How to Glitter When Using Powders

Summer has arrived in Chicago with a vengeance, and it is HOT outside. Really hot. We don't usually get a run of weather in the 90s (which feels like the 100s) in May. But like it or not, if you're a face painter, you know exactly what this kind of heat means—your beautiful artwork, after being remoistened by perspiration, will be in danger of serious smearing.

One of the solutions for hot weather is to use a dry face paint such as Mehron Intense Powders for a base in your face painting. The powders hold up better in the heat and are more comfortable on the skin. The only drawback, if you're a glitter fan, is that glitter doesn't really stick to the powder like it does to damp face paint. So what can you do? Here's a quick, colorful design inspired by Margi Kanter's work which shows you how to successfully incorporate glitter on dry powder.


Mehron Intense Fire Palette
Number 3 round brush
White face paint (Diamond FX)
Ben Nye glitter glue 
Iridescent white cosmetic grade glitter
Smoothy blenders/foam applicators
Amerikan Body Art primer

Begin by laying down a thin layer of primer with a kabuki brush or sponge. You should try to lightly cover the areas you're planning to use the powders on. The primer will cause them to adhere to the skin better and look more brilliant. It won't really show up, but there will be a slight tackiness to the skin where you've placed it. 

Next, use a smoothy blender to apply the colored powders in the shape desired. 

Once the base is in place, you can use the #3 round brush and Diamond FX white to do some details.

Now for the glitter. The secret to getting glitter to stick to a powder design is to use Ben Nye's glitter glue. It's awesome, because unlike the adhesive you use for glitter tattoos, Ben Nye's glitter glue washes off with water, so it can be used in facial designs. And you can brush it right over your design without harming it. 

I added glitter glue just where I wanted the extra sparkle. It requires a little time to dry, but after it does, it becomes tacky, and you can put your glitter in place. I used a poofer to add the glitter to my design. 

After the glitter was on the design, I added any extra highlights, dots, and stars with white, and I was finished. It was a quick design and would be extremely comfortable in the hot weather. 

One more tip for adding some glittery goodness to powders is to use festival glitter, which can be swiped across the top with minimal damage to the design underneath. Because the powders are dry, the festival glitter, which is set in a gel, doesn't affect the powder as much as it does traditional face paint if you work quickly. 

Beth MacKinney is the owner of and primary face painter for Face Paint Pizzazz in Elgin, Illinois, and her artwork has appeared in The Colored Palette and SkinMarkz magazines. She services the western and northwestern Chicago suburbs, Chicago’s north side, and the eastern and southeastern suburbs of Rockford. Stop by to enjoy more of Beth’s face painting tutorials.