How to Apply (and Remove) Halloween Face Paint Like a Pro

Halloween is just a couple of weeks away, which means costume planning is in full force. And if you’re one of those people who gets really into the holiday, face paint is probably on your to-do list. But sometimes something as simple as slapping paint on your face can be, well, pretty hard. So to make sure your makeup is more spooky than sad, we’ve got a step-by-step guide to acing your paint application. Read on, and get going!


  • Like any makeup routine, start with a clean, dry face as your base.
  • Skip your moisturizer and opt for a good primer, like Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Primer, to keep your paint from sliding.
  • Allow the primer to dry before diving in.


  • If you aren’t painting your brows, smudge a bit of Vaseline into them to keep pigment out. This also works for around your hairline—just remember to remove it once you’re done painting.
  • Use a brush for smaller areas (like your lips and eyes) and a sponge for larger ones (like your entire face).
  • Allow one color to dry completely before painting on another to keep bleeding to a minimum.
  • Just like with eyeliner, work in short, quick strokes instead of long, dragging ones.
  • If you mess up, use a wet cotton ball or a Q-tip to fix the smudge.
  • Once the paint is completely dry, set it with a translucent powder, like


  • Most important: Do not scrub! Using tepid water, wet your entire face.
  • Lather up with a gentle baby shampoo, like Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, and massage it into your face with your hands.
  • Rinse and repeat as necessary.
  • When you’re done, pat your face down with a dry washcloth and apply your favorite moisturizer.
  • If all else fails, a cold cream like Pond’s and a wet washcloth will get the job done.


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