Face paint is a popular fashion accessory for men, women and children. Decorating a person's face with the colours of their favourite football team demonstrates a passion for the game and loyalty to a specific club. Face paint also comes in very useful for Halloween celebrations. White face paint can transform a person into the ultimate zombie, ghost or witch. Face paint also plays a significant role in the religious traditions of various cultures. There is, however, one problem with face paint. When the temperature heats up and the wearer begins to sweat, face paint can run. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be that way.
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Facing the facts
Face paint is significantly different to regular makeup. The latter is typically utilised to make the face look vibrant, healthy and blemish-free. The former, however, is generally used as decoration, very often at parties and sporting events. It can be applied by using a sponge, a brush, or a spray-based airbrush. Applied skilfully and carefully, face paint can create striking visual imagery. The challenge, however, is to ensure that the imagery is maintained and does not degrade as a person sweats. To understand why face paint runs, it's necessary to understand why we sweat.
Cooling the body
The human body contains two types of sweat glands: the apocrine glands and the eccrine glands. The apocrine glands are located in the eyelids, ear-canals, armpits and genitalia. The eccrine glands are found within almost the entirety of the body's skin. This makes the eccrine glands the most significant of the two in the sweating process. Sweating - or thermoregulation, as it is also known - is the body's way of ensuring that overheating does not occur. When humans sweat, the water that is secreted by the glands evaporates. The process of sweating and evaporation cools the body's temperature. In doing so, however, it can wreak havoc on a painted face.
Creating a barrier
Typically, face paint is not, itself, sweat-proof. So, when purchasing face paint, it is very important to go with an important accessory. It is termed barrier-spray. As its name suggests, this is an aerosol-based product, usually clear. Barrier-spray is applied to the face prior to the face-painting process. It should be gently sprayed onto the face at a distance of several inches. Then, the face paint should be applied over the barrier-spray. The spray acts a barrier which prevents sweat secreted through the skin from reaching the paint and causing it to run.
The cold cream remedy
Face paint running due to sweat can be prevented by an effective do-it-yourself method. First, the face should be washed with soap and cool-to-warm water. After rinsing the face, pat it dry with a towel. Cold cream should then be applied to the skin. It's important the cream is not completely rubbed in. A thin layer should remain. The face paint should then be applied over the cold cream. This layer of cream between face and paint will lessen the side-effects of sweat. For added insurance, apply baby-powder to the face using a powder-puff of the type designed for the application of makeup. This will further help ensure the face paint remains sweat-proof.
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