Actress, model, and dancer Jade Anderson has worked the strip in Las Vegas and the streets of Time Square wearing nothing but body paint, a headdress, and heels. But you don’t have to be a showgirl to wear this look, and you definitely don’t have to go head-to-toe in paint to achieve its aesthetic. Think in terms of lingerie accents. The art of body painting lies in the details and attention to the body’s natural shapes and curves. Although the look can be fantastical, it leaves little to the imagination.
“The feeling of painting yourself is really quite lovely,” Anderson says. “Soft bristles feel incredible on your skin.”
“To create a lingerie look, start with the outline of a bodice,” suggests Anderson. Don a pair of thigh-highs and gloves to give the whole body look without having to paint your whole body. “Stripper stores carry thongs that are padded in the front to really seal you in. You want your thong to be as close to the skin as possible to complete the look, whether you’re going to paint over it or not.”
To apply the paint, makeup brushes work well, and as for the paint itself, “Mehron body paint doesn’t clog pores, and it comes off by soaking in water. Red and pink are the hardest hues to get off your skin; yellow, blue, and white are easiest.”
As you’re painting, give yourself plenty of time. “It takes 15 to 40 minutes depending on what color you use for the paint to dry. Apply one coat, allow to dry and then apply a second coat.” Anderson warns that if you don’t follow this technique, you’ll end up with streaks. “You never want to apply your second coat before the first coat has dried. Otherwise, you’re just moving the paint around.”
Finally, after you’re dry, use a sealant — “It will sting your skin,” Anderson warns, “but the trick is to dilute it with witch hazel and make sure someone else sprays you from a couple feet away, so you get misted.”
Body paint won’t smear, and will stay on (unless the person you’re in contact with is really sweaty). But you definitely want to stay away from water when wearing body paint lingerie.
As for the art of body painting, you can create illusions with contours or get as wild as you want with designs. “I can’t draw a person’s face, but I am very good with symmetry and I have a steady hand,” says Anderson. “You can use stencils but it doesn’t hurt to be a perfectionist.”