Face Painting is one of those professions that gives the appearance to many that “anyone can do it.” That isn’t strictly true. Yes, most people, if they choose, can learn to face paint, but being a professional face painter means that you are a business person providing a personal service.
Many groups get volunteers to face paint using inappropriate products – hands up those who have seen some teenagers doing unidentifiable cheek art blobs using cheap craft paints? Or groups using one dirty sponge, one brush, and a few cakes of paint that cannot be identified by color or brand?
Professional face painters, for the most part, are people who use good professional cosmetic products meant for use on the face, work with clean equipment and face paints, have a neat display, can paint recognizable faces (when you ask for a cat it looks like a cat) and are operating as responsible business people.
- A professional face painter should work to certain standards for health and safety. Some even have to follow health regulations and use clean sponges and brushes for each person they paint.
- A professional should have business liability insurance.
- A professional should have business cards and use proper invoices or contracts as appropriate.
- A professional should refuse to paint anyone who is or appears to be ill or has open sores, skin conditions, etc. They should be able to recognize symptoms of common diseases and conditions.
- A professional should know not to use craft glitters with can damage the eyes and scratch the skin. Cosmetic grade glitters are made of polyester and are coloured with safe pigments that are known not to cause reactions.
- A professional should only be using approved for cosmetic use products NOT acrylic paint, craft paints, tempura paints, felt pens, watercolour pastels, dry erase markers, homemade concoctions made with food colouring or anything that is NOT tested, approved and meant for applying to human skin.
- A professional will be able to advise you about the products they use and answer your questions about the ingredients or provide you with the information to read.
- A professional should offer a patch test if concern is expressed over reactions to the products being used.
- A professional should be able to tell you how to remove the products they are using and whether there are any special concerns.
- A professional face painter probably has spent hundreds of dollars on the products they are using, even more on the brushes and sponges, and possibly thousands on training materials, workshops and conferences. They probably belong to organizations and forums with other face painters sharing designs, tips and learning new techniques.
Above all, a professional will be on time, paint appropriate designs, deal with the clientele in a polite and friendly manner, will be able to paint the designs they show on their display, and will leave the location as it was when they arrived.
The adage that “You get what you pay for” applies to face painters as it does to almost everything else.
© Shannon Fennell 2009
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