Face Painting Materials Then and Now
Face painting in one form or another has been around as long as humans have lived in tribes. Face painting materials were developed as a method off demarking class, celebration, denoting rituals such as spiritual holidays and rites of passage, and showing how brave one can be. This timeless practice became popular again in the 1960s, when hippies and avant-garde artists were experimenting with various pigments, paints, and some cosmetic products invented by Max Factor Sr. in 1933 for the World’s Fair.
The First Face Painting Materials
The first face painting materials were designed out of what was around the individual tribe doing the painting. For example, if they lived in a jungle rich environment such as certain tribes in South Africa, they would make an orange pigment from the Bixa Orellana plant. The Aboriginals in Australia make body paints out of a white mud that is available to them. One of the more popular face painting materials is Henna, which was used in India to denote social status or to celebrate special events.
Hennas: the Old Favorite Face Painting Materials
Henna is made from Lawsonia inermis plant. It is popular because it provides a semi permanent body art that lasts up to two weeks and can be extremely elegant when performed by a professional. There is evidence that henna has been used safely as a face painting material since 1680 BC. One should be careful to read the ingredients and not purchase Black Henna however, as it can cause dangerous allergic reactions.
Modern Cosmetic Face Painting Materials
Face painting materials have come a long way in recent years. Keep in mind, that you do not want to use Acrylic paint as it can cause allergic reactions. However, there are two great companies that make very high quality cosmetic body paint. WolfeFX got their start in the special effects prosthetics industry, and they have since branched out to include other products such as the face painting materials, and have a great tips and tricks page. The other noteworthy company is Snazaroo, which originally was geared toward the demographic of clown cosmetic sales, but they now offer a wide variety of high quality face paint materials, and also have a great article on basic face painting techniques.