Face-Painting Hygiene: Cleaning and Care Tips for Face Painters

In recent years, face painting has developed from a fun, informal activity for children’s events and parties into a formal art style with specialized techniques, paints, brushes and other equipment. Professional and amateur face painters have discovered the importance of hygiene, especially when dealing with dozens of children in a single day.

Some face painters don’t mind the messy look while others like to stay neat and clean, but in either case, all of the brushes, sponges and other tools of the trade must be sanitary. This begins by keeping a clean space, but it extends to every facet of the art. In addition to a clean space, you will also want to wash your hands regularly and possibly use sanitizer on them between each child. It is too much to expect that everyone who comes to you will have a clean face, and if any bacteria or other pathogens are present, you don’t want to spread them.

Are Disposables the Answer?

Long ago, some face painters who were concerned about hygiene thought that the solution was to use disposable products, such as cotton swabs and makeup pads. These can simply be thrown out after each use so that dirt and germs are not spread to others. However, cotton swabs and circular cotton pads do not allow artists to make the precise strokes that are required for most styles, and the finished work can look rather unimpressive. More importantly, by throwing away your products each time you are ultimately spending more money and creating a lot of unnecessary waste for the environment.

The best tools for face painting are high-quality brushes and sponges that can be used for months or years if proper cleaning procedures are followed. A wide range of brushes and sponges are available for a variety of face-painting styles and applications. In addition, brush holders, water buckets and storage containers will help you keep them clean and hygienic over multiple events no matter how high the traffic.

Cleaning Brushes and Sponges

While it is important to keep your workspace and hands clean, it is also necessary to keep your brushes and sponges clean. Some of the easiest brushes to clean are those from Paradise and Prisma because of their acrylic handles. They can be sanitized in a mild detergent solution or with special brush cleaner. To make the task simple while on the job, you can purchase several different types of washbasins. Some artists prefer the travel brush washers, which are collapsible and available in two sizes, while others like to use soft-sided water buckets. These buckets are colorful and have pockets to hold up to six brushes at once. The wide bases of either style help prevent the spilling of water while you are washing and rinsing your brushes. Some painters will clean their brushes out on the job, while others will wait until the end of the event.

When using sponges, the ideal product for keeping a clean looking kit while face painting is the Never Stain sponge from Kryvaline. These sponges are precut from black foam and they are easy to wash with mild soap and water. Since they stay black, you will not end up with a bag of sponges dyed all different colors, which some parents might think are used and dirty when you grab for one in your sponge bag.

Following are a few additional tips for cleaning brushes and sponges:

  • Use a fresh sponge for every child. Then, clean and sterilize the used batch before the next event.
  • Regularly change the soap solution in your brush washer or water bucket and change your clean rinse water as much as possible.
  • Clean brushes with a mild solution made with water and a small amount of liquid hand soap or baby shampoo. Do not double dip, or reuse a brush on a child who you think may be sick. Set the brush aside to be cleaned later. Try to avoid painting sick kids in general.
  • Sterilize brushes with 70 percent to 99 percent rubbing alcohol, but make sure they are thoroughly air dried before you use them again. This can wear out your brushes sooner than using soap and water.
  • Dry brushes on their sides on a clean towel or paper towel instead of in a brush cup or brush holder.
  • Make sure that you do not leave your dirty or clean brushes and sponges in an air tight container. After cleaning make sure that everything is thoroughly dried before packing up for the next gig.

Storage Containers

All of your brushes and sponges should be securely stored between events. Some great storage products for brushes include zippered brush carriers and brush wallets and open sided brush holders. The TAG Brush Wallet and Mehron Brush Holder also double as brush stands to set up vertically on your table while you work. Black mesh bags are great for drying and transporting your sponges.

Face painting is fun and exciting, but keeping a high standard of cleanliness and safety should always be a top priority.

If you have any questions about our selection or choosing the right products for your needs, simply give us a call at 269-598-5436 and we will be more than happy to help!

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