Face Painting Tips - Start With the Right Paints

These quick face painting tips will help get you started in the right direction if face painting is a hobby or service you want to begin offering.

When I paint at parties and events, I often get asked, "What paint do you use for face painting?" 

This is a terrific question and the answer isn't all that obvious.  I am, after all, applying paint to their child's face and it makes sense to want to know what I'm using and if it's safe.  No parent wants their child to have a bad reaction to face paints and moms may also be interested to do simple face painting so they can paint their own children, too.

There are more face painting tips below, but, first off, I can tell you what I don't use for face paint.

Don't use acrylic craft paints.

Acrylic paint is not suitable for the skin.  And, don't use watercolor markers or pencils.  They don't remove easily from the skin and they're simply not advisable to put on a child's face.  You can find cheap face paint in hobby stores and even at Walmart, but these are not the brands used by professionals. 

Lots of people are also allergic to non-FDA approved chemicals and colorants used in craft paints such as nickel.  Children will break out in a rash and this can be both scary and traumatizing for a child or adult who wants to enjoy the face painting experience.

Understandably, some people have sensitive skin regardless of what is applied to it.  But using only high quality, FDA approved face paints reduces reactions and it's just the best way to go.  I've compiled a list below of FDA approved, high quality paints below.  Snazaroo Face Paint is listed and this is the most easily purchased brand from local hobby stores.  However, the paint is not very opaque when applied and that can make your job more difficult when trying to get great coverage.  This is merely a beginner paint and then you should move on to better quality brands. 

I personally enjoy using Wolfe, TAG, Fab, Global Colours and Ruby Red.  Ruby Red is a great choice because it's the only brand I'm aware of that's vegan friendly and has a "child toy safety rating" which makes their product safer than traditional makeups.

Suggested face paints to use:

What about glitter?

Glitter is also super important to be concerned with as it's used to embellish designs on the face and lips.

Metallic craft glitter should absolutely not be used for face painting.

The size of craft glitter makes it dangerous. 

If craft glitter gets into a child or adult's eyes, it can cut their cornea causing serious problems.  The FDA classifies "cosmetic size" glitter at .008 microns in size or smaller.  Cosmetic grade glitter is the only safe glitter to use for face painting.  The cosmetic glitter is the one that's usually poofed onto a child's face for the overall design, but you'll also find face painters have separate pots of glitter where they dip their finger to dab it onto a design.

Be clean.

Be clean and wash all sponges and brushes after each event

I clean my brushes using a Masterson Rinse Well while face painting.  This is a super easy, convenient way to keep my brushes clean.  The kids also love watching the dirty water drain away into the well below.

The Well eliminates the dirty paint water with a push of a button into a container below.  This way clean water is always visible. 

I clean brushes in between face paintings and wash all brushes with warm soap and water after each party.  I also hand wash all of the sponges used at a face painting events and then send them through the washing machine in a small net bag to further clean them. You can also use boiling hot water to clean your sponges and brushes, but don't let the ferrule on the brushes touch the water as this will weaken the glue that keeps your brush together.

Do not use alcohol to wash brushes or sponges as any residue left behind could irritate a child's eye area.

Face painting tips require you to be healthy.

Being healthy is important to practice for face painting tips by washing and using wipes to clean your hands between each child.  Avoid painting a child with obvious open sores, wounds or eczema.  Even acne should be avoided because the rubbing needed to remove the paint will only irritate the person's face further. 

You should instead suggest to the child to paint another area such as their hand or arm.

These are just some quick face painting tips to get you started.  Just be sure to use only FDA approved face paints like those listed above. 

Keep your products clean.

Stay neat and sanitized between children to minimize them and you getting sick or spreading germs.

Practice these easy face painting tips and children you paint (and their parents) will enjoy a wonderful face painting experience!

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