Face painting is the perfect entertainment for children's parties. And big kids like face painting, too, so you could hire a face paint artist for your 40th birthday bash, or even belly painting for a baby shower. Professional face painting is interactive fun that keeps kids entertained and also acts as a party favor for the guests. You can book a professional painter for birthday parties, festivals, school events, holiday parties, weddings, fundraisers, Sweet 16s, quinceaneras, bat mitzvahs and more. Face painting is also a popular draw for charity events. You can hire face painting services for your corporate event or business party where kids will be present; it keeps the kids entertained while the parents network. Many face painting pros also offer other entertainment such as costumed guests (like Cinderella or Superman), clown entertainment, balloon twisting, caricature artists, magicians, and other party fun. Often you can get a discount on party entertainment services if you book multiple entertainers from the same company.
Most face painters have an hourly rate or set price for their services. An artist's hourly rate may vary depending on the number and age of the guests, the areas of the body to be painted, or whether they paint cheeks, half-face or full-face designs. Full-face painting takes more time and requires more face painting supplies than cheek designs and half-face designs, which may mean a higher cost. Your location can also affect cost, as an artist may charge for travel to your event. When booking a face paint artist, let them know how many guests you expect and their age range. Young children under age 5 or 6 typically take longer to paint than older, less squirmy kids. Tell the size and scope of designs you want. Once you share the party details, the pro will estimate how many faces they can paint per hour and how long it will take for them to paint everyone.
When you are hiring your face painter, let them know your theme or party colors so they can come prepared with designs in mind and all the right colors of paint and embellishments. Many face painters wear playful clothing or wigs for children's parties. Be sure to ask about their attire and let them know if you have any preferences. If your child is having a princess-themed party, for example, make sure the face painter knows to bring pinks and purples and glitter and gemstones to create fantastical princess designs. Here are the cost factors for hiring a face painter.
The majority of face painting pros charge hourly rates. The hourly rate takes into account their business overhead (such as insurance and taxes), the cost of their materials (face paint, brushes, etc.), the time it takes to prep for parties (research and practice designs), any costumes they wear, the cost of transportation, and the cost for the actual time they spend painting faces at your party. As with any service, the longer you want to book your face painter for, the higher the total cost will be — although some face painting pros offer discounts for longer events. For example, Spectator Party Art offers 15 percent off services for six or more hours.
Face painters may require a minimum number of hours for their services. This minimum ensures that their operating costs are met when they accept a job, put on their costume or work clothes, pack up their paints, and travel to the location. For example, Giggle Loopsy charges $95 per hour per entertainer for their face-painting or balloon-twisting services, and requires a two-hour minimum per entertainer.
Some face painting artists charge a variable rate for their services. For example, Face Painting by Josie charges on average $75-$125 per hour depending on the number of people, travel distance to the event and the type of service provided. Make sure you clearly understand how your entertainer charges before you book them to avoid surprises the day of your event.
Cheek versus full-face
Depending on the designs, cheek art can require less time and less paint per guest than half-face or full-face art. When offering a price estimate, many face painters will determine which service clients prefer for their event and quote a higher or lower hourly rate to fit those services. Professional face painters use professional products that blend well and have gorgeous color. They cost more than the cheap face paints you may have bought in Halloween stores, but they also look much better. The intricacy and size of the designs you want will affect cost — designs that use more materials will generally cost more, and more elaborate designs mean fewer faces painted per hour.
Some face painters have set hourly rates regardless of guest count or which type of face paint a client prefers. They may still charge additional fees for travel, however, so be sure to clarify. Here are some average set rate pricing examples:
- Creative Smilez: $70 per hour, within service area
- Giggle Loopsy: $95 per hour, with a two hour minimum
- Spectator Party Art: Starts at $120 per hour
The time and expense required for travel to an event will often be reflected in the cost for services. Some face painters charge a higher price per hour or a separate travel fee, or they set a minimum number of hours required for attending an event. For example, Spectator Party Art has a minimum of 1.5 hours for any event over 60 miles away.
Festivals and community events
A face painting booth is a great addition to a festival, fundraiser or community event. If you're organizing a large gathering where the attendees aren't your personal guests, you can pay the face painter a setup fee to arrive at the location. Once the face painter is on-site, guests pay an individual fee to have their face painted.
For example, Face Painting by Josie charges a small setup cost to organizers of large fairs, then charges each customer $5-$10, depending on the type of face painting they request. Cheek painting costs less than full-face. Event organizers can avoid the burden of the face painter's full hourly rate while providing affordable entertainment for guests. Most face painters can paint approximately 15 faces per hour, depending on the age of the guests (kids under 5 usually take longer) and whether guests want full- or half-face designs.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates face paint, or novelty makeup, to ensure that the ingredients are safe for direct application on your skin, including children's skin. Most face painting artists, such as Giggle Loopsy, proudly advertise that they use FDA-approved paints. If you want more information about the safety of specific ingredients, you can do some research on your own. Compare face painting ingredients listed on the product to the FDA's list of color additives that are approved for application to the skin, which includes everything from annatto to zinc oxide with details about their proper use. The FDA recommends never using fluorescent colors around the eye area, even for FDA-approved novelty makeup products. These fluorescents are fine on the rest of the face, but not around your eyes. Fluorescent colors include D&C Orange No. 5, No. 10, and No. 11; D&C Red No. 21, No. 22, No. 27 and No. 28; and D&C Yellow No. 7.
You may want to use extra caution to avoid a rash or adverse reaction if your child has allergies or has never had their face painted. To prevent problems the day of the party, ask the face painting artist what brand of face paint products they will be using before the event. The FDA explains that you can do a skin test a few days before the party. Test a dab of the paint on your child's arm to see if it might irritate their skin or cause an allergic reaction.
Removing face paint
If you are a party host providing face painting for all the kids — big or little — be sure to tell your guests how to safely remove the paint once the festivities are done. According to the FDA, leaving face paint on overnight can lead to possible skin or eye irritation. Ask your face painter to let each guest (or their parent) know the appropriate way to remove that brand of paint once the party's over. The FDA explains that it's important to follow directions to the letter: use cold cream if the directions say so, or soap and water, or eye makeup remover. Each company uses different formulas for their novelty makeup and has researched the appropriate way to safely remove it.
- Read client reviews and follow up with references to make sure you're choosing the right face painter for your party. For more, check out our tips for smart hiring.