Silly Farm Blog

What can you use face paint on?

What can you use face paint on?

Face Paint, unlike other types of paint describes its intended use in the title. Acrylic paint, puffy paint, and non toxic liquid paint have been mistaken for skin safe paint, simply because the bottle's warning says "non toxic". Most face paint brands are made with ingredients like glycerin, talc and lanolin which are all skin safe ingredients. The glycerin and lanolin give it a silky consistency, and the talc allows for a fast drying time. Because all of the ingredients in face paint are safe for the skin, they are also safe to paint in hair and on clothing..

Face and Body Paint can be used in hair and skin

Although some people think face paint and body paint are different, the truth is face paint can be used all over the body. Except if you are using liquid latex as a body paint. I do not recommend using massive amounts of it on the body and face, as it can be irritating to remove. Face paint can be used in the hair and applied with a brush or sponge. If the hair is a darker color, you will need to apply several coats of face paint to the hair, but the overall affect will be colorful.  Face paint will wash right out of the hair with one shampoo.

Several painters ask if face paint can be used on paper and canvas. Typically when artists are starting their journey and are looking for models to paint on, they start by practicing on paper. You can most certainly use face paint on paper, however you will find that it does not glide as smoothly as it will on skin.  Face paints are activated with water, and once water touches paper it tends to absorb the extra moisture making it more difficult for the bristles to flow. Face paint will work over canvases depending on how you prep the surface. The main down side to using face paint on a canvas is that it will dull and may fade off rapidly, unless it is sealed. Face paint is meant to wash off and be a temporary paint. So if you decide to paint a canvas, and water touches it or sunlight over time it will fade or wash off.

Face paint and body paint are one-in-the same, which is why it can be used on clothing as well. Artists that body paint often paint over bras and underwear to camouflage their designs. Most textiles are very porous, they absorb massive amounts of paint. In some cases it takes 3-4 coats to cover certain fabrics.

Cardi B and Yung Miami Airbrush Body Painted
Cardi B and Yung Miami body painted by Avi Ram and Christina Mendicino

Airbrush face paint and body make up is slightly different than cake face paint. Airbrush make up is in a liquid form and is applied using an airbrush. The makeup is highly pigmented and when sprayed through an airbrush the colors are vibrant and very opaque. If you are needing to cover larger areas of clothing or canvas and want to use a face and body paint, airbrush make up is an alternative. You can cover larger areas faster and it will cover textiles in one coat. 

If you are looking to strictly paint ON clothing, you will want to use a paint specifically for clothing. Tulip makes several textile paints and Createx is a popular brand to airbrush on clothing. Textile paint is made to be waterproof and wash resistant, whereas face paint is meant to wash out of clothing.  If you happen to spill face paint on a clients shirt or clothing, advise them to wash the clothing with soap and water quickly so the pigments don't settle. If they wash the fabric quickly, the paints should remove without problems.

While, face paint is very versatile and can be used across many mediums there is  one main reason you want to stick to painting faces (or bodies) and avoid other canvases- the cost. Face paint is not terribly expensive but it's also not in-expensive. Good paints range from $8-$15 per color. If you are using double the amount of paint to practice on paper you are wasting double the paint. A better option to practicing on paper is using a Sally Ann Lynch practice board or using a practice face. The paint not only glides better, it feels and moves more like skin.  Practicing on skin is the best way to learn and improve because flesh has a bounce and roundness. Practicing on paper does not allow you to have the same curves and movement you would on a living model.

Safe Animal Paint by Melanie Simpson
Safe Animal Paint by Melanie Simpson

Last but not least, a frequently asked question is can face paint be used on animals? All of the ingredients used in water based cosmetic make up are and should be safe for the human skin, and also for animals. Animal hair can have a tendency to absorb and hold onto certain pigments longer than human skin, however the paint will wash out by using soap and water. Many of our customers have painted horses, their pets, and other animals for promotions and tributes. Painting animals with face paint is far safer than using acrylics or household paints. Face Paint is mild and will wash off much faster and easier.

If you have any questions or want to know if face paint will work on your project please do not hesitate to email or call us. The entire Silly farm staff is very knowledgeable about face and body paint. We can help you choose which paint is right for your application and we can help you save money. I once had a customer that was using Createx t-shirt paint, to paint bodies. All his designs would flake off in one hour and his clients were unhappy. Once he switched over to our FAB airbrush make up, his designs lasted longer and were more comfortable for his models.

I hope this blog helps you understand the many uses for face paint and I look forward to hearing from you should you need anything else. Happy painting friends