Our best overall pick, the Kryvaline Face Paint Kit offers the primary staples every artist needs, along with face paint pans filled with less-conventional colors, like slate gray and mauve. For something you can wear beyond sunet, we also love the Midnight Glo Black Light Face and Body Paint. It contains eight pots of glowing, non-toxic paint, and the paints require blacklight in order to fully show up in the dark.
After ten years of selling the best face paint brands on the market and testing literally almost every face paint brand out there, we decided it was time to create the ultimate face paint brand comparison guide for all of our customers and everyone that face paints and wants to understand the differences between face paint brands and what each is best for.
We will start by breaking down the basic difference between most brands, including the base ingredients, and we will then talk about what you should look for if you are trying to do line work versus base work or stenciling. Last, we will provide you with a full chart comparing each face paint brand that we know of.
Although several base ingredients are used in face paints, a few make the biggest difference in the performance of your paints, so we will cover those that matter the most when comparing different face paint brands. When we talk about base ingredients, we are referring to the ingredients that give the paint its consistency and act as a medium for the pigment. We have ingredients that work as the main element and others that are there as preservatives, perfumes, etc. We will cover the main ingredients within this section.
Paraffin Wax is a petroleum-based wax that is solid at room temperature, but it starts to melt once temperatures go above 37 degrees Celsius. A lot of the most popular face paint brands out there are made with paraffin wax, including brands like Diamond FX, TAG Body Art, Kryvaline regular line, and Wolfe FX face paints. Paraffin Wax face paints usually have a clay-like consistency and can be activated using water.
Many professional face painters like to work with paraffin wax-based face paints because they dry quickly, provide very good coverage and allow painters to create very intricate details. Paraffin-based face paints don't bleed, so you can create sharp lines with sharp edges, unlike some glycerin-based face paints that tend to bleed a little creating a more fuzzy-looking edge.
Since the paraffin comes from petroleum, the ingredient itself is vegan, and no animals are hurt to create it, unlike beeswax-based products that can not be considered vegan. Keep in mind that we don't know of any professional face paint brand using beeswax as an ingredient, but some face painting crayons and glitter pastes out there do use it as a replacement for paraffin wax.
Glycerin is a viscous liquid that can come from animal or plant sources. The one used for face paints comes from plants, so it is also vegan. The biggest difference with paraffin wax is that glycerin is softer, yet its consistency doesn't change much when exposed to higher temperatures, so it is a bit more stable in the heat than paraffin. Extremely hot temperatures will make it turn into a cream, while paraffin turns more into a sticky marshmallow-like consistency if overheated.
Glycerin-based face paints are especially good for creating soft smooth looking bases since it is very flexible and blendable, unlike paraffin wax which can feel a bit tighter on the skin since it is a bit thicker.
Brands like Superstar, Paradise from Mehron, Graftobian, and FAB, are all glycerin-based face paint brands. Glycerin-based face paints tend to be a bit easier to smudge than wax-based face paints and provide a more matte look than paraffin wax-based paints. Still, they come in beautiful bold colors and can withstand normal wearing conditions, and look beautiful all day long if not rubbed or exposed to sweat and or water.
Acacia Senegal Gum-based face paints have a consistency and behavior somewhere in between wax-based and glycerin-based face paints. They are thinner than paraffin-based paints but not as creamy and soft as glycerin-based paints. They can be used for line work with a similar result as paraffin wax paints and have a similar glossy finish to them. They are equally resistant to rubbing as wax-based paints but not as resistant to heat.
Brands like Fusion Body Art (except for some colors), Cameleon (except for some colors), Kryvaline Creamy Line, and Global Body Art fall into this category of face paints. So far, we don't know of any other brand that uses Acacia Senegal gum as their main ingredient.
These two ingredients are mostly found in water and sweat-resistant face paint brands. Their combination allows for an opaque and smooth finish with a matte look that can resist water, sweat, and friction for extended periods of time. Both ingredients are plant based, making them another great vegan option. Keep in mind that although those ingredients are vegan, some brands like Endura and ProAiir Ink are not vegan because they also use shellac. But products like ProAiir Hybrids and DIPS are alcohol-based and Vegan.
You can find these paints in a solid version that uses an activator that has alcohol and castor oil in it or in liquid form ready to be used. Either way, they can be used for line work and base work, but they are not as easy to blend together using a sponge or brush because of how fast they dry on the skin. To blend colors, it is best to use an airbrush or blend them while wet on your brush or sponge.
Because the alcohol tends to create a short stinging/hot sensation if applied near the eyes as they dry, we always recommend keeping these paints away from the eyes, mostly if dealing with small children. Also, they are harder to remove since they are designed to withstand friction, sweat, and water, so it is best to keep them away from sensitive skin areas, as removal will require some friction, soap, and water.
Petrolatum-based paints are usually the ones designed for clown and theater makeup, commonly referred to as grease paint. These paints are very thick and can be applied with a makeup sponge. They do not need water to be activated since they are used directly out of the container and sponged onto the skin.
Because they are very oily, they need to be set with a setting powder so they do not transfer when exposed to friction or rubbing, but once set, they are very sweat and water-resistant. Most theater performers and active clowns prefer this kind of makeup over the water-activated kind because of its resistance to sweat, but your ability to do detail work is very limited, usually requiring you to work with grease pencils or crayons or using powder-based paints over the grease makeup since detail brushes will not work well with this kind of paint.
Mehron and Ben Nye are two of the most popular manufacturers of this kind of paint, and although their popularity is in decline by face painters in favor of easier-to-work-with products like their water-activated counter parts, they are still high-quality products with a niche market.
The most common talc-based face paints are dried pressed powders that are applied dry using a smoothie blender applicator. They can be applied directly on the skin or over a primer if you want a more opaque and vibrant look. If you set them with a sealer, they are fairly sweating and water-resistant. They can double as eye shadow and blush. Some talc-based face paints are creamier than others, depending on how much glycerin is added to the formula.
One of the most popular brands of talc-based face paints is StarBlend, but there are several others like Ben Nye Magic Cakes (that, although a pressed powder, need to be activated with water), Lumiere Powders, Ben Nye Studio Color Rainbow Palette and Elisa Griffith palette.
Liquid face paints with acrylates as a base are fairly sweat and water-resistant, yet easier to remove than alcohol-based face paints, so they are a great alternative to alcohol-based face paints when painting young kids or over sensitive skin areas like the eyelids.
If you are looking for an alcohol-free alternative to paint on events where some water and sweating might be involved, acrylates-based face paints are a great solution, just as pressed powders with primer and sealer. If a child gets hot and sweaty, the paint softens, but it does not drip. They are easy to remove with soap and water.
Currently, there is only one brand of face paint in the market that uses cosmetic-grade silicone as a base: Body Color Cosmetics. The combination of this base with the isododecane and dimethicone on their activator creates a waterproof and smudged-proof formula. This kind of face paint has a clay-like consistency when in the cake, and once it is activated, it has a similar consistency to that of paraffin wax-based face paints. It is good for line work and base work. Based on the manufacturers' claims and a test video we watched, it takes about as long to dry once on the skin (or even a bit longer) as regular water-activated face paint does, which is great for blending, unlike alcohol-based face paints that have a shorter drying time which makes it a bit more challenging to blend colors on the skin with.
As we mentioned above, paraffin wax and acacia Senegal gum-based face paints are best for line work. They give you sharp lines with clean edges and tend to flow better off your brush with a more ink-like consistency than glycerin-based face paints. There are some exemptions to every rule, and that is the case for Superstar, that although it is a glycerin-based face paint, it works very well for line work as well, maybe not as good as the paraffin and acacia gum-based paints, but almost as good. 59ce067264