It's that time of year again! It's a time when face painters are busier than Santa at Christmas and we love it! Starting this evening I have private bookings for everything from basic cat faces to latex special fx and of course blood... fake, gooey, and very red, fake blood...that stains...a lot!
On my Facebook page, I've shared the dangers of using party store Halloween makeup and now I'll add to that post by saying, they can be horribly difficult to remove. So for the purposes of this article, I ask that you assume I'm only talking about the professional, cosmetic grade products that I use.
First of all, it's important to know that there are different kinds of face makeup. When removing water-based makeup, basic soap and water removal works perfectly fine. Of course you can use makeup remover wipes, because that's what they have been designed to do. Be careful around the eyes. Eye makeup remover is more gentle and works well.
There are grease and oil based makeups available but I don't use them.. If you got painted by someone who did use them, then remember, oil adheres to oil. Using any oil based makeup remover will help, but be warned. These products are tough to get off.
Next, let's discuss alcohol based products. These products are used far more frequently this time of year because they last longer, don't crack or smudge, feel very light on the skin, provide nice opaque color and, most importantly, they are waterproof. They are activated with 99% alcohol if applied by brush, or contain a 99% alcohol base if they are applied with an airbrush. This type of makeup can be removed with additional alcohol, but it's not recommended as it's very drying. Surprisingly, applying liquid soap with very little water, and working it into a nice lather before rinsing with water can be all you need. The other thing to remember is that oil helps to lift the pigment and make it easier to remove. Of course you can use any basic makeup remover or if you prefer to spend more and plan in advance, many companies, sell special removers that easily lift off the product and moisturize the skin as well.
In addition to the various types of makeup, face artists also use other products to create desired effects. The first is body glue. Whether we apply gems for a sugar skull design, or to apply a prosthetic, skin safe body glue is essential. The easiest way to remove glue residue is to gently rub oil on the spot in a circular motion. The glue will usually lift right off or ball up. Never pull off glue, or a prosthetic applied with glue, without loosening the glue first to avoid damaging the skin. I recommend using a cotton ball, soaked in oil (mineral oil, baby oil, jojoba oil, etc.) and letting it sit on the skin nearest the glue until it begins to lift, continuing as you carefully peal back the prosthetic.
Liquid latex is a great product for lots of effects and it's easy to use and remove. Obviously you can only use this if you don't have a latex allergy. Latex can be removed with soap and water, but it is really fun to peal if you're into that sort of thing! Even if it gets into your hair, it will wash out, so don't worry.
Spirit gum is another adhesive that some artists use but it does require a special remover. Make sure to get some from the artist, or buy some before you apply it yourself.
The last thing that I really want to talk about is skin staining and fake blood is the absolute worst product for staining the skin. But don't worry! There are lots of things you can use to remove skin staining so read on!
Barbasol! You read it right... shaving cream! It's amazing how well it works. If you don't have any, remember oil adheres to oil, right? Well the oils in your skin will adhere to oils applied to the skin and help to lift pigment out of your pores. The dryer your skin, the more it will stain, so keep this in mind too. Avoid rubbing stained skin excessively; first because that is irritating and second because it often pushes the pigment further into your pores making it even more difficult to remove.
I love to tease clients when they ask how to get the makeup off by replying "It will wear off in a couple of days, don't worry" and see their reaction. But, to some extent, it's true. After washing off the paint, if there is still a residual discoloration after "trying everything" try to remember, it's not permanent, and in 24 hours it won't even be noticeable. It's just makeup and while it's on for a good time, it's not on for a long time. So have fun!