Ruby Red Paint and "staining"
Things to consider and some hints - by Gary Cole of Ruby Red Paint USA Inc.

A question that pops up every once in a while on the discussion list for face painters is the subject of "staining" on the skin in relation to certain face painting colors. If you paint for any length of time, you will see scenarios that crop up in relation to this. One thing for sure is you will see this problem with most of the major quality brands. Where I can not be a spokesman for all brands I think you will find my comments to hold true. I'll also caution you, if you are using the low end brands (those that tend to cost much less that the so-called major brands) the things I will be discussing do not apply. I'll also warn you if your product says "made in China", you can expect it to be on your face for three to five days no matter what you do. The low cost brands or China made brands simply do not have the ingredients in the formulations to support them  to make them "easy-on, easy-off". You do not need to take my word for it. Go ahead and do your tests for yourself. Like they always say, you get what you pay for. With the American made brand Ruby Red Paints, most of the colors can be removed with just water and a wash cloth. Yes, there are a few colors that require a little soap and we recommend a drop of baby shampoo on a wash cloth with lots of water. That one drop of baby shampoo and the friction of the washcloth, added with water will do the trick with Ruby Red Paints.

Some colors have more "staining power" than others. The funny part about it is you will find reds might do this to some individuals, when green affects others. We all have heard of a situation where little Johnny was painted as "the Hulk" or "Spiderman" and later they found it a little more difficult to remove it than in previous times. The reality is there are many "skin factors" that add to this problem. All of the following apply... the dryness of the skin, the amount of natural oils in the skin, the absorbency of the skin, the elasticity of the skin, what else has been applied to the skin prior to it being face painted, how strong you are applying the paints (the amount of water you add), how many times the face has been painted, the temperature of the day as well as the skin surface and how long the paint stays on the face and what is used to remove the face paints.

Lets talk about those issues... A big factor is the dryness of the skin or the amount of natural oils in the skin. If one has a higher natural oil content in their skin the paints will be easier to remove. The dryer the skin, the more the liquefied paints will be absorbed in the skin. A factor that can add to this problem is the same child or person has been painted many times. We all have had the child that gets his face painted, removes it and comes back for another design. You can try this experiment on yourself. Apply the offending color of your choice to your skin in an area that still contains your natural oils. I suggest your forehead. By the way, some people they are more oily in different areas of the face. Now wash it off the way you normally do. Wait one minute and apply the same color again. Repeat this several times and  you will see that it becomes harder and harder to remove the paint. This is natural, because you are removing the natural oils from the face which provide a protective barrier preventing a full absorbency of the paints. I paint my face for trade shows to demonstrate the vibrant colors of the paint. At these trade shows I wear the paints for about eight hours per day for four or five days in a row. After the third day I find the paints a little harder to remove. Because I know the secret combination, I always am able to remove the paints with no staining. This holds true even with what I call more difficult colors. If you face paint a lot and you are one of those painters that gets paint on your hands, you will see the "staining effect" faster on your finger tips. They have less oil protection because you tend to wash your hands much more often that other parts of your body.

You will find that some individuals have a less or greater staining factor because of other products that have been applied prior to the face painting. This covers a whole array of items. I do not know all the facts on this, but generally if you paint a woman that already has on make-up, previously added a moisturizer or sun screen lotion, these people generally find the paints even easier to remove. This is because those products add an additional barrier between the skin and the paints. You might find some of these products as counter productive. For example if a woman tends to have very oily skin, they might be using cosmetic products that remove much of these oils. On the other hand, most painters, have seen the example of a child coming to the face painting booth with some left over mustard, pepperoni or catsup on the face. So what does the mom do? She grabs a handy baby wipe from her purse and gives the face a good wipe down. No only does this remove the food but it is removing the natural oils from the skin allowing greater absorbency of the face paints.

When using the better brand of face paints, one generally adds water to the make-up cake. These tend to be the best paints because they tend to have a much higher pigment content. These are the paints you really want because once you learn the strengths and weaknesses of your brand and the individual colors you will play with the amount of water you add to your brush or sponge. With some colors you will add less water to have a very bold contrasting color. The next time you might wish to be doing some subtle shading and you add much more water in relation to the amount of pigment you grab. A good artist learns to use this to their advantage. The bolder you lay the color down on the bare skin the greater the absorbency of pigment. If you know an individual has very dry skin or has the tendency to absorb the pigments more that others, the trick is to first apply a base or foundation. Back to my example of the trade shows. If I wanted to paint myself as the green "Hulk" on the fifth day of painting, I know my skin is depleted of my natural oils. What I do is place a very light foundation first with either white or one of the Ruby Red Paint "sparkle" colors. I make it a light and as dry as possible application. I add only enough to lightly cover the skin. Then I add the bold bright green for the face. When you do this, it is always easily removed because of the barrier of the base.

You can avoid a lot of this problem by learning the difference between natural skin and dry skin. You also need to take into consideration the skin tone of the person. A person with a very light complexion will be of more concern than the person with very dark skin.

Temperature is also a factor. If the outside temperature is hot or the persons skin is hot due to exertion (like jumping in the bounce house), the person's skin will absorb more product as the pores are fully open. In general the lower the temperature, the less this is a problem.

In my opinion the most important factor in this "staining issue" is how you remove the paint. People use the craziest things to remove the paint. My suggestion is always use a high quality baby wipe. Do not use the low cost baby wipes because they tend to use very harsh surfactants (soaps) and have other additives such as alcohol. MOST ALLERGIC REACTIONS are from the harsh materials used to remove the paints. Again, these are very harsh. My suggestion is for you to use Huggies brand, "supreme care", non-fragranced. I have found that these work best because they are gentle to the skin, have the magic combination of cleaning ingredients, the texture of the material adds to the absorbency power and they simply seem to do the job quite well. I would avoid any baby wipe that has a fragrance additive. ALWAYS avoid products on the face that have any fragrances as fragrance additives are certainly one of the leading factors in allergic reaction on many people. I'm quite sure the better baby wipe will do the trick but my last suggestion is to jump in the shower and use a high quality brand of baby shampoo. The reason these work so well is they have some very strong surfactants that are in turn gentle on the skin and particularly the eyes. You do not want to wash around your eyes with a normal adult shampoo because it will most likely burn the eyes. Use a common terry cloth wash cloth with the baby shampoo and a little water. This gives you the proper cleaning strength, safety and the very slight abrasiveness of the cloth will remove any quality paint. After washing, rinse very well with fresh warm water.

I suggest you never use cosmetic make-up removers as cold creme since some of these actually add to the problem. Some of these do one of two things, they either mix with the paints to make them more absorbent. Or they put a barrier between proper cleaning products and the paints. This depends on the product. Always be careful about adding any material to the face that was designed for other purposes.

Well, I know this has been long, but if you take these factors, I think the problem of colors "with lasting power" will be a non-issue. Happy painting!

Gary Cole
Ruby Red Paints Inc.

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