Is Face Painting Safe and Sanitary: What You Need to Know

Is Face Painting Safe and Sanitary: What You Need to Know

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Face Painting
Face Painting

Are you familiar with body painting? Then you probably already have an idea about the art of face painting. Actually, it is a subcategory of body painting. Both have something to do with the application of paint to the skin. Face painting and body painting are both forms of art.

The process of face painting has something to do with the drawing of decorative images on an individual’s face. However, people with a more sensitive skin opt to have the paint applied on their shoulders, hands, or arms instead of their face.

When you are planning for your child’s party and you want your guests to have a face-painting session, you must always opt for hypoallergenic paints which are specifically formulated to be safe for use on the skin, especially on a kid’s gentle and more sensitive skin.

Using hypoallergenic paints might be a little tricky, though, since there are some art materials which have the “non-toxic” label, but they are not made with cosmetic-grade ingredients. Yes, there are several non-toxic art materials, but they are still not formulated to be used on the skin. Having allergic skin reactions is inevitable. So always make sure to use hypoallergenic face paints.

Also, you must only hire a reputable face painter who practices hygiene and ensures the safety of every kid he paints on.

Face Painting vs. Tattoo

Body painting or tattoos and face painting have been practiced by a lot of people in many parts of the world. Both these forms of art have been around for quite a long time already.

Face painting and tattoo may share similarities, but they also have a number of differences. Unlike face painting, which does not last for a long time, tattoos are permanent. Yes, you can remove tattoos, especially with today’s advanced technology. But they have to be treated with a laser. On the other hand, you can remove face painting with only soap and water. It only lasts for hours or a few days.

Is Face Painting Safe and Sanitary?

Whether or not face painting is safe and sanitary is one of the most debated topics people are always talking about. A lot of people always ask if face painting is hygienic.

Of course, as a parent, you want to make sure that every face-painting material is clean to avoid the spread of germs and other microbes. Another thing is to keep away from hiring face painters who seem to be unsanitary.

Artists also have to make sure that everything they use for the face-painting session is sanitary, such as brushes and water. They also have to ensure that the children’s faces do not have any wound or cut.

So yeah, it pays to use common sense.

Face Painting Safety and Sanitary Tips for Face Painters

Face Painting Tools
Face Painting Tools
  • Before the session, make sure that materials, such as brushes and sponges, are dirt-free and sanitized.
  • After the face-painting session, clean everything thoroughly.
  • Always apply hand sanitizer before and after every face painting session.
  • Evaluate the kids. If they are noticeably ill, like if they are coughing or if they have a runny nose, you must not paint on them. Doing so will only spread diseases.
  • Also, you must never paint over a wound. What you can do, however, is to look for a different spot to paint on. You should also not paint on acne. You don’t want to be spreading germs, do you?
  • Always have anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer. Face painting can be messy. So when your hands are already dirty, wipe them and use a hand sanitizer. Having anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer is one way of reassuring parents that you work in the most hygienic manner that you can.
  • Using brushes on the lips is a big no-no.  If you need to paint a kid’s lips, you can use Q-tips, one-sided cotton swabs, or other disposable applicators instead. Using just one brush for every child’s lips is very unhygienic.
  • Never use your mouth to hold art materials, such as brushes.
  • Another thing is to never blow on a kid’s face when there is excess glitter on it. You may use your hand or another brush instead.
  • When you have to sneeze or to hold money, always wipe your hands after with anti-bacterial wipes. You may also use hand sanitizer.
  • If you need to wipe something off of a kid’s face, always use a gentle anti-bacterial baby wipes. You may either do this yourself or you may let the parents do it.
  • Yes, people must always conserve water, and that includes you. But then again, for face painting purposes, you must never save used or dirty water for later use. Change it when it already looks murky. Also, it is ideal to use drinking water rather than tap water.
  • Wet sponges and brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria. That is why it is always safe and sanitary to let them completely dry before storing them.
  • Consider using one sponge per child. Yes, it may sound costly, but certainly safe and sanitary.
  • Do not paint on a child who obviously has a skin disease. Doing so will just spread the disease. And you don’t want to be blamed for that, do you?
  • This one is very important – you must only use face paint materials which are in compliance with the FDA cosmetics guidelines. Do not use face painting materials that are not specifically designed for use on the skin.
  • In addition to that, you must only use face paints that are water-based so that it can be easily removed from the child’s skin.
  • Consider using face paint which contains certain preservatives that help prevent bacteria from growing and multiplying.
  • You must keep in mind that not only face paint needs to be approved by the FDA. Other face painting materials, such as glitters and the like, must also be cosmetic-grade as well as hypoallergenic.
  • If you only have one sponge and a limited quantity of brushes, make sure that you clean and sterilize them both before and after each use. To ensure that you practice a hygienic way of face painting, you must always disinfect your materials. Never use the same sponge and brush for all the kids.
  • You must also always have a safety or an emergency kit, which includes a bottle of clean water, gentle and hypoallergenic soap, as well as anti-bacterial baby wipes in cases where a kid needs any of those straight away.
  • If you want to be extra hygienic, you may even use different palettes for each kid. When you do so, you prevent the face paint bottle from possible cross-contamination.
  • As a face painting artist, of course you must always have clean and sanitized face painting tools and materials. But that’s not enough. You must also be presentable all the time. Consider how you present yourself to everyone. How is your personal appearance? Do you look appealing and professional? You can be sure of this by not only wearing clean clothing but also by maintaining clean nails as well as having fresh breath. Keep in mind that being hygienic must always start from you.

Application Policy of Face Painting Artists

Painting on the Lips
Painting on the Lips
  • Before applying paint on a child’s face, be sure to ask parents regarding any allergic reactions a kid may have. You don’t want to be held responsible for any possible complications, of course.
  • If you don’t want to be held reliable for any possible accidents that involve paint, you must not be negligent. That means you must also do your part in making sure that no child puts the paint or any of your art materials in their eyes, or mouth. Remind each kid never to touch any of your tools.
  • To lessen the risk of possibly spreading any communicable disease, you need to say no to painting on a kid if he or she:
    • Looks sick or is not feeling well.
    • Has head lice.
    • Is with skin conditions, such as open wounds, cold sores, conjunctivitis, rashes, ringworm, sunburns, or any type of skin infection.
  • Always bear in mind never to force a kid to have a face painting session.
  • In addition to that, when you see that a child is being forced by his parents or companion to have his face painted on, you may choose not to do so. This is for the simple reason that a face painting session, especially at a kid’s birthday party, must always be a fun experience for all the children. If a child is not comfortable to have his face painted on, you don’t have to do it.
  • While there are some kids who are well-behaved, there are also a few who are not. In cases where a child is starting to misbehave and is not willing to sit still while the face painting session is ongoing, you always have the right to discontinue the session. Dealing with a child who is misbehaving will only hinder the proper process of face painting. Not to mention, it will only make the next kids in line wait longer.
  • As a face painter, you must know that face painting is only recommended for children who are two years and older. For younger kids, however, you may offer to paint on their hands or other less sensitive body parts instead.
  • When you have a face painting gig at a kid’s birthday party, you must also think about your health and well-being. If you are not feeling well or if you are sick, you must not go. Painting on the face of a lot of kids is tiring and of course will make you feel exhausted and drained. More importantly, working with kids while you are feeling unwell will compromise their health as well. You may possibly pass on the virus to them and other guests.
  • While face painting, allow yourself to take a few short breaks and give yourself a little time to change your position, stretch, or go to the comfort room. You may also eat a snack and just resume your face painting session after.
  • You must also use comfortable clothes and shoes.
  • Observe proper posture while painting on every child’s face to keep yourself from having painful arms, back, legs, and neck.

Face Painting for Other Purposes


The art of face painting is not only for mere fun and entertainment. Perhaps you already know that face painting is also done by people in the army. In fact, they paint on their faces to camouflage, hunt, as well as a military deception. Military people use face painting so that they can easily blend in with the surroundings as well as to prevent the sun from reflecting on their exposed skin. This is because light reflects on the skin’s natural oil.

In addition, people from other cultures also paint on their faces as a religious decoration.

Indian Sadhu
Indian Sadhu

Related Questions

  • Is it safe to use acrylic paint for face painting?

No, you must avoid using acrylic paints because they are not safe to use for face and body painting. In fact, they contain a lot of pigments which are not meant for use on the skin because they can trigger serious skin irritations, especially on the face which is more sensitive. Even if acrylic paints are non-toxic, they should still never be used on the skin.

  • Is using craft glitter safe?

A lot of people are asking about this issue and want to know whether or not the use of craft glitter is safe, especially at kid’s parties’ face painting sessions. Actually, using this art material is very common. Perhaps that is because craft glitter is not expensive. However, using it can be very dangerous, especially when it is applied near the eyes. It is not safe since it has sharp corners and because it is made from metal. On the other hand, cosmetic grade glitter is made from natural resins and polyester, so this one is a good alternative. Cosmetic grade glitter, unlike craft glitter, only contains safe pigments. That is why they are safe to use on the face.

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