3 Basic Bodypaints And Their Uses

So you wanna do a bodypainted cosplay. Starfire, Raven, Beastboy, three DC heroes in the same series that are all sorts of fun and funky colors. How are we feeling on Colossus? Nightcrawler? This is a guide to help you understand the differences in bodypaint and what might be the best choice for you. This guide was written by Bulgarian Bonbon who has a background in SFX makeup artistry and creating some absolutely horrific monsters for one of the largest Halloween events in the world.


  • When using an airbrush remember to thin your paint. If it's water based use water to thin it. If its alcohol based use alcohol to thin it. If its a hybrid I personally look at the websites recommendation.

  • Beauty blenders are a fun applicator, this one here by Real Techniques is a gem and between uses I either soak it in water and soap or I soak it in alcohol, depending on the paint, to remove any of the ickies. It WILL stain. Keep your beauty blender dampened with the paint and work quickly to ensure it will not start to dry and remove makeup.

  • Blush brushes are another option. I apply in a broad swirling motion in order to paint limbs easily. You need to keep that brush wet though or else it'll streak.

  • Water Based Paint: The first product we're going to talk about is water based airbrush paint. Now in all honesty I personally never use an AIRBRUSH for any of my paint applications. I prefer to use either big old blush brushes or beauty blenders.

  • PROS: Easy to apply, easy to remove. Decent coverage.

  • CONS: As we said, easy to remove. It will sweat off in humid environments or if you sweat a lot.

  • Alcohol Based Paint: Temptu is my go-to brand for alcohol based body paints. I've had great experiences with it and it is what they use in Hollywood for iconic characters like Mystique, Hellboy, etc. The thing is you have to be very careful with it in your applications and I definitely do not recommend applying to your face due to skin and eye sensitivity. Many people like to use an airbrush for this, I like the Iwata brands if you have money (hiring a professional is ALSO highly recommended if you don't want to invest in a compressor, a hose, and the gun and cleaning kit.)

  • PROS: Absolutely will not come off unless it endures high friction or the proper remover. Holds color fantastically.

  • CONS: Does not allow your skin to breathe. After day 2 you will begin to feel gritty. May stain bath tub.

  • Hybrid body paint: Proaiir is pictured here. It is a waterproof, quick dry, airbrush ready hybrid body paint. I don't typically use Proaiir because I've noticed that there isn't much of a wear difference on my own skin but I have an oily complexion. It will fade over days usage. I have some friends who are able to spritz this on and then slap some makeup sealer on top and they're good!

  • PROS: Easy application, easy removal! Vibrant colors and LOTS of options. Easy for airbrush application. Great for face makeup!

  • CONS: For some skin types, removes TOO easily.

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