Kit Saviours – Cat Finlayson

August 24th, 2021

August 24th, 2021

Cat Finlayson discovered face painting whilst teaching in zoos.  After starting her own face art business in 2000, she won UK Professional Face Painter of the Year and was 5th in the World, and then branched out into bodypainting.  She was soon booked all over the world, including Hong Kong, painting clients, teaching or demonstrating, and was one of the UK’s first full-time residential face painters.

She became Paintopia‘s lead artist and tutor, and with Paintopia’s Jennie Roberts (or her own company) judges, or teaches privately, at industry events, and in colleges around the UK and EU. Over the last few years she has also added Cricut Ambassador & Artisan to her impressive list of job titles, as she finds the machine frees her creativity and is involved in most aspects of her body art.

After being asked last minute to take part in the 2021 online World Body Paint World Championships she placed 14th – the highest placed UK artist – in the Brush and Sponge Paint category, painting on model Izabela Kowalewska.

at World Body Paint Championship 2021


We delve through her bulging kit bag.

Cameleon Face & Body Paint

Inkheart blue which is a real biro-ink-blue with a purple sheen.  A very highly pigmented vegan cosmetic paint, it is an incredibly intense colour.  A slight touch of Inkheart adds depth without dulling colours like black paint often does, so I use it instead of black on many paints.

Also, the deep Bollywood Pink – perfect for double dipped flowers and much more.

Both colours are strong so may cause a slight temporary stain if applied directly on bare pale dry skin (wash off me well, though!), but look great applied with a kabuki on large areas and excellent as linework with finer brushes, as they can be very opaque so go over other colours well.   Also, most of the Cameleon colour blocks!


Nanshy Long-Handled Kabuki Brushes

The flat topped Flawless Foundation or Angled Airbrush are my favourites.  I love kabukis for fast and streak-free body paint bases, and wet or dry effects.  But I often dropped the short-handled ones originally available, as my carpel tunnel wrists make it awkward to hold small shapes like that. These long-handled ones are perfect for me and also means I can attach magnets to the handles to store on the metal lid of my craft n go.


With Warpaint at PB North, 2019. Demonstrating with model Izy.



Slightly off the beauty wall, but my thing I could NOT be without is my Cricut Maker.  (I would have put it 1st choice, but it’s not a thing I take to every booking in itself, though my kit is filled with my stencils made on it).

I can design and cut my own reusable (or single use) stencils in any size. I also make matching accessories and props in card, fabric, foams, leather or wood to match the stencils designs on it, or create face stickers. I make my own signage and branding with it for my clothes, kit, car, and payment/ info signs. I even started a 2nd business selling my stencils and artwork with it as well as running workshops on how to use the machine. I now have several new job titles to do with Cricut too! Amazing things. It’s definitely an investment and a small learning curve, but, wow. If you have seen me at events, I sometimes have the mini Cricut Joy with me for last minute stencil requests or t-shirt iron-ons.


My reusable mylar stencils

20 years ago I was hand cutting my own stencils with knives, then a burnt-finger-making hot-pen stencil cutter. Thankfully I discovered Cricut electronic cutting machines, and now I design and make my own stencil range.  Some scoff at using stencils – why, when all airbrushers use them? – but often I will stencil a design that I couldn’t paint accurately by hand (like comic book dots, or tartan) or that would take far longer if I did (scales, rainbow/ split colours in a pattern).  Also invaluable for creating custom logos accurately and fast, eg for client branding on advertising bodyart, which could take hours and go horribly wrong if attempted freehand.  I do custom orders as well.


Glitter lips by Beauty Blvd

Mainly their lip-bond-glue.  I’m rubbish with keeping all sorts of lipstick on, or don’t like the feel of it.  So when I discovered Glitter Lips at an event years ago, I was sold.  I don’t often buy their own cosmetic glitters that generally come in a cute kit, as I’ve lots of shades and grades of cosmetic glitter already, and my own stock is eco-friendly as well.  I make myself tiny custom mixed shades/grades and carry several in a tiny mirrored purse when a bit of glam or pick-me-up is needed.  It lasts well unless I have a really milky cup of tea! Paintopia and high street stores sell the kits, the single tubes of glue are slightly harder to find.  I tend to give a tube to every bodymodel as a thank you, after using it to finish their look (works well with gold leaf and metallic powders on lips too).  I have tried all my usual other cosmetic glues on my lips and none worked as well or felt as comfy as this.

Their Stardust Binding Gel is fab for festival glitter looks too, but not biodegradeable as it has a a touch of shimmery non-bio glitter in it.


Eco/bio cosmetic glitters

Not just for my lips! I switched to eco 6 years back as I did a lot of full body glitter tattoos and didn’t like all the plastic going down the drain. All eco glitters are not the same, some need to be composted to biodegrade. Brands like plant-based Eco-Stardust do break down in water, and their newer Pure Range has even greener credentials, as well as having a pretty pearly shimmer.  Eco-Stardust are a fab company who really fulfill the Green card with all their plastic-glitter amnesty actions and donations.

Other brands do eco-ranges too, like Glittertastics.  Please note that over the last few years, a large number of events, schools and festivals have signed up to an eco-glitter only rule, (although it isn’t always policed, sadly) so it is worth investing.


Metallic Powders

Mehron or Graftobian metallic powders (and matching mixing liquids) in gold, silver, bronze, etc. Yes we still get asked for the gold bond girl body paint looks at least 10 times more often than any other body paint. Mixed correctly (trial and error I’m afraid, and keep remixing as you work) this is the only decent, drable, metallic look for a whole body, and fast. Mix with baby oil for a super slick even shinier look, which isn’t as practical as it shows every touch or fingerprint. Also looks great as accents, sponged into steampunk stencils, etc.  Jenn & I have a very popular comparison tutorial video on the Paintopia YouTube for this.


Cameleon Long-Handled Kabukis

New release – the new Cameleon Long Handled Kabukis. I have great hopes for these as I love most of their brushes but as said before, I can’t grip traditional short handled kabukis well.



Follow Cat on Instagram, facebook and YouTube.

For custom stencils, gifts and craft courses visit Cat’s Craft Cabin.


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By Sarah Dann

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