Even Safe-for-Kids Makeup Isn't 'Safe' At All

little girl
Keep those chemicals away from me!
I'm starting to get nervous every time a gift-giving occasion crops up. Is my daughter going to get another piece of toxic crap from a well-meaning but absolutely clueless friend of the family? First it was the cheap jewelry coated in lead and cadmium. Now that she's officially a "big kid," we've moved onto creepy cosmetics territory.

We're far from mascara and eye liner stage (thank God). But there's just something about little girls that makes people want to buy them cute little bottles of nail polish and sweet tubes of barely there lip gloss. This past Christmas she even got a gift pack full of so many bottles of bubble bath she could start her own spa. And every one had something awful inside.


Parabens. Polyethylene glycol. Diethyl phthalate. And the list goes on and on. Some of these are in products that are cute and little, and really nice people bought them out of the kindness of their hearts because they thought they'd be just perfect. Others, the ones that bother me more, actually, are made FOR kids, and yet they contain the toxic nasties that experts like the Environmental Working Group tell us to avoid at all costs when it comes to our kids.

The EWG estimates kids are exposed to an average of 27 personal care product ingredients that have not been found safe for developing bodies. And out of 1,700-some products sold "for kids," they say 77 percent of the ingredients haven't been assessed for safety.

Are you seeing why I dread all those gifts? It's not that people don't care. It's that this crap is hiding out just waiting for some person who thinks they're being nice to deliver to my kid. And that makes me the bad guy when I have to confiscate some bottle of sparkly pink nail polish because I don't want it to give her cancer. I hate to be one of those greedy controlling parents who hands out a pre-approved list of gifts for my kid, but I'm at a point where I'm wondering what else I can do. Toxic cosmetics are not the same as annoying toys -- they're putting my daughter's health at risk.

I don't know that I'll hand it out, but here are some of my go-to options:

Piggy Paint -- I first got hold of some of this nail polish in a public relations sampler, but ever since I've refused to buy anything else for Mommy/Daughter mani-pedi nights because it doesn't have most of the toxins in the stuff I put on my own toes. It's water-based, so it chips more easily, but frankly my 6-year-old tends to lose her polish in a day and a half anyway from playing hard, so that part doesn't bother me. And there are plenty of pretty colors to suit her every mood. She especially loves rainbow nails!

Little Twig -- The only bubble bath we use these days is by the company that uses natural scents like rosemary and citrus and pairs it with vitamin E and aloe vera to soothe kids' skin. What don't they use? Scary stuff like parabens, sulfates, phthalates ...

Glory for Girls -- My daughter carries a little pot of grapefruit flavored lip balm to chase the chap monster away. But the real monsters it keeps at bay are the chemicals. The main component of this stuff is beeswax.

How about you? What beauty brands do you trust using on your kids? And how do you deal with the other products that are purchased as gifts?


Image by Jeanne Sager

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