Camo Face Paint: Love It or Leave It?

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You can wear the world’s best camouflage from head to toe, but if you leave your face and neck bare you risk getting spotted when all that shiny skin catches light as you turn your head to scan the woods for game.

To complete your full-body camouflage, consider wearing a face mask or applying face paint. Face masks are easy to put on and remove, which makes them convenient options. If you want one, check its fit at an archery store because baggy masks can snag your bowstring and ruin your shot. Also, make sure it doesn’t block your peripheral vision and that it’s comfortable to wear all day.

Face paint requires more effort to apply and remove, but you don’t have to worry about fit. You can also have fun experimenting with face-paint colors and patterns. Some of those combinations are practical while others blur lines between fashion and function.

Practical Face Paint

You won’t need to worry about fit when it comes to face paint. It’s a great way to gain an edge and you can have fun experimenting with different face paint techniques. Photo Credit: John Hafner

The purpose of any camouflage is to break up outlines and reduce shine. You can achieve both by applying face paints in different colors and random patterns. Think old-school military camo by applying blotches of black, green and brown. You’ll look like Rambo and deer won’t see you lurking.

Another option is a nature-inspired technique called counter-shading. To understand this concept, consider what happens when you hold a light over an object. Its top appears lighter and its bottom darker, which gives the object a visible silhouette. Counter-shading reverses that effect by coloring objects darker on the top and lighter toward the bottom.

Deer, sharks, squirrels and fish use counter-shading to break up their outlines. Sharks and fish have white bellies and dark grays and browns on their sides and backs. Likewise, deer, squirrels and most woodland creatures have white bellies, and dark sides and backs. You can use this concept with your face paint by applying darker shades on high points, like your nose and cheekbones, and lighter colors for low points on your face.

Fashionable Face Paint

How you paint your face is limited only by your creativity, have fun with it and feel free to experiment. It’s a great tool for bowhunters, and in recent years camo face paint has come a long way. Photo Credit: John Hafner

If you prefer something more photogenic, artistic camo interpretations can keep you hidden and looking good. Maybe that’s why cool face-painting designs are trending with bowhunters. These fashionable creations range from simple lines to elaborate designs. This video from Lancaster Archery Supply goes over all of them:


One popular design is a cross between deer antlers and rock-band makeup. It requires only black paint, and you start by applying it to your nose. Draw a line from the center of your nose across the top of your cheekbone. Then draw lines extending down from that horizontal bar to resemble upside-down antler tines. Taper them so they start thick and come to a point. After repeating the process on the other side of your face, you’re ready to hunt.

How you paint your face is limited only by your creativity, so have fun and experiment. Camo face paints have come far in recent years, which makes them great tools for bowhunters. They won’t irritate your skin and they remove easily. Visit an archery shop to see your options for making full-body camouflage fun and effective.

What’s your favorite face-paint design? Take a treestand selfie of your painted face and share it on the Bowhunting 360 Facebook


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