Courtesy of Cat Bowen

How To Do Mermaid Face Paint For Kids — A Step-By-Step Guide

After October first, it's all Halloween all the time at my house. We watch Nightmare Before Christmas and Hocus Pocus just about every day, and my desk may or may not look like the receptionist's stand at a haunted brothel. I can't help it, I just adore the season. It's one of the few holidays everyone in my family celebrates. When your family is basically all the religions, it's a pretty big deal. So when I was asked to figure out how to do mermaid face paint for kids, I may have peed in my pants.

My daughter definitely takes after my sense of theatrics. She makes her own "YouTube" videos (that never get published), she puts on shows for my husband and I, and she constantly tries to dress up her dog and cats like they're going on some fabulous parade. Thankfully, the dog and at least one of the cats doesn't care. Our cat, Trout, though? He mewls his displeasure over the opprobrium of it all before promptly hiding for a week.

However, doing her makeup brought up something I didn't expect. When we started, my daughter looked over to me as I was using the light silver/white stick on her face and said, "Mama, there are no brown mermaids, can I still be one?" I'll admit, what came next was not my finest parenting moment. Being the white mother of a mixed-race daughter, I often don't see what she sees because of a lifetime of representation and privilege. I just said the first thing that popped into my mind, which was "The eff there isn't. It's just that only the dumb red-headed ones beach themselves and get caught." That made her laugh and appeased her 6-year-old mind, but there is a problem with representation and there's a problem with the kits that are sold. Many simply lack pigment enough to really pop on brown skin. Sure, I could use pricey Ben Nye theatrical cosmetics, but that would be easily $150 in Halloween makeup.

Don't worry, though. We found some fantastic brown mermaids after that. No matter how you or your little one look, here's a step-by-step guide for giving them the mermaid face paint of their dreams.

Use A Primer & Base

Courtesy of Cat Bowen

I used Nyx HD primer ($17, Ulta) and Ben Nye clown white ($18, Amazon) as base. I stayed around the eyes because that's what she wanted when she showed me pictures. She wanted her eyes to resemble the "insides of a mussel, but with scales and magic." Um, sure kid. Got it.

Blend & Start Adding Iridescence & Scales

Courtesy of Cat Bowen

Using this Complete Mermaid kit ($7, Hot Topic) and my own Clinique eye shadow ($39, Bloomingdales), I held the stencil over her face and stippled the color in with a Sephora 205 brush ($20, Sephora).

Glitter, Baby

Courtesy of Cat Bowen

Placing the stencil back on, I used my finger and patted in some of the glitter color from the kit. This is obviously one of her favorite parts, and I have no idea where the glitter kit is now, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to be seeing her with some hastily applied glitter makeup on her face. I also swept up the inside with the blue Clinique eye shadow.

Blend & Add Jewels

Courtesy of Cat Bowen

Blend out the edges, and pull the color stencil past the white background for emphasis. The jewels are peel and stick. They couldn't be easier. She chose where they went because it's her face. I wanted some on her nose, but she said, "That's so weird, Momma. I'd look like Rudolf."

Well alright then.

Don't Forget The Neck

Courtesy of Cat Bowen

"Mama, mermaids have scales on their neck, too." If she says so, then they definitely do. She refused gills. I begged. Pleaded. Cajoled. She insists that even though mermaids are half fish, they're also half mammal. I asked if they gave birth or laid eggs, to which she responded, "They do it seahorse style, the Babas deal with it."

How can I sign up to be a mermaid?

Collect All The Candy

Courtesy of Cat Bowen

According to my daughter, it's also time to "wash this all off. It's sticky." After her bubble bath when she erased all of her mermaid-ness, we took the time to find more brown mermaids. My friend, Thien-Kim Lam, a writer and program manager of We Need Diverse Books, suggested The Rise of The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste which is a story about Caribbean mermaids. We are all over that, and I'm grateful for the reference. You may be as well.

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