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Is Body Paint Safe For Skin? + The Top 5 Skin-safe Body Paints

How often have you wondered, "is body paint safe for my skin?"

The quick answer is: it depends. Not all paints are created equal.

Although the general public refers to body paint as pretty much any paint used to cover the body, the truth is, we should only speak of body paint when the product is actually designed to be used on the body.

So, you might be wondering which paints are safe to be used on the body and which ones are not.

It's simple. Products that can be considered makeup: face paints, actual makeup, and body paints are all generally regarded as safe to be used on the body.

Are acrylic paints safe to paint your body?

The simple and quick answer is NO. Acrylics, tempera, oil paints, spray paint, house paint, watercolors, etc., are not designed to be used on the body and hence are not safe.

image to illustrate the looks of acrylic on skin

Why is that? Well, not all pigments are created equal. Only certain pigments are considered safe to be applied to the skin, and those are the ones used by cosmetic-grade products. Arts and Crafts products use cheaper pigments that are not designed to be applied to the body and can have all sorts of heavy metals or allergens that are proven to be harmful to the human body when used as a cosmetic.

Also, the base ingredients used on some of those products like spray paints, acrylics, and oil paints can be pretty harsh when in contact with the skin, putting the person at risk of getting chemical burns, allergic reactions, and even poisoning if contact with the skin is prolonged and over large areas.

One very famous case serves as an example of why you should not apply anything other than cosmetic-grade products to your skin. In 1939 when the movie The Wizard of Oz was recorded, the actor playing the tin man had to be hospitalized due to a severe reaction to the paint they used to make him look silver; it was not makeup and almost killed him.

image to illustrate the tin man

How about product performance?

Since you asked, acrylics look pretty terrible when used as body paints. They tend to crack all over the place once they dry, and since they don't stretch with the skin, they can make your skin feel itchy and tight. Makeup-grade body paints will move with the skin, reducing cracking to a minimum and avoiding the itchy and stretch sensation.

Does Non-toxic means it is safe for the skin?

NO. Non-toxic means the product is safe when used according to the label. So, an acrylic labeled as non-toxic means that it is not considered a toxic substance when used as directed, meaning, on canvas or other surfaces, but not on skin.

What are the top 5 skin-safe body paints? 

Well, there are dozens of well-known brands of face and body paints that are generally considered safe and are made with FDA and EU-compliant ingredients for cosmetic application. You can look at the face paints sold at Jest Paint for good quality products.

Here are our top 5 in no particular order (they are all equally good):

1 - Fusion Body Art: we love the consistency, their mega bright and opaque colors, and how easy to use they are. Fusion is perfect for line work and for bases.

Fusion Body Art Split Cake

2 - Superstar Face and Body Paints: no other brand has a more extensive color selection. Their paints are silky smooth and very vibrant.

Superstar Face Paints

3 - Global Colours Body Art: another great brand thanks to its opaque, bright, and vibrant colors and the perfect consistency.

4 - Diamond FX: one of the first brands of body paints to provide us with truly vibrant colors and an amazing consistency to achieve an incredible level of detail.

5 - TAG Body Art: a newer brand that first introduced new pearl colors to the market.

What should you look for and compare when choosing different face and body paints?

  • Test how easy to use they are and how to activate them: water activated, alcohol activated, airbrush or brush and sponge, etc.
  • Test how opaque they are. Some cheaper brands sold on online marketplaces and costume stores tend to use cheap pigments that are very translucent and not vibrant at all. BEWARE of cheap face painting kits sold on Amazon, Walmart, and eBay that look too good to be true.
  • Check out their color range and choose the colors you need.
  • Read reviews and see what people say about them: how easy are they to remove? Do they leave stains? Do you need to scrub a lot to remove it?

We strongly recommend you use water-activated face and body paints if you are just starting out, as these tend to be the easiest ones to use. 

What Are the Safest Face Paints in 2023?

Lucky for you, everything that was said before still applies to 2023. Most professional face paint brands are still considered safe, and the ones we sell at JestPaint, according to the manufacturers, have been tested for skin safety by private labs.

The great news we have this year is that Fusion Body Art just released a line of cosmetic grade mega bright colors that are available as part of their Leanne's non neon palettes. Have you tried those out yet?

If you need to learn how to face paint, you can read our comprehensive guide for beginner face painters. Also, head over to this awesome blog post if you want to see how major face and body paint brands compare to each other. 

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