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Face Painting!

Malky Lowinger

Face painting is a fun and popular activity. If you’ve never done it before, Purim is the perfect time to try it

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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What is face painting all about? Why do people do it? And how do I know if it’s a good idea for me? We at Mishpacha Jr. spoke to Leah and Yocheved, two professional face painters who told us some interesting facts about this growing trend.


History of Face Painting

The art of face painting began hundreds of years before kids were doing it at Purim carnivals and birthday parties. Adults have been painting their faces for centuries, but not necessarily as a fun activity. They did it for more serious reasons.

Have you ever seen a picture of a soldier in the forest or in a desert? Chances are that his face was painted to blend in with his surroundings. That’s called camouflage painting, and it’s done so that the enemy isn’t able to see him easily. Hunters use face paint for very much the same reason. That’s how they sneak up on their prey without being noticed.

Early Native Americans used to paint their faces, and tribes were identified by their distinct colors and designs. These days, outdoor athletes, like football and baseball players, often use something called eye black, a black grease, or a strip, applied under the eyes to reduce the sun’s glare.

Many of their fans, on the other hand, especially football fans, have their entire faces painted. And, of course, let’s not forget clowns!

Leah and Yocheved

It wasn’t until the 1980s that face painting finally became popular as a fun activity for children.


Meet Leah and Yocheved, two ladies who paint children’s (and sometimes adults’!) faces for a living. They are both really good at what they do and thrilled to be making lots of kids happy in this interesting and unusual way.


How did they get started?

Leah lives in New Jersey. She says she always had an artistic flair, but she couldn’t decide what she would eventually do with her talent. “Then one day an idea popped into my head. Why not try face painting?”

Yocheved, who lives in Monsey, used to teach first grade. What does that have to do with face painting? “Plenty!” she tells us. “As a teacher, I understand how important positive energy is for kids. And face painting is all about positive energy! There’s lots of creativity and imagination involved and kids love that. It’s also fun and entertaining.”

Yocheved remembers the day her own daughters had their faces painted for the first time. “They looked adorable! I remember that they were so thrilled about it and that they talked about it for days afterward. It created a memory that lasted a lifetime.”

That’s when Yocheved realized that face painting is a great activity. “It’s a little bit like Purim,” she says. “What child doesn’t love Purim and all the fun of dressing up? It’s one of the highlights of the year. Well, face painting is a similar concept. And many families use it as part of their Purim costume.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 699)

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