Face painting has been part of tribal cultures for a very long time. In the pre-historic era, people used to paint their faces during tribal wars. This was done to intimidate their enemies. The red and black colors are almost always present in their display of colors. Sometimes the eyes will be emphasized to give a menacing look. Sometimes the color white and black is smeared all over the face to give the look of having a skull for a head.
The face painting designs also vary depending on the occasion or disposition of the tribe. If they are in peace, then calm and subtle colors are used like blue and green.In the modern warfare ages, face painting is also popular. Soldiers smear dark colored face paint underneath the eyes to eliminate glare from the bright sun. It also helps them camouflage themselves in order to blend well with their surroundings like a chameleon.
Face painting is also present in sports like American football where the players and spectators smear colors on their face to show support to their team. In children’s parties, some party organizers use face painting as a novelty treat to the guests.
Face painting was also used by artists before in theatres in Japan where the actors have their faces painted to better exaggerate their role.
Today, it is still used in the theatre industry but more dominantly in the movie industry. The actors will have fake wounds or gashes onto their faces or other body parts. In fact, as technology today advances the effects of the wounds look more realistic. But the face paints do not end with just fake wounds and scars. It can also change the appearance of an actor to make them look like something from out of this world.
Today artists explore the human body as a canvas for their subjects. Some face painting designs even cover the entire body. Some body parts are used to make the details more lifelike. Some artists even go all out and paint their entire body to resemble clothes, where in fact they are completely naked.
Since face painting uses paint, the manufacturers make sure that their paint is hypo-allergenic and safe. In the past, people used colored clay, ground bones or powdered rocks with bright colors mixed with fat or water as their paint. Today vegetable and other plant pigments are used to keep the models safe even if they wear the paint for a long period of time.