The basics behind the art of body painting: what you need to know before you begin

Hopefully this isn’t the one article you’ve paused to read before covering your best friend in body art. We’re simply hoping that you’ve taken the time to read more than one article before painting a human body, because you know what? The art of body painting is a little complicated. As you can probably imagine, when it comes to combining an otherwise naked body with paint, there is the potential for a lot of things to go wrong. Read on for how to avoid some of these disasters.

Get the right kind of paint

If you heed just one piece of advice, let it be this one. Unless your body paint model is super chill about the idea of the world possibly seeing her nipples and/or developing an excruciating rash, you need to buy the right kind of paint.

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Unless you live in a big city with some super impressive craft stores, you’re probably not going to find a product that’s actually labeled body paint. So if you need body paint that only has to last for a couple of hours, look for water-based paint. When we say a couple of hours, we mean a couple of hours. Don’t push it. If you need your body paint to last longer or to be water-proof and sweat-proof, look for either liquid latex or oil-based (also known as alcohol-based) paints. Prior to using liquid latex, please ensure your model does not have a latex allergy.

Get the right kind of brushes

Okay, you won’t actually be endangering the body of your model if you buy the cheap synthetic material brushes, but you are going to make your own life harder because you’ll be stuck picking loose, stiff brushes out of the paint all day. Softer, natural-bristle brushes will make your job much easier and make the application much smoother. And in order to make the art of body painting go a little faster, buy a few sponges for applying paint to large areas.

Prep the model’s skin

Just like you wouldn’t tack a canvas up on the wall and immediately start painting, you can’t just tell your model to get naked and then immediately go at her with a brush. The skin needs to be prepped with a good moisturizing cream, especially if you are using liquid latex or oil or alcohol-based paints. To remove liquid latex or oil or alcohol-based paints, you need to use a lotion that contains mineral oil. This will get the paint off completely and easily.

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