There are so many different kinds of makeup out there, from cremes and liquids to powders and pigments, but have you tried palettes that need to be activated before you can use them? We are here to help you decipher the difference between both alcohol and water activated palettes, and when and where to use them.
First, let's start with the basics. All paint, liquids and creams consist of both a pigment and a vehicle to work. The pigment is the color and the vehicle is what allows us to spread the color onto the canvas, body or whatever you are painting. Most often makeup contains both the pigment and the vehicle inside, however water and alcohol activated palettes are pure pigment palettes and require the vehicle to be added separately.
Let's start with water activated palettes. These paints are compressed powder pigments that use water as its vehicle to spread onto the skin. Water activated palettes are most commonly used for face painting, and painting that needs to be fairly opaque.
Water activated paints are either wax based (like Wolfe colors) or glycerin based (like Mehron Paradise paints and Kryolan's Aquacolors). Wax based water activated paints are perfect for line work. If you're drawing a line, or a design that needs a line, these paints are going to go on more smoothly and cleanly, but they dry very fast, so you will not want to blend colors with these ones, unless you have a desire for stress! Glycerin based water activated paints are going to dry more slowly, which allows for easier blending of colors. They will not apply as cleanly as wax based paints, so you may not want to use these ones for precise lines.
Overall, water based palettes are ideal for cooler, drier climates where the actor or model won't be sweating a large amount, because, like being activated by water, they will also be activated by sweat, and will run down your model's face. Also, if the look you're creating needs to come off easily and quickly, water activated is the way to go!
Let's dive into alcohol activated paints. They are hard, compressed pigments that use 99% alcohol as it's vehicle. Please know that these alcohol activated palettes will not activate with anything less than 99% alcohol, so make sure to check your alcohol percentage before you buy it.
Alcohol activated paints are ideal for scenarios that need to be wet. If your model needs to be in the shower, underwater, or caught in a rainstorm, these palettes are like magic! They will not wear off until you take them off. They can only be removed with either 99% alcohol or certain makeup removers like Telesis Super Solv. Alcohol activated paints are used most commonly for tattoos, tattoo cover, bruises and injuries, since they will last even if the actor sweats or wears the makeup in water. They also apply more translucently, so they tend to make injuries look more realistic than if you had applied it with water activated paint. They are able to be layered, but just remember not to use too much alcohol, because the more layers you add, you risk removing the layer underneath.
Overall, alcohol activated palettes are like movie magic! They also tend to be different depending on what brand you get. The Temptu Dura Palettes tend to dry a bit tacky, which allows the paint to be more flexible as your actor moves, and are ideal for areas with joints or a lot of movement. However, you will need to set these with translucent powder (like RCMA Translucent Powder) so they don't feel too sticky. Skin Illustrator palettes dry down extremely dry and tend to feel like they aren't even there, which is awesome, but they do run the risk of cracking if you've applied many layers. Every palette is awesome in its own way, and you just need to find the one thats right for you!
We hope this helps you decide which activated palettes are right for your next project. We would love to know what palettes you use and why you love them! Post them in the comments below!