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Safe Makeup and Nail Polish for Little Girls

By Bonnie Crowe ; Updated September 26, 2017
Make sure that lipstick your pretty princess is using is safe.

Many little girls love playing dress-up with Mommy's clothes, shoes, makeup and nail polish. However, parents should pay close attention to what’s in the products their kids are using on their face and nails. While some makeup and certain polishes have chemicals that children should avoid, there are plenty of safe products to use.

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Choose makeup and nail polish made of all-natural ingredients that are free of chemicals. Nail polish can have formaldehyde or phthalates in it. These are harmful to kids who might suck their thumbs or put their hands in their mouths -- two things that small children commonly do. Children who bite their nails could be getting a mouthful of these harmful chemicals, too, so make sure they’re not in the polishes they use.


Children’s sensitive skin may react with allergic rashes and break-outs to additives in makeup. Skin allergies result in more than seven million doctors’ visits each year, according to the Mitchell Medical Group, a website that focuses on immunology and integrative medicine. The sunscreen protection and fragrances added to some makeup could irritate your child’s eyes, or cause a negative allergic reaction called contact dermatitis on skin. They can also cause wheezing and whole body hives if the child is allergic to a product in the makeup used.

All-Natural Formulas

Opt for water-based, plant-based, or all-natural polishes and makeup for children. Makeup should be labeled “hypoallergenic” -- which means it has been tested by dermatologists and will most likely not cause an allergic reaction. Oil-based makeup could clog pores. Makeup labeled “non-comedogenic” most likely will not clog pores. Makeup formulas for adults often contain products to combat aging skin, such as retinols, alpha-hydroxy acids and other chemicals that could irritate young children’s skin. Lipsticks should be all-natural formulas that are safe if ingested. Make sure you read the labels of anything your child uses before she puts it on her face or nails.

Expiration Dates

Throw out any makeup that is past its expiration date. Expired makeup harbors bacteria that can make kids and adults sick, or lead to rashes, styes or pink eye. Dr. Angela Bowers, a dermatologist with the Baylor Regional Medical Center, suggests that eye makeup and liquid foundation be thrown out after being opened for three months.

Spread of Infection

Lipsticks and glosses used by someone who has had a cold sore could spread the virus to children. Make sure you know who used that lipstick before your kids wear it.

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About the Author

Bonnie Crowe is a mother of two teenagers; a teacher and author of children's books, curriculum and articles on English grammar, literature, technology, art, parenting and career guides for high schoolers. She's a former director of AOL Parenting, a member of SCBWI, and a graduate from the University of California,Berkeley.

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