As I tuned into one of my new favorite television shows, FACE OFF (a special FX makeup competition on the SyFy channel) I watched in awe as they labored through their challenge this week – body paint. It’s a trend that has been quite popular over the last decade. And not always in a good way. A practice that dates back to ancient Egypt now immediately stirs images of Playboy playmates wandering around the mansion grounds in faux football jerseys – it’s the NEW naked! But all cheesiness aside, the ART of body painting is just that – ART. It takes incredible skill to pull off a successful full-body piece. Far more than just a Kim Kardashian excuse to show off some knockers and a ballooning dairyere (See her November spread in W magazine

In this shoot by Isabeli Fontana for Vogue Paris in November 2009, they made spectacular use of strategic body painting to bring to life an almost Aboriginal feel. Check out a list below of products great for specifically painting on the skin canvas:

Kryolan Liquid Body Paint – Great for large areas of skin that need to be covered. Water and rub resistant.

Mehron Starblend – Perspiration resistant, non-streaking, and will last all day without fading. Available in a wide variety of colors.

Mehron Barrier Spray – This is a makeup sealer that will help protect your masterpiece from sweat and rubbing off.

Temptu Dura Airbrush Liquids – Great longlasting airbrush pigments that won’t leave a sticky finish like SOME brands I won’t mention *cough*MAC*cough*…

A bit of information on why NOT to use traditional artist paints on the body:

“No artist paint … should be used for body painting. Body painting is a cosmetic application and it is necessary to use properly labeled and formulated cosmetic paints. They will say “body paint” on the label and list their ingredients. Cosmetic manufacturers operate under entirely different requirements in terms of testing, sanitation and safety. In the United States, these products are regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and Artist Paints are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. ”

As you can imagine, the testing regimens and concerns are very different for something that is meant to be used directly on one’s skin, especially with special concerns such as pregnancy, skin sensitivity, allergic reactions etc.