It’s not hard to understand why simple face painting is a fun project that many people enjoy getting into. You don’t even need any artistic inclinations – both amateurs and professionals can do it. It’s something children of all ages can also do and is an activity that people of all ages enjoy very much.
Whenever you involve kids in any activity, safety becomes a primary concern. In kids face painting, I have listed down some safety precautions that you need to take into consideration. In this article, I have chosen to put emphasis more on the “Do Not’s”, as these often tend to be overlooked.
DO choose art supplies carefully. There are a lot of so-called face make-up and paints out in the market today, but not all of them are safe. It may be comforting to see the “Non-Toxic” sign on the label, but don’t fall for it hook, line and sinker. Not everything labeled that way is safe for the skin, especially for very small kids.
DO NOT USE acrylic paint! This type of paint is not meant for the skin as it could contain very harmful chemicals and colorants that are normally used in craft painting.
DO NOT USE “washable” or watercolor markers! Like acrylics, these also have chemicals which can cause an allergic reaction on the skin or worse, respiratory distress (for kids who aren’t used to paint chemicals). A lot of people are allergic to craft paints, even though they only have a little amount accidentally spilled on their hand or other body parts. Imagine what it can do to a child.
DO NOT use metallic craft glitters for (as the name suggests) these are just used for arts and crafts, never for the skin painting or molding. The FDA has also mandated that glitters – often used with face paints – should be 0.008 microns in size or even smaller (very, very, very small indeed) as these would be the only ones safe for skin use.
DO make sure to buy FDA-approved face paints; these are the only ones that are safe to buy and safe to use on children.
DO make sure your that the children you will be painting on doesn’t have any allergies to the products that you’ll be using. The common make-up and face paints have ingredients that are similarly structured. So if you are a mother who has make-up at home, the simplest way to test for allergies is to smear some lipstick or gloss just below the child’s wrist. If it doesn’t break out in a small rash after 10 minutes, then you may proceed with face painting. If there is some redness and swelling, then you may need to postpone your session for the meantime.
DO NOT put paint on a face that has even the smallest of pimples. You should only paint on a face that is clear of acne. Remember that a painted face will eventually need to be cleaned. Rubbing on a sensitive part of the face may cause more soreness. Suggest painting on either the arm or another part of the skin that is blemish-free.
DO watch out for head lice. As a face-painter, it is your responsibility to check the child (your child or not) for head lice. To avoid a lice-epidemic in your work area, make sure that you (yes, you, the artist) tie your hair back (if you have long hair). If possible ask the child to pull back or put a band on their hair too. Wash your hands in between each child to avoid infecting the next child. Use alcohol or baby wipes to be sure.
DO thoroughly clean the brushes and the sponges that you use. Clean these materials with warm soap and water. Do not use alcohol as your cleaning agent to prevent bacteria from growing on your tools. It is good practice to throw away moderately used sponges to avoid bacterial and fungal contamination.
If you follow these safety protocols, rest assured that you and your child (or children) will have a happy, fun-filled face painting activity all the time.