Buy from the High street? Think Again!
Hey y’all! Halloween time has been and gone already and I hope you have survived, with backs intact and pockets heavier! Is everyone Halloweened-out? I hope not…..
This week I thought I’d have a little fun. Whenever I’m out shopping at the high street or supermarket, I’m always drawn to the Halloween displays, I love looking at the costumes, seeing if there’s any cool little accessories I can buy, and then CRINGING at the Halloween ‘face paint kits’ or ‘special effects kits’ they sell. When I first became a Professional Face Painter and I learnt about good products, I really used to become really quite annoyed at these kits, I think I may have even dropped a few remarks out loud to people buying them (ha ha!!). Now I look at them with bemusement, maybe give a knowing smile to myself, but I still cringe for the poor children who will end up looking like they’ve been covering in toothpaste and/or attacked by Slimer from Ghostbusters.
So I thought I’d buy a couple of these kits, and give them a roadtest! Do they do what they say on the packet? Can you achieve the looks that are portrayed on the packaging?
I decided to test three ‘kits’. These beauties……one from a well know supermarket chain and the others from a cheap and cheerful nationwide high street store. I won’t be using any of my own products, brushes, sponges etc.
First up, the day of the dead make up – apparently. This came with no instructions of how to apply, just three small pots of ‘paint’, a square of sponge, something that resembled a brush and what I think was a type of eyeliner – but could’ve been a crayon tbh.
The base for this look was supposed to be an opaque, powdery white as seen on the front of the packaging. Imagine my surprise then when I had smeared the entire contents of the white supplied all over my face, with the supplied sponge and it looked like I’d just put a bit too much moisturiser on. No amount of pouncing with the sponge or any of my normal blending techniques was going to make this base look smooth. Worst still, it felt so WET, and unfortunately it stayed that way. When I added the black, again it felt sooo wet and heavy. Because of the consistency of the paint it was impossible to get a nice coverage – it just kept smearing every time I added more. The bristles of the brush kept falling out too which was just LOVELY to work with - urgh (not quite your pink tip standard!).
As for the detail – using the eyeliner/crayon, I carefully drew around the eye sockets and then added a web- but as the faint line went on it scraped a layer of the wet, sticky white base off. Just gorgeous. How they expect anyone to do dots with the supplied brush with the purple paint (which, by the way is a completely different shade to the one on the packet).
So here we are, the finished look. Needless to say I couldn’t wait to get it off my face! It felt heavy, wet and just gross – and would completely slide off your face the minute you got hot or anything touched you. The picture on the front of the packet is certainly not done with these products, so it’s a case of false advertising too. Poor!!!
Next up, the vampire bite. I knew this was going to be bad when my 8 year old, who is TERRIFIED of anything scary, bloody, etc saw the wound and fell about laughing “it’s a piggy snout Mummy look! That’s not a vampire bite!”. But, I diligently followed the instructions, determined to make this dirt cheap wound look great with my amazing special fx skills. Latex is latex right? Wrong. This latex had half solidified in the packet (still sealed), so came out in lumps and runny bits despite me trying to give it a good mix beforehand. There was no implement to apply the latex so I used the end of the brush and smeared the lumpy mixture on the best I could. Zombie skin this was NOT.
On applying the hilarious pig-snout vampire bite, the edges of the wound were so raised and thick that no amount of (substandard) latex was going to stick them down so unfortunately they stuck up proudly, and then the lumpy latex didn’t dry clear -so it was all looking like a bit of a mess on my arm. I thought - it’s ok, the blood will cover all this. To some extent it did, but gosh it was super runny. If you’d have applied it on your neck like the packet suggested the blood would’ve dripped down to your ankles by the time you left the house!
As you can see, it’s car crash special FX – and not in a good way! Although this was not at all expensive, it’s not worth even spending a penny on – the wound was ridiculous-looking, impossible to blend into skin and the products were substandard. Avoid!
Lastly the horror clown.. If nothing else I get a comedy red nose from this right?
I tried. I really tried! I’m not purposely doing these really badly! I managed to get a ‘bit’ more coverage from the white paint that came in a tube but it took a lot of careful dabbing with the tiny postage stamp of a sponge. As you can see it’s still extremely patchy.
There was no blending out this hideous red greasepaint into the never-drying white base – it all just missed into a kind of pinky sludge under my eyes and applying the black – with the supplied brush was an absolute joke. You can tell I’m not a happy clown. Worst yet came when I removed this make up – five minutes after I applied it. It left me with a red, sore face and I do not have sensitive skin at all. To think it could easily be used on children, and left on for hours is unthinkable.
So there you have it. Cheap ‘face paint’ from high street shops is pretty awful, and I suppose this nothing we didn’t already know. What I didn’t know was just how bad it was, even if applied with a professional hand. How deceiving and unachievable the photos on the front of the packets are. I’m even tempted to contact the suppliers and show them this blog and ask them to explain how they achieved the looks shown on the packaging. Watch this space.
For now I’m returning to all my lovely kit, easy to use products and brushes, and feel much more justified in my frequent splurges at The Face Painting Shop :-D! The experience of road testing these products also makes me feel even more justified in charging clients a decent fee for individual Halloween appointments – and just in general. We are worth it! And on that note, I hope you all had a busy and profitable Halloween season this year and are having a teeny rest now – but not for long! The chubby guy in red and white will be here before we know it and I for one am EXCITED!!
Thanks for reading,