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Make Your Own Face Paint for Halloween

Face paint can take a Halloween costume from ho-hum to totally awesome in a flash. But if you don't want to spend a lot of money on store-bought makeup that can sometimes be harsh on little kids' sensitive skin, whip up some of your own. Creating your own makeup allows you to keep the mixture relatively natural, design the exact colors you want and trim your Halloween spending. Plus, the process of making it can be a fun family activity your kiddos love as much as the actual face-painting.

Are you in? Let's get painting.

The Recipe

A quick online search yields paint recipes galore. Pinterest is a great resource—whole boards are dedicated to all things face paint. But for face-painting newbies, we recommend trying this recipe courtesy of PopSugar Living:

You'll need:

  • Cornstarch
  • Face lotion
  • 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil (or other cooking oil)
  • Natural food coloring or homemade dyes*
  • Optional: glittery eye shadow or body glitter if you want your paint to sparkle
  • Small container with lid

*You can use washable paint for dye, since food coloring can be messy and leave a residue on skin and clothing. Just make sure the washable paint is non-toxic, since it will be going on your child's skin. (Adventurous crafters can make dyes from fruits, vegetables and spices, which is another fun afternoon activity for you and your kids.)

The Process

Now for the fun part: creating your paint palette. For the base, mix together equal parts cornstarch and face lotion until it forms a thick mixture. Add in the oil to prevent the mix from caking up. Don't add too much oil though—you want it smooth, not watery.

When the mixture is ready, place a spoonful into a small container—preferably one with a lid—and add a drop of food coloring. Keep mixing in colors in small batches to your base mixture until you've created a palette you're happy with. If you want to add sparkle, now's the time to add your glittery eye shadow or body glitter into the mix.

Applying Color

Bring out some of your standard makeup application tools to get the paint from the tub onto your little one's face. Face sponges work well for all-over application, while eye shadow and lip brushes are perfect for more detailed work.

Not sure what to paint on your child's face? You can buy a few cheap stencils and start with those, or check out Parenting's "5 Easy Face Painting Designs for Kids;" "10 Easy Face Painting Ideas;" or our step-by-step videos for a mermaid, clown, tiger, dragon, and The Hulk.

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