Birthday parties, music festivals, or even running a marathon — the uses for body paint are surprisingly numerous, even on occasions other than Halloween. But what are the best body paints to use if you’re not a pro? It turns out there are a number of individual paint pots and full kits that are easy to use at home (and are also, thankfully, quite easy to remove).
Choosing the right body paint mostly comes down to personal preference and performance expectation. Water-based formulas are the most popular option because they tend to be better-regulated in terms of ingredients and they’re easy to use. They’re also easy to remove with soap and water or an oil-based cleanser, though that also means they aren’t waterproof, so you might need some assistance from a setting spray if you plan on sweating or exposing yourself to water. You can also buy alcohol-based or latex body paints, which hold up better against sweat and water, but they require more caution because both tend to be irritating to sensitive skin types.
Of course, just like with any other cosmetic product, there’s always the risk of irritation. If you’re planning to cover yourself in rainbow-colored pigments, always do a patch test on your skin (but not on your face) at least 24 hours before you plan to use your body paint to ensure you aren’t sensitive to any of its ingredients. And it should go without saying that you 100% need to remove body and face paint thoroughly before bed (if not to save your skin, then at least think of your sheets).
For a water-based formula that’s safe to use and easy to remove, the Mehron Makeup Paradise can be applied to both the face and body. The company is a cult-favorite in the theater world, being used on movie sets and even in live productions like Cirque du Soleil and the New York City Ballet. Because each pot of color is water-activated, you can remove them completely with just soap and water. The collection comes in 38 color options, ranging from primary colors in matte finishes to shimmery metallics. And, because each pot is sold individually, you can avoid buying an entire kit of colors you’ll barely use and just stick to the ones you need.
If you’re of the belief that the bolder the body paint, the better, this neon set from Midnight Glo is a must-have. The set of six comes with pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple paints, which are statement-making on their own but also glow in the dark when exposed to black lights. The paints are safe to use on your body and face (though the company does note to keep them away from the area around your eyes). Though many users noted the bottles were smaller than expected, it didn’t seem to be an issue. “The containers are small, but a little paint goes a long way,” stressed one reviewer. “These are the best,” shared another reviewer, who added, “They’re bright and easy to use, and stay on really well — but they wash off easily, too.”
Whether you’re looking to create more intricate designs or you don’t have the patience to clean brushes, crayons are another option. The Moon Creations Body Crayons set comes with 16 shades, ranging from your basic black and white to olive green, turquoise, silver, and more. The crayons are all wax-based, so they glide on smoothly onto your skin, and they’re sweatproof and water-resistant while still being removable with makeup wipes. Moon Creations also notes that their crayons are cosmetically-certified and cruelty-free. Plus, they meet EU, FDA, and Health Canada regulations.
The ultimate set for kids, this face paint kit from Blue Squid comes with everything you’d ever need to create the most imaginative looks of a child‘s dreams. Yes, there’s your standard set of water-activated face and body paints (which in this case includes 16 different colors), but it also contains a rainbow face paint cake, two hair chalk pens, two body glitters, a sheet with 168 stick-on gems, and 24 reusable face stencils to help you achieve whatever design you’re after. They’ve even included tools, with three different size face paint brushes, two makeup sponges, and online access to step-by-step videos and face painting guides. Because the kit was developed with kids in mind, the brand notes that they use cosmetic-grade makeup that’s hypoallergenic, paraben-free, and vegan.
Also Great: A Spray To Make It Waterproof
If you’ve chosen a washable body paint (because those tend to be less irritating), you can keep it locked in place through rain or sweat with Ben Nye’s Final Seal. This makeup setting spray is sweatproof and water-resistant, and you can either mist it over your body and face paint as the last step, or mix it right in with your body paints to give them more durability. Developed for stage performers, the Ben Nye setting spray will keep your paint in place for up to 24 hours when spritzed on the top, and it’s especially helpful for oily skin types.
While many Amazon reviewers praised it for its makeup-setting abilities, others noted that it works particularly well when it comes to face and body paint. “My body paint barely faded, melted, or creased even though I was sweating throughout the day,” shared one reviewer post-cosplay convention. “Just be sure to fan it immediately after application so it dries and locks everything into place quickly,” the reviewer adds.
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