The Best Body Paint Guide for Beginners | 3 Things You Need to Know

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You are interested in aesthetic photoshoots, or simply looking to do special makeup for a certain occasion. Either way, you are about to venture into the land of body paints, and you need a general guide for the best body paint ever! There are so many factors to consider – the price, the safety, and the result – and they might end up overwhelming you unless you have a good starter. With this article, you will find enough information to confidently create body arts and show them off!

The Best Body Paint Guide for Beginners

An Overview on Body Paints

What is body painting?

Unlike tattoos, body painting is a form of temporary body art.

It originated from Africa, where our skin is considered a canvas for various expressions. In the old days, these body arts are a mandatory part of rituals and wars. Nowadays, they might use body paints to celebrate special occasions and contribute to creative purposes such as filming and cosplaying.

Since it is not permanent like tattoos, body paints put little to no limits to your creativity. However, not every type of paint is suitable for body painting, and choosing the right products to avoid damage and irritation is the very first step.

How to Choose Your Body Paint?

Before you grab a few sets of body paint, there are several things you should consider. They can help you decide on which product to choose from thousands of items on sale.

The Best Body Paint Guide for Beginners


Whenever we plan to go shopping, budget is an essential factor. In most cases, we will be satisfied with a product of an average price. It might be a little costlier than what we find at a craft store.

Your budget should be $10 – $15 for each color if you are looking for something decent. These products are usually high-quality, meeting the requirements of industrial countries with safe ingredients for the human body.

Cheap products can be second-hand or straight-out crappy, leading to rashes on your skin and peeling of the makeup layer. If you are willing to invest in cosplay, do you want to see the look cracking and fading off?


Spend a moment and picture the look you want to create in mind, so you know which colors you need and avoid buying unnecessary items.

A small tip: Don’t forget the details! They might seem trivial, yet they are what makes your makeup unique and captivating.


You can’t start with an impressive makeup look with only the paints, and here are the tools you will need:


For large areas, kabuki brushes will help you achieve a smooth coat very quickly without cracking or peeling. The high-density sponge has the same usage, so it is a matter of preference. They are the keys to a natural and professional look.

For details, synthetic artist brushes are the right pick. You should find a variety set to have more options with the strokes!

Setting spray

Made by mixing water and alcohol, a setting spray acts as your second skin. It will help the paints stick to your skin while not letting the chemicals touch you directly.

If you are going to wear the body art for hours outdoor or join activities with other people, a good setting spray ensures the paints won’t smear or become runny.


For oil-based paints, you will need a strong remover to get rid of them. It might be heavy-duty soap, facial cleanser for oily skin, or remover for waterproof makeup.

If you use water-based body paint, a warm shower will be good enough!

Different Types of Body Paint

The Best Body Paint Guide for Beginners

Water-based Body Paint

If you are not sure about how sensitive your skin is, water-based body paints are the most secure bet for you. Since it has a water base, it is considered non-toxic and safe even for children. However, the manufacturers still feel the need to provide detailed and comprehensive guidelines, so the customers never need to worry about health risks.

Another advantage of this type is how versatile it is with tools for applying. You can use pretty much everything, from a paintbrush to a sponge or an airbrush, as long as they give you the desired result.

Nonetheless, they are not the first pick for professional projects, as the water-based paints crack and fade off very easily.

Latex Body Paint

For cosplayers, latex and liquid latex is more economically beneficial compared to expensive costumes. Besides, latex doesn’t leave residue behind like other types of paints. Other than latex allergies, there is no health risk that can stop you from using latex body paint.

However, you should avoid latex paints if you will work in an extremely hot area. Latex can block the pores and prevent your body from perspiring properly, leading to irritation and heatstroke. As a matter of fact, we mustn’t use latex body paints on opened wounds or damaged skin.

Another notice is latex can stick and pull at your hair hence it should only be applied on areas that have been shaved well. Otherwise, it can be painful when you try to remove the paint.

Alcohol-based Body Paint

If you want something more durable, alcohol-based paints are a great choice. Due to chemical properties, these buddies are water-proof, thus you can use them when performing under the sun or in a hot place.

But waterproof doesn’t mean rub-proof. If you touch and rub it, the paint will come off. Otherwise, you will need alcohol to remove the drawings from your body.

Remember to give your skin a break – two or three days – because alcohol can cause irritation. Also, rubbing alcohol is a toxic element, so be sure to work with it in a well-ventilated room only.

Metallic and Glitter Body Paint

Do you remember seeing street performers that look like a statue coated with gold or silver? Yes, that shiny gloss is most likely from metallic (glitter) body paints. They have the thick base components to create the statue-like appearance and real metal powders mixed in, which prevent them from rubbing off easily like water-based body paints.

The downside is metal powders can be irritating to your skin. Therefore, we don’t recommend touching these paints unless you have a performance that can’t be done without metallic body paint.

Silicone Makeup

These products are better as an addition to your makeup kit rather than the main contribution to full-body art. The best thing about silicone paints is durability, which means you can entrust them with the details you need to preserve all day long.

To make silicone makeup even more convenient, manufacturers tend to offer their products in small, hand-sized bottles, resulting in slightly higher prices that should be for intricate flourishes only.

When you work with silicone body paints, you would need thinners and cleaners ready, as they might clog airbrush guns.

Cream-based Character Body Paint and Makeup

While most other paints focus on creating an impressive appearance, cream-based products are more suitable for adaptability. Cracking areas, wet looks, a strong pigmented white, or something to match the body art you have invested in – they all can be done with cream-based makeup.

Although these products never dry completely, they usually come with sweat-proof and waterproof properties. After applying, the artist will finish the layer with spray or powder and let it set naturally. Also, removing these paints requires special removers.

When you use this kind of paint and do the makeup for many models, however, always have a palette rather than getting the paint from the container. This way, germs won’t be spread between the models and cause skin problems.

The Best Body Paint Guide for Beginners

Acrylic Paint

Many of us have several containers of acrylic paint in our house, but as you might be guessing already, no one will recommend using those paints on the skin! Even if the label says “non-toxic”, it doesn’t mean the paint is safe enough for your skin.

When you use a product that is not made for skin to create body art, allergic reactions are a bigger risk to face than toxicity. Pigments in acrylic paints might not poison you, but if the particles get into your pores and clog them, the consequence will be very severe.

Commercial Body Paint

As the name indicates, this type of paint is sold in containers or spray bottles. The manufacturers aim to please a wide range of customers, so as a result, these products are usually non-toxic and latex-free. If you want to be sure, you can patch-test the paint and see whether it affects your skin negatively or not.


Although it appears that henna is gaining more attention recently, it actually is more traditional than the body paints in this list. In Asia as well as Africa, women use henna to create body arts on important occasions like weddings and ceremonies.

Extracted from plant dye, the original henna is not made of a synthesized chemical that is detrimental to your health. Both adults and children can freely use henna without worries. After a while, henna paints will eventually fade off.

But not every henna product on the market is the same! Black henna is sometimes more suitable with body arts compared to the brown color of the traditional henna, yet it contains chemicals your skin might not be fond of.

Household Paints

Like acrylic paints, which we have mentioned above, household paints are not formulated to be compatible with our skin, and you should avoid them at all costs. The list includes tempera paints, sharpies, gouache paints mostly. Even if they are labeled as water-based, they are very different from water-based body paint.

Aside from the risk of irritation, these paints don’t have the longevity and flexibility required in a body paint. They should only be used on unmoving, inanimate objects.

What if you don’t have any other choice? Should you be using these products on someone, make sure they have consented to it with a signed paper and do your best to reduce the risk. We recommend using a water-based body paint as the first coating before applying more layers, but keep in mind that there is no absolute protection here.

Aside from the body paints we have enumerated, you will occasionally encounter marbling body paint, hybrid airbrush body paint, and even crude oil. However, if you want to enjoy body painting without fear, choosing a suitable and high-quality product is the best way to go. Let’s move on to a few suggestions from us!

The Best Body Paint of 2021

Mehron – Paradise Makeup AQ: Best Overall

Don’t be surprised if you always see the name Mehron when you search for body paints. The durability and vibrancy of the colors are unmatched. Your body arts will remain for hours without any fading and chipping.

But what truly impresses us is the ingredients used in Mehron’s products. They have truly created a revolution by adding ingredients that you usually see in fine cosmetics, such as cucumber or ginseng extracts, vitamin E, and many more herbal components. With their moisturizing nature, you won’t have to worry about dry skin.

There is no flaw in the quality of Mehron paints, and if we have to point out an imperfection, it has to be the price. It is not a choice for average buyers with a budget.

Furthermore, Mehron body paints might be waterproof and sweat-proof, but they will still succumb to coming off if rubbed by hands or other surfaces.

  • Vibrant colors and rich pigments
  • Ingredients nourishing your skin
  • Apply and remove with ease
  • Long-lasting

  • More expensive than other brands
  • Rubbing with hands or foreign surfaces will still wear it off

Snazaroo – Face Paint Kit: Best for Cosplay

For cosplayers, Snazaroo is undeniably one of the best brands. The main reason is they offer better products than what you will get from a bargain craft store at a budget-friendly price. They are available under FDA approval, meeting all standards for health and safety.

With water base and non-toxic ingredients, Snazaroo face paint kits fit a wide range of customers, from adults to children. They won’t leave any unpleasant smell in your room and on your body, hence masks won’t be mandatory. Easy to apply and even easier to remove, your little one can have plenty of fun with these paints.

Nonetheless, the biggest drawback of Snazaroo water-based body paint is longevity. Like other products of the same type, the ‘easy to remove’ property might also be a disadvantage if you sweat a lot or wet yourself. Touch-ups are required to avoid cracking.

Furthermore, you might find the gloss and the hue insufficient, especially if you are going for an extravagant and bold look. But considering the sum it costs you, this downside is not a big problem.

  • One of the most affordable brands
  • Not harmful for skin
  • Apply and remove with ease
  • No age restrictions

  • Fewer pigment loads
  • Not very durable

CCbeauty’s – Professional Body Paint Oil

If you look at the newest reviews on the internet, you will undoubtedly find CCbeauty. It becomes a sought-after product because of the high-grade ingredients that are completely non-toxic for users, allowing us to give our kids pretty makeup without any concern.

Due to the oil base, this paint is very radiant and vivid compared to water-based body paints, meeting your requirements for an impressive look that no one can take their eyes off. The oil also provides a signature shiny gloss and durability.

Your biggest concern when working with oily paint is it can stain your clothes and cling to the fabrics quite stubbornly. If you haven’t mastered body painting, a strayed stroke might ruin the whole artwork you are trying to create.

  • Various colors and brushes included in this set
  • Non-toxic
  • Long-lasting
  • Radiant colors

  • Might leave stains
  • Difficult to wash away

Midnight Glo – Neon Body Paint

You won’t hear negative comments about this brand often, simply because there is nothing bad to mention. The lack of information on the manufacturer got us insecure for a second, and another reason for us to be skeptical was the price. These paints are a bit costly compared to the average number you usually see on the product tags, but the experience we had was fantastic!

The set only includes only 6 colors, and guess what steals our heart? Not the bold shades or the long-lasting gloss, but the way they glow in dim lights. These UV body paints will be your best friend in a dark setting like the discotheque or the club.

You can also combine these paints with other types of paints. Therefore, if you don’t want your whole body to glow, you can use neon paints to emphasize important details and make sure you stand out!

There might be a controversy about the durability of this paint. Some users find it rubbing off more easily than they would like, while others think it is a good thing if they can remove the paints quickly.

  • Glowing in the dark
  • Good as a base or an accent
  • Easy to apply and remove

  • Not cost-effective
  • Probably not durable enough in some cases

neon nights – 8 x UV Body Paint Set

Are 6 colors not sufficient? You will be more pleased with 8! Surprisingly enough, these audacious paints don’t leave stubborn stains that you need to work so hard to get rid of.

The glow of the paints is as strong as the neon lights seen in nightclubs and parties, assuring a fun night with your besties. A high-profile concept will be the perfect opportunity for these paints to take the spotlight.

However, be sure to not use it too frequently, since these neon paints might cause rashes and allergies.

  • No stain
  • Easy to remove
  • Vibrant colors

  • Might be irritating for skin

Mosaiz – Halloween Face Paint Kit: Best for Outline

Of course, it doesn’t have to be for Halloween only! You can grab this face paint kit for adults and children whose skin is prone to irritation, thanks to the non-toxic and grease-free ingredients.

With a water base, Mosaiz body paints spread over your skin smoothly and give your brushes an easy time creating art. If the colors are not to your liking, you can simply add a few drops of water and adjust the shades on your own.

We also recommend this product for traveling, as it comes with a portable case and 32 reusable stencils.

  • Radiant and adjustable colors
  • Gentle on skin and long-lasting
  • Convenient for carrying and handling

  • Some packages are not packed carefully
  • The applicator is not durable

TAG – Face & Body Paint Regular Palette

If you want to prepare for comic con or a cosplay fest, you will need body paints with durability and vibrancy, and the cream-based body paint from TAG will be your safest bet. Sweatproof and waterproof properties ensure long-lasting body arts with a shiny sheen, and these paints are not vulnerable to rubbing either.

This paint will adhere to your skin and act as a thin layer of clothing, so you can sit and lie down as much as you wish. Another bonus point is the resistance to a dry atmosphere, no chipping and peeling will happen.

What makes us falter is the variety. They have fewer colors for you to choose from, although their paints are exceptionally good at creating details and retaining a brilliant sheer sheen.

You probably won’t like this product if you are not willing to deal with a body paint that takes time and effort to be removed.

  • Good for details
  • Vibrant colors with gloss and shine
  • Waterproof and sweatproof
  • Weather-resistance

  • Lacking variety in colors
  • Not easy to remove

Create A Face – Face Painting Kit: Best for Children

Now you can host a party for your little ones and let them have fun with face paints, worry-free. Approved by the FDA, the product is hypoallergenic and non-toxic, suitable for use on the whole body. However, for group-use and large projects, it’s better to grab several packages, for the face kit won’t have enough to provide.

The paints will dry before you know it and last for hours on end, with no touch-ups or moisturizing needed and no discomfort caused either. All you need to apply and remove these paints are water. Add a few droplets to one of the eight base colors and you can have different shades as you wish.

The product also includes glitters (gold and silver) if your makeups call for brightness and extravagancy. For beginners, the stencils and the e-book design will come in handy!

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Easy on the skin, non-toxic
  • Vibrant colors, various hues
  • Durable yet not stubborn

  • The stencils are for one-time use

Frequently Asked Questions

Exactly what is non-permanent body art?

It is the opposite of a tattoo, which will remain on your skin until you go through a special process to erase it. From exotic body paints to traditional henna inks, artworks created by those products only last for a short time. It gives us more chances to experiment and express ourselves through body arts.

Surprisingly, non-permanent body art is present in our daily life! If you pay enough attention, you will see mascara, lipstick, eyeliner, and more also share the same traits with those fancy body arts: freedom in movements, non-toxic, and easy to remove.

Can face paints be used on the body?

Many paints are safe to use for both face and body. However, be aware that the pigmentation content in body paints is much richer than face paints. The only reminder from us is to never use paint to do makeup if it is not made exclusively for the skin.


With our guide on how to find the best body paint and which product to choose in 2021, you surely won’t feel overwhelmed by the number of choices on the internet! Always remember that staying safe while creating lively body arts is your top priority!

We will soon return with more guidelines on how to choose the best body paint airbrush kit, the best body paint brushes, and some amazing body painting ideas. Stay tuned!

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