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What they don’t tell you about running a face painting business.

Running a face painting business is not just about the brushes and paints. There are lots of important legal and training aspects to be taken into consideration, and that was the purpose of my video today. If you watch the video it will fully explain everything, but I am also going to recap here and go into some more detail on parts of the video that would be a bit complicated to explain out loud.

Watch the video here:

Public Liability Insurance

Public Liability Insurance is very important for a face painter. Most facepaints are hypo allergenic and thus has little risk of causing an allergic reaction. But there is always the small chance that a reaction can occur or some other accident that could leave you up the proverbial creek wirhout a paddle if you didn't have insurance.

In short, public liability insurance is a way of covering your backside if someone has a reaction to your products. It is very much needed because a lot of events wont even touch you if you don't have it.

Medical Conditions.

There are many medical conditions that are very bad news for a face painter. I am not gonna give you a list and how to spot them. While I am trained to sport them myself, I am not willing to open myself to liability if someone misunderstands my explanations. The training on how to spot these things is SO incredibly important as a lot of public liability insurance contracts have clauses in them that means they don't need to cover the claim if you haven't screened your customer for these conditions. My advice would be to look at your local colleges for make up courses. The knowledge you gain will be invaluable not just for face painting but for your own life.

Disclosure and Barring Service and criminal records.

In the UK it is absolutely NOT required for a face painter to have a check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) which used to be known as the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). This is a common misconception, that because you paint children's' faces you need to have a check.

If you feel like wading through the wall of legal text then check it out here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-check-eligible-positions-guidance

The slightly simpler explanation is this:

A professional face painter does not need a DBS check for 2 main reasons.

1. Only organisations registered with the DBS can request an Enhanced or Enhanced with Lists (the type of check required for people who "work with children" which I will explain in a moment)
2. We don't "work with children". I know this sounds strange, but this is a legal term and not a general term. Legally "work with children" in relation to DBS is defined as being left alone in a supervisory position on a regular or extended period. (basically the kind of situation something untowards could happen). Obviously this is not the case with a face painter. We are with the child for maybe 5 minutes, with parents and other children awaiting there turn and in the public.

If an event is insistent on a DBS, tell them to get registered with the DBS to be able to request one and they can pay for it themselves. Information on how to do that is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/dbs-check-requests-guidance-for-employers#registering-as-an-organisation-with-dbs

That all being said:

It can help in some circumstances if you CAN get a DBS, either through volunteering or some other method. However legally the check only applies in relation to the role applied for. (after all accountants get DBS check's but for completely different criteria.) You must make this clear to anyone who asks for a DBS.


Pricing is a difficult topic to cover as the prices you charge will have to be different based on many different things. Where you are, the average prices around you, your quality, your experience. Even how far you have to travel to events.

One thing that applies to us all is this:

Make sure you consider ALL of your operating costs in your prices. Marketing costs, travel costs, equiptment and materials costs. Costs of setting up at the event. EVERYTHING.

Once you have considered all these costs then you can decide how much you would need to make it worth packing all your face paints up and lugging them to an event. If you will spend more getting there and setting up than you will make from painting faces you need to charge more or not go.