Beginner’s Guide To Face Painting

So you’ve decided to face paint. LOVE IT! As a creative person who struggled so long before figuring out that it is not only ok to single-mindedly pursue a creative life, but in my case imperative, I am always thrilled when others seek to add creativity to their lives. Whether you’re wanting to learn this skill as a fun hobby or whether you are thinking of using it professionally, it’s a pretty neat skill to have. You can totally do this so let’s jump in!
Wearing the pants of Mr. Obvious for a moment, the first thing you are going to need is face paints. However, before you run off in excitement and purchase the first affordable face paints that you come across, you need to know that not all face paints are created equal. Throughout my years of developing this skill, I have seen everything from cheap waxy paints that leave almost no pigment on the skin, to paints so rich and opaque that you almost don’t even want to use them for fear of parting with something so beautiful.


The paints that you want to avoid are the ones that show up seasonally in most stores around Halloween or year round in dollar stores. They are usually very cheap, but as with everything else in life, you get what you pay for. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, I know from experience that the Canadian seasonal pop-up store Halloween Alley carries some really decent products by Woochie/Cinema Secrets that I’ve used (along with their FX products) to create some really cool faces. In the end, choosing the face paints that will be right for you comes down to two things:

What you are using the face paints for and what your budget is.

Let’s look at a couple of scenarios to illustrate what I mean.

Scenario 1 – You think face painting will be fun and you’re only going to be painting your own face or maybe a couple of family/friend faces during the Halloween season or for the occasional costume party. Well, because you won’t be blasting through the paints and they will be used on people you care about, you probably won’t mind spending a little more. In this instance, you might consider mid-priced, decent quality paints with a couple of high-end special face paints thrown in. (Special paints include things such as neon colours, metallic, glitters, etc.)

Scenario 2 – You are planning to paint faces at parties or fairs. In this case, you are going to need to consider which paints go further. For example, you will definitely blast through your white face paint at these kinds of events. You will still want decent quality paints but, if making money is your end goal, budget will be a bigger concern so you will focus more on value when making your purchase. You will also want to look for a supplier that allows you to buy in bulk and/or gives you wholesale pricing options.
There are a myriad of other scenarios but with these examples, you can see that determining how you will be using the face paints and then considering your budget, should always be paramount in your mind when making your final purchasing decision.


A quick review of Snazaroo, Ben Nye and Kryolan

There are many face painting companies to choose from but here is a breakdown on three product lines that I have had experience with:

I use this brand a lot for gigs where I will be painting twenty five faces or more. Snazaroo has tons of colours to choose from and their products are very affordable. They even have sparkle colours, metallics, glitter gels and glitter dust. The paints themselves don’t always cover as well as some of the higher end brands but don’t let that put you off this brand in the least. With some of the colours, you might have to layer up but the coverage ends up being more than sufficient for painting faces at parties or fairs. I use them all the time in this capacity and my customers are thrilled with the results. They are actually my go-to paints for large gigs. I actually recommend them if you are just getting started because they have really convenient and affordable starter kits that can get you off the ground quickly!

Ben Nye



There are other supplies that you would also want to have depending on the level to which you want to take your face painting craft such as mirrors, a table, water holder, chairs, wipes, hair clips, etc. I well be delving more into supplemental tools/supplies in my upcoming Getting Paid to Face Paint blog post, so be sure watch for that.

July 2, 2017