by Marcela Murad
Due to the increased popularity of face and body painting, new products are manufactured daily to cater to the demand. With so many choices, how do we decide which one is best for us?
Unfortunately because of our individual talents, creativity, and personal mannerisms- we need to try a variety of products in order to fidn what works best for us. Many times, while teaching a class, someone wants to know which brush I’m using, what specific color and what type of glitter. Then they proceed to buy exactly what I used in the class. The thing is- what works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.
The following are guidelines to help you choose the tools of your trade. These opinions are based on my own experience as a face painter, an instructor, and a retailer of face painting supplies. My advice is to experiment with various products until you discover for yourself what you really like. Only then you will know how to invest your money wisely.
When I first started my career as a face painter there were only two manufacturers of professional face paints- Mehron and Kryolan. Today we have a vast array of paint brands to choose from– with some of the most popular ones being Mehron Paradise, Kryolan, Fab, Wolfe FX, Tag, Global, Snazaroo and Ruby Red to name a few. All of them are FDA approved for use in the United States, and are as safe as any cosmetic can be. None of them have a 100% guarantee against allergic reactions (a small risk with any cosmetic) but each individual company takes safety and quality very serious.
Stay away from acrylics, magic markers or any other type of craft paint not made specifically for application on the skin.
Paints are sold in cakes or liquid form. Some like Paradise , Fab and Kryolan are made with glycerin while others like WolfeFX, Tag and Global are Bee Wax based giving each type its unique consistency. Aside from this, the major difference amongst brands is in the shade of the color.
Eight years ago Silly Farm introduced the Rainbow and Arty Cakes packing a combination of colors in one container for easier blending and to add speed to the application of any design. Today, most manufacturers carry their own line. These are great for making wow designs in no time– just make sure you dont get carried away with all the beautiful color combinations!
My recommendation for new painters is to start by purchasing a palette of any brand. Try it, and when in need of replacement buy another of a different brand. Do this while learning and improving your skills and take notes on what you like or dislike of each brand and color. Soon you will be ready to put together a professional kit with mixing and matching the brands you’ve grow to love
The brush is the most important tool in any face painter’s kit. Some artists use as little as three brushes to create amazing artwork, while others have as many as 30 brushes they work with. The choice is up to you. It doesn’t matter if you have a brush for each color and one for each separate technique . What’s important to remember when choosing a brush is quality. There’s nothing more unpractical than cheap brushes that don’t produce good results. My personal choice is the new line of Paint Pal brushes because they were designed by painters taking into consideration this art form of painting on skin instead of canvas.
My recommendation for a starter set of brushes will be:
- # 4, 5 or 6 round brush for swirls and line work
- # 1 or #2 detail brush for outlining and detail work
- Petal brush
- A chisel or oval brush for covering large areas and making larger teardrops
- A body painting brush for applying background color to the full face.
As with the paints, try buying a different brush each time your brushes need to be replaced. With time you will discover the ones that work best for you as an individual. For some tips on how to take care of your brushes and other supplies click here.
I love glitter. Without it the design misses that sparkling, magical touch that kids and adults like so much. The
only glitter used for face painting must be made of vinyl or polyester. Do not use aluminum or any kind of metallic glitter which can harm the eyes. Cosmetic glitter is the best. If you are not sure if the glitter you are using now is safe, try placing a small amount in your index finger and rubbing it against your thumb. If it feels soft to the touch is okay to use, it feels gritty is not.
Glitter also comes in Gel Form. I love the Liquid Bling by Amerikan Body Art for outlining my designs. The trick to using it is to practice applying it by making very thin lines.
It is important not to cover your design with too much glitter as glitter looks better on a design when thoughtful consideration is given as to where is best suited for each a particular design. Some painters use their fingers to apply it, some prefer the handle of their brushes or a sponge or poof bottle.
Pressed powders are a wonderful additions to your paints. They are used to add background color to any design with ease and speed. Their properties are those of high pigmented eye shadows. They are used dry, and the lack of moisture from the water allows them to work wonders during the hot summer months, are easier to apply then paints, and feel more comfortable on the face. Most manufactures offer a large selection of beautiful colors to choose from. Applied on top of paint the powders can be used for highlights and shadows and to intensify the color of the paint.
Like your brush, a good quality sponge will give you the best results. Try a variety of sponges to find out which density and shape are right for you. Avoid sponges such as the ones made of latex that keep the all the makeup inside of it. The most popular sponges come in a round shape that can be cut in half or some come pre cut. The petal shaped sponges are great for making wings and large flowers. Don’t be afraid to cut them and experiment with elastics to create deferent shapes. Consider carrying a variety of sponges in your kit to create different effects such as the stipple sponge which is great for beards and wounds.
What are your favorite kit necessities? Would love to hear from everyone <3