Some years ago, the resort that we were staying at for vacation offered a party for children, so we attended with our 3-year old. That was the first time she got her face painted. Honestly I found it looked pretty primitive and my artist heart was crying (and the look on my husband’s face asking; “did we just pay for that“?) but I have never seen my daughter happier, it was all about 4 simple (rather questionable) blotches of paint on her face.
Fast forward to the following Halloween, she asked if she could get her face painted againt (today I wish she would still have this urge…) and my proud artist heart wanted to do it so much better than the lady at the resort did.
I got us a set of face paint at PartyCity and couldn’t wait for Halloween to come. To cut the story short, it was a disappointing experiment with lots of drama; I found out that apparently it is so much different – almost traumatizing one could think – if your mommy is painting your face rather than a total stranger? Also it was impossible to work with the hobby face paints I purchased. I didn’t even take a picture.
How I Started to Face Paint
I started to talk with my husband about how much better I could do that with professional makeup and this would be a hit at kids' parties (until I started research and found out that this is already an actual thing; an actual business that actual people make money with, especially here in South Florida, how silly did I feel?!). I came across Heather Green’s and Lisa Joy Young’s Videos and my daughter more or less grew up on watching their face painting tutorials on YouTube.
Picture of my very first booth!
Fast forward again. As a newbie in face painting, I did a lot of research for the past year or so to get hands on experience and practice. I started out with studying body art and face painting on social networks online, got to know people, got to know companies, attended festivals and talked with other artists. Made friends, made enemies. I tried out every single brand out there. I exposed my work to others. I found out I can actually paint?! My daughter found out it’s actually cool to get painted by your mom (and also this phase has passed).
So starting up a business in a body paint stronghold like South Florida, I did ask myself how do we keep up with the competition? What can we do to keep customers interested? The market here is extremely saturated with face painters, really good ones, and also a bunch of not so good ones, but as we found out in the past, the kids don’t care so much (money rules with the parents). One has to be faster, cheaper, better, more versatile, more flexible, more experienced or better, all of the above. I personally believe in consistency and trends rather than undercutting prices or allowing work quality suffer to get more kids painted. But to get business we have to somehow stand out from the crowd. So what are the new trends in face painting?
What are the Trends in Face Painting?
Trends in general come and go. Twenty years later, almost the same thing comes back again and a new generation discovers the same thing. The only thing that truly never changes is people always want MORE for their money; one of the reason why face painters lower their prices. To me, as a former sales business consultant, this is an approach that most often leads straight into long-term failure. So since everybody wants more value it appears to me that the trend right now is anything that adds value to the traditional designs and of course the constant changing movie and cartoon characters (new designs).
Add some of the new chunky or multi colored glitters, jewels, even whole custom-made jewel clusters, add crazy lashes or custom-make your own lashes like Frozen themed glittery snow lashes. You can also add character gel stickers, googly eyes, even leaf gold, add Steampunk gear or stick on other tiny objects like feathers on lashes to add interest to your face paint designs; there’s endless possibilities of creativity as long as it is safe for the skin and eyes.
To me it appears that apart from added value also more and more new mashup designs come up, like a simple design seems to be not enough anymore. MORE is trend. A design that has all superheroes covered in one, a mermaid kitty, a rainbow unicorn, a tiger butterfly or a steampunk sugarskull. One design is not enough, we want …more.
On events you may want to offer additional hair chalk or hair jewelry. At least one “side hustle” is almost a must, some artists offer glitter tattoos stenciled or freehand, I personally offer real matte tattoos, others do balloon twisting or at least dress up for gigs to stand out. You may also add value to your services like offering props, maybe backdrops or frames to use for your customers so they can shoot a cute memory photo, because that is what we sell: memories.
After all though, the recipe for success, I believe is, and stays simple and trendy: MORE.