It is getting better – you can actually find proper water-activated cosmetics, otherwise refered to as FACE PAINT, in many of the big box craft and costume stores now. And with the internet people can locate “good” information and instructions.
Unfortunately there is a lot of crap on the internet – the “make your own face paint” crowd being one of the larger piles. There are also a lot of really bad demonstration videos on YouTube and MySpace. REALLY really bad! Seems like you give someone a camera link and they want to be a star – even if they don’t have a clue.
If you want to paint yourself or your children for Halloween, for heaven’s sake, try to find proper products – not the crappy crayons from the Halloween section or acrylic paints or any of the other items people tend to think safe to use like squeeze bottles of glitter glue or Elmer’s glue and tissue, etc.
If you can’t locate a “proper” brand of face paint – such as Snazaroo, Kryolan, Wolfe Face Art & FX, Diamond FX, Mehron/Paradise, or any other brand that is actually called “face paint” or “water activated/based make-up” – use regular make-up!
At least it will be safe and removable by your usual methods of make-up removal.
Eye liners and lip liners are great to draw on the face and you can blend the colours with your fingers or a cosmetic sponge.
This design of mine was done completely with liner pencils:
I drew the basic outlines with the pencils, filled in like a colouring book and blended where necessary with flat artist’s brushes.
Pressed powder eyeshadows are also useful for creating base colours and shading – you can do very effective Vampires and Zombies using only eyeshadows! Some white, some grey, some blue and some green…
The frost eyeshadows are pretty nice and give good coverage – like in the photo above which is done all with powders – eyeshadows and loose “shimmer powders” that you can also find in the cosmetic section of your local department or drugstore. The stars are painted with face paints, buy you can do them with a white liner pencil or even a liquid eyeliner – they do have them in colours other than black.
Use the regular applicator that come with them, or some cotton swabs, or any make-up brushes you already have. You don’t need anything special.
These products are pretty cheap if you check out the dollar stores! It isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money to do a nice job, and if you just want to do it up on Halloween why spend the money on more than you need?