In honor of Halloween and the abundance of heavy makeup and intense face paint that often accompanies the holiday, here at Truth In Aging we decided to take a look at Terra Firma Cosmetics’ Non Toxic Face Paints.

According to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the face paint that children often use to help them dress up for costume parties and trick-or-treat outings may contain lead, nickel, cobalt and chromium. In fact, 10 out of 10 face paints that were tested contained low levels of lead. And any level of lead is too much lead. Even worse is that these metals (which are neurotoxins and cause contact dermatitis) are usually not listed on the paints’ list of ingredients.

Even if you don’t fall for labels like “hypoallergenic” and “FDA compliant” and decide to pass on the toxic paint, you may be at a loss as to what face paints are actually reliable in terms of safety. That’s where Terra Firma comes in. Sisters Dori Patrick and Meri Yardley launched the cosmetics company in 2004. Terra Firma is quite small; it runs out of a suite in Raymond, Washington. Apparently, Meri is involved with the formulations of new products herself and Dori personally sends out the Terra Firma monthly newsletter. The company has signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics and views safe, natural, and healthy products as an ethical responsibility.

But what of Terra Firma’s face paints? The company promises non-toxic, safe ingredients that are durable yet easily removable with soap and water. While I can’t seem to find a list of ingredients for the paints themselves, there is an “ingredients” tab on the website that lists “all” of the ingredients in Terra Firma’s makeup, skin care and spa products, as well as a list of the preservatives that the company uses. While tetrasodium EDTA is listed as a preservative, it is commendable that Terra Firma lists it in the first place and that it discusses the chemical’s Cosmetic Safety Database rating. The controversial phenoxyethanol is also used as a preservative in Terra Firma’s products, but again, the company is honest in its description of its usage. Plus, tetrasodium EDTA is only used in one product and phenoxyethanol is used at concentrations of 1% or less in Terra Firma products.

And the ingredients themselves seem to be safe, overall. Of the many listed, the only one that may raise a red flag is titanium dioxide, though it seems to be more controversial than concerning.

While the Terra Firma website doesn’t have a section dedicated to its face paints’ ingredients, if the paints are included in Terra Firma’s “makeup” category, then they pass the safety test – especially in comparison to what else is out there. And the fact that Terra Firma will officially launch the face paints next year, collaborating with greenhalloween.org, is reassuring; Green Halloween is a non-profit initiative to make holidays healthier and eco-friendly.

Want another alternative to Terra Firma face paint? Green Halloween recommends shopping at Ecomom.com, which sells Luna Organics face paint. While I can’t find a list of ingredients on the Luna website, the company has signed The Compact for Safe Cosmetics and claims that it doesn’t use parabens, potential toxins, artificial colors, nut products, or BPA in jars. Luna products do contain titanium dioxide, however.

If you want to be completely safe, I recommend either emailing Terra Firma or Luna Organics and asking for a definitive list of ingredients, or going the DIY route. Concocting your own serums can be a lot of fun, and if you’re already making your child’s Halloween costume you may want to go ahead and check out this DIY Healthy Halloween Face Paints video. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics also has resources and recipes you can try.