Video on How to Remove Face Paint & Prevent Stains on Skin

One of the most frequently asked questions by moms and dads whose children are being face painted for the first time is how to remove face paint. I always recommend a mild soap and water, because as it turns out, how you remove face paint is just as important as the quality of the product being used by your face painting professional.

For example, I don't recommend wipes, since some may contain ingredients which could irritate the face. During this video, you'll learn the best way to remove face paint from you or the children you face paint so that it comes off easily.

How to Remove Face Paint

How to Remove Face Paint

#1. Soap & Water

What I recommend to people is to use a mild soap, like a face soap. For parents, you can also use baby shampoo, which is very mild and great for children.

The important thing to remember is that when you're removing face paint, you're actually removing makeup, and not actual paint. You would never remove makeup with just water, right?

You'll also need a dark washcloth, and the reason I recommend using a dark washcloth rather than a lighter washcloth is that so it doesn't stain the fabric. Simply wet your face with water and rub the face soap over the makeup. Be gentle, and rub away from the eye. Finally, wet the washcloth, and remove the face paint.

#2. Astringent

If you find it necessary, you can also use an astringent with a cotton ball. This will remove the last few bits of the paint off the skin.

#3. Do Not Use Wet Wipes

One thing I don't recommend parents to use is wet wipes. If the colors are very strong and intense, they won't be able to remove all the makeup.

#4. Inform Your Clients

If you're a professional face painters, I highly recommend making yourself some business cards. You should have all of your contact information on it, but also, instructions on how to remove the face paint on the back. This is what I have on my business cards, and it makes it easy for parents to simply look on the back of the card, and see how to easily remove the design.


• Mild soap which can be used on the face
• Wash cloth (wet)
• Astringent and cotton (optional for deep cleaning on adults)

Generally I would only use the astringent on an adult. As I mentioned in the video, I had to use it to remove the last of the black of a Darth Vader design on my husband, because the black had gotten into the pores of his skin. Since children have tighter pores than adults, the astringent isn't necessary for them.

How to Prevent Stains on Skin

While I love to try different brands, it occasionally turns out that some of them are harder to wash off than others. In case you run into the same problem, I hope these tips will help you avoid unpleasant situations or even bad reviews from clients.

Parents will not be happy if they get home and can't remove the face paint from the  little faces, so if at all possible, it's important to try to prevent that from being a problem for them.

The first thing that I say to customers is that some paints are highly pigmented and therefore harder to remove with no staining. To help combat the problem of staining, here are my two little helpers.

1. Hairspray/Barrier Spray

With Barrier Spray Without Barrier Spray

The left picture is without any type of barrier spray. The image on the right is with barrier spray which has been applied to the skin before painting. 

In the images above, I've washed the face paint off with warm water, and these are the results.

As you can see, using a spray before applying face paint to the skin aids in  complete removal without staining, even when soap hasn't been used for the removal process.

You may also use another face paint as a background color, which might help keep the top colors from staining, although this doesn't always work with teals which are known for staining. 

2. Micellar Water/Makeup Remover

Micellar Water

If you didn't use barrier spray before and you are reasonably sure a color will stain, recommend to your customers that they can take it off with Micellar water or makeup remover. 

One final option which is often easily available for parents is that they soap the design well with a mild soap before adding any water. Soap breaks down the makeup so that it is more easily washed off the skin with water and is less likely to stain.

I hope this was helpful, and that you have only happy customers!

Products Used:

 Barrier products
 Fixative/setting sprays
 Cosmetic cleansers 

* Note that some of the above products are alcohol based, so be sure to read labels and use them as recommended by the manufacturers. 



Article Written by Beth MacKinney & Marina Krmek

Beth MacKinney: 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.  

Marina Krmek: Coming from the small but beautiful country of Croatia, I am the owner artist of SlikaLica. I love working with kids and putting smiles on their faces.Painting fast, simple but pretty designs is my favorite thing in face painting!