Facepaint.com sells dozens of different Whites, so which one should you choose for your kit? See detailed review and swatches below.
I admit I have an obsession with whites. For some reason, I carry around at least four different whites all the time, not including the pearl whites or the blue-ish undertone or UV whites—they’re just plain, standard whites. This is because no one white is perfect for every job. Some are good for line work, while others are better for blending. Some you have to reload onto the brush more often, while others are opaque with the first stroke. There’s a wide range of how many applications are available given the same amount of face paint. I came to the conclusion within the tested paint brands that there is no such thing as a best or a worst paint. They are just made for different applications by different artists.
I live in Florida where the humidity is usually very high, so please understand this was a simple test in my own environment. The results are not derived from complicated lab tests with dozens of swatches and perfect applications. I only did one swatch per application, so the results reflect my personal opinion; another face paint artist might be able to get different results. This being said, my results are below.
Whites tested (the number is random to identify the swatches)
1-Paradise by Mehron
4-FAB by Sillyfarm
5-Mikim AQ colors
Let's get started! First I smelled the paints. Most of them had a neutral or powdery smell, but were nothing to get excited about. Paradise seemed to have a slight coconut (?) smell, which was quite pleasant, and oh …I could sniff for hours on Kryolan! It somehow reminded me of the smell of my late grandmother’s hair, in a good way, and had a pleasant cosmetics smell that didn’t linger too long.
Next, I activated all the paints. Paradise, Diamond FX and Wolfe seemed rather on the hard side of cake face paints, but held up with steady consistency during the test. Kryolan, Ruby Red and Graftobian behaved similarly; they were thick and creamy, but I had to keep reactivating them, which was fine with Kryolan, but over time Ruby Red and Graftobian looked a bit more grainy each time I reactivated. (Ruby Red needed a bit of work stirring it smooth.) Mikim had to be reactivated with every single application and seemed to absorb the water. It had a pleasant consistency at the very beginning but turned gloppy real fast. FAB was super creamy from the beginning and held up its consistency through the whole test. One had to get used to the soft creaminess, but once there, it was very pleasant to work with.
Aptitude test for bases - application with dauber sponge
After I activated the paint, I used a brand new dauber for each brand, loaded it with paint, and dabbed it on three times. (See picture first row.) The coverage of FAB (4), Ruby Red (6) and Wolfe (7) seemed remarkably opaque. The other brands’ performances were average, but I’d like to mention that Paradise (1) and Diamond FX (3) covered only translucently but still evenly. If this is the effect you want, then this is the paint to go with.
The absolute winner here was Kryvaline creamy white (11) with fast even coverage in one single dab. The two next dabs had zero effect on the coverage of the first dab. It was followed by the other Kryvaline essential white (12), TAG (13), Cameleon (14) and PartyXplosion (15), which also had nice opaque coverage. Graftobian (8) barely adhered to my skin, and after three dabs the coverage still had the same powdery, transparent look.
Aptitude test for bases—application with kabuki brush
For the second row, I used a small round edged Kabuki brush. It seemed to me that especially Paradise (1) and Kryolan (2) blended well and fast with a translucent (but even) powdery finish, while Diamond FX (3) and Wolfe (7) blended to become nicely opaque.
For the second batch of brands, I noticed a major difference between the two Kryvaline whites. The “creamy white” (11) still went on very opaque while the “essential white” (12) had a rather powdery finish, just like Snazaroo (10)—a finish that was so powdery it was barely there. On the opposite end of the spectrum, PartyXplosion (15) gave the most opaque result with the Kabuki brush.
Aptitude test for bases—application with flat brush
To compare the coverage of the different whites, I loaded a wide flat brush and painted one stripe with a single stroke. For the second half of the stripe, I stroked three more times with the same load to see how that would change the coverage or blend. Paradise (1), FAB (4) and Wolfe (7) turned out to be very consistent. Paradise showed a translucent but powdery even coverage. FAB came out perfectly creamy and even, but both Diamond FX (3) and Wolfe (7) came out with almost 100% opacity. Kryolan (2) and FAB (4) blended wonderfully with a few more strokes. As for the second batch of brands, Snazaroo (10), Kryvaline essential (12), and PartyXplosion (15) seemed to stand out the most.
Aptitude test for line work—application with round brush
For the next test I tried to evaluate the best paint for line work. I loaded a round brush size 6 and painted one teardrop upwards and reversed with the same load. (Never mind my reversed teardrops—I need more practice on those!) I found that Paradise (1), Diamond FX (3), FAB (4), RubyRed (6), and Wolfe (7) were excellent for line work in general, while Ruby Red (6) and Wolfe (7) showed outstanding, even opacity. Graftobian (8) teardrops on bare skin almost didn’t show up, while PartyXplosion (15) stood out with a “kaboom” like no other brand because of its sharp edges and almost complete opacity. Kryvaline essential (12), TAG (13), and Cameleon (14) also resulted in nice quality teardrops.
Aptitude test for opacity - application with round brush
I tried the same test on top of warm, cold, and metallic colors, to see if and how the base colors would bleed thru the whites. (In some cases this is a welcome effect, but in others not; it’s up to the artist to play with the possibilities!) Ruby Red (6) seemed to behave best with most opacity, followed by Diamond FX (3) and Paradise (1). I did not judge the opacity itself, but only how well it went on and how evenly the paint covered.
As for the second batch of brands, I found that the teardrops with Snazaroo (10) went on “like butter,” and was smooth, even, and opaque, just like Kryvaline essential white (12) and Cameleon (14). PartyXplosion had remarkable opaque coverage. Graftobian (8) disappointed me, even taking into consideration that I wanted a white which would allow the other colors to bleed through. I felt it should have at least provided even coverage to make it appealing.
As a final test, I painted a row of short teardrops and waited fifteen minutes until they were completely dry. I used my dry finger to smear over each one lightly, one time to the left and one time to the right. Nothing happened with the first batch of brands. I smeared lightly back and forth several more times and there was just a slight paint transfer coming out of the swatch of RubyRed (6), but really nothing to cause concern. They all held up in Florida’s humidity as expected.
The second batch of brands behaved similarly except that with the first dry finger rub to the right, Graftobian (8), Cameleon (14) and PartyXplosion (15) smeared immediately and heavily.
White paint prices (in $ per 100g, based on current best value deal with Facepaint.com):
- Best value; Diamond FX $16/100 gram, Global 16$/100 gram, PartyXplosion $20/100 gram and Snazaroo $20.75/100 gram
- Average value; Mikim AQ, Wolfe, Kryvaline, Kryolan, Cameleon and FAB ranging from $21-24.75/100 gram
- Rather expensive; TAG $28.15/100 gram, Paradise $32.85/100 gram, Ruby Red $38.90/100 gram and Graftobian with $51.20/100 gram
Surprisingly enough, the biggest quality difference was within the same price range.
One other thing that I noted during the process was the packaging. Most cakes had a lid which was separated above the actual paint, while Kryolan and Ruby Red closed super tight right on top of the full tub of paint. This might have advantages that I am not aware of, but until there’s enough product used to build a small air pocket, pieces of the product will stick to the lid when opened and create small craters in the cake, which I personally found aggravating. Also, I would like to mention that Snazaroo did not hold up well to heat and humidity. It practically melted in the mail (while the other brands were OK), and I had to set it out in [by?] the A/C overnight to be able to use it. Remember that these paints were tested in the hot and humid Floridian summer. What might be a problem for me may not necessarily be a problem for another painter in a different climate.
Other factors that you will need to consider in choosing your whites are the availability of the brand, how many full faces you can get out of a cake, and the manufacturing country (you might consider paying more and supporting US jobs). You may also prefer liquid paints (water based) over cakes, waterproof paints, wax, glycerine, or alcohol based paints, vegan or non-vegan paints, and different sizes or styles of packaging. Personal taste will still be a large factor in finding your favorite brand, so it’s best is to experiment with several brands in order to find your favorite.
Personally, I carry Kryolan, Wolfe, Paradise, and Diamond FX whites with me all the time. I use Kryolan for Sugar Skulls or Clown bases or when I need a creamy, even consistency with coverage which is not uncomfortable. I use Wolfe for outlining for private appointments, Paradise for teardrops around masks when I want them to be light and bleeding into the base colors, and I use Diamond FX for a better value replacement for Wolfe at children’s events.
I hope this guide helps you to better understand the differences between the different whites currently available. Stay tuned for our Ultimate Black Guide, which will be coming soon!