Eczema Friendly Halloween: Homemade Face Paint Recipe

This Halloween there is much excitement in our house. Our eczema boy has never been allowed to have his face-painted. He and I are both allergic to parabens which are found in all the face-paints I’ve found and most make-up.  This year, while searching for paraben-free face paints (yet again!), I stubbled on a homemade face paint recipe. We now have an over-excited 5 year-old who can’t decide if he wants to be a skeleton, a werewolf or a pirate on the big night.

Homemade face paint recipe

Homemade face paint recipe ideal for sensitive, eczema prone skin.

This simple scary pumpkin face only needs 3 colours: black, orange and yellow as well as the white base colour. What will your child be?

  • 2 tablespoons of cornflower (cornstarch)
  • About a tablespoon of lotion – after a bit of experimentation we settle on Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion. The heavy paraffin-based creams like Diprobase were a bit sticky and didn’t work nearly as well.
  • Food colourings – if you’re after intense colours the specialist cake decorating powdered colours work best. The liquid food colours from the supermarket baking section tend to make more pastel shades.
  • Small pots or a plate for mixing
  • Make-up sponges and brushes

Put the cornflower into a small bowl and slowly add the lotion mixing it thoroughly as you go until you get a smooth paste. Divide the white paste into smaller pots and add a sprinkle or couple of drops of the food colouring to each pot. Mix each pot thoroughly to get an even colour adding extra colour as necessary to get the shade you want.

You can adjust the consistency by adding more cornflower, lotion or a drop of water. It took us a bit of experimentation to find a consistency that we found easy to work with. We found that adding a little water made the paint easier to apply with a sponge while a stiffer consistency was easier to use with a brush.

For extra sparkle, mix edible glitter with little lotion (no cornflower) and paint it over the top of your finished design.

If you’re short of inspiration or need some guidance to give you a bit of confidence there are plenty of books and websites with instructions and ideas to get you started. We found that it helped to have a box of wipes close to hand as our kids painted their faces, arms, tummies and us while we were testing the recipe.

A note of caution

  • Do be aware that some food colourings may stain the skin slightly but these shadows should wear off overnight.
  • Food colouring can contain allergens including parabens – watch out for E209, E214, E216 and E218 as these are parabens. There is also a very slim risk that the ingredients could be irritating when mixed together so, as with all new skin products, it’s a good idea to carry out a small patch test beforehand. We put our face paints in the fridge overnight to keep them fresh while we waited for the patch test results.


Here at ScratchSleeves, we don’t just share our experiences of bringing up an eczema child (and favourite allergy-friendly recipes), we also manufacture and sell our unique stay-on scratch mitts for itchy babies, toddlers and children. We now stock sizes from 0-8 years in a range of colours. Visit our main website for more information.

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