Game Day Face Paint: Best Paint, How to Apply, and Design Ideas

Last updated on June 17th, 2020

Time to Read: 5 minutes

There aren’t many ways that boost your fandom quite like some good face paint does. The right face paint makes you stand out from the crowd, but you’ve got to get it right. If you use the wrong paint or paint a poor design, it could backfire on you, and you’ll be the joke of your party. We’ve got everything you need to know here about mastering your game day face paint.

Types of Face Paint

The first step to successful game day face paint is getting the right paint. Get the wrong stuff and the colors will be off. Or worse, the paint will drip and fall off your face before the day is over. 

Some face paint will be marketed for sports fans, but it’s no different from face paint that isn’t. Don’t go out of your way looking for special face paint “for sports.” Focus on the best face paint there is. Because, at the end of the day, a face is a face regardless of whether it’s at a sporting game or a Halloween party.

Most face paint is water-based, although you will find some that’s oil-based. Stick with water-based for far easier cleanup. You don’t want to put oil-based paint on your face unless you’re prepared for an hour of cleanup and lingering paint coloration for a week.

Best Game Day Face Paint to Buy

How to Decide Which Face Paint is Best for You

We’ve tried out a lot of different paints and find that one of these two is likely to suit your needs. To figure out which one is right for you, here are the questions to ask.

  1. Do you anticipate rain or sweat?
    1. Yes
      1. You need the Proaiir face paint since it’s waterproof. Most face paint is not waterproof. This is by far the best waterproof option out there.
    2. No
      1. Go to question 2.
  2. Do the Mosaiz crayons come in your color?
    1. Yes
      1. Get these. The crayons are crazy simple to apply, and they pack well so you can bring them with you to your tailgate for touch-up or to apply to friends or passersby who are jealous of your paint.
    2. No
      1. Get the Proaiir face paint and mix or get colors to match your team.

If you have an intricate design or want sharp corners or edges, consider these face paint crayons as well. These have a finer point than the Mosaiz crayons and hold up surprisingly well in rain and sweat. We don’t recommend using these alone for large areas, but they are great for outlines.

How to Apply Your Game Day Face Paint

Start by choosing a design! We have some ideas for you towards the end of this article. It goes without saying – if you don’t have somebody to help you apply the paint, or if that person isn’t naturally artistic, it might be a good idea to stick to a simple design.

Clean and Prep

Before you start applying the paint, wash your face well with soap and water. The paint will adhere better to a clean face, plus, you don’t want to lock in dirt and grime on your face all day. Dry your face well after washing it.


Once your palette (face!) is all clean and ready, it’s time to start drawing. Your first step should be to outline your entire design. This means drawing all of the edges and elements first. Don’t try to fill in large objects just yet. You need to make sure that they’re the right size and shape first. As you are working on the outline, periodically step back and review the entire design. If you see something that isn’t quite the right size or shape, it’s easy to remove with a wet, soapy cloth before you get too far.

If you picked up some of the fine-tipped crayons, use those for your outline:

Color Fill

Now that the hard part (the outline) is over, it’s time to fill in the colors. All you’re doing here is coloring between the lines. For small areas, small paintbrushes are best (or those fine-tipped crayons if you’ve got them). For large areas, we recommend using makeup sponges. These work remarkably well to apply paint quickly and easily. If you don’t have makeup sponges, larger paintbrushes will work as well.

We recommend starting with your lightest color first, working up to your darkest color. This way, when a light color extends beyond its boundary, the darker color can come behind it and easily cover it up. Dark colors will cover light colors better than the other way around.

Optional: Glitter

If you want to make your design really pop, consider adding some glitter on top of the finished design. You can go light on the glitter to provide just a little bit of shine (looks great in the sun), or go heavy for dramatic effect. If you go with glitter, we recommend the NYX glitter and then the NYX primer to apply it. Make sure that your face paint is dry before putting on glitter!

How to Remove and Clean Up the Paint

All of the products that we recommend can be cleaned up with regular soap and water. It’s also easy to remove any spills on your table, mirror, or floor, because the paint that we recommend is water-based and can be washed off with soap. Another reason not to get oil-based paint. If that stuff gets on the floor, your cleanup just became a lot more difficult!

We do recommend cleaning off your face before hitting the pillow at the end of the day. Yes, you’re going to be exhausted after being out all day, but you don’t want to wake up the next day with your sheets covered in paint. Then you’ve got to not only clean your face, but your sheets as well.

Game Day Face Paint Design Ideas

If you’re struggling to decide on a design to use, we’ve curated a great selection here:

Game Day Face Paint Shopping List