1) Check their gallery.
This is an obvious first step. All face-painters should have a gallery of their work on their websites. Check it out - does it look high-quality?
2) Contact them for pricing.
Price is always a factor in my decisions. In my experience, the rates for face painters start around $100 per hour (CAD). If your face painter is charging significantly less than this, it may be a red flag. If this seems like a lot, remember - you are paying for the artist's talent, their materials (paint, sponges, etc), their transportation to and from the party, and insurance.
3) Check local health regulations.
I live in Alberta, where we have very strict health regulations for face painters. This will vary according to your location, but here are some things to ask your face painter about:
- What materials do they use? Face paint "crayons" are usually not considered to be professional grade. Paints should be specifically designed for use on human skin - "non-toxic" is not good enough.
- If glitter is used, is it craft glitter? That's BAD. Craft glitter can cause corneal scarring if it gets in your eyes. Glitter applied to the face should also be specifically designed for use on people.
- Does the facepainter use a new applicator (paintbrush or sponge) for each client? They should! Special events like parties usually lack the equipment necessary to properly disinfect a brush between clients.
- Is paint scraped into single-use dishes for each client? For sanitary application, it should be.
- Does the artist have a station where she/he can wash his/her hands before and after each client? This is legally required in Alberta.
4) Consider the ages of your guests.
Some face painters will not work with very young children. If this is a concern for you, be sure to ask! Many artists will offer to paint a design on a young child's hand or arm instead of their face.
Once you've made your choice, take lots of photos - kids with painted faces are insanely cute.
A huge thank you to Joanne at Smiling Faces, who did all of the face painting pictured here. She's a fantastic artist, and she was really nice when I accidentally sent her to the wrong place! If you're in Calgary, I'd highly recommend her.
Having a party at your house? Check out my super-quick party decorations!