There are a lot of different costumes that might involve face or body paint this Halloween. (No blackface. Please don’t do blackface. Just putting that out there.) But if you wanted to be a Smurf or Poison Ivy, face and/or body paint might be something you want. But nobody wants to be the person at the bar or party who is leaving blue paint on everyone and everything she touches. That’s OK, though, because it’s possible to do it without being that person.


Theatrical face/body makeup

Fixing spray


Makeup sponge


Additional materials:

Makeup in a palette to complement your paint.


When it comes to choosing a face and body makeup, there are some different options. Some are creams, and are a lot like colorful full-coverage foundations. Others are water-based and you could paint them on with a damp brush. There are lots of brands of makeup out there. The big three brands are Mehron, Ben Nye, and Kryolan. All are great, and it just depends on which brand is easier to get where you are.

Aquacolor For this post, I’ll be using Kryolan Aquacolor, because that was the easiest to get my hands on here. This color is R3, a light bubblegum pink. Aquacolor goes on with water, which I personally find a little more difficult to apply than creamy formulas, but it still works very well.

Start with a clean, exfoliated, moisturized face. Then apply foundation primer. I used Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, but you can use whatever kind you have had luck with. Put your hair back out of your face. If you’re going to wear a wig later, just put on a wig cap now, like this:

StarterpicGreat. That picture is on the Internet now. I look weird without hair. If I ever try to get a buzz cut, don’t let me.

Before you start, it’s a good idea to put on clothes that you can either get dirty or remove easily. A button-down shirt is great because you can take it off without touching your face when you’re done.

For the next step, take your fixing spray and spray it wherever you intend to put the makeup. If you’re doing a full-body look, spray it everywhere. Don’t get it in your eyes or inhale it. I’m just going to do face paint here because I don’t have a friend around. If you want to do body paint, you’re going to need someone to help you apply it evenly and to the places you can’t reach. Otherwise the technique is the same.


Once the fixing spray is dry, apply your makeup with a damp makeup sponge. Just apply a single layer, keeping it as smooth as possible. It will be most difficult around the nose and eyes. (If you are good with a foundation brush, go ahead and try a wet brush instead of a sponge.)

Be careful to allow every layer to dry completely before adding another one. If you try to add more with a wet sponge or brush while the makeup is not dry, you could just smoosh it around your face and it’s very easy to get clumps that way.


Here it was a little uneven around the nose and under the eyes, so I fixed it using a little bit more paint on a damp foundation brush.

Once that’s dry, apply powder all over to set. I used Makeup For Ever’s HD Powder. After all this makeup, your face might look a little flat. You can give yourself more dimension by contouring with a darker shade of makeup. Here I’m using a fuchsia eyeshadow from Makeup For Ever and applying it with a blush brush around the outside of my face and under my cheekbones.

If you’re doing body paint, contouring is especially good. Just go ahead and have your friend draw on shadows and muscles anywhere you want.


Now I want my eyebrows and lips back, because those got covered with makeup. Because my makeup is pink, I’m just going to use a lip liner as a brow pencil. Eyeliner or an eyebrow pencil would also work.


Now that I have my lips and eyebrows back, I want to put on eye makeup. Whatever color you’re using, you’ll want to line your eyes along the water line. Otherwise your real skin will be visible and it will look bright and odd next to the face makeup.

I just went for a basic smokey eye here. I used a black pencil along the water line and around the outer edge of my eye. Then I filled in the crease using a sparkly black shadow and the fuchsia eye shadow I used before and tried to blend it to the best of my ability. This would be a good time to add false eyelashes, but I don’t have any around right now so I just put on some black mascara.


Then I spray everything again with the Fixing spray. When that dries, I would put on my costume and then my wig. In this case, just an old Jem and the Holograms wig that needs a serious brushing.

photo (24)

And that’s it! You don’t want to jump in a pool or anything, especially not in a water-based makeup like this, but you should be able to be around people without destroying everything you touch.

Click here to see great Halloween costume ideas!!