* Prices may differ from that shown
I'm a mum, so it perhaps goes without saying that I have a multitude of hidden talents, one of them being actually being able to persuade other mums to part with hard cash to paint their offsprings' faces, all in a good cause of course! I find painting faces fun and a good way of raising money for charity, I'm not a professional by any means, but one of the most essential items in my kit is this small, innocuous looking pot of gel.
This gel is made by Snazaroo, who are actually UK based, and make their products in Minehead apparently; their products are the ones that I personally think are the best for face painting. This item is widely available in hobby shops, toy shops and on-line.
At around £2.49 for 12ml, which is a lip salve sized pot, this might seem like a fairly expensive product for what is essentially glitter in gel. Not so. A pot of this little marvel will go a surprisingly long way, I estimate you can use it on over 100 butterfly faces and still be able to garnish a princess or two.
The glitter looks a little like the kind you will, no doubt, have sprinkled on a Christmas card or two at some point in your childhood, silver, though the "bits" have round edges, they are circular I assume so they don't scratch. The gel is clear and thick enough so you can apply a little on a paintbrush in a blob to finish off a tiara, it can also be gently spread over a little face with a finger tip for added sparkle, a little really goes a long way. The gel stays put on little faces really well too - I find on my own daughters that it will stay put for quite a long time; it doesn't really dry but stays a little sticky, a bit like hair gel.
A few dots of this gel will transform even the most quickly drawn butterfly from an average effort to a glittering marvel. I do tend to use this most for girls' faces, not many spidermen want to be sparkly funnily enough! It's good to know that the gel is easily removed with soap and water, and like all snazaroo products it has been tested to meet EU standards and is hypoallergic.
If you are a less than confident face painter, or just want to "have a go" to liven up a party or raise money, then this gel is really a must, it really will enhance your creations and make them look far more professional than, in my experience, they otherwise might. This product is excellent, though I have taken off one star as on my most recent visit to replenish my supplies at Hobby Craft the pots really varied in how full they were - some were far less than 12ml, so I think Snazaroo seem to have a few quality control issues and I would be loathe to buy this on-line unseen due to this issue.
The gel is available in a number of other colours too but I find that silver is the one that I use the most. I highly recommend this product for all facepainters, whatever your ability!
Other things it is good to know:
Snazaroo have an excellent website (snazaroo.co.uk), which has information on all the products, but also has easy to follow instructions, tips on how to start out, and also kits to do a party or event. There are also photos of faces that members of the public have painted and all the infomation you would need to give you the confidence to start out painting, whatever the level you wish to get to. The American website is even more comprehensive.
There are a number of short courses available around the country if you are getting started, my local college offers an 8 hour starter course, which is enough to get started, details of other courses also available on the snazaroo site.
The going rate for face painting at a charity event is about £2 a face, with practice it's possible to paint a face in under 5 minutes. If you *do* face paint there will always be a child who asks for something random, like a panda, a Tazmanian devil or a monkey, this glitter won't improve results in these cases, which are, in my experience, doomed to failure... stick to glittery princesses, butterflies, tiaras and the odd sparkly flower. Much safer.