It is nine days until Christmas! The only thing that can get me down during this time of year is the extremely cold weather Ohio has been experiencing, and the head cold I developed over the last 24 hours. Even with all of that, I am still in good spirits, and looking to see friends and family for the holidays. My parents have head colds too, so my dad and I have been watching Sherlock all afternoon. Such a good show! Anyone else watch it?

I will apologize now if this post is a little short.

So, here we go. As stated in my last post: I am not sponsored and some images may be graphic to some audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.

I have always wanted to purchase one of those alcohol activated paint palette (like the Skin Illustrator palettes.) Have you guys seen how much they cost? Over 70 dollars! For an unemployed college graduate, I am not about that life. Recently, I have heard that grease paint can be used as a dupe for the alcohol activated paints. I wanted to give it a try and see my own results.


Here is what we are going to use:

  • Rubbing alcohol (99% is recommended but I only have 91% at the moment)
  • grease face paint (I used the Ben Nye Bruise Wheel)
  • makeup sponges
  • setting powder
  • powder brush


Sfx tip: when making bruising effect, make sure you tear away pieces of the sponge to give a more broken up, natural effect on the skin. Just like most real bruises, we want it to not be perfect: colors blend, bruises take strange shapes, ect.

Before adding the rubbing alcohol to the paints, I wanted to make a quick bruise with just the paint as it is. I have worked with the wheel plenty of times, clearly by the photo, and I know how to work with the paint.


Now, how do we make this paint “alcohol activated?” Because I forgot to grab a separate paint palette, I just used the Ben Nye lids. Using any type of sculpting tool, take¬†a tiny amount of the paint and place it where you are going to do the mixing. Then, I added a cap-full of rubbing alcohol. Using the sculpting tool, or a paint brush, I just gave it a little stir. Do this until the desired amount of color is mixed with the alcohol.

As you can see on the second sponge, the colors are more diluted and blended into a more natural bruised color. Now, what do these two applications look on the skin?compare-3
(left: normal grease paint, right: grease paint diluted with 91% rubbing alcohol)

Applying the grease paint alone does take a little more pressure, but can be blended with a finger quite easily. The colors stand apart from one another, as you can see. The blue, purple, and red all stand alone. They can be blended a little, but if you try to blend it too much, it can turn muddy.

By making this “alcohol activated dupe,” the colors blend into one another easier. The blue and the purple bleed into the red, and we have that more “natural” bruise looking effect. These colors can also be diluted more once applied to the skin by just adding more alcohol.

As we can see from both pictures though, there isn’t much of a difference on camera.


Biggest problem I ran into with this dupe, was dissolving all of the paint. I was in a bit of a hurry and I didn’t have much alcohol left in my bottle, so as you can see, I was getting flexes of the paint stuck on my skin (seen on the left.) It made it look more like a scratched, scabbed effect though, which was cool and could come in handy.

With the unchanged grease paint, it does need to be set with powder. Even after hours of normal wear (watching Sherlock, wrapping some gifts, doing a couple dishes) the alcohol activated dupe did hold up longer. It did fade, but it is still visible on my arm even as I write this. The unchanged paint is completely gone.

I still want to purchase the legitimate alcohol-activated paint palettes. However, this dupe will work okay until the time comes where I can afford the expense. (Between 20 and 25 dollars is a much better than 80 dollars.)

Nevertheless, I recommend beginners having grease paint in their kits because it is safer to use on the face. I would never apply alcohol-activated paints on such sensitive area of skin. It is always good to have the basics when starting out and learning.