Face painting is the artistic application of cosmetic colors to a person’s face.

Dalmatian and Spongebob facepainting

Painter: Henriett Szabó

Face painting is common in films, where it is categorized as special effects make-up. e.g. Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest, Heath Ledger’s The Joker in The Dark Knight, Ron Perlman in Hellboy movies, Mickey Rourke’s Marv in Sin City, Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, Helena Bonham Carter’s Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, the Na’vi people in Avatar, Mel Gibson’s William Wallace in Braveheart, and countless actors in countless fantasy and horror movies.

Many professional wrestlers paint their faces as part of their costuming. e.g. Sting, Jeff Hardy, The Ultimate Warrior, Road Warrior Animal, Road Warrior Hawk, and Doink the Clown.

It is common in militaries all over the world for soldiers in combat scenarios to paint their faces and other exposed body parts (hands, for example) in natural colors such as green, tan, and loam for camouflage purposes.

In fact, facepainting has been used since ancient times for hunting, war, and religious reasons. Facepainting re-entered the popular culture during the hippie movement of the late 1960s, when it was common for young women to decorate their cheeks with flowers or peace symbols at anti-war demonstrations.

For several decades facepainting has been a very popular at county fairs, festivals, open-air markets, important sports matches and parties. It is also quite a popular art at Halloween.

Pirate facepainting

Painter: Margit Kováts

Popular face painting designs include:

  1. Tiger
  2. Butterfly
  3. Clown
  4. Spider-Man
  5. Dog
  6. Cat
  7. Monster or zombie

Click on the links on the left to learn more about face painting and even get step-by-step directions to do face painting within a few minutes.