1/4 teaspoon refined white flour OR for a gluten-free option 1/2 teaspoon kaolin white clay
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon water
  • Natural food coloring – see notes on how to combine primary colours to create other colours
  • Activated charcoal for black paint
  • White base makeup – see notes on how to make this



  1. Combine kaolin clay/flour and cornstarch/arrowroot together in a small bowl
  2. Add honey and water
  3. Divide mixture into several containers and add a few drops of food coloring to each cup until you get the color intensity you want
  4. Paint on your design using a generous amount of paint. It sets better if painted on thickly.
  5. Optional: Let it set for about 20-30 minutes, then take a makeup brush and dust a little cornstarch/arrowroot powder over your face to create a matte finish.


Some Useful Notes:

  • These paints are more like a thick gloss than watercolors.
  • These paints should be used up relatively quickly as they will dry up.  Keep that in mind when you are making up your batches of paint.
  • Some colors (like yellow and pink) will not show up well without white base makeup. To create your own, mix non-toxic lotion with a little non-nano zinc oxide, or buy some organic diaper cream at the store that contains non-nano zinc. Wait until the mixture dries before applying other paints.
  • Color chart:
    • Yellow + Blue = Green
    • Blue + Red = Purple
    • Red + Yellow = Orange
    • Pink = A couple drops of red

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