Everyone recognizes the classic Halloween makeup palette. Pans of red, white, and black makeup sit alongside crayon applicators, facial sponges, glitter, and maybe even fake blood. They litter store shelves, popular because they’re so accessible and inexpensive. They’re an obvious pick for your Halloween makeup needs, right?
Not so fast. The truth is that piling on generic Halloween face paint or makeup can seriously wreak havoc on your skin—and not for the reasons you might think. I actually know this from firsthand experience: Last year, my last-minute costume idea required a full face of makeup. What started out wonderfully (I assembled a costume quickly and inexpensively, after all) swiftly changed course after dipping into one of those inexpensive palettes from the costume store, which left my complexion oily and red. By the time I removed the makeup at the end of the night, my skin was sensitive and beyond irritated.
But don’t just take my word for it—plenty of experts agree. Keep scrolling to learn why Halloween makeup kits are scary for your skin!
According to celeb esthetician Biba de Sousa, generic Halloween makeup kits “are baked on a low temperature and have low-grade ingredients that melt, and those ingredients will irritate the skin.” Master esthetician Asia Vereline agrees: “Most Halloween makeup from the drugstore can have added colors that are not FDA-approved and waxes and oils that can clog your pores.” Yikes. And as if that’s not reason enough to steer clear, note that these makeup kits might also be long expired. De Sousa says they can sit on shelves for years before they’re sold since they’re “strictly seasonal items.”
Instead, de Sousa recommends Kryolan brand makeup. It’s safe and gentle on skin while promising to not clog pores or irritate. The Kryolan Supracolor Kit ($85) was made for film and stage special effects; it has everything you could possibly need to #slay your Halloween look. Otherwise, use drugstore makeup—the potential for different looks is unlimited, and you can rest assured that it’s completely safe for your skin.
Vereline and de Sousa have a couple more complexion-friendly tricks to consider for your spooky festivities: If your Halloween makeup look involves glitter, mix it with a good-for-skin ingredient like coconut oil or aloe vera—it will be less irritating to your skin over the course of the night. We recommend Nature’s Way Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil ($17). And if fake blood is your go-to, make your own using corn syrup and a little red lipstick to avoid clogged pores.
Can’t get enough Halloween in your life? Next, see how one Byrdie editor used drugstore makeup to transform into three amazing pop culture icons.