Can You Put Acrylic Paint on Your Face?

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Have you ever wondered if you can put acrylic paint on your face for a costume or special event? While it may seem like a quick and easy solution, it can actually cause many painful and potentially dangerous side effects. 

In this guide, I’ve delved into the implications of using acrylics as face paint. Let me guide you through the risks and suggest safer alternatives for your face-painting endeavors!

Applying Acrylic Paint on the Face: Is it Okay?

Acrylic paint is a versatile and durable medium used by artists for various projects, but can it be safely used on the face for art or makeup? The answer is no. It is not okay to use acrylic paint on your face. 

Although acrylic paint is non-toxic and water-soluble when dry, it is not formulated for use on the face and can cause skin irritation, allergic reaction, or even long-term damage. 

Acrylic paint contains chemicals that can clog pores, dry out the skin, and interfere with the skin’s natural ability to breathe and regulate temperature. However, there are still types of paints that are safe to use as face paint. 

What Will Happen if You Apply it On Your Face?

Although there are instances where people use acrylic paint or face paint on their faces without experiencing any adverse effects, it’s still important to note that acrylics are not intended or approved for use on the skin. 

Moreover, it is particularly alarming when low-cost paints fail to provide detailed information about their composition.

applying face paint

This can pose a risk, particularly if you have sensitive skin. To mitigate this risk, I advise using face paint or acrylic that clearly indicates they are suitable for use on the face and have the appropriate specifications. 

Is it Safe to Apply on the Face?

While you can put acrylic paint on your face, be aware that it’s really not safe. Although the composition of the paint makes it non-toxic, there is still a possibility of allergic reactions, and some colors may be harmful if inhaled or consumed. 

Even if no immediate symptoms occur, the chemicals in the paint can still be absorbed into the skin. In addition, the paint may be difficult to remove, and the process of removing it can be painful and damaging to the skin.  

Check some paint removal tips here

Is it Okay to Apply Acrylic for Only One Day?

There is no safe minimum exposure period because using acrylic paint on human skin, especially on the face, is not recommended. In addition, different types of acrylic paint can cause different reactions in individuals, ranging from severe to none at all. 

It’s also important to point out that many acrylic paints use pigments that aren’t cosmetic-grade, meaning they’re not designed for skin application. This distinction is crucial for anyone considering using them on their face or body.


However, there are some acrylic-based products in the special effects industries and cosmetics that have passed Food and Drug Administration testing and are approved for use on the skin. 

Thus, it’s best to stick with face paints explicitly crafted for skin application. This ensures that you’re minimizing the risk of irritation or adverse reactions that might arise from using acrylic or other types of paints on the face.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on the Skin?

There is a lot of discussion regarding the safety of using acrylic paint on skin, with some artists suggesting it’s safe while others disagree. The reality is that acrylic paint should not be used on the skin, as it can cause significant skin damage and irritation. 

But if you wish to paint your face, I remind you again that it’s best to use a product specifically designed for this purpose. 

If you do, I recommend using water-based acrylic paint on your skin, and you should always wear a mask or respirator and safety goggles to protect yourself. 

applying paint on face

In addition, it’s essential to clean the paint off your skin immediately after acrylic painting, as it can harm your skin over time. 

The toxicity level of paint depends on factors such as gender, age, and how the paint is used, and even non-toxic acrylic paint is not safe for everyone’s skin and is also not ideal for long-term use. 

I suggest washing off any paint on your skin promptly to avoid the paint being absorbed by your skin to at least minimize the negative effects it might cause.

Is It Safe to Apply Acrylic Paint on Your Skin?

While oil-based paints can be harmful to the skin, acrylic paint is less dangerous, but people with the sensitive type of skin or children must still be cautious and wear nitrile-coated gloves if using them. 

Skin conditions like eczema can increase the risk of paint-related issues, but many people are unaware of their skin problems. Skin diseases are quite prevalent, but people often don’t seek medical attention for them. 

applying face paint

Some acrylic paint manufacturers use harsh chemicals that can cause irritation. Thus, the paint is not formulated for skin application and can also cause the skin to become inflexible over time as it lacks flexibility.

Can You Apply Acrylic Paints On Baby Skin?

I do not advise applying acrylic paint on a baby’s skin due to the potential absorption of harmful chemicals by the skin. It is crucial to avoid using art supplies that contain potentially harmful substances and chemicals on a baby’s skin.

However, there are several safe faces, body paint, and crayon options available that can be used on children’s skin without any risks.

Is it Okay to Smear Acrylic Paint on Your Hands?

Applying acrylic paint on your hands is generally safe as long as you do not have any allergies or skin sensitivities to the paint. 

However, you should avoid getting acrylic paint on any open wounds or broken skin, as the chemicals in the paint can be absorbed into the body and potentially cause harm. 

trying out paint on skin

Additionally, some colors of acrylic paint may be difficult to remove from the skin, and excessive scrubbing to remove the paint can be damaging to the skin. 

It is always a good idea to take precautions and wear gloves or use a barrier cream to protect your hands when working with acrylic paint for an extended period of time.

Types of Paints That are Safe for Your Skin

Water-Based Paints

When it comes to body and face paint, water-based paints are the safest choice to create face paint since they adhere to strict regulations and standards. 

Moreover, they release lower amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than other paints. However, water-based paint tends to flake off, which makes them not ideal for face painting purposes.

Metallic Body Paints

This acrylic metallic paint is made from natural ingredients and is free from harmful toxins, which makes it safe to apply on the face and body skin. 

metallic face paint

This metallic body paint dries rapidly, and it lasts for an extended period without smudging. Additionally, it creates a metallic look and can be put on with either a brush or sponge but be careful with its real metal powder mixed.

Alcohol-Based Paints

Body painting that contains alcohol is commonly used in special effects and is resistant to water, making it a suitable option for hot and sunny environments. 

Although this alcohol-based paint may smudge due to sweat, it won’t flake off. Nonetheless, the drawback is that these paints can solely be taken off with rubbing alcohol, which is harmful to the skin.

Latex Body Paints

Cosplayers and costume designers often use liquid latex body paint due to its popularity. Liquid latex is preferred over other types of body paint because it does not leave any residue. 

latex body paint on skin

However, before using it, it is important to ensure you are not allergic and your skin is suitable for using latex. It is also important to note that using liquid latex body paint in excessively hot temperatures can damage the skin and cause heat stroke, so it should be avoided.


Henna is a highly popular and safe type of skin paint. It is often used to create decorative designs on the skin, which can last for weeks. 

Additionally, henna is non-toxic and does not typically cause any allergic reaction, and it is made from a natural plant dye that is considered safe to use on the skin. 

Commercial Bodypaints

These paints are created from non-latex materials, rendering them the safest option available. However, it is important to perform a skin test on a few different products to guarantee that they do not cause any adverse reactions.

applying acrylic pain on arms

Body Painting Markers

This body painting marker is specially designed for the body and is non-toxic. In addition, they can be easily removed by just using soap and water. It’s important to note that not all painting markers are appropriate for use on every area of the body.

How to Paint Your Body and Face

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

Before you can put acrylic paint on your face, ensure that you gather all of your necessary tools. These may include the following:

Step 2: Prepare your Skin

After you gather all your tools and before applying the paint, cleanse your skin thoroughly and remove any residues or oils. If your skin is dry, you can use a  moisturizer to improve the adherence to the paint.

person holding a make-up sponge

Step 3: Apply the Paint

Put a thin coat of paint on your face or the skin, beginning with lighter hues and gradually incorporating darker ones. Take care not to apply an excessive amount of paint all at once, as the paint will dry up before you can mix it evenly.

Step 4: Add the Necessary Details

Utilize a small brush or sponge to include details and enhance certain features. Stencils can also be utilized to create precise or small designs.

Step 5: Finish it Up

After finishing the body and face painting process, cleanse your face and hands thoroughly using soap and water. It is essential to remove all the paint, paying special attention to areas around the cuticles and nails. Once the paint is removed, moisturize the skin right away.

How to Remove Acrylic Paint From the Skin

1. Washing Off With Soap And Water

The best way to remove regular acrylic paint from your skin is to wash it off with soap and water while it’s still wet. It’s much easier to get rid of the paint when it hasn’t dried yet.

soap and water

Another option is to delicately scrape off the paint with a damp cloth. Make sure not to apply excessive force to your face or body’s skin to prevent irritation or inflammation.

2. Use Baby Wipes

Often, a pack of baby wipes can do the trick in removing acrylic paint from your skin, whether it’s on your body or face. I recommend acting quickly and gently cleaning the painted areas using a baby wipe.

Carefully wipe the painted skin with the baby wipe to remove the regular acrylic paint safely. This method is relatively inexpensive compared to other options and can aid in removing acrylic paint.

3. Consider Natural Remedies

In case water and baby wipes are not effective, there are several other options you can try to remove the paint, such as:

removing face paint

4. Peel It Off

Peeling off dried acrylic paint from your skin is the least desirable method as it can be very painful, similar to waxing. It can also cause inflammation and irritation to the skin. 

However, if the paint has fully dried and started to crack, peeling may be the only option to remove it. Therefore, I recommend acting quickly and removing the paint as soon as possible to avoid the need for this painful method.

How To Make Acrylic Paint Safe For The Skin?

To turn acrylic paint into face paint, you can use its adaptable nature. However, to avoid any adverse skin reactions, it’s important to take the following precautions and gather three items:

face painting materials

Once you have these items, follow these simple steps to make face paints with acrylic paint.

1. To begin, you should extrude the acrylic paint onto your palette. 

2. After that, you’ll need to use a mixing brush to combine the moisturizer or lotion with the color of your preference until it is completely blended. The ratio should be one-to-one. 

Before body and face painting, ensure that the lotion does not cause an allergic reaction to your facial skin or make it too oily.

3. Finally, use a normal setting spray to safeguard your skin. You’re now ready to paint your face with this mixture.

How To Turn Acrylic Paint Into Face Paint

I don’t recommend putting acrylic paint on your face as they’re not made with non-toxic ingredients and can cause skin irritation, rashes, or allergic reaction. But, you can turn acrylic paint into face paint by following these steps:

face painting tools

1. Choose water-based, non-toxic acrylic paint: Use acrylic paint labeled as non-toxic and water-based. These types of paints are easier to work with and will be less harmful to the skin.

2. Mix the acrylic paint with liquid dish soap: To make the acrylic paint easier to apply to the skin, mix it with liquid dish soap. Start by mixing a small amount of paint with a few drops of soap until you get a smooth and consistent texture.

3. Add water to thin the mixture: Depending on the consistency of the acrylic paint, you may need to add water to thin the mixture. Add a few drops of water at a time and mix well until the mixture is thin enough to apply to the skin.

4. Test the face paint on a small area of skin: Before applying the face paint to a larger area of skin, test it on a small area first. Wait for a few minutes to see if there is any skin reaction or irritation.

applying paint on wrist

5. Apply the face paint with a brush or sponge: Use a brush or sponge to apply the face paint to the skin. Avoid applying the face paint too thickly or too close to the eyes or mouth.

MyTop Picks for Face Paints

1. Create a Face Face Painting Kit for Kids

This face paint kit is intended for use on both the body and face, which is also recommended by makeup artists. It dries quickly, is hypoallergenic, and is FDA-approved, making it a great choice for children’s parties.

It lasts for several hours without feeling sticky or becoming dry. Additionally, this includes sponges, brushes, stencils, glitter, and eight different color options. 

What I Like

What I Don't Like

2. Ben Nye Theatrical Creme Personal Kit

This is a type of facial makeup activated by lukewarm water. Ideal for stage makeup and Halloween costumes, this face paint holds up impressively in challenging weather conditions, resisting smearing and dripping.

Plus, the diverse color palette is impressive, as it shows up brilliantly on deeper skin tones.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

3. TAG Face & Body Paint

This face paint offers a complete range of colors, encompassing all seven hues of the rainbow. It is crafted using gentle materials on the skin. 

As with other water-based face paints, its consistency is slightly diluted, making this acrylic paint wash off easily.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

my Tops Picks for Body Paints

1. Snazaroo Classic Face and Body Paint

I often recommend this face paint for body art, not just because it comes in sturdy, resealable 18ml bottles, but also due to its pharmaceutical-grade ingredients. It’s reassuring to know it meets the FDA’s safety standards [1].

The vibrancy of its colors is truly remarkable, and it suits all skin types, even the most delicate. You’re assured that it won’t lead to any irritation.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

2. Mehron Makeup Paradise AQ Face & Body Paint

This paint has a water-based formula, containing a high concentration of acrylic paint pigments, making it a great body and face paint. It dries quickly and does not smudge. 

It’s also simple to blend and apply because it has a creamy texture, but its fast-drying nature means you must work swiftly.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

3. Neon Nights UV Body Paint Set

This body and face paint is an excellent choice for blacklight parties and glow-in-the-dark scenarios since it’s formulated with UV light, creating a striking glow effect beneath blacklights. 

The paint comprises Food and Drug Administration-approved ingredients and is water-based and non-toxic acrylic paint. It’s not only safe but also offers a range of colors that can make the skin radiate. And when the party’s over? A simple wash with water and soap takes it right off.

What I Like

What I Don't Like


Is 100% acrylic paint toxic?

Acrylic paint is not 100% toxic.  While acrylic paint can be considered toxic, the level of toxicity is relatively low. Unlike oil paint, acrylics are solvent- and water-based, allowing them to maintain their user-friendly consistency without the use of mineral spirits or turpentine to thin them out.

Are acrylic paints permanent?

Acrylic paints are considered to be permanent. Once acrylic paint dries, it forms a hard and durable surface resistant to water and fading. Unlike other types of paint, acrylic paint is not easily reactivated with water once it has dried, so the color will remain fixed on the surface.

Is it okay to paint on face masks?

While it’s technically possible to paint on face masks, I do not recommend doing so, as it may compromise the mask’s effectiveness. Face masks are designed to filter out airborne particles and provide a physical barrier to protect against the spread of illness. 

Is acrylic paint resistant to rain?

Acrylic paint is water-resistant once it has dried, but it is not completely waterproof or immune to the effects of rain. However, prolonged exposure to heavy rain or harsh weather conditions may eventually cause the paint to degrade or peel. 

Also Read: Is Spray Paint Waterproof

Can you use acrylic paints as makeup?

I do not recommend using acrylic paints as makeup because they are not designed or tested for use on the skin. Acrylic paint contains chemicals and pigments that are not intended for use on the delicate and sensitive skin of the face.

Can acrylic paint be washed off the skin?

Acrylic paint can be removed from the skin with soap and water, especially if it is still wet. However, once acrylic paint has dried on the skin, it can be more difficult to remove and may require the use of specialized makeup removers or other cleaning products.

You might want to know: Will Acrylic Paint Stick to Plastics


Technically, you can put acrylic paint on your face, but it’s not recommended as it may contain harmful chemicals or pigments. For safe and effective face painting, I urge you to use cosmetic-grade makeup products specifically formulated for skin use. 

Also, make sure to follow recommended safety guidelines to protect your skin.  

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You've probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.
Robert Johnson

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