Videos and diy tutorials showing women and girls how to make colored lip balms, eye shadows and makeup in general using kids crayons or art supplies are all over the internet. Whoever thought this was a good, non-toxic idea, has no clue what goes into making crayons or the type of pigments used.
Let’s take a look at the types of pigments first:
Pigments come in two basic grades, industrial grade (used mainly in paints, crayons and artist paints), and cosmetics grade (used as you might guess in cosmetics!)
Industrial grade pigments although contain less heavy metal content these days (lead, arsenic and mercury) than they used to 30 years ago, are still not allowed to be used in cosmetics or in contact with eyes and mouth, as these pigments are not as purified as cosmetic grade pigments and contain much higher concentrations of toxic chemicals and other impurities. Some pigments used in artist paint in particular, are still mined today. Many of the pigments commonly used in paints are not allowed to be used in cosmetics, like Cobalt Blue, due to the fact they’re not only highly toxic, but are known to be carcinogenic.
Cosmetic grade pigments are more purified, contain LESS amounts of heavy metals (lead, arsenic and mercury), because they’re regulated by the FDA, in the US specifically for cosmetic use, other countries have other regulatory bodies and stricter purification standards, but all of them with one goal in common, the safety of the consumers. Contrary to popular belief, cosmetic grade pigments, are not mined but made in controlled batches in labs. The cost of these pigments due to the manufacturing and purification process is higher, and they have being tested for use in contact with the skin. Cosmetics manufacturers are required to follow certain regulations as not all pigments can be safely used around mouth and eyes, regulations industrial pigments don’t have because they’re not intended to be used in contact with eyes or mouths.
All crayons and artists products, regardless of brand are manufactured with industrial grade pigments, due to costs and because the range of colors is larger, and not with cosmetic grade pigments. Crayons are also manufactured with paraffin, a petroleum byproduct mainly used in inexpensive candles and the one to blame for the disgusting scent they give out when melted. When heated paraffin releases highly dangerous fumes that can cause respiratory problems. For more information on paraffin please Click Here. Crayola, the most popular brand of crayons in the US recommends not to melt their crayons as irritating fumes are released. For more information please visit the crayola safety page here.
If you’re concerned with the safety of makeup, especially around your kids, or in keeping your girls away from toxic chemicals, using art supplies to make cosmetics for your kids exposes them to even more harmful chemicals. Avoid using art supplies as the primary ingredient to make them, and instead replace the pigments with fruit powders.