Homemade substitutes for face paints may be a less expensive option than the traditional kind. You can make the homemade variety with healthier ingredients than the traditionally greasy, theatrical type, lead-tinged imports or the chemically loaded makeups intended for play. Another advantage to homemade alternatives is that you are not limited to the Halloween season when face paint is more widely available in stores, but can whip up what you want when you want it and you can create custom colors for a one-of-a-kind look.
From the Pantry
For white, use a simple mixture of powdered sugar and water. For yellowish war paint, add turmeric to unscented body or hand lotion. Mix corn syrup, Castile liquid soap and a dash of red food coloring for fake blood. For brown, add chocolate sauce or cocoa powder to your base. Add a drop or two of squid ink to your base to make black. Look around the kitchen for other colorful foods, herbs and spices.
From the Costmetics Counter
If the person to be made up is allergic to face paints or if you prefer to use more healthful substances on skin, try hypoallergenic and/or organic makeup. A pale silver eye shadow serves for white areas such as a clown face, mime or pale-skinned vampire. Red lipstick naturally substitutes for artificial blood or red face paint. Use charcoal eye shadow or eyeliner for zombie shadows, a widow's peak, old-age wrinkles, hobo smudges or any number of facial hairstyles. Try eye pencil for whiskers. Although real makeup might be more costly than other alternatives, it has the advantage of being kind to sensitive skin and will serve its original purpose once dramatic roles are done.
From the Bathroom
These substitutes for face paint can be made with inexpensive supplies found in most homes. Mix until smooth 1/2 tsp. of water and 1 tsp. of corn starch in a small dish. Stir in 1/2 tsp. of cold cream. Add one drop of food coloring to the mixture and stir; continue to add food coloring one drop at a time and stir until you achieve the color you want. In lieu of cold cream you can use a base of gentle body lotion, pure cocoa butter or fluoride-free, non-mint toothpaste.
From the Produce Drawer
Add a deeply colored berry juice or puree to your base for shades of pink, or use a sieve to mash three raspberries, blackberries or beets and add the resulting liquid to your base. For purple, mash blueberries or use blueberry juice.
For a bright green, add spirulina or clorophyll to your base. For a lighter shade, use a fork to mash until creamy a quarter of a small avocado.
Maria D. Laso is a trilingual writer-editor with more than 25 years experience; she now freelances, teaches and coaches writers. She publishes two 'zines written by and for young women and has a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Northwestern University.