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30 Mime Makeup Idea Looks, Mime History and More!

What Makes a Mime a Mime?

The art of miming has been around for centuries. There are records of mime performances in the 3rd century BC. There are tragic mimes (Jean-Baptiste-Gaspard Deburau), modern comic mimes (Harpo Marx) and tragicomic mimes (Marcel Marceau), and now a days there are scary mimes like those from the short horror film The Mime and DJ mimes like Marshmello.

Mimes use their face and entire bodies to tell stories and communicate with others. They use this silent comedy to take people into invisible worlds that can seem to come real with their imagination. Most mimes wear a strong white makeup base with accents for their eyes, eye brows and mouth. Many mimes can be seen with striped shirts and white gloves, but there are not any rules if you want to mime around.  

In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating world of mime face paint makeup, exploring its history, techniques, and the transformative power it holds on stage.

mime face paint makeup ideas

Samantha Brooke designed this adorable mime look with a masked edge accentuated by a 3/D shadow and blushed cheeks She went for a glamourous look with large eyelashes and bowtie lips. ( Image Credit: itsme samanthab on Instagram )


mime face paint makeup ideas

Pierrot, shown above, is a type of French mime character that is often depicted as sad and love struck. (Image Credit Philip Thompson)


mime face paint makeup ideas

Mime Performing on Stage ( Image Credit: Photo by Fatih Kılıç on Unsplash)

What Makeup Do Mimes Use?

One of the great things about choosing to be a mime for Halloween or any other event is that it is an easy makeup to apply and requires few products. Below is an easy starter kit for a professional look that will feel good on your skin and endure sweat and lots of miming around. I grew up using Ben Nye clown make up. You need to make sure to set it with powder so that it doesn't smear. 

Mime face paint at it's core is a white face with black details on the mouth and eyes. You can use water based face paint or grease based face paint set with powder. To help it last all day you can use a barrier sealer product like  Ben Nye Final Seal.

mime face paint makeup ideas

 Click here  to see the Products Above Ben Nye Creme Makeup Palette, Raven #3 Round Bolt Brush, Acorn Sponge, Mehron Neutral Setting Powder.



What are the Techniques and Application of Mime Make up?

Creating mime face paint makeup requires precision, creativity, and a keen understanding of facial anatomy. The first step is to cleanse and prepare the face, ensuring a smooth canvas for the application. Next, a base layer of white face paint is carefully applied using a sponge or brush. This initial layer acts as a foundation for the subsequent designs. Then, using a fine brush and a selection of vibrant colors, the mime artist adds contours, highlights, and details to bring the character to life. The lines must be crisp and precise, enhancing facial expressions while maintaining an element of theatrical exaggeration.

You should start with a fresh face. Wash your face with a face soap like Brush and Body Wash Soap by Jest Paint. A clean face will help the makeup stay on longer. 
The white base should be smooth and even. You can apply the white base with a make up sponge or kabuki brush. If you want a face paint that will feel smooth and soft and move with your skin we recommend getting that base done using Superstar Base White face paint. Its glycerin base is perfect for large coverage and smooth finishes. Otherwise use Ben Nye Creme Colors Clown White or a wax based face paint if that is what you have. They will all work though a wax based paint might feel stiff in the beginning and a sealer should be used if you will sweat. 

mime face paint makeup ideas

Here I am applying a smooth white base  face paint using the tapping method and a sponge. Make sure to have a smooth white edge around the face like a mask, or blend the makeup down your neck and into the shirt. You can also paint the ears if you want to.  

You can use a face paint sponge to load your paint, simply dip the tip of your sponge on water, then rub the sponge in a circular motion over the surface of the face paint cake until you get a nice creamy load. The key to getting a smooth base is tapping the paint on all over a thin layer at a time. If you apply it too thick it might crack or flake off.

mime face paint makeup ideas

This cute mime from Brazil has red lips with a black out line and a faint red star on her cheek. Like most mimes, she darkened her eyebrows so that they show up from a distance and look more expressive. 

For the black line work you can use a Mehron makeup pencil or a Ben Nye cream paint with a brush or you can use Fusion Body Art Strong Black since it is very dark, precise and easier to wash off than other brands.

If you want to do all grease makeup try out the Ben Nye Primary Creme Palette. 

Apply your details with a round brush, or a flat or filbert brush depending on the specific design you are trying to achieve. Remember to always load your brush with a creamy consistency but a bit more inky than you would for a base if you are trying to create thin details with a round brush.

You can always add more colors to your face if you want to dress up your mime character a little. The Ben Nye Rainbow Powder Palette is an easy way to add any hue to your makeup. 

Your mime face should not have and strong shape to the mouth or the lips if you want to convey a variety of expressions. If you paint huge evil angled eyebrows it will be hard to look happy. If you paint on a giant smile it will be hard to look sad. Accent but don't over do it. 


More about the Art and Makeup up Miming

In the world of performing arts, there exists a unique form of expression that captivates audiences with its silent storytelling—mime. At the heart of this art lies the enigmatic and expressive mime face paint makeup. Through a careful combination of colors, contours, and exaggerations, mime performers bring their characters to life without uttering a single word. 

mime face paint makeup ideas

  This delicate mime beauty makeup makes an impact with the sad angles of the eyebrows, blue eye shadow and those long eye lashes. The dripping tear also adds to her sad persona.  (Image Credit: Chiavan Ashley  ducktrees)

mime face paint makeup ideas
With mime makeup, simple is king. (Image Credit: saraj-pixnapper-eJzeFHoWPmM-unsplash)



mime face paint makeup ideas

These easy mime outfits with black eye makeup make a big statement. The black beret adds the French mime look. (Image Credit: John Fisher  Mime Artists)

What are the Origins of the art of the Mime?

To truly understand the significance of mime face paint makeup, we must first explore the roots of this art form. Mime traces its origins back to ancient Greece and Rome, where performers would use gestures, expressions, and exaggerated movements to tell stories. However, it was in the 18th and 19th centuries that mime truly flourished in France, thanks to the likes of Jean-Gaspard Deburau and Etienne Decroux. These influential artists laid the groundwork for contemporary mime, including the use of face paint makeup as a fundamental component of the performance.

mime face paint makeup ideas

Jean Baptiste Deburau, one of the oldest well known mimes. (Image Credit: Wikimedia public domain)

mime face paint makeup ideas

Harpo Marx was a modern day mime without makeup. (Image Credit: This image of is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division.)


Marcel Marceau, Charlie Chaplin, Sid Caesar and the circus clown Emmett Kelly are all well know mimes in clown history. 

mime face paint makeup ideas

Charlie Chaplin reads Film Fun magazine with a cover featuring himself. Chaplin was a TV character who used mime before sound was introduced to shows and movies.  (Image Credit : Film Fun

mime face paint makeup ideas

Emmett Kelly was a tramp clown that didn't speak, he did everything in mime. (Image Credit : Life Magazine page 49 Author Pan American Coffee Bureau)


mime face paint makeup ideas

Publicity photo of Marcel Marceau for appearance in Seattle, Washington. (Image Credit: Public Domain Wikimedia)


Are there Street Mimes?

Mimes are common street performers around the world. They can entertain the public as they walk about making gestures and joking around with them. You will find different forms of mime artwork on the streets these days, with people painted as silver robots, marbel statues, golden men or women, animals and more. They usually stand frozen until someone leaves them a tip and then they do some funny mime movements to thank them for their donation. 

mime face paint makeup ideas

This Mime in Guanajuato Mexico is making this lady smile (Image Credit: Tomas Castelazo Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5)


mime face paint makeup ideas

This white faced mime Agro the Clown, brought along his little mime baby for extra story telling through his art ImproLocura. (Image Credit: Jakub Hałun Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 )

mime face paint makeup ideas

Two cute waving mimes (Image Credit: irena-carpaccio-ARWAWkJ68kA-unsplash)

Is there Symbolism and Meaning in Mime Makeup?

Mime face paint makeup serves as a powerful tool for conveying emotions and characters. Each stroke of paint carries symbolic meaning, creating a visual language that communicates with the audience. White face paint, for instance, symbolizes purity, innocence, and a blank canvas upon which the performer can create various characters. Black lines and contours enhance facial expressions, emphasizing features like eyebrows, eyes, and mouth. The choice of color and design can evoke different moods and personalities, enabling the mime to portray a range of emotions without uttering a word.

mime face paint makeup ideas

  Rocker Mimes  / Corpse Paint (Image Credit: Photo by Ryan McGuire on StockSnap)

mime face paint makeup ideas

Mime Makeup shows expression! (Image Credit: Martin Kent MimeArtists

What are the Components to Mime Character Creation?

Mime performers often embody a variety of characters, each with their own distinct traits and personalities. The application of face paint makeup plays a vital role in character development. Whether it's a mischievous clown, a romantic lover, or a melancholic wanderer, the transformation begins with the face. Mime artists carefully design unique features, such as exaggerated eyebrows, elongated noses, or teardrop-shaped eyes, to encapsulate the essence of their characters. These visual cues, combined with physical movements and gestures, enable performers to convey complex narratives and emotions without relying on spoken words.

Some mimes are firefighters, fishermen, ball room dancers, waiters etc. Think of a character that would give you a lot of material to work with and that you and the public could feel connected to. 

mime face paint makeup ideas

Pablo Zibes just used a regular foundation and eye liner for his mime look. (Image Credit: Pablo Zibes Pantomime This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license. )

mime face paint makeup ideas

Mime artist at Slava Polunins Theatre (Image Credit: Dmitry Rozhkov - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0)

What are the Evolving Trends in Mime Face Paint Makeup?

As with any art form, mime face paint makeup continues to evolve and adapt to contemporary aesthetics. While traditional mime makeup remains timeless, modern interpretations incorporate new techniques and styles. Some mimes experiment with vibrant colors and unconventional designs, pushing the boundaries of expression and creating visually striking characters. Others explore minimalist approaches, using subtle shades and contours to convey emotions in a more nuanced manner. The fusion of traditional and modern techniques allows mime artists to connect with audiences in new and exciting ways. Mimes can be seen at protests making political statements too. 

mime face paint makeup ideas

Mimes making statements - "San Fermin en Nueva Orleans", a "Running of the Bulls" event with roller derby women taking the role of the bulls, New Orleans.(Image Credit:  GNU Free Documentation License.)

mime face paint makeup ideas

Mimes are not traditionally known for wearing big red noses but over time they have been added to the makeup look by some performers. (Image Credit: Cial Balielo Jr)

Comic-con is a place for people who love makeup and costuming to express themselves. Mimes and other clowns have become common cosplay creations at comic conventions around the world. 

mime face paint makeup ideas

This clown was enjoying her lunch break at Comic-Con (Image Credit: Christopher Brown from Houston, US Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

mime face paint makeup ideas

      A sad Pierrot with glittery tear makeup. (Image Credit: Imustbedead)

mime face paint makeup ideas

Marshmello is a modern day mime that normally expresses himself through body language and does not talk to the media. (Image Credit: Photo by Daniel Lincoln on Unsplash)

How Can I Learn to be a Mime?

If you want to learn to be a mime google local performers in your area that you could understudy with. Look for theater groups that but an emphasis on physical comedy and acting, and even miming. Watch movies and videos on line to observe mime actors like Charlie Chaplin and Marcel Marceau. Learn to play with invisible walls, practice pouring cups of invisible water, practice expressing your emotions with your entire body and face. There are so many cool things that you can do, like invisible tight rope walking, imaginary baseball games and more with no props needed even!

mime face paint makeup ideas

It's a scene of 'Mime' White Gloves help accent the physical body language of mimes.  (Image Credit: Stalinjeet - This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

mime face paint makeup ideas

Charlie Chaplin performing his mime tramp character to express political, social and economic issues. (Image Credit: ecemwashere-TWr4iGjTlas-unsplash)

Why are Some People Afraid of Mimes and Clowns?

Couloraphobia is the fear of clowns. People think that some people are afraid of clowns because the exaggerated makeup makes you feel like you can't see what their real facial expressions are under the makeup. For instance they might have a huge happy smile painted on but really be sad or angry and you can't tell. Luckily mime make up is not so exaggerated and you can easily read their feelings by their facial expressions. Some still people still might feel uncomfortable about the fact that they don't speak or annoyed by their performance if they don't find it funny or interesting.
Scary books and  movies like The MIME or IT have also been noted to create more fear in the general population concerning clowns. Make sure to read the people you interact with if you are dressed like a clown and do not approach someone that you know is scared of you. 

mime face paint makeup ideas

 I met this troop of amazing mimes on the streets of Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval in 2023! They were so fun and never spoke a word! Everyone wanted there pictures with them and no one ran away screaming from fear because of their soft gentle expressions and friendly personas. 

Do Mimes perform as Christian Clowns?


mime face paint makeup ideas

Christian Clowning has a long history. Mimes are popular clowns to get across a spiritual  message using their physical expressions. Clown Ministries perform for  holy holidays, vacation bible schools and talent shows. Other religions also use clowns to entertain while teaching a lesson or spreading a message. (Image Credit: University of Texas at Arlington homecoming Public Domain wikemedia)


mime face paint makeup ideas

Mimes perform in theater, circuses, musical performances and can be found working on cruz ships, in restaurants and more. Mime artists Jean and Brigitte Soubeyran are seen here perfoming in the play "In the Circus" (Image Credit: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 1.0)

mime face paint makeup ideas

Clash and Sunday Silly Pants are Miming around using props and body language. Mimes can do complete shows to entertain children and adults! 

In Conclusion

The world of mime face paint makeup is a captivating realm where creativity knows no bounds. Through careful strokes of paint, mime performers transform their faces into vivid canvases that speak volumes without uttering a word. From the origins of mime to the techniques and character creation, we have explored the rich tapestry of this expressive art form.

As the legacy of mime continues to evolve, the power of mime face paint makeup remains undeniably central to the magic and allure of this silent art, allowing performers to captivate audiences and ignite the imagination through the sheer power of expression. Once you realize how fun it is do be a mime you will fall in love of the art form.

Disclosure: The author used GPT-3, OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model to aid with the writing (to get better formulated sentences, create the text structure, find synonyms, etc). Upon generating draft language with a mix of author's contributions and AI generated text, the author reviewed, edited, and revised the language to their own liking and takes ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication. 

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