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10 Best Face Paint For Cosplay, Kids, & Pros Reviewed By Jest Paint
Every year we receive hundreds of emails from parents, cosplayers, and professional face painters asking us what the best face paints for Cosplay, kids, and pros are. We decided to condense all the information we usually give each person that asks into this blog.
Face painting is a popular thing to do year-round, and with so many Cosplay competitions around the country, we figured people need to know which face paints are best and why.
The 10 Best Face Paints for Cosplay, Kids, and Pro Face Painters
The list below is in no particular order as all of them are great products, each fulfilling a different purpose. We will note under each brand what they are suitable for and why.
- Fusion Body Art: this is probably one of our favorite brands of face paints and the one we use the most because of its versatility. It activates with water and a brush or sponge and gives you a bright, opaque, and vibrant coverage when appropriately applied. All of their Prime and Pearl colors are FDA-compliant (based on label information). This means that they meet the standards of cosmetic products, which makes it a great brand for kids, as it is also hypoallergenic and free from things like paraben, gluten, and perfumes. Professional face painters also love Fusion Body Art because of its bright colors, exquisite quality for line work, and outstanding coverage. And, of course, all of those qualities make it a great brand for Cosplayers in general unless they expect to be exposed to a lot of sun or water, in which case we will suggest other brands further below. Fusion designed each color to make it as easy to wash off as possible (from your skin), which is one great thing to keep in mind if kids use these paints.
Superstar Face and Body Paints: another great brand that our customers love (and we do, too) because of its incredible color selection, its smooth and creamy consistency, and the most extraordinary range of shimmery colors ever! Superstar is also fully compliant with FDA regulations based on the label, so it is another great brand for kids, thanks to its high quality and safe ingredients. Professionals love Superstar, too, because no other brand is as smooth, and their color selection is enormous! This is a good brand for Cosplayers as well because their large color selection means that you are likely to find a close match to any color you are looking for for your next costume.
Diamond FX Face Paints: Diamond FX face paints were released around 2009 and quickly became a massive hit with professional face painters because of their ability to provide you with paint that won't bleed if properly activated, allowing you to create really detailed work. Diamond FX regular and metallic face paints also meet FDA requirements according to their label, making them a perfect choice for kids. Cosplayers have also been using Diamond FX face paints for years because of their quality. This is, overall, a great brand.
TAG Body Art: this brand is another great choice and one we have used many times as well. Just like with all the other brands above, we always keep some TAG face paints with us. TAG has an incredible range of split cakes that professional face painters love and use. Performance-wise, it is very similar to Diamond FX and shares the same qualities, so it is a good choice for the Pros, kids, and Cosplayers.
Wolfe FX Face Art: Wolfe was the first face paint brand to present a formula that was wax based, which was game-changing back in the day. Cosplayers have used Wolfe FX face paints and special FX products for over a decade now, and you will see their brand represented at almost every haunt convention. Having said that, it is also a great brand for kids as, based on its label, all of its colors are FDA-compliant and hypoallergenic. It shares the same qualities and properties as Diamond FX and TAG Body Art, and like all of the brands above, it activates easily with just water and a brush or sponge. A special note about their black, it is awesome but also a bit harder to remove than Fusion Body Art or Superstar black, so if you are painting a little kid, or planning to cover large areas of the face and or body with black, maybe don't use Wolfe FX if easy removal is something you care for. Their white paint is a favorite among professional face painters, and we strongly recommend you to check it out.
ProAiir: if you are looking for water-resistant and sweat-resistant face paints, this is it! ProAiir has you covered, literally! ProAiir Hybrid Airbrush Body Paint is the preferred brand by Cosplayers and Pro-face and body painters. It is long-lasting, sweat and water-resistant, that can still be easily removed at the end of the day with just soap and water, with no special remover. Although it is formulated to be safe for kids based on the manufacturer's claims, keep in mind that ProAiir is alcohol-based, so you feel a little sting when first applied until the alcohol evaporates, just like you would with medicinal alcohol. Also, important to notice that there are two kinds of ProAiir, Inks and Hybrids. Inks are even longer lasting and more resistant to water and sweat but much harder to remove, and we would not suggest using them on kids except for small temporary tattoos on arms and or legs.
Paradise by Mehron: Paradise is another great smooth brand that professionals love because of all of its skincare ingredients included in its formula. You are not just getting your face painted; you are almost getting a beauty treatment. Paradise face paints are very smooth, smudge-proof when dried, water-activated, vegan, and hypoallergenic. Of course, based on their label, they are also FDA-compliant. Paradise has a beautiful range of matte colors with unique shades that no other face paint brand has.
Starblend by Mehron: Starblend face paints are a great product, different from all of the above because these are dry pressed powders that do not need water for application. Think of them as a giant eye shadow, but much more pigmented and opaque. Pro painters love them because of how easy it is to get fast coverage with them and because they are very sweatproof, so they are especially good for hot and humid weather. Cosplayers like them too because they are very light to wear. You almost don't feel them, but they are not smudge-proof, so you need to seal them with something like Ben Nye Final Seal if you want them to last a long time.
Global Body Art: this is another popular brand of face paint that recently was re-formulated and shares very similar qualities and properties as those that Diamond FX, TAG, and Wolfe FX have. It is a water-activated paint that provides great coverage, brilliant colors, and a smudge-proof finish. Their non-neon colors are FDA-compliant and hypoallergenic based on their label, making them a perfect choice for kids.
Kryolan Aquacolors: Kryolan face paints are one of the first, if not the first, face paint brands that became available. They are known for their bright colors, insane color selection, and beauty makeup qualities (like color consistency with every batch of face paint). Kryolan also adds several skincare ingredients to its formula, making it a preferred brand among old-time pros that started with Aquacolors and continue up to this day loving this brand. Kryolan Aquacolors are safe for kids to use, but because it tends not to dry to the touch fully, we suggest using a setting powder or spray to keep the makeup looking good for longer. Cosplayers have also used Aquacolors for a long time because of how flexible and light it feels on the skin.
These are our top 10 Face Paints For Cosplay, Kids, & Pros. What are yours? Leave us a comment with your suggestions and what makes you choose a brand over others.
Comparing the Best Face Paints on a Table Form
|BRAND||Water Activated?||Best For||Washable||Hypoallergenic|
|Fusion Body Art||Yes||Pros/Cosplay||Yes||Yes|
|Paradise Face Paints||Yes||Pros/Cosplay||Yes||Yes|
|ProAiir Hybrids||No, already comes in liquid form||Pros/Cosplay/Water Resistant Designs||Yes||Yes|
Things to Consider Before You Decide
Before you choose one specific brand of face paint from the best face paints on the market, you should keep in mind a few things that will help you make the right choice.
What will you use these Face Paints for? Cosplay vs Kids vs Pro vs Halloween
Face paints can be used for many different occasions and reasons. Depending on that, you might want to choose one brand over the other.
Kids Face Paints
Kid's face paints are those you intend to give kids to have fun on their own. In this case, you want to focus on something safe, easy to wash, not too pigmented, and probably not too expensive as it is just for fun. Personally, I love this Paradise kit because it is complete, hypoallergenic, and inexpensive based on the quality of the makeup you will be getting.
If you are looking for the best face and body paint for Cosplaying, you will want to go for something more pigmented that is more smudge and sweat resistant. Several brands are great for this, one of our favorite ones being Fusion Body Art.
If you are looking for a brand of face paint just for your Halloween costume, maybe something you will use once a year, I suggest you go for some of our small palettes from any of the great brands available here. Go for the smaller ones, as you won't need that much face paint to paint your own face.
Pro Face Painting
Professional face and body painters need a reliable product, a brand of face paint that is pigmented, opaque, bright, durable, and yet easy to wash off. Several of the brands mentioned before are great options and includes Superstar, Fusion Body Art, Diamond FX, and TAG, among our favorite ones.
Use the links provided at the beginning of this article to find some of these brands.
Are you looking for some special kind of effect?
If you are looking to add a metallic look to your design, or a neon/UV effect, or if you are looking for waterproof face paints, then you need to consider the following options.
Metallic / Pearl Face Paints
These kinds of face and body paints provide a shine that goes from a full metallic look to a soft pearlescent effect. Some are even dual-tone, providing a peacock-like effect that makes the face paint look different depending on how the light hits it.
UV / Neon Black Light Reactive Effect
Some designs require a glowing look, either under regular sunlight or under a black light. Some even require a glow-in-the-dark effect, with no black light at all.
Many brands produce black light reactive face paints, although only a few produce makeup-grade black light reactive face paints. Currently, the best makeup-compliant UV / Neon face paints are the ones by Mehron.
Paint Consistency and Base Ingredients
Many brands of face paints are available in the market; not all come as solid or have the same base ingredients. Some are paraffin or glycerin based, which usually means they can be activated with just water. Some are oil-based, meaning they don't need any extra ingredient to activate. Some come already in a liquid form, ready to apply, and in between those, some are water-based liquids while others are alcohol-based or even silicone-based liquids.
See the table below comparing some of the most popular brands and their based ingredients.
|Diamond FX||Paraffin Wax, Petrolatum, Glycerin, Calcium Carbonate|
|Fusion Body Art||Water, Calcium Carbonate, Acacia Senegal Gum
(some colors are Calcium Carbonate, Paraffin Wax and Petrolatum based)
|Kryolan Aquacolors||Talc, Glycerin, Aqua (Water)|
|Paradise Face Paints||Talc, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract|
|ProAiir Hybrids||Isopropyl Alcohol, Acrylates Copolymer, Caster Seed Oil|
|Snazaroo||Calcium Carbonate, Glycerin, Dextrin|
|Superstar||Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, PEG-75 Lanolin|
|TAG||Calcium Carbonate, Paraffin Wax and Petrolatum|
|Wolfe FX||Calcium Carbonate, Paraffin Wax and Petrolatum|
|Ben Nye Clown Makeup||Petrolatum (petroleum jelly)|
Your Budget for the Occasion
Not every brand of face paint costs the same. Prices vary depending on quality, pigmentation, brand origin, and distribution chain. Brands with a direct distributor in the USA (rather than selling directly from overseas on marketplaces) tend to be a bit more expensive. Still, they have the added bonus of having a local company to go to with questions, product issues, etc.
Although some people tend to go for the cheapest brand of face paint they can find on the marketplace, we highly suggest avoiding doing that as you might end up with an inferior product, a product that does not fit your needs, and low-quality customer service as many of the sellers on marketplaces have no experience using the product. Go instead to a professional face paint store (online) and talk to them about finding a budget-friendly option that better suits your needs. There are hundreds of options, even for the most budget-conscious person.
How Easy to Remove they Are
Removal is another very important aspect. Not all brands of face and body paints are equally easy to remove, and not all are removed the same way. Some require just soap and water, while others require a special remover (like oil-based brands and some alcohol-based brands). You want to keep this in mind because one thing is to paint yourself, in which case you will have to deal with the removal process, and a different thing is painting someone else that will be home alone, without your help, to remove the face paint at the end of the day.
See the table below for some information on different brands and how to remove them.
|Diamond FX||Easy with just soap and water|
|Fusion Body Art||Easy with just soap and water|
|Kryolan Aquacolors||Easy with just soap and water|
|Paradise Face Paints||Easy with just soap and water|
|ProAiir Hybrids||Takes a bit of effort, but comes off with soap and water|
|Snazaroo||Easy with just soap and water|
|Superstar||Easy with just soap and water|
|TAG||Easy with just soap and water|
|Wolfe FX||Easy with just soap and water|
|Ben Nye Clown Makeup||Hard to remove, needs oil based makeup remover|
Sometimes you are on the look for one specific color. Sometimes you just need a red or a blue and don't care exactly which shade of it. If you need a particular color of face and body paint, you will need to browse through every brand of face and body paint until you find the right one. Remember that monitors are tricky, and the color you see on your monitor won't necessarily match the shade you want or that you have in mind. You can always call the store and ask for help before purchasing.
Choosing the Right Tools Based on your Paint Selection
Now that you know the styles of face paints, you probably figured out that not all of them are applied with the same tool.
Water-activated face paints are usually applied using a sponge or a synthetic brush (round or flat). Liquid face paints can also be applied with those same tools or an airbrush if you have the equipment.
Oil-based face and body paints are usually applied with latex-style sponges; instead of brushes, you use oil-based pencils to outline your designs.
When it is time for you to clean your tools, if you use alcohol-activated face and body paints, you will need a lot of soapy water or rubbing alcohol (above 90%). For oil-based paints, you will need special removers. For any water-activated face and body paints, soap and water will do. It is always best to use a soap designed to remove face paints as not all soaps are equal, and some won't do as great of a job as others. Specialty soaps are also designed to care for your tools and protect them from damaged caused by certain chemicals that some soaps not designed for these tools can have.
As professional face painters with over 30 years of experience, we have tried many brands of face paints, and we genuinely think the ones above belong to the top ten!