The 8 Best Body Paint Sets
This wiki has been updated 28 times since it was first published in February of 2016. Body art and face painting are fun, temporary ways for children and adults alike to express themselves. Whether you are looking for entertainment options at your next kids' party, unique Halloween costume ideas, or an amazing way to command attention the next time you go out clubbing with friends, something from our selection will have you covered -- literally. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 08, 2019:
For this year's review we added the Blue Squid 12 Color Set and the Mosaiz Crayons. The Blue Squid is preferred for it's smooth coverage and the vibrant color choices it offers, not to mention the included brushes and stencils make it a great choice for someone who just wants to try face painting at a party for the first time. Mosaiz Crayons have a wide appeal for being simple and portable. We removed the Custom Body Art Airbrush paints due to recent quality concerns.
What To Look For In A Body Paint Set
A non-toxic option is a good place to start, but that's not enough, as plenty of art supplies fall under this category, but can still wreak havoc on your body.
Painting your face and body can be an entertaining and transformative affair — if you're using the right product, of course. The last thing you want is to get stuck with substances that are difficult to apply, don't blend well, or make you break out. Thankfully, you can avoid these issues as long as you know what to look for.
A top concern is whether or not a paint product is safe for skin. A non-toxic option is a good place to start, but that's not enough, as plenty of art supplies fall under this category, but can still wreak havoc on your body. You can't go wrong with an FDA-approved, water-based set that's free of parabens and irritants. Of course, that won't completely guarantee sensitive types won't break out, so patch test a small area of your skin before you go the whole hog and cover your entire frame.
There's also the application to consider. Paints that glide on smooth are much easier to administer than options that are too runny, gunky, or don't set. While high temperatures and humidity can affect your finished work and make it smudge easier, most paints should be able to stay pristine for a few hours at the very least. When it's time to pack it in for the night, they should wash off with soap and warm water.
Dense pigmentation is another factor that's of vital importance, as no one wants to sport a work of art comprised of dull colors. Theatrical-grade makeup is usually a safe bet in this area, as it's meant to be visible from afar and to endure harsh conditions. It's also formulated to withstand high heat and flex with your face as it moves, so it will resist cracking as you go about your day.
Choosing The Best Body Paint For You
Whether you’re planning an ambitious Halloween costume or want to provide some whimsy for the children at your little one’s birthday party, selecting the proper paint set can be an arduous task. You can make things easier by considering the nature of the event in question — there’s a big difference between the materials required for an all-night rave versus a middle school talent show. After that, determine how long you’ll want your paint to last, and the areas in which you'll really need it to perform. Should it be sweatproof? Airbrush compatible? Once you address the bigger picture, you’ll find it’s much simpler to home in on the perfect paints for you.
They're perfect for exhibitions and art projects, or simply adding a surreal effect to an existing idea.
For an occasion that involves children, you’ll want an option that glides on effortlessly and sets quickly, so you can get through a long line of kiddos in record time. A fast-drying paint will also reduce the risk of accidental smears. Your set should come with a litany of vibrant colors, so you can tackle the creative requests you’re bound to receive all day. Crayons are an excellent choice if you’re looking to involve the kids themselves, as they’re compact enough for little hands to hold.
If you're attending a festival, rave, or any fete intended to provide a more mature brand of fun, it's smart to look for something that's exceedingly flattering and ultra-functional. When there's dancing, there's bound to be sweat and accidental contact, so you'll need rugged, long-lasting paint. If your surroundings are going to get dark or blacklights will be present, opt for photoluminescent or UV-reactive glow paint that can take you from day to night with ease.
Metallic colors are excellent for cosplay, masquerades, and novelty costumes, as their sheeny appearance is well-suited to fantasy and sci-fi themes. They're perfect for exhibitions and art projects, or simply adding a surreal effect to an existing idea.
A Brief History Of Body Painting
If you think that cosmetic methods of expression in the vein of tattoos, piercings, and body paint are strictly reserved for modern-day festival-goers and performance artists, you'll be surprised to discover they're actually thousands of years old. In fact, some experts suspect that body painting may have been one of the first forms of art, and nearly every culture on Earth has practiced self-adornment in one way or another.
Aboriginal Australians slathered themselves in it for sun protection and decoration, while the Maori of New Zealand applied it to their faces in order to repel insects.
Anthropologists believe that ritual body painting may have occurred around 100,000 years ago. Some of the earliest evidence has been discovered in a seaside cave east of Cape Town, South Africa, in the form of an ancient paint kit. It consisted of abalone shells covered in a compound made with ochre and a slender bone that may have served as a brush or scoop.
Ochre ranges from golden yellow and deep orange to brown and crimson, and it's been the pigment of choice for a multitude of civilizations. Egyptian women used it as a rouge and lip stain, and Ancient Picts painted themselves iron red with it. Aboriginal Australians slathered themselves in it for sun protection and decoration, while the Maori of New Zealand applied it to their faces in order to repel insects. Red ochre has been employed as a dyeing agent in Africa for hundreds of thousands of years, and to this day female members of the Himba tribe cover themselves from head to toe with an ochre cream so as to achieve a reddish-brown skin tone.
Then, there's mehndi, an ancient form of decoration that originated in India and is still popular among the women there. Artists use a paste derived from powdered henna leaves to embellish the hands and feet with elaborate temporary tattoos for weddings and other rites of passage.
Body paint can send a strong political message, transform an actor for a film, and even serve as a display of fine art. There are endless reasons why you might use your own figure as a canvas, whether it's for a long-standing tradition, practical purposes, or to simply showcase your artistic sensibilities. Whatever your motivations may be, you can take pride in knowing that you're participating in an age-old form of self-expression that's bound to stick around.