With so many choices of face paints to choose from, it can be tough to decide which is the best face paint for you. Most professional face painters don’t work with only one brand, they may use one for white line work, and another for black line work, and yet another for magenta swirls and teardrops. They also have their favorites for sponging on bases and blending, and another for doing one-stroke designs. If you want to save yourself years of trial and error trying to figure out which is the best face paint for the job, then keep reading!
If you are looking to buy an affordable kit for face painting with your kids, you probably have different requirements. We’ll get into that too.
Let’s discuss the best face paint for all of the above situations so that you can make informed decisions before you spend your hard-earned cash on face paint that may not be right for you.
BEST FACE PAINT FOR LINE WORK
Generally speaking, professional face painters prefer a wax-based face paint for creating opaque, sharp line work.
Wolfe, for example, is a wax-based face paint and long-time favorite among professional face painters for creating perfectly opaque swirls and tear drops. Unlike glycerin-based face paints, wax-based face paint holds its color intensity and opacity when layered over base colors.This is really important if you are trying to paint faces quickly. With the right face paint, you won’t have to work your brush into the face paint for very long to achieve the right consistency nor will you need to go over your line work for a second coat.
BEST WHITE FACE PAINT
When it comes to face painting, the color white is in a category of its own. Finding the right white face paint for line work can be challenging, but once you do, you'll notice a big difference in your work. If you’re wondering why your white line work isn’t looking as sharp as what you see on your favorite face painter’s Instagram feed, it’s probably because you’re using the wrong white. Wolfe, TAG, and Diamond FX are great for white line work (Tip: TAG 90 gram white is the best value of the three brands, performs just as well, and is usually in stock.).
Of course, these brands are also great for line work in other colors too, but white is the color you’ll probably be using most as a face painter and the hardest to get right. It’s super important to make sure you get the white right! It can be the difference between designs that really pop and ones that are just ho-hum. Save money by buying large containers if you are working regularly. You’ll be surprised how quickly you go through a 90 gram container.
To learn more about white face paint, check out the Ultimate White Face Paint Guide!
BEST BLACK FACE PAINT
Like white face paint, black face paint is one of the most used colors. It's great for line work, and it's something that you'll constantly need. Check out the video above to learn more about the best black face paints!
To learn more about black face paint, check out the Ultimate Black Face Paint Guide!
BEST FACE PAINT FOR BLENDING AND BASES
Glycerin-based face paints are softer than wax-based and easier to blend. Glycerin-based face paint also feels more comfortable on the skin than wax-based face paints. So if you are using, say, a lilac shimmer face paint to cover most of a child’s face, they will probably be happy you chose a glycerin-based formula over a more drying wax-based face paint. It just feels better on the skin.
List of Wax-Based Face Paints (Great for Line Work)
Diamond FX Face Paints. Wide range of beautiful colors. No parabens. No perfumes. Single color pans, metallics, neons, split cakes, one-strokes, palettes, kits.
Kraze FX. Free of perfume, parabens, nut-based ingredients, gluten. Cruelty-free. Vegan. Single color stackable pans, split cakes, one-strokes, palettes. Great value.
Kryvaline Regular Line Rich colors. Good value.
PartyXplosion Face Paints. Single color pans, palettes, split cakes, one-strokes. Best priced one-strokes.
TAG. Great for line work, but also contains enough glycerin to work well for blending. No parabens. Wide range of colors, pearl, neon, split cakes, one-strokes. Available in small and large palettes. 50 and 90 gram containers are a great value. If you're looking for a substitute for Wolfe white, try TAG white.
Wolfe. One of the most popular brands of face paint among professionals, mainly because their white and black are so good for line work. The colors are very opaque and perfect for swirls, outlines, and teardrops. Wide range of skin and monster shades. Comes in palettes and kits. Pricey compared to other brands. Often out of stock.
Glycerine Based Face Paints (Great for Blending Bases)
Ben Nye MagiCake Perfume free. The company has been around for 50 years and is known among theatrical makeup artists. Pricey compared to other brands.
FAB. Similar to Superstar. Excellent range of colors. Very soft and easy to blend.
Fusion Body Art. Similar to Global (see below).
Global Face Paints (Acacia Senegal Gum & Glycerin) This face paint has a unique texture that is somewhere in between your typical wax or glycerin based face paint. Great for line work (other than white which is not very opaque). No perfume or parabens. Single pan colors, palettes, one-strokes, split cakes, metallics, neons. Creative split cake color combinations. Single color pans are a good value. One-strokes are among the best available for their bold color and wide range of combinations. Feels tight on the skin when applied as base color.
Cameleon Baseline Face & Body Paint. Excellent color range. Single pan colors, one-strokes, metallics, palettes. Interesting one-stroke color combinations. A little pricey compared to other brands.
Graftobian Face Paints. One of the best gold and silver face paints available. Made in the USA. Pricey.
Grimas Free of perfume, gluten, and synthetic preservatives. Meets strict Netherlands requirements for child makeup. All colors can be used around eyes and mouth. All neons are approved for use on skin. Washes off very easily. Pricey, but a little color goes a long way.
Kryolan Face Paints. Color-intensive. Applies easily. Comfortable on skin. Opaque. Smudge-proof. Pricey.
Kryvaline Creamy Line. Bright colors. Single color pans, palettes, split cakes, one-strokes. Good value.
Mehron Paradise Makeup AQ. Easy to blend and wash off. Mehron white is on many face painters list of favorites for blending. Ingredients include chamomile, avocado oil, and cocoa butter which gives it a pleasant scent. Feels good on the skin. Wide range of sophisticated colors. Single color pans, split cakes, palettes, small kits. Split cakes are a good value.
MiKim FX Face Paints. Stackable packaging. Only available in single color pans.
Ruby Red Face Paints. Vegan. Fragrance-free. Made in USA. Child toy safety rating. Comes in solid color pans and palettes. Pricey.
Snazaroo. Child toy safety rating. Good for blending. Fragrance-free. No split cakes. Comes in small and large palettes. Range of colors is not as extensive as other brands. Somewhat pricey.
Superstar Face and Body Paints. Among the best for its wide range of color choices. Single color pans in two sizes, palettes. No split cakes or one-strokes.
BEST FACE PAINT FOR PARENTS
As a parent things like safety and value may be your biggest concerns. You are probably not in the market for a professional-sized palette, but a more compact, affordable kit. And more important than getting perfectly opaque teardrops is, will it irritate my child’s skin? Here are some face paints that are right up your alley.
Face Paints with a Child Toy Safety Rating
Perfume and Paraben-Free Options
Great Value Kits
While it may seem intimidating at first, discovering your favorite face paint can be a lot of fun. There are so many wonderful brands in colors to spark the imagination. And if you’re stuck in a rut with the same old palette you’ve been repurchasing for years, I hope this inspires you to branch out and try some new products. Finding just the right shade of purple for blending or upgrading your white and black face paint for line work can make all the difference.
If you have any questions about finding the right face paint for you, just ask in the comments section. We’ll be sure to get back to you.
Vanessa Tsumura is a professional face painter in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area.