Forums > Hair, Makeup & Styling > Flaking Body Paint
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Photographer

Rays Fine Art

Posts: 6321

New York, New York, US

I did a session recently in which the paint on the torso cracked and flaked.  This did not happen before on the three other projects I've done using the same product, Palmer Face and Body Paint.  On all these projects drying was aided by the use of a hair dryer.  In this case, the model's skin was somewhat oily so we did a wash with alcohol first.  No other differences that I'm aware of.

Any ideas as to the cause/prevention?

Jan 07 13 07:23 am Link

Body Painter

Lisa Berczel

Posts: 3998

Corona, California, US

The Palmers that I have is very flexible... but very thick.
Mind also separates and needs to be thoroughly mixed.

If this is the 3rd project with the same colors - it is possible that bottom of the bottle was more settled with the "dryer" components of the body paint - which may lead to cracking.

Also, thickness of application can make a difference - which again could be exasperated by the settling of the product.

I'm wondering if thickness may be a contributor - is that why the hairdryer?

Depending on the heat setting of the hairdryer, the model may have gone from cold/goosebumps to hot/sweaty back to cold. This is no good for any paint longevity.

Model's sweat is not created equal. Tanning products also can make a difference.

The skin prep you describe is typical for most body paints regardless of product.

Jan 07 13 12:03 pm Link

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Photographer

Rays Fine Art

Posts: 6321

New York, New York, US

Lisa Berczel wrote:
The Palmers that I have is very flexible... but very thick.
Mind also separates and needs to be thoroughly mixed.

If this is the 3rd project with the same colors - it is possible that bottom of the bottle was more settled with the "dryer" components of the body paint - which may lead to cracking.
Good possibility a couple of bottles that I haven't opened yet showed separation- I've tried standing them upside down and will try shaking them on a regular basis, see if that helps.

Also, thickness of application can make a difference - which again could be exasperated by the settling of the product.

I'm wondering if thickness may be a contributor - is that why the hairdryer?
No, more to speed drying to facilitate overpainting.  But the product is very thick.  I've been loathe to thin it to keep it opaque--probably should try experimenting with thinning it and see how far I can go without getting it too thin.

Depending on the heat setting of the hairdryer, the model may have gone from cold/goosebumps to hot/sweaty back to cold. This is no good for any paint longevity.  A very real possibility--my space is a cellar and heat is a problem--might try setting the boiler room up for this purpose when doing a project--At least it's kept at a consistently warm temperature.  Model will probably appreciate it even if it doesn't make any difference to the paint smile

Model's sweat is not created equal. Tanning products also can make a difference.

The skin prep you describe is typical for most body paints regardless of product.

I note that you work with an airbrush whereas I'm using traditional brushes--could this be a factor in the adhesion?

Thanks for your help-- It is appreciated.

Jan 08 13 06:59 pm Link

Body Painter

Lisa Berczel

Posts: 3998

Corona, California, US

Thank you for the kind words...

Palmers is like painting with peanut butter. In my experience, it can be diluted with water by 20% with no ill affects to pigment load or binder. Would not be surprised if you can push the dilution even higher with some colors.

NOTE: Some pigments are by their nature more transparent than others. Palmers is a entry-level body paint which means it has a LOT of filler. This helps the opacity, but is why the pigmentation is no where near as vibrant with the black, green, white....

I recommend Palmers for thick applications like drips and splatters - it hold shape very well and is a reasonable (and very inexpensive) option to latex for this look.

I have also used it to *dredge* a model in seed beads for a lovely bodice.. you could also use cosmetic glitter. Again, mimicking what we see done with latex and glitter (all the rage these days).

At some point, you'll probably want to try out a liquid body paint like Ben Nye Magicolor. Much thinner, much more vibrant colors. Around $15/4oz.

If you want more precise line control, look to a product like WolfFX water activated cakes.

Jan 09 13 10:16 am Link

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Photographer

Rays Fine Art

Posts: 6321

New York, New York, US

Thanks again.

Jan 09 13 10:37 am Link

Body Painter

Sweet Loretta

Posts: 235

Sacramento, California, US

Frankly, most face and body painter won't touch Plamers. I'd throw that stuff out and get some quality body paint. Palmer will always crack and peel. It's kiddie craft paint not meant for paint bodies. I am sure when you switch you'll be so much happier.

Sweet Loretta
www.sweet-loretta.com
www.extrememakeupfx.com

Jan 12 13 01:24 am Link

Body Painter

Lisa Berczel

Posts: 3998

Corona, California, US

Sweet Loretta wrote:
Frankly, most face and body painter won't touch Plamers. I'd throw that stuff out and get some quality body paint. Palmer will always crack and peel. It's kiddie craft paint not meant for paint bodies. .....

While I wholeheartedly agree that pros don't use Palmers Face Paint.

However it IS face paint.... not craft paint. And the cheepest face paint I know at $4 for 8oz.

I would rather see those trying out bodypaint use Palmers than nontoxic craft paint. It is a good choice for certain techniques such as dripping paint.

The product has its place... albeit a limited one.

When artists reach the limitation of the product they can move up to better quality products and know they're entered the field the right way... by showing respect for their model with their product choices.

BTW.... it has not cracked and pealed for me. But perhaps theyve changed formulation. Or my application style avoided the issue.

Jan 12 13 10:05 am Link

Body Painter

Sweet Loretta

Posts: 235

Sacramento, California, US

I think if one starts with a quality product they are far better off, having not wasted money on lessor paints and wasted time with a failed project.  Spend $4 and all your time or spend $8 and get what you wanted from your photo shoot.

Sweet Loretta
www.sweeet-loretta.com
www.extrememakeupfx.com

Jan 12 13 02:38 pm Link

Body Painter

Lisa Berczel

Posts: 3998

Corona, California, US

Sweet Loretta wrote:
I think if one starts with a quality product they are far better off, having not wasted money on lessor paints and wasted time with a failed project.  Spend $4 and all your time or spend $8 and get what you wanted from your photo shoot.

Sweet Loretta
www.sweeet-loretta.com
www.extrememakeupfx.com

Mostly Agree. But historically on MM.... photographers have often been a very hard sell when it comes to using cosmetic paint in the first place.

Better to put palmers on a model than craft paint.....

Jan 12 13 03:29 pm Link

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Photographer

GPS Studio Services

Posts: 36357

San Francisco, California, US

Lisa Berczel wrote:
Mostly Agree. But historically on MM.... photographers have often been a very hard sell when it comes to using cosmetic paint in the first place.

It is interesting, I do a lot of work with bodypaint in fine art here in the studio.  I teach classes on it.  I've always gone out of my way to use quality products.  Heck, we have Kryolan right here in the city.  It used to be just blocks from my old studio.

No matter how many times I tell students what to use and not to use, they always come back to rent the studio with craft paint or some other low cost, non-toxic substitute.  The results are never the same.

Your point is well taken and I don't understand it.  If one is going through all the effort to hire a model and book the studio, I have no idea why they want to save $20 on paint just to ruin the shoot.

Jan 12 13 04:32 pm Link

Body Painter

Lisa Berczel

Posts: 3998

Corona, California, US

Ok.

Let me back up a step.

I'm not advocating using Palmer's over any other body paint. A search of my replies to body paint products is pretty consistent in discussing brands, what I personally use, and what the limitations are of the different style/products.

I'm also pretty consistent in NOT upholding cheep/inferior makeup for professional artists.

Palmer's is brought up as an option for those wanting to try a simple body paint project but don't want (for whatever reason) to invest in more mid-line products like Ben Nye (which I did recommend in this thread...)

And, I agree - I have never understood the rational behind spending serious money on all the aspects of a project just to nickle and dime a key component. But, we've all seen done.

This particular forum has seen more than one heated discussion defending Non-Toxic Craft Paint as "perfectly fine" for body paint. The proponents of this have overwhelmingly been photographers. (No intent to paint with too broad a brush - phrasing based on forum involvement.)

I have not had to buy body paint in almost 10 years. That being said, there's a reason I have Palmers in my studio beside European Body Art, Temptu, Ben Nye, Kryolan, OCC, ReelCreations, MUFE, WolfeFX and Diamond FX.....

Each product has a place.

Bodypaint has seen a huge amount of misinformation regarding product safety, cost and availability. I've been witness to plenty an art store employee try to sell a customer on Craft Paint for body paint. I know of at least 3 *makeup schools* who's bodypaint instructors reportedly teach with acrylic tube paint or tee-shirt paint. And, shall we discuss sharpies and markers on skin?

We all start somewhere. My MM port has an early bodypaint done with Createx.... and I gave away my sharpie collection.

So, any time a photographer wants to know what to use, I'll continue to break it down.... from $4/8oz Palmers to $32/4oz airbrush colors

The OP had a serious question - he has had success with Palmer's and now needed to troubleshoot. I'd hate to see him feel diminished because his product choice is being "poo-poo'd". There's a diffidence between using the wrong product, or using a product in a manner it's not suited to, or going cheep.

Jan 12 13 04:58 pm Link

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Photographer

GPS Studio Services

Posts: 36357

San Francisco, California, US

Lisa Berczel wrote:
The OP had a serious question - he has had success with Palmer's and now needed to troubleshoot. I'd hate to see him feel diminished because his product choice is being "poo-poo'd". There's a diffidence between using the wrong product, or using a product in a manner it's not suited to, or going cheep.

For the record, I am not arguing that Palmers doesn't have a place.   I am arguing that craft paint, although non-toxic, does not. 

My problem is when someone spends a lot of money on a shoot only to have it shot because they pick the wrong product, just to save a few dollars.

Obviously Ray has had success using Palmers for certain things, and I give him credit for using a product intended for body use.  In this thread, I think the issue is why does it work for him sometimes and why is it cracking now?

My purpose was to agree with your basic point, but maybe I just stuck my foot in my mouth.

Jan 12 13 05:25 pm Link

Body Painter

Lisa Berczel

Posts: 3998

Corona, California, US

GPS Studio Services wrote:
...   I am arguing that craft paint, although non-toxic, does not....

No worries.
We are in 1,000+ agreement.

You will NOT see me recommend Craft Paint - even though that's where I started waaaay back when.

There is SO much more in the way of good information... Cosmetic products are easier than ever to get access to - with many options and prices.

Jan 12 13 06:05 pm Link

Body Painter

Airballin

Posts: 316

Oakland, California, US

I totally agree with you and understand your point Lisa.
As long as its body paint/make up and not craft store paint or airbrush acrylics who really cares. The talent is in the artist, not the product.

Jan 12 13 06:20 pm Link

Body Painter

BodyPainter Rich

Posts: 17933

Sacramento, California, US

Great information to be had here. Lisa, you rock.

One problem with inferior brands is a lack of quality/consistency. It is entirely possible that you had one batch that had a bit too much carrier, and another batch that had a bit too much binder, and another batch that was light on pigment.

Also, the humidity in the room can make a difference and cause cracking.

I had cracking problems once because the models skin was stretched so tightly over her implants that any movement at all caused the skin on her breasts and shoulders to expand/shift and had tons of cracking.

Also, thicker pigments like white and yellow will tend to crack more than thinner pigments like black or blue.

If you apply your "paint" too thickly, you will get cracking, sometimes the difference between too thick and just right is very small. Higher quality makeup tends to be more forgiving as do different formulas that do not dry as quickly or as solidly.

To be honest, I still have problems with cracking at times. It has gotten better with experience, and it tends to go better when I have time to build up layers as opposed to when I am trying to cover 6 full bodies in 4 hours or some such.

Hope this helps.

Jan 13 13 05:58 am Link

Body Painter

Sweet Loretta

Posts: 235

Sacramento, California, US

Agreed, I don't think Lisa needed to defend her position. It doesn't read as if you, Lisa advocate anything other than proper product. And we can disagree on where to start. My comment about Palmers was not stated clearly enough. No, it's not craft paint like Apple Barrel or such but in the face and body painting makeup industry it is akin to craft paint.  We all agree that no matter the brand of face and body paint as long as it is face or body paint it is what should be used on humans. 

I read Ray had used Palmers before w/o flaking... but I stick to my point that one is wasting their time when they could jump ahead more easily and quickly in using better quality makeup.

I have never, ever had body paint flake and only once in high heat had thickly applied Wolfe white crack a bit. Sure I have have heard from friends about some some paints cracking, but it usually comes down to environment (heat) and application (too thick) when a bit of detective work was done.

Of course there is a learning curve to every body painting makeup brand. Why I always recommend hiring a professional body painter or collaborating with a professional body painter, taking lessons from them or checking out the Mentor List of Body Painters here at MM.

I guess I am sometimes surprised here at just telling folks do or use XYZ without (also) advocating direct and hands on help from experienced professional body painters. I can learn to shoot images too, but I am gonna learn a whole lot more with a teacher or mentor who is a professionals photographer. Ray is on a mentor list so I am sure that is understood. And no I did'nt recomend any of that, as a busy artist and human I sometimes just state something quickly, I do not have much time to be here. If you ask me direct for help.... that is where I spend my time. I currently am mentoring hands on another artist. Forums can fall short in lacking the human connection.

I find there many photographers now seeking out proper body painting makeup and FX products. Many write me direct here on MM and via private email. And when referring from here it's worth noting not all stores give personal attention and actually help people figure out their product needs, so referrals to those shops who have time to help are also helpful. 

I'd say right off being in New York Mehron's Paradise might be worth Ray's try as they are also based in New York, make the makeup in New York in fact and from time to time offer classes there.

And give Ray's interesting profile I am more that sure a body painter in your area would love to work with you.

Sweet Loretta

Jan 14 13 09:40 pm Link

Body Painter

Lisa Berczel

Posts: 3998

Corona, California, US

Well worded post, Loretta.

I review the OP's profile and portfolio and take that into consideration when replying.

The OP has had extensive experience in the industry - so I dove in to the technical of the conversation without mentioning the Mentoring List.

These threads are often searched and read, so for that reason, you are spot on in linking the Mentor List.

As to product, in this particular instance I don't believe there has bee any misrepresentation as to product characteristics or performance.

Jan 15 13 08:22 am Link

Photographer

Drew Smith Photography

Posts: 5210

Nottingham, England, United Kingdom

I came here to read a story about Body Paint that fail to show up.

Grrrr.

Jan 15 13 08:44 am Link

Body Painter

Lisa Berczel

Posts: 3998

Corona, California, US

Drew Smith Photography wrote:
I came here to read a story about Body Paint that fail to show up.

Grrrr.

What information are you looking for that's not covered in this discuasion?

Jan 15 13 09:50 am Link

Body Painter

Sweet Loretta

Posts: 235

Sacramento, California, US

Hummm perhaps the body paint story you were searching for had already flaked off...... not sure what it is you wanted from this thread.

Sweet Loretta

Jan 15 13 06:41 pm Link

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Photographer

Rays Fine Art

Posts: 6321

New York, New York, US

GPS Studio Services wrote:
It is interesting, I do a lot of work with bodypaint in fine art here in the studio.  I teach classes on it.  I've always gone out of my way to use quality products.  Heck, we have Kryolan right here in the city.  It used to be just blocks from my old studio.

No matter how many times I tell students what to use and not to use, they always come back to rent the studio with craft paint or some other low cost, non-toxic substitute.  The results are never the same.

Your point is well taken and I don't understand it.  If one is going through all the effort to hire a model and book the studio, I have no idea why they want to save $20 on paint just to ruin the shoot.

Gee, guys, I didn't mean to start a war! wink

A little bit of additional information may be in order here since the thread may be seen and of use to others as well.

First, I fully agree with those who've said, essentially, that working with an inferior product is the short road to Hell, and I also agree fully with those who've said that, again essentially, the important question is "inferior for what? "  A product that's terrible for one application may be just the thing for another, and vice versa.  Most of my earlier work as a painter was as a scenic artist in my own and other small theaters, where budgetary and physical limitations often require a certain amount of creative "making do".  I remember one crusty old TD who had a mantra, "Just do it!  If it works, it works!"

My use of Palmer's is predicated partly on poverty (you don't build up a lot of retirement savings in 50 years of acting, and producing small theater companies) and partly on trying to familiarise myself with the difference between painting on a living, breathing, multiply-curved model and painting a 10 X  20 foot drop.  While there are similarities there are some pretty substantial differences as well.  As I go along, I do expect to graduate in my choices of material to better fit the medium.

And yes, the consistency of the paint was certainly part of the problem.  Someone said that painting with Palmer's is like painting with peanut butter.  That gave me an idea---it may be the perfect material for troweling on textures with a palette knife.  I haven't quite decided how to explain the technique to a model, though.

Thanks again for all the help, suggestions and kind words.

Jan 17 13 02:23 pm Link