Face Paint and Face Paint Safety

Face painting is great fun to do and so easy to learn. Anyone can enjoy face painting you don’t need to be an artist. Before you start, have a good understanding of face painting safety.

Painting people is very different from just painting paper. 
Health and safety is everything!!
Selecting healthy face paint is critical.  There are so many brands and types of face paint on the market.

There are two main types of face paint:
Normal Face Paint
Normal: This is a liquid paint like normal paint. This is best suited for the schools, fun days, fairs, sport events.  You get more for your money and it goes a long way.
Make up compound
Make-Up: This is not paint at all but more like a make-up compound.  The make-up type is easier to apply but is very expensive and you normally get very little for your money.

You are about to paint onto the skin of children and maybe leaving the paint on the skin for sometimes hours. So being careful not to purchase a watered down poster paint that might be harmful is critical.

Just as some people have an allergic reaction to bee stings, everyone is different! So, keep an eye on your models skin as you paint. If your models skin becomes itchy or irritated, you will need to instantly remove the face paint and apply a barrier cream. Even then a few people have still have a reaction to the barrier cream and it is best not to apply the face paint in this case.


Be very careful of unknown brands, product that is made in China or smells like you would never put it on your face.  Some cheap face paint really do smell badly.

These days label that say non-toxic is just not good enough!  The label should carry a seal or safety mark like CE, ACMI or FDA.  This means the paint has been tested for safety.

Also be aware Face Paint that is a cosmetic grade means it is a watered down poster paint. This is not made for painting on skin. But on the other hand a ‘cosmetic’ pigmented paint is made from pigments that are design for skin application. Like a coloured facial cream.



If you suspect that your skin or your models skin may have sensitive skin you could test the paint on the inside of their wrist before you begin. If there is no reaction after a few minutes will be safe to proceed.

If you are intending to wear face paint for long periods of time, you may need to re-apply your colours and use a barrier cream or moisturiser to assist with removal and protection of your skin.

Keep paint away from eyes, mouth and nose. Always be very careful when painting in these areas. It is a good idea to have your model close their eyes until you have finished painting in these areas.

Don’t use paints or glitter paints that are intended for painting on paper. As these products are not likely to be safe to wear on your face.

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  1. I got some of that makeup face paint - only 5 gram of paint per colour - cost me an arm and a leg... Works well and so it should that price!


  2. thank for this but I was looking for a how to paint faces....

  3. Face paints are actually makeup, so they're fine around the mouth, eyes, and nose. And the cake makeups don't have to be hugely expensive for a small kit you'll just be using in limited instances. A pro's kit can cost hundreds or thousands, but that's 'cause we need volume.

    As for how to paint faces, there are a plethora of books and DVDs available for purchase, as well as classes, seminars, and conventions for in-person training. Totally worth it.

    1. Nellie Shepherd18 July 2012 at 09:14

      Not all face paints are make up some are just cheaply made poster paint. In Nov I painted kids at a school fair and they got a red rash from some cheap paints from a $2 shop.

    2. youtube has a heap of great face painting videos too.

  4. Grimas face paints are paraben free and EU manufactured

    i would not use face paint manufactured in china

    1. Do you never use Wolfe FX, Diamond FX, TAG or various other professional face paint brands, then? I like Grimas and have some, but I also use these others (which are manufactured in China with heavy oversight from their respective companies), and they're well-respected and popular brands among professionals.

  5. A few of the most well-respected face paints are technically manufactured in China - among them DFX, Wolfe and TAG Body Art.

    This in itself isn't an issue. The important thing is to ensure that your face paints are EU/FDA approved for use on the skin, and preferably from one of the known and well-established face paint brands.

    Not only do the "cake"-style water-activated face paints last much longer than the liquid versions (hence putting their prices on a more level playing field), but the vast majority of professional face painters find they can produce much more elaborate and beautiful designs with the former.

    Professional face paints will not need reapplying, and will last all day provided they do not become wet (and one can buy barrier sprays to help make the designs water-resistant, though I wouldn't wish to use these on children's skin as I believe they contain alcohol).

    The majority of professional face paints are fine for use around the eyes and mouth, too.

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