Circus clowns typically use theater makeup produced by manufacturers such as Ben Nye, Graftobian or Mehron. Makeup kits usually consist of a clown white cream base, loose powder and bright colors to ornament the face.
Clown white is a creamy, matte makeup that completely covers the face. The foundation is formulated to stay in place without cracking. A clown palette consists of the primary colors of red, yellow and blue and also includes black for outlining. The makeup is blendable and suitable for any part of the face, including lips and eyelids.
Clowns must set the makeup with a loose powder. Circus clowns typically use clown white powder over their white makeup and translucent powder to set the colors. Theater-grade translucent powder is necessary to keep the heavy makeup from caking or flaking.
Makeup kits usually include black, white and red pencils for outlining. Some circus clowns use lipstick or other makeup sticks for color. Likewise, full kits often feature tools such as brushes and makeup sponges for applying the makeup.
Clown makeup, which is very heavy is typically made with petroleum and mineral oil as the base to keep the texture creamy and the look opaque. Theater makeup remover or cold cream are required to wash away the makeup. Makeup companies suggest washing with simple soap and water afterward as well.