The cosmetics industry is a bit of a mess. Popular makeup products made by brands like L’Oreal and Maybelline often contain problematic ingredients that have the potential to cause health issues. Things like parabens and phthalates (which can disrupt hormone function); talc (which can be contaminated with asbestos, a carcinogen); and even heavy metals like lead are commonly found in cosmetics.

And makeup targeted toward kids is no better. A 2016 investigation done by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Breast Cancer Fund tested a variety of kids’ cosmetics and Halloween face paints and found the products to contain a wide variety of toxins. The investigation included brands like Disney, Lisa Frank, Hershey’s, and more.

This is one reason why many parents don’t want their little ones playing with cosmetics—these chemicals can pose an even greater risk to kids than they do to adults since their systems are smaller and still developing.

Not to mention, makeup can be super messy! That’s another reason why pretend makeup can be a great option for toddlers and kids.

So, we’re going to discuss what to look for in fake kids’ makeup, and then give you recommendations for the best non-toxic and (mostly) plastic-free pretend makeup sets.

This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase.

Which Makeup Products Are Best for Kids?

Every child is different, so it’s up to you to decide what type of makeup products are best for your little one(s) based on their age, maturity level, etc. There are several options:

Option #1: Pretend makeup

Pretend makeup sets encourage a young child’s imagination. Plan Toys describes how role-playing with fake makeup can support a child’s development: “Language and social skills soar as children role-play with friends or parents – describing what they are doing, what colors they are using, what makeup is placed where and why, asking questions, etc. Fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are also boosted as children concentrate on using a steady hand to apply products.”

Plus, fake makeup is 100% mess-free! We’ve listed several great brands below that carry non-toxic fake makeup sets.

Option #2: Real makeup that’s made for kids

If your child wants to use actual cosmetics, be aware that most of the makeup kits on the market contain things like synthetic fragrances, parabens, and phthalates. They can also be contaminated with lead.

There aren’t very many makeup kit brands out there that make truly non-toxic and natural makeup for toddlers, kids, and tweens, but we’ve listed a few brands below that you can feel safe letting your children play with. You can also find a more thorough guide to real makeup for kids here.

Option #3: Real makeup that’s made for adults

Even though it’s made for grown-ups, one could argue that using safe, non-toxic makeup that’s technically for adults is better than using kid makeup that could contain toxic chemicals. We recommend sticking with clean and trusted brands like Beautycounter, Honest, and Elate.

Option #4: DIY makeup

And then, of course, there’s always the option of DIYing your cosmetics! This can be a fun activity you can do with your kids, and it gives you much more control over the ingredients used. A quick Google search will turn up recipes for everything from eyeliner to lip gloss.

What To Look for in Non-Toxic Pretend Makeup for Children

1. Material Transparency

This is perhaps one of the biggest problems when it comes to pretend makeup sets for kids. Most of the kits we looked at lacked a lot of information about what the product was actually made out of.

2. Plastic-Free (or minimal plastic)

You’ll notice that most of the brands recommended below are plastic-free. This is because wood, being a natural material, is generally safer than plastic. Plastic is a petroleum-derived product.

Not only is it less eco-friendly, but nearly all petroleum-derived products come with a variety of potential health risks. This is partly because many plastics contain endocrine disruptors like phthalates or BPA.

3. Water-Based Paints

Conventional paints often contain chemicals like methyl alcohol (which can cause reproductive harm) and toluene (which can cause damage to the central nervous system), as well as heavy metals and high levels of formaldehyde. The recommended brands below, however, use non-toxic, water-based paints in their pretend makeup.

4. Prop 65 Warning

You’ll notice that a lot of the fake makeup sets for kids contain a Prop 65 warning, which means that the toy contains phthalates, heavy metals, or other toxins that exceed a limit set by the state of California.

So no matter which pretend makeup set you decide to purchase, it’s best to make sure it doesn’t come with a Prop 65 warning label.

5. Part Size (Choking Hazards)

Most fake pretend makeup sets contain small parts. For this reason, you’ll notice that most sets on the market are recommended for kids ages 3 and up. It might be better for young toddlers to skip the play makeup until they get a little older.

To be safe, always make sure to use supervision when kids are playing with these pretend makeup sets.

Where to Find Non-Toxic Pretend (Fake) Makeup

Plan Toys

pretend makeup set for kids from plan toys

This wooden pretend makeup set is handmade from sustainable rubberwood and stained with non-toxic water-based pigments. Each piece is free from sharp edges and harmful substances.

They have a super cute hairdresser set and imaginary shaving kit, too! Both of them would make a great birthday gift for a little one because they encourage imaginative play.


Etsy has a great collection of Wooden Montessori pretend makeup kits from various sellers.

This one, for example, can be personalized with your child’s name on it and is made with materials that conform to European safety standards. And here is yet another set that also complies with European toy safety regulations and comes with even more pieces.

Melissa & Doug


If you’re looking for fake makeup toys for kids that can be found in big box stores like Target, Melissa & Doug is a pretty good choice. This is the only brand on this list that uses plastic (in addition to EVA foam). Although it’s made from plastic, it does not carry a California Prop 65 warning, which means it’s safer than a lot of the other plastic pretend makeup brands we looked at.

It is worth noting that back in 2009, Health Canada recalled more than 26,000 Melissa & Doug toys because they were tainted with lead. Although that was quite some time ago now, it may be worth considering for some parents. Melissa & Doug also has a Wooden Beauty Salon playset too, which is also available at Target.

Where to Find a Non-Toxic REAL Makeup Kit That’s Safe for Kids & Toddlers

If you want to give your little one real cosmetics, a few kid-focused brands are free from harsh chemicals and instead made with natural minerals and plant-based ingredients. Here are the brands we recommend:

Klee Naturals

klee naturals non toxic makeup for kids

Klee carries a variety of makeup kits for almost every age. It’s all made in the USA and completely free from phthalates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, and animal testing. The eyeshadow is made with natural minerals, and the lip glosses are flavored with real fruit extracts.


Evereden is an excellent skincare and personal care brand for moms and kids, and now they have kids play makeup, too!

They offer a “rainbow” of multi-use face crayons that come in nine different fun colors. They can be used on the lips, eyes, and anywhere on the face, and are formulated for kids aged 3 and up.

Everything is gluten-free, vegan, and made from mostly natural ingredients. They don’t use toxicants like parabens or phthalates in their products.

While Evereden’s safe kids’ makeup isn’t EWG Verified yet (some of their other products are), they provide the EWG score for each ingredient right on the product page, making it easier for parents to check for anything questionable. As you can see, none of the ingredients in their Play Crayons score above a 3 (which is good!).

They also offer gift sets, lip gloss, kids’ face wash and face cream, and more.

Prim & Pure


This kid-friendly makeup is made in the USA, contains no GMOs or parabens, and is cruelty-free. They have a lot of fun gift sets and shimmery colors!

Urban Kangaroo


This DIY lip balm-making kit would be a really fun afternoon activity to do with your little ones. The natural ingredients are made and sourced ethically in the USA. Plus, who doesn’t love a cute tin of lip balm?

Whether you have a two-year-old or three-year-old, you can find a pretend makeup kit for your little ones that encourages countless hours of pretend play!

Letting your child play with fake makeup can help with fine motor skills and encourage their imagination and creativity. When shopping for pretend (or real!) makeup for kids, look for brands that prioritize transparency and non-toxic materials and ingredients.

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About Abbie

Abbie Davidson is the Creator & Editor of The Filtery. With almost a decade of experience in sustainability, she researches and writes content with the aim of helping people minimize environmental toxins in an in-depth yet accessible way.

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