Have you figured out the perfect costume idea to wear this Halloween? Besides getting to the store early to pick out your supplies, we have one important advance-notice life hack: patch test anything you plan to slather all over your — or your kid’s — face.
Irritating or allergenic ingredients are common in cosmetics of all kinds, because everybody’s skin is different. A lipstick that doesn’t bother your friend might make your lips raw and puffy. (Arguably you should patch-test all your cosmetics, although many of us don’t bother.) Halloween makeup is a special concern because it’s usually something you haven’t used before, and in many cases you’re planning to spend a whole evening with the stuff all over your face.
So here’s how to do a proper patch test:
Apply a small amount of the makeup to the inside of your forearm or elbow, or to another area where skin tends to be sensitive but also not too noticeable. (Other options: the side of your neck, or behind your ear)
Leave it there for 24 hours or as long as possible. Cover it with a bandage if you’re worried about smearing.
Check the area for any redness, swelling, itching, or discomfort.
If the makeup irritates your skin, you shouldn’t wear it. If the makeup is for a kid, make sure you test it on their skin — just because something is fine on your own elbow doesn’t mean it’s all clear for someone else. Remember, people are different. You can also develop an allergy or sensitivity to something you’ve worn without issue in the past.