4 alternatives for kids allergic reaction to face paint


Nope, you’re definitely allergic Toby, you can’t have your face done again my love.

Face paint. Ugh.

I’m not a big face painting fan as it is, it smears, it rubs off on clothes and it is a bigger to get off your skin, but since discovering that Toby has a reaction to it on his face, I’ve come to loath it.

We had our first allergic reaction to face paint after Reuben’s first summer school party last year, just before he started school. We went because he was a part of pre-reception and both boys had their faces painted, and Toby (true to form) fell asleep in the car I the way home. So we left him in the face paint, no big deal, it would wipe off the next morning and it wouldn’t be an issue right?

Wrong. He woke up the next morning and his whole face was burning hot, swollen and totally red. Nothing we did seemed to take out the sting, and we came to the conclusion that this was entirely our fault for leaving him in it over night. Bad parents. Epic fail.

This year, when the summer party came Reuben immediately wanted his face painted, which means, as it standard,Toby wanted it done too. We told them no red, and they could have their faces painted but it must come off before home time, which would only be an hour. Still, as the paint came off, Toby’s face (fortunately not sore or swollen this time) was BRIGHT RED. Hot and bright red. So there is now no doubt in our minds that his face will almost certainly react to the paint, which is big frustrating for us and for him. I’ve heard a lot of talk about different trying out brands and paint colours. Every one of them can have a different reaction, however I honestly think if you have a reaction (like Toby) to something like Snazaroo then you need to accept reactions are imminent. Sorry, but it is better to just suck it up and be safe

So what alternatives to face painting are there?

1.Try arms and legs!

Tobes has had a stencil design done on his arms before with absolutely no reaction at all. Winner winner! This means that while everyone is getting their mushes slathered in face paint, Toby can still (sort of) join in. It takes the edge off his pleas for face painting.

2. Head to the pantry.

You can still paint that face!! If your little one hasn’t had a reaction to cornflour or powered sugar you can use that with things like strawberry to dye it red, turmeric for yellow, chocolate sauce for brown…. Ok, it’s not as bright and awesome but at least they can join in.

3. Use organic make up

Organic eye shadows are perfect – silver, blue, green… Is there a colour limit? It might be a little on the costly side to bash out a full spider man face, but there is something to be said for small and delicate face paints like a spider on its web, the silver eyeshadow for the web. Boom.

4. Sudocrem

Never had a reaction? You can use the smallest amount of food colouring to get your colour, and bobs your uncle, face paint a la tush cream.

Do you have any other tips for what to use to help your little ones who can’t use face paint?

H x


  1. Avatar August 3, 2016 / 1:57 pm

    My friends daughter had a severe reaction from face paint too, it must be the chemicals they add to the paints.

  2. Avatar August 3, 2016 / 10:53 am

    I could never and probably still cant wear facepaint without coming out in bright red blotches x

  3. Avatar August 3, 2016 / 9:48 am

    It never crossed my mind that children could be allergic to face paint! It’s good to find some alternatives so they dont miss out!

  4. Avatar August 3, 2016 / 7:44 am

    This is good idea for a post, there’s so many ingredients that aren’t children friendly. I use to love having my face painted. x

  5. Avatar August 2, 2016 / 10:02 pm

    Oh no it’s a shame he’s allergic! but some great alternatives, I know a couple of kids in my son’s class who come out in rashes, it is quite common!

  6. Avatar August 2, 2016 / 9:30 pm

    Aw it’s such a shame he has a reaction to facepaints but it’s amazing how much time and thought you put into finding that there are alternatives for him so he can still feel part of the fun! This list is brilliant, and I know a few little ones who will definitely benefit from it. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ x

  7. Avatar August 2, 2016 / 3:23 pm

    I had no idea about sudocrem!! My eldest daughter has very sensitive skin so I think she may struggle with cheap face paints. They both had glitter tattooes on their arms at the school fete and were OK. They much preferred them as they lasted longer

  8. Avatar August 2, 2016 / 3:22 pm

    My little one has bad skin, Dr isn’t sure what it is yet and I hate having to tell him he can’t get his face painted like his friends when we are out! Such a great post with amazing information.

    Jordanne || Thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk

  9. Avatar August 2, 2016 / 1:04 pm

    I love the sudocrem ideas. luckily none of my boys have been facepaint fans so I’ve never had to endure the queue at any attractions or days out!

  10. Avatar
    August 1, 2016 / 9:55 pm

    never would have thought of using sudocrem! i really like this idea lol

  11. Avatar July 29, 2016 / 2:50 am

    poor toby, that sounds awful. Great that there are alternatives

  12. Avatar July 29, 2016 / 12:07 am

    These are great tips! I don’t tolerate facepaint well at all but can tolerate eyeliner so I use that when the kids want to paint me!

  13. Avatar July 28, 2016 / 11:16 pm

    That is so odd that his face reacts to it but not his arms, it must be so tough when so many kids get their faces painted x

  14. Avatar July 28, 2016 / 11:10 pm

    I never even though about kids having a reaction to face paints. Such good ideas, especially about doing things on arms.

  15. Avatar July 28, 2016 / 9:49 pm

    What a helpful post! It turns out, I am actually allergic to face paint!
    I tried a full face paint when I was little, and my face swelled right up!
    I havent tried it ever since, and haven’t wanted to risk it on my little ones. :/
    If they ever want it in the future, I will give your tips a go!
    Thank you!

  16. Avatar July 28, 2016 / 9:24 pm

    Public face painting has always freaked me out. So many faces it has touched. We use eye shadow for our face paint, these are some great ideas ๐Ÿ˜€

  17. Avatar July 28, 2016 / 8:26 pm

    This is a really helpful and insightful post!

  18. Avatar July 28, 2016 / 2:25 pm

    I hated face painting, luckily my Daughter is like me she doesn’t like things on her face, she would have it done sometimes but would never be on for long x

  19. Avatar July 28, 2016 / 11:29 am

    Really do love the idea of having it on your arms instead of the face, especially since I’m not a big fan of face-paint either. The problem is, how to convince T? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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