Non Toxic Homemade Halloween Makeup

Unfortunately, Halloween makeup can contain lots of not so nice chemicals. As you may know, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal government agency responsible for overseeing cosmetics, does NOT conduct itself any pre-market testing, or require any pre-market testing, of cosmetics or cosmetic ingredients. In fact, as clearly stated on the FDA’s website, cosmetic manufacturers are free to use almost any ingredient they want in their cosmetics, except for  9 ingredients that the FDA has banned and certain color additives are regulated. Compare this to the European Union, which has banned well over 1,100 ingredients from cosmetics or limited them.

Then, on top of that, you have Halloween makeup, which is frequently done as inexpensively as possible by companies that don’t really care about bad reactions because the products aren’t on the market long enough. So you  find not only hormone disrupting phthalates and carcinogenic compounds found in regular makeup but also often heavy metals such as lead and more.

So what’s a green mama to do to make her goblins, ghosts and witches eek-o-scary? Homemade, non toxic Halloween makeup of course!

EDIBLE GOOP (Wounds, Warts, and More)

My favorite homemade Halloween recipe is for “edible” goop. And while I describe this as edible you can eat it but it doesn’t taste all that great.

You can use edible goop to make scars, warts, wounds, etc.

gelatin in bowlTo 1 oz. gelatin (not Jello, but plain, unflavored old-fashioned gelatin, usu. located right next to the Jello), add 2 tablespoons boiling water and stir, let sit for 3 minutes. As you stir, the gelatin will dissolve.

The picture shows the dissolved gelatin after sitting a bit.

Smart Mama Tip: The gelatin doesn’t smell all that great, so you can add 2 to 4 drops of an essential oil if your child doesn’t like the smell. Sweet orange essential oil is a good one to add. If you do add an essential oil, make sure it is suitable for skin contact.

Then pour mixture onto natural waxed paper or other surface. You need to shape the gelatin to make what you want – a wart, a scar, whatever. You need to work fairly quickly, particularly if you are going to mix in some color.gelatin on waxed paper The picture on the right is what the gelatin looks like when poured on natural waxed paper.

Add in what you need to create the effect that you want. If you want a wound, add some red coloring. If you want the wound to look old, consider adding some chocolate syrup. If you want a witch’s wart, add some green coloring and perhaps some hair (some bristles from a brush perhaps?). For a ghoulish effect, add cornstarch or flour. For a swamp thing, perhaps dill weed or tarragon. For dead skin, add oatmeal. Get creative! For the leech looking effect below, I added some instant coffee crystals and some brown coloring from water added to coffee crystals.

gelatin woundLet your creation cool and gently peel off the waxed paper.

Once dry, adhere using corn syrup – you just need to let the corn syrup dry.

You can scale up the batches as needed. These look best made the same day that you are going to wear them – they dry out and shrink a bit.

For cleanup of your bowl, just peel the gelatin out – it will all stick together. If some gets stuck, just use hot water to dissolve it a bit to get the dish clean.


homemade face paint shorteningHomemade face paint is hard, I think. With pantry staples, I haven’t hit upon a successful recipe to give the same consistency as store bought face paint.

But, with homemade, you know what is in the stuff! No heavy metals, for one thing.

So, the usual recipe for “edible” face paint is 10 tsp cornstarch, 2 tsp white flour, 5 tsp vegetable shortening and 1/4 tsp vegetable glycerin. Mash together with a fork until the mixture balls up. Once this is mixed together, you can add a bit more glycerin as needed. This will make a white base. Separate into different white blobs and add the necessary color. I’ve made a tan (for a lion or cat) using some water collected from coffee crystals. This mixture is relatively “pasty” and will not give you clean lines, but it works. It is edible, although it isn’t very tasty.

Another option is to add basically equally parts lotion and cornstarch. For this recipe, I’ve used 1 tblsp Harley James baby lotion and 1 tblsp cornstarch. (I bought some offace paint with lotion the Harley James to try but I still like my Earth Mama Angel Baby.)  The trick to this one is to have a lotion that you like to start – one that gets a 0 or a 1 over at Skin Deep’s cosmetic safety database. The white made with lotion will still be a little translucent, but if you make colors, it will give you cleaner lines, particularly if you use a comsetic brush to paint. Again, I’ve made a tan using water from water added to a few coffee crystals.

Another recipe is 3 tblsp cornstarch, 1 tblsp flour, 1/4 cup water and 3/4 cup corn syrup (light). The corn syrup makes this sweet, so it may be too attractive for little ones. To make this, add the cornstarch adn flour in a bowl. Stir in the corn syrup and water until smooth. Once it is mixed together, divide as needed and add colors.


For fake blood, use light corn syrup, a dash of castile liquid soap (to make clean easier), and red coloring. Easiest to use is red food color. If you want darker blood or more realistic blood, add a dash of blue or some chocolate syrup.


Use aloe vera gel (you can get at almost any natural food store), and mix in some fine glitter. This should be kept away from the eyes. Alternatively, if you have some mineral makeup that you trust, you can use it as well.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.



    Where: UC Berkeley Art Museum Theater, 2625 Durant Ave. Berkeley, California
    When: Saturday, November 21, 2009, from 9 am to 4 pm
    Tickets:First 50 students are free. First 25 Faculty and Staff in Healthcare are free. $60 Regular. At the door- $75

    The 2009 CIA World Factbook ranks the USA 45th among nations for infant mortality— the worst among all industrialized countries. The autism rate in our country is now 1 in 100.

    How we can understand and take appropriate steps to ensure healthy mothers,
    births and children? Take a unique look at the entire system that affects
    our future generations- a mother’s current environment,
    the birth environment and your child’s toxic world.

    This symposium brings together scientists, doctors, researchers and professionals for a compelling conversation about environmental influences around birth and childhood. Featuring plenary speakers, panels, audience questions, and film clips.

    Revolutionary new software will also be introduced that will help parents assess the risks our children may encounter from the environment before birth, at birth and during childhood. Our three part program will make clearer to attendees what they should know about environmental health, their world, and how it affects them and their children.

  2. Hi! We gave you a blog award. You can pick it up and view at

    We love your blog and think it is great!


    Stefanie and Pediatric Safety

  3. what do you use for the coloring? food coloring?

  4. Hmmmm that’s cool.

  5. Thanks for the valuable information. I am glad I ran across your blog. I look forward to reading your next post.

  6. I am very grateful that I have discovered your posts, thanks for all the great info.

  7. These are great tips and product ideas. My daughter loves to do all sorts of makeup and costumes all throughout October, so I’ll need to get her some less toxic stuff it seems.

  8. Thanks for this awesome tricks!!

  9. I admire the way you express yourself through writing. Your post is such a refreshing one to read. This is such an interesting and informative article to share with others. Keep up the good work and more power. Thanks!

  10. Neat ideas. We just found out our child and I are sensitive to FD&C colors in foods/drinks and so I started my blog on Halloween. I linked to a couple of companies that make dye-free face paints. I like this idea of DIY though, too! 🙂

  11. Thanks for your great post. I think we are too much relying on chemicals and toxic products these days. It is good to see safe and healthy homemade products once in a while.

  12. Jessica says:

    Great blog, I do a ton of face painting with my daughters and I make my own various paints. The one that works BEST for fine lines is the corn syrup one 😉 I use a more cornstach/cream base for a base for the kiddos, I also add in their sunscreen sometimes then they get some UV protection too 🙂 I do the detailing with a fine brush and a syrup based paint! I have only ever worried about attracting bees outside but so far so good!
    Again glad I found your site, wonderful information!


  1. […] shop on eBay or have your own swap and shop party. Need face paint, glitter, fake blood and more? Make your own with items from your pantry. Luckily my older sister passes down clothes/costumes from her daughter […]

  2. […] Make your own Halloween makeup for your little goblin this year… The Smart Mama gives you all the simple how to details. […]

  3. […] I was just browsing through some missed tweets a few minutes ago and found this great link to The Smart Mama‘s recipes for face paint.  She said that lead was found in children’s face paint last […]

  4. […] For more natural Halloween makeup tips, including blood and great looking warts, check out these recipes and pictures on The Smart Mama blog. […]

  5. […] so you have ruffles at your neck and wear like a hotdog roll. Paint your face and hands purple. The Smart has non-toxic homemade makeup and edible goop (for wounds and warts) recipes.  For a fun […]

  6. […] your own! Visit the Smart Mama for some easy, fun […]

  7. […] DIY: Save some money and minimize your child’s chemical exposures by whipping up a batch of your own nontoxic face paint. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has a few easy non-toxic recipes. The Smart Mama also has nontoxic Halloween recipes for everything from fake blood to fairy glitter. […]

  8. […] Click here to see some-more homemade Halloween Make-up ideas from […]

  9. […] has a great recipe for edible goop to make your own warts, scars and wounds.  What boy wouldn’t have fun making their own gashes?  They even have suggestions about adding some other organic materials like dill or tarragon to make a swamp monster — or some oatmeal or coffee for a dead skin effect. I’m sure you can figure out how to make a hairy mole yourself from the basic goop recipe (gag). […]

  10. […] Click here to see some-more homemade Halloween Make-up ideas from […]

  11. […] harmful metals. If you’re feeling ambitious and you want to make your own paint for Halloween, has created a PDF with homemade recipes for face paint, fake blood, and fairy […]

  12. […] The Smart Mama has nontoxic Halloween recipes for everything from fake blood to fairy glitter. […]

Speak Your Mind