There are about as many reasons (occasions) for painting faces as there are choices that can be painted on faces, and this time of year, much like Halloween–but with more of an adult slant–Carnival celebrations are everywhere, from Mardi Gras to Carnival in Brazil. It’s mostly about masks, but any form of out-of-the-box styling is encouraged here, and whether or not your form of face adornment is identity-obscuring, or just some marvelous looking swirls, stars, flowers and intriguing patterns, this is the time to GO BIG with all of it! Check out all the marvelous tutorials online and on YouTube for some ideal looks, and follow up with some preliminary sketches of what you’re going for. When you’re satisfied with one, proceed to paint your face.
Go for the Good Stuff
If you’re serious about painting your face with serious style that will look like more than “too much makeup,” you’re going to need to work with some serious pigments. As the brands of makeup you’re going to find at any cosmetic counter have expanded over the years, there are certainly many more aggressively pigmented shades of certain types of makeup, but a simple online search begun with “face painting supplies” will net you the real deal stuff. Now, what you’re going to find is not some run of the mill paint kit for a backyard children’s party, although that level of product is certainly available. What you are looking for is highly pigmented cakes of stage-quality makeup that is highly developed to offer the most brilliance, visibility and will stand up to more rigorous partying and celebration. A little bit will go a long way, so buy the small size, and you’ll still have enough to share with a friend–or few.
Using What You Have
Even when you only have access to what’s available in your everyday makeup drawer, you can get your powder-based formulations like eye shadows and blush—anything with color—to go more of the distance by applying them with a wet sponge or detail brush. And all of the swirls, lines and outlines are perfect work for liquid liner and either the accompanying brush or a finer or thicker brush than the one that came with it.
Unlike painting on canvas or paper, the most effective technique for painting your face is to first lay down a field of color, and then come back in with a shape-defining outline. Whether you’re creating flowers, stars, butterflies or random shapes, by this approach you avoid the problem of “coloring outside of the lines,” and produce a much more professionally-rendered result. Now, this only applies to the larger areas, as for the small spots of color and details, it’s fine to paint as you go—outline, followed by color. When outlining with your brush, it’s better to be quick and deliberate, than slow and shaky, even if you wind up a bit off the mark.
Use cosmetic-grade adhesive for adding anything extra, from sequins, to flat-backed jewels and other doo-dads. Glitter is always a nice touch, and while sticking with the same color glitter to adorn each color of paint is a sure thing, mixing one color of glitter atop another paint color requires some visual talent for what looks good. And you can go full-on heavy or light and airy with the glitter application, just as long as you are consistent in any given color field, maintaining the same rate of dispersion and avoiding some areas (within the same color field) being heavily glittered with little to none in others.