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Body Makeup and Waterproof Body Makeup Guide

If you’re under the impression that makeup is merely intended to adorn one’s face, think again.

Body makeup has exploded in popularity and, in recent years, has become a regular feature of photo shoots, advertising campaigns, weddings, televised competitions, fashion shows and more. With the many new waterproof options, any area of the body can get a unique glow-up that looks great for hours, no matter the weather or how high the humidity climbs.

Waterproof Body Makeup

Artwork by: Donna Nowak from ShowOffs Body Art

What is Body Makeup?

The term “body makeup” describes a type of cosmetics used to alter or improve the appearance of skin anywhere on the body. Whether it comes in the form of creams, cakes, sprays, or powders, you’ll find a wide range of body makeup products that conceal marks, scars, and tattoos, give the skin an even and sleek look, create optical illusions that alter the body’s appearance, and turn all or part of the body into a one-of-kind, creative work of art.

Unlike cosmetics designed for the face, body makeup is specifically formulated for other parts of the body and is usually more durable and longer-lasting than facial makeup. However, some facial makeup, such as products used in face painting, can also double as body makeup.

Why Use Body Makeup?

Body makeup has been around for centuries, and in many cultures, it’s still used to adorn the body for ceremonies, rituals, and special events like weddings and funerals. But today’s are choosing body makeup for any number of reasons, including:

1. Covering Imperfections: Body makeup—particularly body foundations and concealers like Mehron Tattoo ProColoRing—does a fantastic job covering up scars, bruises, stretch marks, and other skin imperfections. Such products will even conceal tattoos when the need arises!

2. Enhancing Skin Appearance: Many people rely on body makeup to enhance the skin's appearance, giving it a smoother, more even look. Products like body glitter and mica powders are wonderful for creating highlights and reflections, making them an excellent choice for photo shoots or other events where skin needs to be displayed.

3. Changing the Body's Appearance or Creating Art: Face and body paints are often used to create optical illusions or transform the body into a living work of art.

Feeling inspired? Check out our Body Paint Guide to learn all there is to know about body painting.

Types of Body Makeup:

When it comes to body makeup, you have many, many options. Which is right will depend on your specific purpose and the look you want.

1. Body Paints: Available in both solid and liquid forms, body paints should be your first choice if you’re looking to create a full-body painting. They’re also great for creating optical illusions for theater productions, films and videos, and advertising campaigns. Solid products are usually water-activated and then applied with a brush or sponge. Most liquid body paints are applied with an airbrush, but they can also be applied with a brush or sponge. To learn more about these products, read our blog post: Ultimate Face Paint Guide - Brands Comparison.

2. Body Foundation:
Body foundations are generally used to cover up imperfections on the skin, such as scars, bruises, and stretch marks, or to give the skin a smooth and even appearance. These products may be sold as creams, sprays, or powders. They come in a wide range of skin tones and tend to be thin and light to allow for a natural finish. Many are applied with airbrushes, similar to a spray tan.

3. Body Concealer: Body concealers, like Mehron Tattoo ProColoRing, cover specific areas of the skin, such as blemishes or tattoos. Like body foundations, they’re usually available in a wide variety of shades for a perfect match but tend to have a thicker formulation to ensure adequate coverage.

4. Body Bronzer: If you’re looking to achieve a sun-kissed look without exposing yourself to harmful UV rays, you can’t go wrong with Body Bronzer. These products enhance the skin's appearance, giving it a healthy and radiant glow. Mica powders are often used as bronzers, either in loose form or as pressed powder.

5. Body Highlighter: Body highlighter is used to show off specific areas of skin, such as the collarbones, shoulders, or legs. These light and shimmery powders are ideal for creating a luminous and radiant look.

6. Body Glitter: Body glitter is a type of makeup that adds sparkle and colored reflections to the skin. It is often worn for special events or parties, where a bold and festive look is desired. There are many different kinds of glitter preparations, including fine loose glitter, loose chunky glitter, glitter cremes, and glitter gels.

7. Body Inks: Depending on the formulation, body inks create permanent or temporary designs on the skin. Tattoos involve applying permanents under the skin, while alcohol-based inks create temporary designs over the skin. Natural products like henna have long been used to stain the skin to make long-lasting but temporary designs.

Waterproof Body Makeup

Formulated to withstand water, sweat, and friction, waterproof body makeup is an ideal choice when your skin will be exposed to water or humidity for a prolonged period, such as when attending a beach wedding, pool party, or water-themed photo shoot. These products ensure the skin remains flawless for hours, particularly when you’re likely to sweat a lot or expect to experience high friction.

Types of Waterproof Body Makeup:

Like all body makeup, waterproof varieties come in creams, sprays, powders, and cakes. At Jest Paint, we sell waterproof airbrush body paints, pressed powders, waterproof solid cakes with a special activator, and grease/oil makeup that requires a setting powder.

1. Alcohol Based Airbrush Body Paints: Easy to apply and available in dozens of colors, alcohol-based airbrush body paints are probably the most widely used waterproof products. Typically formulated from a solution of alcohol, castor oil, and makeup pigments, they can be spread over the body using an airbrush system or a sponge and brush.  Brands like ProAiir and Endura from European Body Art are particularly popular due to their quality, vibrancy, and durability.

2. Pressed Powders: Pressed powders consist of a mixing medium like glycerin and loose pigments that, when combined, create a cake-like product that can be spread on the skin using a foam applicator. They're typically reserved for the face because they’re difficult to apply over the entire body. They also require a makeup sealer to create a waterproof finish; even then, the result might not be 100% waterproof.

3. Oil Based Makeup Products: Also known as clown makeup, grease makeup, or theatrical makeup, these products consist of a mineral oil base mixed with cosmetic-grade pigments. While extremely long-lasting and sweat- and water-resistant, oil-based makeup feels heavy on the skin and needs to be used with a setting powder to prevent smudging and transfer.

4. Alcohol Based Solid Body Paints: Although newer to the market, alcohol-based solid body paints are a top choice among special effects artists because they allow for layering and the creation of washes that no other makeup product can achieve.


To learn more about waterproof body paints, including available brands and applications, check out our Waterproof Face Paints blog.

How to Apply Waterproof Body Makeup

Applying body makeup can be a bit tricky, especially if you are new to these products. While different formulations will require specific techniques, there are some steps common to all:

  1. Waterproof body makeup adheres best to clean, dry skin, so remove any lotion or oil that might be present.
  2. Apply a screen prep solution like Mehron Barrier Spray. This will create a moisture barrier and help your waterproof body makeup last longer.
  3. Apply the waterproof body makeup as indicated on the product label
  4. Apply a setting powder or a makeup sealer like Ben Nye Final Seal. This will add extra resistance to your makeup and help turn almost any product into waterproof or water-resistant makeup.

Thanks for reading!  Please leave us a comment below.

To learn more about the products in our industry and how to use them,  be sure to check out all of our free face and body art guides.

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