Face painting is a great activity to keep your kids and their friends entertained. A colourful painted face can also brighten up and complete that fancy dress costume for school or a friend’s party. Here are eight tips to make your face painting session successful, stress-free, and fun!
1) Buy – or make – good quality face paints
There are many reasons to buy good face paints that will counterbalance the cost. Firstly, they tend to last longer than cheaper face paints which means you will end up buying less in the long run. The texture of cheap face paints often makes it difficult to mix colours, so look for a paint that has a block poster paint texture rather than a waxy texture. This can reduce the number of colours you need to purchase.
Another benefit of not using a waxy face paint is that it goes on more smoothly, giving a better final result, but also meaning that you do not have to press as hard with the brush or sponge which can reduce skin irritation. Sensitive skin can be an additional issue with face paints, so always try to do a test on another part of the skin before you paint someone’s face.
Finally, there is nothing worse than waking up the next day with the leftovers of a clown painted on your face. Branded face paints are usually better at washing off in the shower with soap and water, this is because, again, they are not as waxy therefore the water doesn’t just rinse over it, it removes it.
It’s also really easy to make your own face paints at home – and making your own face paints can help address all the above issues. Because you’re making them yourself, you will know what ingredients you are using, and therefore are less likely to have issues with skin irritation. You can also make the exact colours you want, and can make the paints the consistency you want, making them easy to apply.
2) Have everything you need
Make sure that you have everything that you will need at hand to prevent having to run off halfway through to find something – this can result in a fidgety child and sometimes a half-painted face! You will need face paints, a brush, a sponge, water, and some kitchen paper. It can also be useful to do your face painting near a water source so that you can easily replace water.
3) Plan some faces
It is definitely worth flicking through a face-painting book or browsing the web for face painting ideas before you start. This means that you can be more prepared with what you’ll need but also means that you will not be faced with an overexcited child and a mental block on what you could do! If you will be painting a lot of faces or want a specific face for a fancy dress costume, it can be useful to draw or print out the face or faces that you would like to create. It can also be a good talking point if you have children waiting for their turn – they can spend it chatting about which face they would like.
4) Give a selection of ideas
This relates directly to the end of tip 3. Young children, in particular, can be overwhelmed by the experience of getting their face painted, so try suggesting to them three or four faces or designs that they may want. Obviously this limits them slightly, but most young children are just delighted in the concept of having their face painted and the specific design matters less. Helping them focus in this way can really speed up the process and stops little ones getting bored.
As I mentioned earlier, the benefit of using a good face paint is that you can mix them, like paint, to create any shade between the two. However, do be aware of the converse of this. If you would like the colour to remain the same you have to be careful with how you layer them. For example, if you are using bright, non-pastel colours, then always put the lightest on first. If you are using white as a base, try and avoid putting it on the skin where you would like the bright colour to stand out, as it will make the bright colour into a pastel colour – it’s really just common sense!
Make sure you leave yourself enough time. If you are doing lots of faces, be aware of whether you have a queue. If you are developing a queue, try and encourage the children to think about what they want so that you can crack on with it when they get to the front. If you will have to be doing things quickly, offer smaller designs like little flowers or snakes.
7) Get talking
Although face painting is easier when the person you are painting is completely still, it can be beneficial to encourage a bit of chatting. If you are only face painting your own child, you can judge how still they will be able to be. In contrast, other children are likely to feel less comfortable and therefore more likely to be fidgety. Chatting to them will make them more relaxed with you but will also keep them distracted from how long they’ve been sitting ‘still’. Good things to mention could be why they want to be whatever they are, what their favourite colours are, or what they’ve done that day.
8) Appropriate for everyone
Make sure you have a design for every type of child you could be face painting. In general, I disagree with gender stereotyping, but if you are painting a child’s face then you do have to do what they want! There are a lot of unisex style faces that you could try as well, like tigers, clowns, cats and dogs.
Happy face painting!