Face Paint FAQ

New to face painting? You probably have a lot of questions.

This Face Paint FAQ guide is a great starting point.

If you want to dive in deeper, and learn how to face paint like a pro, take a look at our online Crash Course for Beginners.

If you have a question regarding placing an order, delivery, tracking an order, creating or accessing your store account, etc, please visit our General FAQ page instead 

Q: What kind of paint do you use for face paint?

A: Most professional face painters use water-activated face paints.

Liquid* face paints are sooo last century. Do everyone a favour, skip the liquid face paint and choose water-activated face paints instead.

Water-activated face paints are easy to use, and are a great choice for beginners, makeup artists, cosplayers, and hobbyists too.

Applied with a brush or sponge, water-activated face paints come in a huge variety of colours and 'rainbow' colour combinations.

A small amount goes a very long way. They are comfortable to wear, and flex with the skin.

The most popular Australian brands are TAG, Fusion, XO, Global, and Face Paints Australia.


*the exceptions = airbrush application requires liquid paints, and water-resistant liquid face paints.

Q: Is it ok to use normal paint on your face?

A: Yuck!! No. 'Normal' paint aka craft and acylic paints are not recommended for skin!

Craft paints and traditional watercolour paints will itch, flake, and worse still - may contain toxic ingredients. Just don't do it.

Instead, use a product that's been designed especially for face painting, not canvas or crafts.

When you choose to shop with a reputable specialist face paint and body art supplier, like Face Paint Shop Australia, you can be confident our products are fit for purpose.

We've been retailing face paint and body art supplies online since 2013.

Face Paint Shop Australia is the preferred supplier for professional face painters, theatre companies, theme parks, schools and childcare educators.

Q: Which are the best face paint brands?

A: It depends who you ask. There are probably as many opinions as there are face painters, and to make it more complicated, the "best" face paint for one type of application is not always the best face paint for another.

And by what do we measure 'best'? Is it by popularity, ease of use, price, reputation? Something else?

As a professional face painter myself, and a mum to 3 boys, here are the features I look for in a quality face paint (for face painting kids)

      • Skin-Safe, non-toxic. Why? It's a made for purpose, cosmetic product - and that's the most important consideration when applying a paint to the delicate skin of children. Don't risk using craft paint or random discount store products;
      • Water-activated. Why? Because it's easy to use, and is the most popular type of face paint used by face paint professionals in the 21st Century;
      • Colours that I like. Why? Because if I like the colours, then I'm more likely to use the face paint. Simple;
      • Any brand we stock. Why? Because all the face paint brands we stock have been carefully selected to meet our high standards. Quite simply: we only stock the best.

You can be confident that when you choose to shop with Face Paint Shop Australia, you'll receive premium quality face paints and body art products, the same as the professionals use... at the best prices every day.

Q: Why is the face paint dry?

A: Professional, water-activated face paint colours are sold 'dry'.

These are commonly called face paint cakes, split cakes, one stroke cakes, rainbow cakes.

Add a small amount of clean water to use them. Take care not to overwet your face paints - especially the white - and allow them to dry between use.

Q: Is it normal for the surface of the face paint to be cracked?

A: Yes. Cracking of the paint surface is normal and will not affect the performance of the product.

Q: Is it normal for the multi-colour face paints to 'bleed' in the jar?

A: Yes. Bleeding, blending, or the overflowing of one colour to the next in a multi colour face paint cake is normal and will not affect the performance of the product.  

Q: Why has my face paint gone gooey? Can I fix it?

A: If you're face paint is gooey (kinda like toothpaste), then it's probably been overwet.

That is, you've added more water than the paint can handle, which affects the consistency. Remember to add only a small amount of water, enough to make the paint creamy but not runny... and allow your paints to dry between use, with the lid off for evaporation.

Gooey face paint can happen with any colour and any brand, but is most likely with a small container (or pan).

And also with white - since this is the colour that face painters use most often, the chances of adding too much water are a lot higher.

Read our detailed article on Gooey Face Paint here.

Q: What do I use to apply the face paint?

A: Aside from adding water, you can use a variety of applicators for face paint.

Brush and sponge are the most popular face paint applicators.

We recommend using a purpose made face paint brush or sponge for the best results.

There are a huge variety of face paint brushes available.

If you're not sure where to start, we recommend our Essential Brush and Sponge Set.

It has everything you need as a beginner, just add water.

Q: Which are the best quality face paint brushes?

A: The answer will be different, depending on who you ask. There are probably as many opinions as there are face painters.

Here are the features I look for in a quality face painter brush that will last the distance

      • Synthetic bristles, either golden taklon or nylon. Why? This type of bristle has been used for many years by professional face painters and is proven to be a top performer, offering great results. It's easy to clean, holds the paint well, and with proper care, keeps its shape well over time.
      • Acrylic handle. Why? Painted handles deteriorate over time. The paint - especially on cheaper wooden handles - will often crack, peel or flake off. Sometimes this happens within a few uses. Acrylic handles will never crack, peel or flake.
      • Short handle, ergonomic and nicely weighted. Why? Some brushes have handles that are waaaay too long! It's totally unnecessary to have a super long handle on a face paint brush, and this tells me that the brush was not designed with face painting in mind... Instead, you want a nice, compact, short handle that won't get in your way (and also fits in a brush wallet). The handle and brush should feel nice in the hand, not heavy and not too light.

You can be confident that all the brushes we stock are quality-made brushes, designed especially for face painters.

Our own brand of brushes, XO Art Co, was designed in 2019, in consultation with 20 Australian Face Painters - that is, prior to production, we sent samples for testing and review to 20 professional face painters, and based on the feedback we received, we created a range of brushes that we believe are second to none.

We offer the following brands, all very popular with our customers

Q: What do I need next?

If you have one of our face paint kits, or you're considering buying one, then you should have all the essentials covered to paint a wide range of designs.

But... what next? There are a lot of nice to have extras that will make face painting easier, and uplevel your designs. Here's what I use frequently and recommend:

  • Extra sponges. We recommend using one sponge per child (ie don't share sponges between clients). Sponges are washable and reusable, so having more on hand makes good sense.


  • Extra white and/or black. You'll go through these colours faster than any other. Also, having a second white allows you to rest one and minimises the risk of overwetting your paint.





  • Face Paint Stencils - these are very popular for fast face painting, and adding interest and patterns to your designs. We have hundreds to choose from, noting that mermaids and fairies are the most popular


  • Glitter Creams - so pretty, and these can be applied over the top of face paint without smudging


  • Glitter Tattoo Set - these are a fun alternative to face painting, easy to apply, tha tattoos look awesome, and they last for days. Great for pool parties as they are water-resistent

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