So, I love a good face painting as much as the next gal, and some of the grease paint kits are pretty tempting when you’re perusing your local Halloween store, but the looks always end up wet, streaky, and are uncomfortable the whole night. But there’s a better way. Here I’m going to teach you how to get better results every time simply by setting your makeup.

Streaky makeup is not a good look. Unless you're going for some kind of distressed, teary-eyed femme fatale type of look, then do your thing.

Streaky makeup is not a good look — unless you’re going for some kind of distressed, teary-eyed femme fatale type of character, then do your thing. Here we have just grease paint on the left and grease paint with setting powder on the right. The setting powder absorbs a lot of the moisture from the paint, so that it doesn’t smear as easily. Photography by Hep Svadja

My first suggestion would be to just not use grease paint. Instead use an awesome alcohol-activated makeup. Just spritz on a light spray of 90% alcohol solution and paint on, once the alcohol evaporates you are left with a smudge proof base that is super pigmented. If you don’t have any on hand, grease paint can be a great way to add full coverage and highly blendable color to your costume.

Greasepaint-1

A subtle but important difference — on the left we see grease paint applied to bare skin. On the right we see grease paint set with setting powder.

The basic idea of setting your makeup is to apply a powder to the wet grease paint in order to create a matte and well-set texture that won’t wipe away accidentally. My favorite powder to use is translucent setting powder. This is white powder that can be applied to any wet makeup and won’t affect the color so it can be applied evenly across the whole face once done. This can be purchased cheaply, but don’t breathe it in or you might get pneimonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. This will matte-ify your makeup, so if you want to keep that wet look you can use a setting spray that has a shimmer or just apply glycerin.

Greasepaint-2

The difference in staying power between the side with setting powder and the side without.

Another fun option is to add a colored powder to set your makeup. This can deepen the color to make the look pop, or you can add glitter to texturize to the look. Just go with whatever makes sense for your costume.