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Face painting industry leader Gary Cole launches Ruby Red Paints, part 3

Ruby Red Face and Body Paints will be available in approximately seventy-five standard, twenty-five seasonal, and hundreds of custom colors.
Photo courtesy of Gary Cole, used with permission.

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. Enjoy this third part in Gary's interview as he gives face painters the story surrounding his new company and product.

Q: • There are over 100 colors in Ruby Red's repertoire. Are all 100 colors going to be available in the three sizes 2 ml, 18 ml, and 75 ml? Will there be pearls/metallics and neons?

Gary: Most of you have heard of Baskin Robbins 31 flavors ice cream. We are taking this approach to our face paint brand. We will evolve to have seventy-five standard colors that include sparkles, metallics, and ultraviolet colors. We will have another twenty-five colors that will rotate in and out, depending on seasonal needs and demand.

We also pantone color match for a fee with minimums. We are already doing this to meet the sports face painting needs for the fan. For the sports market, we already offer over 400 color matches. When we make colors for a specific college or sports team, clients want their team color matched exactly. We can do this. Currently we do not offer neon or dayglow colors because those pigments have not been approved for use in cosmetics. Safety is more important to us than making a dollar. Once the FDA certifies dayglow pigments, we will offer this as an option. At this time there is no such thing as a safe dayglow face paint pigment or product. We will offer our colors in 2ml, 18ml and 75ml sizes based on demand.

Q: Face paint packaging generally advises painters not to use reds, oranges, or yellows year the eyes or blues and greens near the mouth. Why is this? Is this also something you advise with Ruby Red paints?

Gary: Some pigments, as determined by the FDA, should not be used in high percentages on various parts of the body. The quantity levels of those pigments in Ruby Red fall below the need for concern. We advise to not use the paints in the immediate eye area. Technically, this is the fleshy moist part of the eye and this applies to all color cosmetic pigments of any brand. Other than that, Ruby Red colors may be used anywhere on the body. Remember that our focus is to offer face painters the world’s safest product line. It is also important to note that we have no animal products, parabens, nut, gluten, fragrance, or latex ingredients in the formulation. Even for the most sensitive, Ruby Red should be the brand of choice for face painting.

It is important to know that ALL COSMETICS on rare occasion can cause an allergic reaction. If a parent has a child who has had serious allergic reaction issues, we suggest a patch test on the sensitive skin on the inside of the elbow. Paint a one by two inch stripe on the inside of the elbow and allow it to stay there for thirty minutes. Remove it with only water and a wash cloth. If there is no reaction, you should be able to safely use the product and test it on a larger area. We know of no allergic reactions with Ruby Red products. All of our ingredients are purchased in the USA and meet FDA cosmetic guidelines.

Q: One issue face painters have mentioned with Snazaroo is containers which sometimes crack or break. Have you addressed this problem with Ruby Red's containers?

Gary: With all major brands there are issues with packaging when styrene is used in the plastic. Over time, there is a standard ingredient that makes styrene brittle. There is no styrene in Ruby Red containers which are made from polypropylene, the industry standard for foods and cosmetic packaging. One nice property of polypropylene is that it is flexible, offers a nice, air tight closure, and is virtually impossible to break. Breakage will not be an issue with Ruby Red containers.

Q: You're planning to offer private labeling with Ruby Red. How common is this in the face painting industry? Does it sometimes cause confusion to face painters who may not realize paints are the same product from different suppliers? What are the advantages of private labeling?

Gary: “Private label” is a term that describes the common concept of having one brand that might actually be sold under different companies' labels. This is a common process with manufacturers. The larger retail outlets often like to carry items under their own label since this promotes their overall brand. We want to be able to fill the volume demand of these customers when this makes sense. Unless you were very familiar with the brand, you might not realize that brand XYZ was actually Ruby Red. This logic offers the economy of scale. It allows everyone’s price to come down when we sell to the public, but also allows lower manufacturing costs of high volume sales.

You might find some of these resellers who might want their brand to be cheaper or higher valued. Face paint formulas can be adjusted to fill that need. Think of the Toyota/Lexus concept, only in terms of face paints. While we will want a very consistent Ruby Red brand, we might be willing to make the product cheaper for a private label customer to meet his need. That product might have less pigment in it to meet his desired price point. It is no different that the lower priced Toyota which might be built in the factory that also makes the premium Lexus product.

Q: In addition to Ruby Red paints, you'll be carrying Sparklettoo glitter tattoo products. What can face painters expect to see from this line of glitter tattoos.

Gary: Sparklettoo glitter products are now in their third year and literally offer the best price point for any glitter tattoo products. These products are also manufactured in Texas and can be purchased more inexpensively than the made in China glitter tattoo stencils. The difference is that we offer products made with materials manufactured right here in the USA. The glitter tattoo, the glue, and the glitter are all made in the USA.

It baffles the market that we can offer a lower price for a better product that is American-made. We have over 500 stock glitter tattoo stencil designs, and no one in the world can compete with our custom stencils for price, speed, or flexibility. The price points and quality are favorable for the mom buying one small kit or the large amusement park. Many professional face painters also do glitter tattoos as a service. This allows them to buy safe, valued products from the same USA location.

Q: Where will face painters be able to find Ruby Red paints once they're available on February 14th?

Gary: We will immediately be trying to get the product into major art/craft/party and Halloween stores. We will be looking for local and worldwide distributors. As the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day. We have been approached by both individuals and companies which wish to become Ruby Red resellers. Look for the brand to grow in the coming months, and in the meantime, face painters can buy direct at as the full website (along with an ecommerce site) goes live in February. Resell inquiries should be sent to

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.

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