Shock, horror – cheap ‘n’ crappy Halloween makeup can screw up your skin. You 100% already knew this. But still, every October 31st we all hit the $2 store and buy up big on face paint and nasty contacts.

It’s probably because we don’t really read too much into what can actually happen if things go wrong. But hoo boy, it can really go wrong. 


We’re almost 100% sure Lauren Curtis (above) did not buy cheap and nasty face paint for this look – but be warned, if you do, be prepared for some serious skin dramas.

“Many face paints have base ingredients such as paraffin wax and petrolatum that are very occlusive and don’t allow the skin to “breathe”,” says dermatologist Dr. Natasha Cook. “That kind of makeup is more like “paint” for the face than can sink into the follicles causing congestion and pimple like bumps.”

YUCK. Check the ingredients of your products – and for your best chance at a pimple-free aftermath, pick them up at a reputable costume makeup store, or DIY with makeup you have at home. Also, prep can help with preventing clogged pores.

“Putting an AHA / BHA exfoliating product on prior will unclog the pores, promoting cell exfoliation. Then after your Halloween event has ended, cleansing appropriately (but not harshly) with micellar water first then a second cleanse with your normal cleanser.

Need an AHA/BHA exfoliating serum? Dr. Cook has her own.


Because bad face paints are occlusive, you also run the risk of irritating and inflaming your poor skin.

“If you have sensitive skin issues, dermatitis could be a problem,” explains Dr. Cook. “The occlusion of sweat glands could result in a heat/sweat like rash on the face that dermatologists refer to as miliaria.”

If you’ve got sensitive or sensitised skin, it’s 100% worth buying something legit, from a store where you can actually ask if it’s okay for your skin type. If you do end up with a rash, treat it straight away.

“Gently cleanse and then use a hydrating moisturiser. Grab 1% hydrocortisone ointment from the chemist and apply 2 x daily until settled. If it’s not better in a few days see a doctor.”


Look, you can absolutely get Halloween contacts that are fine for your eyes. But stay the hell away from cheapo ones, because lordy can they screw with you.

“You can safely buy contact lenses from eye doctors’ offices, online or by mail order with a valid prescription, but don’t purchase decorative contact lenses from costume shops, online stores, beauty salons, drug stores, flea markets or anywhere that doesn’t require a prescription,” the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention warned US Halloweeners this year via Forbes.

Basically, the damage the cheapies can introduce bacteria to the eye, which can lead to a proper infection. Jeez.

“Decorative lenses purchased without a prescription may not fit properly, leaving the eye more susceptible to scratches on the outer layer of the eye, or getting an ulcer (an open sore) on the cornea—the clear covering over the front of the eye,” the CDCP explained.

While the advice is for the States, it applies here too. Pick your lenses up from a legit brand, not a costume shop.


Glitter on your eyes can look SICK and we’re absolutely not saying don’t do it. But stick with the proper, makeup artist style glitter – not any one you bought from a craft store.

“Large-shard glitter can definitely damage the eye. If you get the particles in the eye, they can be corrosive and damaging to the cornea, the delicate outer lense,” explains Dr. Cook. “If this is damaged it’s VERY painful and causes the eye to water excessively. Its hard to even open the eye let alone see.”

Metallic makeup with a glittery finish is your best bet – even MAC’s famous glitters are listed as not safe for eye use on their site.

Basically? Read the ingredients, buy your bits from legit stores, and if it seems like a bad idea – say, pouring metallic liquid into your eye socket to look like gold tears – it probably bloody is. Happy Halloween, friends.

Image: Instagram / @jamescharles