Can You Put Acrylic Paint on Your Face? What To Use Instead

A young boy with his face painted to resemble a tiger.

If you are an art teacher or work with children, you may have found yourself wondering if it’s okay to put acrylic paint on your face.

While it may seem like a cheap and easy alternative to face or body paint, there are many reasons why acrylic paint should not be applied to the skin.

Can you put acrylic paint on your face? Although it may be tempting, acrylic paint doesn’t belong on your face. The skin on your face is very delicate and susceptible to harsh chemicals that can be present in acrylic paint. You should avoid putting even nontoxic brands of acrylic paint on any part of your skin.

In this article, you will discover information about the toxicity of acrylic paint, what happens if you do apply acrylic paint to your face, how to remove it, and different kinds of paint that you can safely use on your skin.

For those who love DIY projects, we’ve even included a recipe for harmless homemade face paint!

Is Acrylic Paint Safe for Skin? 

Acrylic paint may be labeled as nontoxic, but that’s in reference to using it on canvas or other appropriate painting surfaces – not in regards to cosmetic use on your skin.

Acrylic paint should not be used on any part of your skin.

How Toxic Is Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paint can have the following toxic ingredients, which should be listed on the label if present:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Lead
  • Ammonia
  • Cobalt
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Manganese
  • Possibly others

Acrylic paint can also contain surfactants, anti-foaming agents, dyes, fillers, and opacifiers.

Not all acrylic paints list their ingredients, but if you’re seeking a lower toxicity acrylic paint, look for one with less than 1% formaldehyde.

What Happens If You Put Acrylic Paint on Your Face?

Depending on the toxicity level of the paint, putting acrylic paint on your face can cause irritation and redness and can lead to rashes or acne breakouts.

If you’re sensitive to any of the ingredients in the paint, it can even cause an allergic reaction. It’s best to avoid putting acrylic paint on your face at all.

How To Remove Acrylic Paint From Skin

Luckily, acrylic paint is water based, making it simpler to remove from the skin than other varieties of paint.

The sooner you can get the paint off your skin the better, as the dryer the paint is, the more difficult it becomes to remove.

Using a mild soap and water should be effective in removing damp acrylic paint from the skin.

If the paint has already dried, you can use a combination of baby oil and rubbing alcohol to remove stubborn stains.

Pour baby oil over the paint on your skin, and then use a soft washcloth to gently remove the paint.

If there is still paint left over on your skin, you can then wet a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and softly rub the paint off your skin.

Be careful and use a delicate touch if you are removing paint from your face.

What Kind of Paint Can You Use on Your Face? 

There are a wide variety of paints made specifically for your face that are safe, nontoxic, and fun to use.

These face paints include grease, cream, powder, wax, and glycerin based face paints.

The best face paints to use are FDA-approved professional-grade face paints, and there are even organic-grade face paints for the naturally minded!

Best Paints for Face Painting

Artiparty Professional Face Paint Kit

Face Paint Kit – Easy to Apply & Remove –...
  • EASY TO APPLY & REMOVE - Our water-activated face paints are easy to apply, they stay on for hours...
  • SAFE FOR SENSITIVE SKIN - There is no need to worry about the chemicals - our paints are...

The Artiparty Professional Face Paint Kit is an excellent professional grade, nontoxic, hypoallergenic face paint kit that comes with 16 vibrant colors and is perfect for kids’ parties, cosplay, or Halloween costumes. 

Craft Pro Face Paint

Craft Pro - Kids Face Paint Kit - Vegan + Cruelty...
  • Includes 16 removable, resealable face paints, includes gold and silver metallic. Also includes...
  • Face painting guide included with 9 high quality designs, each created specifically for beginners...

The Craft Pro Face Paint Kit is a great vegan and cruelty-free face paint kit that comes with 16 colors and is perfect for beginners as it includes a guidebook, stencils, and applicators!

Joyin Face Paint Crayons

JOYIN 24 Colors Face Paint Safe & Non-Toxic Face...
  • Face Paint Includes 24 Vivi Assorted Colors Makeup Face Paint Crayons. Crayon Size: 3 inches.
  • 24 Bright Colors are Pure White, Light Gray, Bright Yellow, Autumn Orange, Rich Red, Rose Pink,...

The Joyin Face Paint Crayons Kit is another fantastic face-painting option for beginners and is also fun for kids to try.

Instead of the typical face paint pots, this kit comes with 24 nontoxic crayons that can be used on face and body – no painting skills required!

How To Make Homemade Face Paint

A variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and several jars of homemade juice on a wood table. Making your own homemade face paint is a fun activity that ensures that you know all of the ingredients.

You will want to start with homemade dyes, which can be made out of fruit and vegetable scraps or spices from your kitchen.

Try some of the following ingredients to create an entire rainbow of natural dyes:

  • Reds: beets, cherries, hibiscus
  • Oranges: carrots, orange peels
  • Yellows: lemon peels, yellow onions, turmeric
  • Greens: spinach, tea tree chamomile
  • Blues: blueberries, blackberries, black beans
  • Purples: raspberries, red basil

Add the ingredients for your color of choice to a saucepan, cover with double the amount of water, and let it simmer for at least an hour.

Once the liquid has cooled, you can strain it and pour it into an empty baby food or other glass jar for storage.

Now that you have your dyes, it’s time to make the actual face paint!

You will need:

  • Face lotion
  • Corn starch
  • Vegetable oil
  • A bowl for mixing
  • Containers to store your finished products

Start by simply mixing the face lotion and corn starch together until they create a smooth, thick base.

Add a little bit of vegetable oil to keep the combination from drying out. Transfer the base to your storage containers, then stir a small amount of your chosen dye into each one. 

Voilá, you now have your very own homemade face paint! Be sure to patch test the paint on a small area of your skin before applying it all over.

Related Questions:

Can You Put Watercolor Paints on Your Face? 

While watercolor paints are a great nontoxic choice for paintings created on watercolor paper or canvas, they are not suitable for applying to the skin.

Can You Use Poster Paint on Your Face?

Just like acrylic paint and watercolor paints, poster paint may be labeled as nontoxic, but that label does not apply to cosmetic use.

It’s a much better bet to use professional-grade face paints on your skin.

Is It Safe To Use Acrylic Paint for Handprints?

If at all possible it’s best to avoid using acrylic paint on the skin, and that includes handprints.

Fortunately, there are safer and healthier options when it comes to creating cute, colorful, and fun handprints.

Some good options for handprints include washable tempera paints or washable activity paints.

Wrapping It Up

While acrylic paint may be labeled as nontoxic, that description only applies to projects for which the product was intended, such as painting on canvases or other appropriate painting materials.

When it comes to painting on the skin, there are much safer and gentler alternatives to acrylic paint.

Choosing high-quality face paint is your best bet for creating harmless and washable skin art!


Last update on 2024-05-28 at 03:38 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print


I'm a hobby enthusiast with a real love for painting miniatures. I also happen to run this site and write the majority of its content!