Put your body on the line and stand out


Get creative with your on-stage or video look by taking inspiration from bodypainting pros, highly skilled make-up artists who use the whole body as a canvas.

Bodypainting is a serious business that tests not only a make-up artist’s ability to be creative, but also a whole host of artistry skills, including understanding of colours and blends.

If you want to make a bold statement for your next gig or video why not follow the likes of Rihanna, Beyoncé, Gotye or Grace Jones and delve into this world and see what elements you can incorporate into your look?

I did some delving last month at Professional Beauty held at the Excel in London, when I took a front seat at one of the hottest beauty competitions, Warpaintopia.

Warpaintopia is a bodypainting competition hosted by Warpaint Magazine, the UK’s dedicated title for make-up artists, and Paintopia, the UK’s largest bodypainting show. It takes place three times a year as part of the Warpaint Championships Make-up Competition (I told you, bodypainting is a serious business).


Competitors work to create looks that are eye-catching, beautiful, long-lasting and versatile. They’re given a theme to work to and prizes are handed out to the top pro artist, a rising star and the highest scoring beauty college.

Warpaint Magazine Editor Emma Rutherford says: “At Warpaint, we’re passionate about education and career development for make-up artists, and the championships give all levels of artists the opportunity to compete on the floor together. The students learn a lot from the pros, seeing the way they work and picking up hints and tips. Our judging team is made up of experts from within the industry – all are working professionals with many years’ experience and their constructive and supportive comments to the contestants are always geared at improving their artistry.”

The championships are well worth visiting if you want to go beyond the standard base, highlighter, mascara and lippy routine. It’s a chance to link up with industry pros who could help you with your look, or to pick up tips to help you do it yourself.

It’s also a chance to see which brands the professionals use. In this case it included: high street faves Bobbi Brown, M.A.C, Laura Mercier and pro brands Make Up For Ever, Nanshy, Kryolan and Airbase.

Top tips from Emma Rutherford

  1. Follow your passion – find make-up from performers that you admire and try to create them yourself. You don’t need to spend a fortune on brands to do this – there are great high street brands out there who have brilliant performance.
  2. Collaborate with student performers to make videos and take any opportunities to assist pros on shoots. There are some fabulous brands out there – pro brands like Make Up For Ever and Kryolan have a huge range of products that are designed for the performance industry; high street favourites like Makeup Revolution, NYX Pro and Barry M have great colour payoff, yet they’re still friendly on the pocket.
  3. Take a look at House of Glam Dolls, which is run by David Horne and Chinyee Chu and has some incredibly clever products and a whole section on their website dedicated to the art of male make-up. For bodypainters, check out Kryolan, Make Up Forever and Chameleon, and there are some amazing glitters from JTMakeup, Gypsy Shine, Ash Cosmetics and Screenface.

The next Warpaint Championships are in Dublin on 8 October, then in Manchester on 21 and 22 October.


Gemma Wilson-Vidal is a London-based journalist, editor, blogger and all-round media professional. She has a particular interest in popular culture, beauty and fashion and works in the internal communications industry. Although a seasoned editor, Gemma still enjoys writing and regularly contributes to a variety of lifestyle titles.