Face Painting Tutorial, Part 1 - Introduction and Supplies

A boy with his face painted like a tiger

Face painting is taking over the world. Once popular at Halloween for little kids and at sporting events for big kids, face painting is now sought after for any reason.

Face painting is popular for:

  • Birthday Parties
  • Sporting Events
  • Fundraisers
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Valentine's Day
  • Any Holiday
  • School Plays
  • Rainy Days
  • To Cheer up a Child
  • Mardi Gras
  • Masquerade Parties

Paint and Make-up Basics: The Face Painter's Tool Box

As months and years go by, face painters learn about and acquire different types of brushes, sponges, colors and other tools to their supplies. Someone just starting out needn't own every brush or tool available. Quite the contrary; if you look around your house, everything you need is within reach: a simple homemade face paint recipe consists of eyeliner and some Q-tips!

Pros and beginners alike will benefit from organization, and to accomplish that, buy yourself a plastic briefcase-sized container with a handle. Fill one side of the briefcase with foam with slits cut to securely hold the paint containers, brushes, glitter, glue, etc.

Types of Face Paint

Do face painters use paint or make-up? Don't let the name fool you - face paint is a cosmetic-based paint which is really a water-based cosmetic. Huh? In short, face paint is make-up, referred to as "paint" since brushes are use to "paint" the make-up on the face. As a beginner, an Internet search for "face paints" will result in both paint and make-up Web sites, thus thoroughly confusing someone unaware that both sell face paint. Face paints are sold in liquid, crème, cake, pencil and crayon form. Be sure to purchase water-based, not grease-based paints.

Health and Safety Issues

Since face paints are cosmetics, it would be dangerous to use regular paint on skin, especially on a child's face. The most important detail to look for in make-up and face paint is an FDA-approved, child safe seal or notice. It doesn't matter how "cool" the color is or how inexpensively priced, do not purchase non-FDA-approved, non-child safe, face paints. Even when purchasing kits and sets of face paint, make sure that each color is FDA- or EEC-approved. It is also very important that your paints are water-based and never grease-based. Grease-based make-ups not only create break outs on children's faces, but are harder to work with and smudge easily.

Please, remember that face paints are different than regular paint, as they are safe to apply to children's faces. Never use regular paint for the purpose of face painting.

The Best Brands of Face Paint

The most trusted manufacturers of face paint are Grimas, Kryolan, Snazaroo, Mehron, Ben Nye, Farel and FAS. These paints can be found at theater company stores, larger craft stores, or online.