Making makeup safe for kids

making makeup safe for kidsSo lets say, hypothetically, that your four year old has begun begging for a play makeup set. Some parents would react with a firm but gentle "no stinkin' way, sweetcheeks." I can understand that sentiment -- children grow up fast enough without the aid of adult trappings.

On the other hand, play makeup is a way for children to experiment with their identity. I had play makeup as a kid, and I turned out (arguably) alright. In fact, if I remember correctly, I lost interest in it after approximately 23 seconds. Except for the awesome peeling nail polish, which fascinated me. Goodness knows what was in that stuff.

In the end, whether or not to let a child use makeup for playtime is a personal decision for parents to make. But if you do decide to let 'em make themselves up, there are steps you can take to make it safer.

  1. No powders. Makeup in powder form is easily inhaled into little lungs, and can damage them. Opt instead for cream-based blushers and eye shadow.
  2. Phthalate and toluene-free nail polish. Dibutyl phthalate and toluene are common nail polish ingredients linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and allergies. [Skin Deep: Nail polishes without toluene or dibutyl phtalate.]
  3. Fragrance free. Fragrances are common allergens, and they usually contain phthalates. They also lurk in the strangest of places, so be sure to check the label. [Skin Deep: Fragrance-free makeup.]
  4. Easy on the lipstick. Because lipstick can contain some hidden nasties (like lead), and because little ones tend to eat almost as much as they put on their lips, it's best to avoid it altogether. Opt instead for a tasty, shiny, beeswax-based lip balm, or use the instructions in this article to make your own.
  5. Use common sense. It goes without saying that little ones shouldn't be allowed to play with eyeliner or mascara, and that those little tubs of cosmetic glitter, in the hands of a five year old, could spell disaster for the carpet. Be careful.

Armed with that list (and also possibly this one, which lists ingredients to watch out for), parents ought to be able to put together a play-makeup kit that would please even the pickiest kid -- without breaking the budget. But if that task seems too daunting, it seems at least one company is rising to the challenge of creating a safer play-makeup kit.

Anyone know of any other play-makeup kits for the eco-minded? How would you handle a child's request for makeup?

Photo by fazen.

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