8 face painting tips and tricks

Unsure how to remove face paint? Or how to make a realistic-looking zombie? Makeup artists gave us some easy tricks that will make you a face-painting pro, too.

Photo: Erik Putz

Photo: Erik Putz

We’re not all pros at Halloween makeup, but that’s why we enlisted the help of some artists who are. Not sure where to start with face painting this Halloween? Check out these easy tips and tricks:

1. Don’t use craft glitter
If you want to add a little extra sparkle to your little one’s face, don’t reach for craft sparkles—use glitter makeup instead. Craft sparkles are square and the edge could get caught in her eye. Use face glitter instead, makeup artist John Sheey says. As sparkles made for the face are round, if they do get in her eye, they won’t get stuck.

2. Be extra careful around the eyes and lips
Where possible, try to use eye makeup on the eyes, and lip makeup on the lips. There’s less chance of irritation this way. Sometimes going around the eye area with a wet paintbrush and face paint  isn’t easy with little kids. Makeup artist Misty Fox recommends using eye shadow instead. “It’s not as scary for little kids,” she says. “Plus, you don’t have to keep your hand quite as steady.” When you are painting around the eye area, have kids close their eyes for as long as possible. This is easier than having them look up.

3. Use your makeup brushes
There’s no need to buy fancy brushes for face painting. Just give your makeup brushes a wash and use those. If you want to buy brushes just for face paint, go to your local craft store and look for synthetic art brushes. Or, in a pinch, cotton swabs also work well, Fox says.

4. Learn how to stipple
Sheehy’s trick to getting the perfect “undead” look is to stipple the face paint. After sponging on a layer of off-white and white, dip a big blush brush in black paint and dab the paint onto the face—look, you’re stippling!

5. Invest in a split cake
You’ve probably seen the butterflies that have beautiful wings in multiple colours (like the one below). Looks complicated to do, right? But it’s not! The trick is to buy a split cake, which is one palette with multiple colours. Dab a sponge on the palette and then onto the face—you get a rainbow of colours with minimal work. You can find split cakes at some craft stores or online.

6. Keep things steady
When you are drawing a line, you want to keep your hand as steady as possible. Grab your wrist with your other hand for added support.

7. Mistakes will happen
Don’t worry if a bit of face paint smudges or a line is a little wonky. Fox keeps cotton swabs nearby, so she can easily wipe away the mistake and try again.

8. Have baby oil and scotch tape on hand
At the end of the night, when you need to remove the face paint, there’s an easy way to do it without any fuss or pain. Use scotch tape to get rid of all that glitter, then use a facial wipe to remove the paint. Fold the wipe into a small square (to prevent tearing) and gently wipe across the face. Voila, you have your original little munchkin back.

Read more:
3 awesome Halloween face painting ideas
Trick-or-treat safety tips
How to encourage creative play

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