Woohoo! I got my alcohol-activated paint in the mail and gave it a try. While it’s more expensive than the other solution I offered with the latex gloves, I recommend this method if you can get hold of the stuff. You put it on, it dries really fast, and then it doesn’t come off for anything short of 99% isopropyl alcohol.
I initially ordered it through Reel Creations but given that I live in Montreal, the shipping was going to be almost twice what the actual colour pot was worth! So I sent them an email asking if there were any distributors closer to where I live so that I wouldn’t have to pay crazy ridiculous shipping. They were exceedingly helpful and understanding and in a few days they got back to me with a distributor in Toronto: The Face Station. If you’re in Canada looking to buy unusual makeup and theatre stuff, I highly recommend these folks. They work alongside an actual theatre and special effects school so they’re able to give you tips and such on how to use their products.
The colour pot didn’t come with any instructions but instead of pestering the Station, I just talked to my friend who recommended the stuff to me in the first place. It’s ridiculously easy to use. So let’s get down to business and show you how it’s done!
99% isopropyl alcohol. The 70% won’t work so don’t even try that. You’ll need this and a sponge. Seriously. That’s it.
Remember to do a test spot in case you’re allergic to something in it. You never know! Better to be safe than sorry. I left it alone for about an hour and it didn’t react at all so I proceeded to coat my hand.
Oooh look at that colour! Perfect. I kept a little container nearby with some alcohol poured into it which I kept dipping my little makeup sponge and rubbing it onto the paint before transferring it onto my hand.
Now, here’s the science behind it: The paint itself remains inert until you mix it with alcohol. Once the alcohol evaporates/dries (and the 99% stuff dries crazy-fast!) it becomes inert again. So, it doesn’t matter if you get alcohol in the paint pot itself, it’ll just go back to being inert when the alcohol has gone away. No worries about waste which is a godsend given the cost. The idea is to activate the paint and transfer it to your skin so that when it goes back to being inert, it’s inert ON you.
I applied it a bit at a time in a few layers just to get a feel for how it behaved. It dried fast enough that, as I sponged round and round my hand, the thumb was dry and ready for another coat by the time I got to my pinky.
THIS is why I wanted alcohol activated paint. The palms have to be black and they have to not smudge that blackness all over everything I touch. I’m happy to say that within the hour I was operating my smartphone and typing away on my computer and styling my wife’s costume wig with no smudging or smearing.
You might need to touch up the fingertips a few times a day depending on how much use your hands are getting but remember that you shed skin all day as you move around and touch things. (I know, I know: “Dude! Gross!” Sorry, I hope you weren’t eating.) The paint is only on that very top layer.
Now it’s time to take it off!
I splashed a little container of alcohol on it to see what it would do. It makes fun patterns. Where the alcohol didn’t go, though, stays put.
Soap and water does nothing. After playing with the alcohol for a bit, I tried. Nothing further came off until I put on more alcohol. You’ll want some cotton pads/balls or perhaps a roll of paper towel or toilet tissue to wipe the paint off once you’ve re-activated it with the alcohol. Water might help rinse a little of it off once you’ve put the isopropyl on but wiping it is really the best way.
And about six minutes later, it’s gone! What a fun experiment!
Remember that rubbing alcohol is really harsh on your skin and take the time to be nice to it afterward. I rub some vitamin E cream where I had the paint as my apology to my body for doing weird crap to it.
So that was 16.99 CAD well spent I feel. They have quite a few colours so give them a shot if you want body paint that stays put all day.
Have fun costuming!