Gary Cole is a familiar name to face and body painters across the world, but particularly in North America. Having been part of Snazaroo for twenty years and known as a producer of some of the safest face paints available, he's ready to launch his new company, Ruby Red Face and Body Paints, a line of lanolin- and paraben-free vegan face paint which debuts in February of this year. Don't miss this three part interview as Gary gives face painters the story surrounding his new company and product.
Q: There has been controversy in the face painting world about whether or not to paint children who are under the age of three. How do you feel about this? Will Ruby Red be a face paint which is safe for use on younger children?
Gary: Ruby Red Paints will come with full testing documentation with a child toy safety rating. They can be used on children of any age. You will find the smaller kits state, “Not to be used on children under the age of three without adult supervision because some parts pose a choking hazard.” That instruction speaks for itself. However, with adult supervision and some common sense, even younger children can be face painted safely. There are other risks and factors that should be considered. If you have a wiggly two-year-old, he or she might not be of the age or maturity to sit still enough to be painted. If children are wiggly, there is always the risk that the artist might poke them in the eye with the brush. Any child who is willing to stay still during the painting process would be safe to face paint.
One should never attempt to face paint a child that does not want to be painted. Many children under the age of three are more than capable of sitting still for the painting process. The artist is a big part of this. If she talks to the child and tells him what she will be doing beforehand and what she is doing as she paints, it calms the child, and he is more likely to sit still.
Be careful, as all brands are not the same. You can currently go to major party stores to find this is true. On the "made in China" packaging, it will boldly say, “Do not use red, orange, yellow, or purple near the eyes. Do not use blue, green, or purple near the lips. Do not use on children under the age of eight.” Be aware of the brand you purchase and the suggested age range for its use. Ruby Red is built on safety. Use it on your children.
Q: With Ruby Red face paint, which is vegan as well as hypoallergenic, you've removed the lanolin and paraben ingredients. What qualities do these ingredients normally add to face paint? How have you compensated for their absence?
Gary: In order to make the vegan claim, we must not use any ingredients in the formulation that come from animals. Many other major face paint brands use lanolin, which comes from sheep. The use of lanolin can increase the risk of an allergic reaction. We removed it and replaced it with non-animal ingredients that allow the face paints to be soft and flexible on the skin.
The industry trend over the last thirty years has also been to remove paraben ingredients as part of the preservative system. With a simple internet search on safety and parabens, you'll find lots of controversy over the use of parabens in cosmetics. Paraben use, particularly for women, has been linked to serious health issues. We removed the paraben ingredients and replaced them with a robust, state-of-the-art preservative system. Because most artists use the same product on multiple children, they really want a good preservative system, which Ruby Red has.
We worked with PHD cosmetic chemists to develop the Ruby Red brand. The term “hypoallergenic” is a marketing term applied to cosmetics. Basically it means that when you use the product as intended, it is highly unlikely that there will be any sign of an allergic reaction. While NO BRAND can claim that it will never cause a reaction, we have literally done every possible thing we can do to minimize any risk. We literally set the new standard for safety in face paints, and that can be seen by the ingredients we use and the steps we have taken to offer a child-safe, family-friendly product.
Q: Tell us about the advantages of Ruby Red. What type of face painting consistency does it have? (For example, is it creamy or thinner?) Is it a wax, glycerine, or other type of base? Some painters turn to powders in humid weather rather than use the creamier face paints. How does Ruby Red stand up to humidity?
Gary: Ruby Red is considered to be a cake form, water-activated product. In other words, when you first buy it, it is a semisolid. If pressed, you can slightly press your finger into the product. In order to use it, you add a few drops of water to the cake with your sponge or brush and mix. With a little mixing, you'll get a nice, creamy mix of color. For the sponge, you can smear the paint on the face for color coverage and then pat with the sponge in order to get a great, opaque base on any complexion. If it's mixed properly with the use of a good artist’s brush, you'll get a great line to add detail to your design. In both cases, if applied properly, the paint will dry to the touch in under a minute and can be worn all day.
You can remove the paint with mild soap and water. Our paints are heavy in pigment content and have wax and other binders to hold them together and provide easy application. A small 18ml cake will easily paint over 100 full faces, so it goes a long way. This adds to the value of a painter's purchase.
One cannot get bullet proof and easy-off. Our paints need friction and water for removal. They dry to the touch in a minute, but if a child goes into the hot bouncy house and perspires, the paint will be moisturized, and if the child rubs it, it will smear. Children must be told to not touch their face until it fully dries again. If one is using Ruby Red as theatrical paint under hot lights, he can put a barrier spray over the top. This method allows a person to go into water and not affect the face painting. This is not recommended for children as you need special removers. The bottom line is that Ruby Red is designed for the mom and children to maximize the easy-on, easy-off properties.
Ruby Red Face and Body Paints are scheduled to launch on February 14, 2014. Visit the Ruby Red website to find out more about this innovative face paint, and don't miss the third part of Gary's interview tomorrow.