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The Allure of Face Painting, A Quick History

by Lilly Walters

For the beginning face painter, who hopes to go professional.

Inside the most conservative person, a hidden wild child is wanting to come out to play. Being painted as a wild green tiger, a fantasy Amazon princess or a fanciful fairy, gives us permission to let the serious adult in us take a nap for a few hours and let the child out! Then, we wash it off and happily go back to our normal lives.

For thousands of years people have loved the idea of using something on their face or body to make a statement of love, war, joy, or to just enhance their beauty. Recently, scientists have found shells in two archaeological sites in the Murcia, a province of southern Spain, containing pigment residues. They feel these were actually Neanderthal make-up containers for face and body painting. They were found by Professor Joao Zilhao who reports were used to mix and preserve pigments. They found lumps of yellow paint, which may have been used as foundation, and red powder, which may have been applied as blush.

And guess what else was on those shells?

According to Professor Zilhao, "Glitter makeup, or shimmer makeup ... where you, over a foundation, you add shiny bits of something granular that shines and reflects. When light would shine on you, you'd reflect."

Cosmetics were used by the Ancient Egyptians around 4000 BC. In the Old Testament— Ezekiel 23:40 it says, “… and when they arrived you bathed yourself for them, painted your eyes and put on your jewelry.” Chinese and other Asian cultures have been using heavy stage make to create the look of masks for centuries. Japanese Geishas developed that whole while face painted look long, long ago. Since at least the era of Greek theatre, clowns have been enhancing their features with whiteface and other colored paints to compliment their craft.

Wikipedia.oFace Painting for Events and Parties in Southern California and Claremont, La Verne, San Dimas, Glendora and Uplandrg, in their article on face and body painting, says:

Body painting with clay and other natural pigments existed in most, if not all, tribalist cultures. Often worn during ceremonies, it still survives in this ancient form among the indigenous people of Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific islands and parts of Africa. A semi-permanent form of body painting known as Mehndi, using dyes made of henna (hence also known rather erroneously as "henna tattoo"), was and is still practiced in India and the Middle East, especially on brides.

Our sports fanatics do it, soldiers need it for safety.

Yes, face painting is ingrained in humans.

Unlike other art canvases, face painters need to first find a canvas willing to sit still for us. We must resign our selves to painting a beautiful piece of art, knowing it will be washed away in a few hours. Like sand castle artists, we can only preserve our work with photographs.

This book is filled with photos of my work. These are not the ideal, just a place to start. I have selected photos from when I just started, to my more advanced work. Take the parts that inspire you, and create your own ideas and styles. Enjoy. (c) Lilly Walters, 2008, from the ebook, Face Painting Tips and Designs


Face painting adds a wonderful spark to: childrens parties, carnivals, wedding receptions. Birthday Parties, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Wrap Parties, Wedding Receptions, and Child Entertainment at Weddings Bachelorette Parties, Baby Showers
Company Picnics, Family Nights, Grand Openings, Restaurants, Shopping Mall Events, Customer Appreciation, Product Promotions, Night Clubs, Fashion Shows, Red Carpet Events
Community Events: Street Fairs, Grad Nights, School events, Church Carnivals, Festivals, Fundraisers, Concerts, Sporting Events

Face Painters for Events and Parties in Southern California and Claremont, La Verne, San Dimas, Glendora and Upland

Click on the links to the left to find the perfect face painter on the West Coast

(photos on this page faced painted by Lilly Walters)
Southern California Face Painters Directory | California Face Painters Directory | Professional Face Painting in California | Los Angeles Face Painters Directory of Face Painters in Southern California | Professional Face Painting in California | List of Face Painters | Face Painting for Parites and Events in California | Los Angeles Face Painters | Face Painting in California | Face Painters in Claremont | Professional Face Painting in California | Monrovia Face Painter