Keep your kids and whānau safe when buying and using face paints.

Call:

111 in an emergency
Healthline on 0800 611 116 for medical advice
National Poisons Centre on 0800 764 766 for poisons advice

Face paints and cosmetics for kids can contain harmful ingredients and may cause a reaction or make kids sick if they aren’t used properly. Find out about keeping your kids safe when buying and using face paints.

Using face paints

  • Read the label and follow the instructions. For example, many face paints shouldn’t be used around the eyes.
  • Only use face paint and glitter that are made for that purpose. Even non-toxic craft paints can cause skin reactions.
  • Don’t use face paints that smell bad, even if they are new. There could be bacteria growing in the paint.
  • Do a patch test before you use face paint for the first time. Apply a small amount of face paint on the skin and if it becomes irritated or you develop a rash, do not use it.
  • Remove the face paint by following the instructions on the packaging.
  • Don’t leave face paint on overnight. If it is worn for too long it can irritate the skin.
  • Store face paints and cosmetics out of reach of children. Even if the product says it’s non-toxic and natural it could be harmful if it is swallowed.
  • If you are in any doubt about the safety of a product – don’t buy or use it.

Buying face paints

There are rules and safety standards in New Zealand designed to keep you and the environment safe. It is possible that some products you buy in New Zealand don’t comply with the rules, so stick to shops and retailers you know and trust when you are buying face paints. This includes online retailers.
The information on the label is important. To comply with the rules, labels must:

  • be written in English
  • list all hazards and tell you how to use the product safely
  • list all of the ingredients in the product from the highest concentration to the lowest
  • provide enough information so the New Zealand importer or manufacturer can be contacted
  • provide a batch code (this allows manufacturers and suppliers to identify when and where the product was made, so that they know if it is too old to sell)
  • include recommendations about how to dispose of the product and packaging
  • identify any nanomaterials (microscopic particles) by using the ‘nano’ in brackets after the ingredient.
  • If the label does not have this information, you cannot be sure the product you are buying is safe.