The 10 Best Face Painting Kits

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This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in January of 2016. Perfect for birthday parties, music festivals, or as a fundraising activity at a school or church event, these face painting kits will keep both children and adults amused for hours. They're also a fun, affordable way to get your kids interested in art and away from their screens. Just be sure to always read labels carefully to ensure there are no toxic ingredients that might harm your little one. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Mehron Makeup Paradise AQ

2. Mosaiz Crayons

3. Blue Squid Classic

Editor's Notes

December 09, 2019:

Before diving into this latest round of updates, we want to address some safety concerns regarding the ingredients in these types of products. While many face painting kits are perfectly safe for both children and adults to use, are FDA-compliant, lab-tested, paraben-free, vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and hypoallergenic, one study has put people on edge in the past few years.

Released by the Breast Cancer Fund in 2016, it tested paints and cosmetics marketed to children and found that some of them contained trace amounts of heavy metals. There is no definitive research to suggest that these trace amounts can harm your child, especially when paints are used very sparingly, but if it makes you nervous, you may want to pass on them.

In general, the FDA recommends against using red, yellow, orange or purple colors near the eyes and/or using blue, green or purple colors near the lips to avoid possible staining issues. Some skin types absorb dyes into the epidermis differently than others, with dry skin, in particular, being more susceptible to absorbing certain pigments. This can make it harder to remove pigment entirely once you've washed the paint off. A light layer of a skin moisturizer before application can help with this, as can application of coconut oil after washing with soap and water.

Just like with body paint sets, you should always check labels carefully and patch test skin to ensure you, your clients, or your children won't have an allergic reaction.

Today we said goodbye to the Emisk Professional, which suffered from complaints that it remained relentlessly wet, even after hours. We also removed the Snazaroo 12-Color Kit due to availability issues, and the MiniKiki Crayons because many users reported they were very hard to apply. We replaced them with the Mosaiz Crayons, a product that's easier to work with. Each crayon sports a broad tip for safety, so a brush will be required if you want to do detailed art. We also added two well-loved, high-grade options for professionals and cosplayers: the Mehron Makeup Paradise AQ and Kryvaline Rainbow.

Special Honors

Graftobian Master ProPaint Box 4 The Master ProPaint #4 set from Graftobian includes twelve pearl shimmer colors that are highly blendable and coat large areas easily, drying to a brilliant finish that is comfortable on skin. Highly pigmented and made in the United States, ProPaint colors go a long way, do not feel heavy or greasy, are smudge-proof, and last for hours without cracking or peeling. Each cake boasts a fragrance-free formula, is activated with a small amount of water, and does not need to be set with powder. This box is safe for hair, body, face, and nails.

4. Custom Body Art Glitter

5. Kryvaline Rainbow

This item has been flagged for editorial review and is not available.

6. Colorful Art Co. Mega

7. Snazaroo Ultimate Party Pack

8. Klutz Craft Kit

9. Artiparty Premium

This item has been flagged for editorial review and is not available.

10. Snazaroo Mini Starter Kit

The Pros And Cons Of Face Paint

There is a second powerful benefit that can come from face painting.

Parents of young kids know that if they send their little ones off to a birthday party, they're bound to come back with some colorful designs on their faces. What they don't realize is that this activity can actually be good for them, too. Let's look at some of the benefits (and a few drawbacks) of this old craft.

Face painting promotes pretend play. For the grownups out there who've forgotten what this means, pretend play is simply when children create stories and pretend to live them out. A child can ask a face painting artist to make her look like a fairy, a ladybug, or any other creature that will help bring her fantasy story to life. Studies have shown that pretend play in childhood has an important role in cultivating creativity in adulthood. If you hope for your child to grow up to be an artist or novelist, pretend play and activities that enhance it — like face painting — are critical.

There is a second powerful benefit that can come from face painting. Extensive research has found that participation in visual arts and crafts at an early age is important for social-emotional development in children. Whether your child is doing the actual face painting, having her face painted, or sitting with her friend while he has his face painted, she is participating in the creation of art. This interactive element of the craft makes it especially helpful for shy children. If your kid has a difficult time opening up in social environments, her face art becomes a talking point with the other kids, as they all discuss what they got on their cheeks and why.

One thing parents are rightfully worried about when it comes to face paint is whether it is safe for their child. In a small sample study done by the Breast Cancer Fund in 2016, testers screened face paints and other cosmetic products for heavy metals. A handful of them contained trace amounts. While exposure to heavy metals has been linked to developmental problems in children, the jury is out on how much a child needs to come into contact with in order to see any harmful effects.

There have been no recognized follow-up studies since the Breast Cancer Fund's findings nor reports of children falling ill or being harmed by face paints, but some parents still may want to sidestep them completely. If you'd rather be safe than sorry, a face mask is always an excellent alternative. If you feel comfortable using face paints sparingly once or twice a year, you should always carefully inspect ingredient labels, investigate manufacturer claims, look for FDA-approved, lab-tested paints, and limit the amount of time your children wear cosmetics. You should also avoid applying paint near the eyes and lips or on sensitive or broken skin.

Tips For Face Painting With Children

If you'll be one of the artists at the face painting party, there are a few tips to keep in mind that will help things go smoothly. You are working with an age group that is curious and can be rowdy. Keep the paint stored away in a box that only you can access. This will keep children from picking up face paints and using them as finger paint. Bring two stools so you and the child have somewhere to sit. Your back and shoulders will thank you later. Plus, children seem to understand they need to stay still if you put them on a stool. A child standing up is more prone to move around.

This will keep children from picking up face paints and using them as finger paint.

When it comes to designs, the sky could be the limit, but it shouldn't be with kids. Have a few basic ideas in mind, that you've practiced beforehand, to suggest to the kids. You could even stick to a theme, like jungle animals or sea creatures. If you let a child choose from all the possibilities in the world, he may take a long time to decide, and irritate the line of kids waiting behind him. But if you offer up ideas, he'll likely say yes to one of the designs you've already mastered. Since kids aren't known for their patience, you don't want to learn a new design while working on a squirmy child. On that note, don't hesitate to use stencils if you're not yet good at freehand.

There are a few items that will bring your designs to the next level, and get the kids really excited. You could bring a few hair chalks with you, so you can color the child's head in a way that brings his face paint to life. Stickers and glitter also add a lot of pizzazz, without requiring much work from you. No matter what you do, just remember to stay positive and enthusiastic. If you're excited about your work, the kids will be, too.

What To Look For In A Face Painting Kit

The type of party you're working at, and the ages of the kids you're painting, will greatly determine the best face painting kit for you. Remember that each age group has its own set of risky behavior. If you're painting toddler's faces, it's important you buy paint that is safe for consumption because this age group loves putting things in their mouths. Small children also aren't great at following instructions (such as, "Don't touch your face for two minutes"), so look for paint that dries quickly.

Consider fragrance-free paint so the child doesn't smell like chemicals when he gets home.

You should think about cleanup and overall aftermath, too. Regardless of the age of the kids, opt for water-based paints. These wash off much easier, which is a feature the parents will appreciate. Consider fragrance-free paint so the child doesn't smell like chemicals when he gets home. Look for a kit that comes with a carrying case that has plenty of organized sections. You don't want to throw your paint and brushes into a dozen ziplock bags at the end of the day.

If you are working with children, you can likely get a small paint palate that just has the usual favorite colors, like the primaries and a few of their secondaries. However, if you're painting adult faces, you might want a larger color selection since your subjects could ask for more intricate designs. Having a few different brush sizes will also help you accomodate a variety of requests.

Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.

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