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.

6 Responses

  1. Helen

    When will 303 Magazine do a photo shoot incorporating body paint? Love the Vogue pics!

  2. Katelyn Simkins

    Hi Helen! Check out this month’s issue of 303 Magazine – we have a couple beautiful pieces of body art. The shoot “Coquette” has custom designed faux tattoos done by Sandi Callistro, and the shoot “Red Light District” has a full back Dragon done with body paint. 🙂

  3. Denise An

    I’ve heard just plain acrylic sprayed on the skin through an airbrush is pretty brutal on the body..It’s worth it to spend a little extra money to buy quality body paints that are meant for the skin!

  4. Katelyn Simkins

    Absolutely Denise! I agree. The same goes for glitter – people try to use your average craft store supplies, but they are not meant to be applied on the body – and can be harsh and even dangerous. Always a good idea to get the right products! 🙂

  5. Connie

    Would be nice to spotlight local bodypainters. We have some very talented folks here in Denver!

  6. Charlie

    Love the entry katelyn ! And I loved that shoot in Paris vogue too – so fab! We DID use body painting in the Februsry issue in the second page of “red light district” – the dragon “tattoo” was body paint


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