How to Make Homemade Face Paint and Take Your DIY Costume to the Next Level

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Making your own Halloween costume can be fun, but it can also be a little stressful. You have to start from scratch and get extra creative with every little detail, including your makeup, which can really drive home a DIY get-up. And using face paint instead of eyeliners, eyeshadows, or lipstick can be a great option for a more dramatic or pigmented makeup look.

Still, a lot of store-bought face paints are either way too expensive or not safe for the sensitive skin on your face (not to mention, they can leave marks that last for days). So why not try DIY face paint instead? If that sounds like way too much work, don't worry. It's actually really simple to put together your own face paint so you know exactly what's in it. With just a few key products and a couple of art brushes, you can take your Halloween costume up 10 notches. And the best part? It only costs a few dollars to pull off. Here's how to do it.

How to Make Homemade Face Paint

What You'll Need:

  • Cornstarch
  • Face lotion
  • 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Washable paints, natural food coloring, or homemade dyes
  • Small containers
  • Small bowl


  1. First, decide which type of pigment you'll use. You can find packs of colorful washable paints at your local craft store or on Amazon for only a few dollars, such as this Crayola Washable Kids Project Paint ($5, originally $6) or this Washable Finger Paint For Kids ($8-$12), which you can buy with six, eight, or 12 colors, depending on what you need. Using washable paint instead of natural food coloring creates solid colors that won't stain clothes — or your face. Most are nontoxic and, when diluted, safe to use on skin (but remember to avoid using around the eye and mouth areas). You can also swap washable paint for a few drops of natural food coloring or homemade dyes, which you can make using foods or plants — just be warned that using food coloring may stain skin and clothing.
  2. Start by making a base for the face paints by mixing together equal parts cornstarch and your favorite face lotion until it forms a thick mixture. Add the vegetable oil, which helps keep the paint from caking. You want things to be smooth without being too watery.
  3. Now add a spoonful of the mixture to a small container and add a pea-sized amount of washable paint or dye.
  4. Continue adding colors until you've got an entire set of face paints. For a bit of shimmer, sprinkle glitter eye shadow into containers or swipe over finished face paint for allover glitter.
  5. As with any new makeup, rub a bit of the face paint on your hand or arm to check for a reaction first before applying to your face.
  6. Apply using face sponges or lip brushes. Paint will dry creating a smudge-free look. For a smoother application, add a few drops of water to the paints.