Face painting is NOT something just anyone can do - it is an intimate practice and application. Don't kid yourself, this is a makeup application and as such you have to be aware that the products you use have to be approved for use on skin, and you need to be as clean as possible about the application to be safe. Also if you totally new to face painting and you don't have your own insurance yet and are being hired for a company make sure you are covered by their insurance if you don't have your own. But if you want to be serious about face painting for more then just your friends and kids, then it's a good idea to buy your own insurance
With that said I'll give you the basic low down.
There are MANY different brands of face paint out there, each with it's own merits. Many of them you will not find locally and will have to order in from online, in most cases.
If you can't shop online your best bet would be a Micheal's Craft store, as they usually carry the Snazaroo brand, which is pretty decent in comparison to other brands, It's a good paint to start with for a beginner, not too expensive and they have some good starter kits for a reasonable enough price. Another brand you might find at this store is 'Tulip Body Art' but it stains the skin a bit. But don't get dollar store paint, if it's super cheap it's going to be super bad. Stay away from face paint crayons and other cheap stuff.
Some times there are specialty makeup or party stores (MAC etc) where you can find the following brands (in order of most expensive to least expensive)
- Ben Nye Body Paints
- MAC Paints
- Aqua Color / Kryloan
- Mehron / Paradise
But if you lack specialty shops of this kind good paints might be harder to find. The brands from the specialty shops are going to be more. Each has it's own merits, though it's good to remember to try to stick to the same brand at first as some brands don't mix well with others due to different bases. So for starters try to stick to just one brand.
If you have time to shop online this opens up a HUGE list of brands you can get.
- Diamond FX
Each has it's own merits and each painter prefers something different.
While there are all kinds of great website to shop at, my top picks are SillyFarm.com and FacePaintForumShop.com
Picking your paint is really all up to you and what you are looking for. If it's your first time I would best start out with something that comes as a set of colors in a kit rather then buying each color on it's own. You'll get a better deal this way. HOWEVER be aware of 'tester' and 'sampler' pallets (they may not be named that on what ever website you are using). These are small pallets usually with a small amount of each color. They look bigger in the picture, but are usually only 0.25oz per cake which is NOT much at all.
Spend the extra cash and get the bigger cakes, you'll thank yourself later.
Now one might think all you need is some paints, a jar of water and some brushes and you are off to the races, but there are many more essential things you need before you can start.
BARE BONES BASICS
- Water Container
- Wet Wipes
- Hand Sanitizer
- 99% Iso
- Table and Chairs
- Brushes - You need a new set of brushes for face painting. Something with shorter handles usually then long canvas painting brushes and synthetic bristles work better with face paints. DO NOT use brushes you have used with other paints such as acrylic, oils etc. There is risk of cross contamination with non cosmetic paints, so you want a set you will use JUST for face painting. Just like you would with beauty makeup brushes. Have a good variety of flats and rounds - flats up to 3/4 and rounds as small as 3 to 0. But if you are savvy with a brush most of your work will be done with rounds in the 6 to 4 range. Yes the area might be small but using only tiny brushes will slow you down.
- Mirror - Obvious reason is obvious. Try to get something bigger then a pocket mirror.
- Water Container - Choose something clean that works for you. Ideally something that doesn't have a narrow base and was never used to hold food (no yogurt containers or peanut jars of course). I also prefer stainless steel or glass over plastic as they are easier to clean, and don't hang on to germs unlike with plastic.
- Single Use Cloths - You will need something to clean up faces with left over food on them or dirty faces.
- Hand Sanitizer - You'll want to use a drop of this rather regular between faces to keep your hands clean and germ cross contamination down.
- Isopropyl Alcohol - you'll want to have a small spray bottle of this on your table. You can use it to sanitize your equipment after use on lips or mouth, on sponges after use, if you drop something you can sanitize it etc. It has many uses and different face painters use it differently and more religiously then others. I tend to follow what i learned in makeup school as closely as I can when face painting.
- Table and Chairs - In your case the event should provide these. Remember to work with flat seats, a decent sized table. Avoid picnic tables etc. Some painters sit while painting, others stand and have the child seated in a stool. It's all up to personal preference.
- Extra Water & Bucket
- Water Atomizer
- Hair clips
- Wash Cloth / Towel
- Table Cloth
- Extra Water & Bucket - You will of course need to change your water as it gets dirty, so rather then sprinting to the nearest tap bring extra water in a jug or something to refill on the spot. Also it's nifty to have a place to dump your spent water without getting up so a bucket is nice.
- Sponges - these are for doing base coats of paint. Some one wants to be a tiger? Sponge + Orange Paint + Face = faster application. There are MANY different kinds, and you can get them at craft stores too. About the shape of hockey pucks, you cut them in half and you have a good sponge for an application. Bonus: Also it's a good idea to have some mesh bags to store your sponges in, one for your clean sponges and one for dirty.
- Water Atomizer - this is great to use with sponges so you can control how much water you want on your sponge. Pretty much essential to working with sponges.
- Hair Clips - Great for holding back hair out of the way while you are painting. Another thing to spray iso with when done!
- Selections - It's good to have a few selections for the public to choose from to help get idea's. Basic clip art shapes and ideas, or a written list of selections you can do clearly displayed. For your first time don't get too over ambitious, pick 10 - 15 things for boys and girls you feel you can do. If you also want to do requests you can branch out from your selections sheet, though sticking to your sheet will help you go faster and paint more faces.
- Wash Cloth / Towel - Good to put your equipment on so you don't dirty and table or table cloth.
- Table Cloth - Great for hiding dirty looking tables to make your set up look more clean, also good for hiding your stuff under your table.
- Headache Meds/Pain Killers - Good to have if your job is being around screaming kids for hours at a time. Also good for sore backs, cramps, or being kicked by small children.
- Glitter - Adds a special extra and can 'fix' or disguise bad work ^.^. IMPORTANT NOTE: Like all things applied to the skin glitter also has to be skin safe and made for use on skin. DO NOT use craft glitter, as it's sharp, can get in the eyes and cause scaring, contains metals, is not hypoallergenic etc. So only use glitter made specifically for use on skin that is cosmetic grade.
- Gems - Adds some extra bling to your designs. Use a latex free skin glue to apply them, such as latex free eyelash glue. (latex free because 8 in 100 people have a latex allergy)
- Stickers - Great to give to kids who don't want to be painter so they don't feel left out. Also great to hand out around closing time so you can pack up.
MORE THAT JUST A CASUAL FACE PAINTER EXTRAS:
- Rainbow Cakes
- Gem Clusters
- Split Cakes
- Signs / Display Boards
- Business Cards
- Day Planner
- Squeeze Bottle Glitter
- Mini Fan
- Credit Card Reader
- and more!
For your first time I would stick to the basics and add a few of the helpful and fun extras you think would work best for you to start with
PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!! Watch videos, read forums, study designs and don't be shy to ask questions! Good luck!