How to Apply Camo Face Paint Patterns

Written by tom becker
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How to Apply Camo Face Paint Patterns
Camouflage can disguise any face and could even save a soldier's life. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Camouflage face paint has its origins in practical field use. Disguising recognisable features of a soldier's face can prove just as useful as disguising the shape of their body or weaponry. You may wish to apply camouflage face paint in non-military applications in everything from paintball to Halloween costumes. To produce an effective, authentic-looking pattern, you must consider some basic camouflage methods and decide which works best for a given situation. With the right technique, you can apply effective camo face paint patterns in a few steps.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Camouflage face paint
  • Cotton balls
  • Applicator stick
  • Mild soap

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  1. 1

    Assess the terrain where you will use the camouflage face paint. Above all, you must attempt to blend into the ground cover around you. Blotches of leaf and ground colours suit deciduous forests, broad slashes of leaf and ground colours work well in jungle and coniferous forests, smaller slashes of dirt and sand colours help camouflage in the desert, blotches of snow and ground shades suit the arctic and smaller slashes of grass and ground colours work in grassy or open areas.

  2. 2

    Clean your face with a mild soap and rinse with water before applying the face paint.

  3. 3

    Apply a small amount of your first colour to a cotton ball or simply use a stick applicator and spread it across your face according to the style suited to your environment. Work slowly with a mirror, apply a few pieces of the pattern, assess the effect and continue.

  4. 4

    Apply the paint in patterns that break up the recognisable patterns of the human face. For example, break up the horizontal lines of the eyes and mouth or the vertical line of the nose with diagonal lines or large areas of colour that disrupt the shape. Following the natural lines and shapes of the face will highlight or even exaggerate the features and counteract the effectiveness of the paint.

  5. 5

    Apply a second colour using the same technique, working slowly, stopping to assess the effect and continuing. If desired, you may additional colours in this manner.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid shiny paint. Camo face paint helps eliminate the natural shine of oil in human skin. Shiny paint will diminish the paint's effectiveness.
  • Apply a small amount of the paint to a small area of skin, such as your inner forearm, before applying to your face. If the paint causes an allergic reaction, it will only harm the small area on your arm rather than your entire face.

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