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The Green Life: Recipe: Nontoxic Halloween Face Paint

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October 23, 2012

Recipe: Nontoxic Halloween Face Paint

Nontoxic makeup recipeWhat's scarier than a cat costume without painted whiskers or a vampire without fake blood? A study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that many children's face paints contain toxins or heavy metals, even when labeled as "safe" or "nontoxic." So before you buy petroleum-derived, heavily packaged, possibly toxic Halloween makeup from the store, think DIY.

The recipe below is 100% edible and non-toxic. In fact, it's made out of food!

Recipe: Natural Halloween Makeup


  • flour
  • water
  • vegetable oil
  • natural colors (see below for color ingredients)


First, start with your colors (see below). Use a rainbow of organic vegetables and other foods. We've included recipes for a variety of colors, but we encourage you to experiment with other fruits and veggies.

Then slowly add flour, until you have a mixture in-between a paste and a liquid. If you're using a powder for the color, add just enough water to dissolve it before adding flour.

Apply the paint liberally to skin. After five minutes of drying, gently dab some vegetable oil on the surface of the paint, without mixing it. This will help preserve the color as it dries.

The natural colors last about an hour before they become dried out.

Color Ingredients:

Pink: beet juice (Cook the beets in water, then strain and use the red cooking water.)

Orange: carrot juice

Yellow: turmeric

Seafoam green: red cabbage juice (Chop the cabbage and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and mix in baking soda, a few pinches at a time, until the juice is blue. Mixed with flour this will make blue-green.) 

Purple: blueberries (Puree them, then press through a strainer to get the juice.)

Brown: cocoa powder

White: flour and water

Dark green (almost black): spirulina powder

Note: Because we used food to make the face paint, make sure you and your kids aren't allergic to the ingredients before applying. Also, these natural dyes can stain clothing, so make sure that you keep your costumes safe.

--Image by iStockphoto/afhunta.

--Rachael Monosson is an editorial intern for Sierra and a recent graduate of Stanford University, where she studied Earth Systems. She lives in San Mateo.


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