Body painting, or sometimes bodypainting, is a form of body art. Unlike tattoo and other forms of body art, body painting is temporary, painted onto the human skin, and lasts for only several hours, or at most (in the case of mehndi or "henna tattoos") about two weeks. Body painting that is limited to the face is known as face painting. Body painting is also referred to as (a form of) "temporary tattoo"; large scale or full-body painting is more commonly referred to as body painting, while smaller or more detailed work can sometimes be referred to as temporary tattoos.
Body painting with clay and other natural pigments existed in most, if not all, tribalist cultures. Often worn during ceremonies, it still survives in this ancient form among the indigenous people of Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific islands and parts of Africa. A semi-permanent form of body painting known as Mehndi, using dyes made of henna (hence also known rather erroneously as "henna tattoo"), was and is still practiced in India and the Middle East, especially on brides. Since the late 1990s, Mehndi has become popular amongst young women in the Western world.
Many indigenous peoples of Central and South America paint Jagua Tattoos, or designs with Genipa americana juice on their bodies. Indigenous peoples of South America traditionally use annatto, huito, or wet charcoal to decorate their faces and bodies. Huito is semi-permanent, and it generally takes weeks for this black dye to fade.
Actors and clowns around the world have painted their faces—and sometimes bodies—for centuries, and continue to do so today. More subdued form of face paints for everyday occasions evolved into the cosmetics we know today.
Body painting is not always large pieces on fully nude bodies, but can involve smaller pieces on displayed areas of otherwise clothed bodies. There has been a revival of body painting in Western society since the 1960s, in part prompted by the liberalization of social mores regarding nudity and often comes in sensationalist or exhibitionist forms. Even today there is a constant debate about the legitimacy of body painting as an art form. The current modern revival could be said to date back to the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago when Max Factor, Sr. and his model Sally Rand were arrested for causing a public disturbance when he body-painted her with his new make-up formulated for Hollywood films. Body art today evolves to the works more directed towards personal mythologies, as Jana Sterbak, Rebecca Horn, Youri Messen-Jaschin, Jacob Alexander Figueroa or Javier Perez.
Body painting is sometimes used as a method of gaining attention in political protests, for instance those by PETA against Burberry.
Body painting led to a minor alternative art movement in the 1950s and 1960s, which involved covering a model in paint and then having the model touch or roll on a canvas or other medium to transfer the paint. French artist Yves Klein is perhaps the most famous for this, with his series of paintings "Anthropometries". The effect produced by this technique creates an image-transfer from the model's body to the medium. This includes all the curves of the model's body (typically female) being reflected in the outline of the image. This technique was not necessarily monotone; multiple colors on different body parts sometimes produced interesting effects.
Joanne Gair is a body paint artist whose work appeared for the tenth consecutive year in the 2008 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She burst into prominence with an August 1992 Vanity Fair Demi's Birthday Suit cover of Demi Moore. Her Disappearing Model was part of an episode of Ripley's Believe It or Not!.
Body painting festivals happen annually across the world, bringing together professional body painters as well as keen amateurs. Body paintings can also typically be seen at football matches, at rave parties, and at certain festivals. The World Bodypainting Festival in Pörtschach (previously held in Seeboden) in Austria is the biggest art event in the bodypainting theme and thousands of visitors admire the wonderful work of the participants.
Body painting festivals that take place in North America include the North American Body Painting Championship, Face and Body Art International Convention in Orlando, Florida, Bodygras Body Painting Competition in Nanaimo, BC and the Face Painting and Body Art Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Australia also has a number of body painting festivals, most notably the annual Australian Body Art Festival in Eumundi, Queensland, and the Australian Body Art Awards 
"Phoenix Rising" (2015) - Bodypaint by Syl Verberk, photography by Karl Hammer.