Special FX Wiki

A bald cap is an appliance used to mask a wearer's hair and create the illusion that they are bald. Most inexpensive bald caps are made from latex. However, bald caps can concievably be constructed from dozens of different materials. Many of the newer alternative synthetics are preferable as they can allow you to dissolve the edges with products such as alcohol or acetone.

Commercial prefabricated bald caps often attempt to come in a one-size-fits-most shape, with a neutral flesh tone. In professional situations where an effect has to be repeatable, it can be benificial to run a line of custom-fit bald caps. WATER-MELON™, a water-based liquid vinyl released by Michael Davy, is designed for just such a purpose.

Bald cap usage has grown to serve other purposes. They are often used to shield a subject's hair during the process of lifecasting. They are used when a subject's natural hair cannot be completely hidden beneath a wig. They are used to facilitate the application of cowl prosthetics or full-head prosthetic masks as they keep the hair from protruding from the cowl, they reproduce the form of the orgiginal lifecast (as mentioned, taken with a baldcap in place), and prevent tugging on the hair during the often akward process of donning and adhearing the prosthetic.

There are two DVD's that show how to apply Bald caps. One is by Ed French and shows how to manufacture and apply a latex bald cap. It was long considered to be the be all end all of bald cap application.  However, it dealt only with latex caps and the model in the video was a short haired guy.  In 2009,  Michael Mosher http://makeupguy.com/bald-cap-dvd/ put out another DVD. This DVD covers how to put on a plastic/vinyl bald cap for the rigors of High Definintion.  Mosher also shows how to take long hair and hide it undernearth a bald cap fairly quickly and easily.  The methond he uses to paint the caps also makes it faster and easier.

The brand Woochie is synonymous with rubber bald caps, which are good for haunted houses and opera, but they are too thick to be of much use for film or TV.


The most unusual approach to bald caps are the Cannom caps, named for Greg Cannom. General knowledge was in Hollywood was that latex baldcaps couldn't be made with a good edge. Urban legend has it that Cannom did not know that and made his own by stippling multiple layers of latex over a head form. The cap could be made in an hour or so on location with a custom front, no toxic chemicals and an indetectable blending edge.

A head form, a head cast, or even mannequin dummy can be used with the prefered blending edge marked on for reference. Sometimes the form is stippled with a skin texture in the negative, so that the inside of the cap becomes the pore textured exterior. The trick to the cap is stipple on first layer of Sculpture House Pliatex Mold Rubber thinly with a sponge on the cap area and beyond and then to stipple on the next layer on all areas except the 1/8" on either side of the blending edge. Hair dryer can speed the process but is often unnecessary if the layer is thin.The third layer stops 1/4" in on either side of the blending edge and so on. This will make cap that tapers down in the last 3/4" to a 1 layer blending edge; also leaving a thicker area below the blending edge as a handle.

Change sponges when the latex acts like contact cement on the already dried cap. Any cutup pieces of upholstery or urethane foam will do. Once twenty layers or so are on, dried and powdered, the piece is removed and powdered carefully with the handle and blending edge intact. Generally the cap is turned inside out to catch the texture of the form instead of the roughness of the stipple. Since the piece is pure rubber it is very stretchy and almost one size fits all.

During application, lightly pulling on the handle will stretch out the blending edge. Once applied, the edge is again pulled and a brush with a little naptha or lighter fluid is held to the blending edge to corrode the one layer edge right up to glued down area. When dried, prosaid is stippled over the edge to seal. Unlike plastic caps, which hold well but can slip back during use, I've never seen these move. PAX paint, intrinsic coloring or RMG's work well as a finish. If you get good at intrinsic coloration with powder and the form is rough enough to leave a matte surface, you can prepaint PAX inside and use the natural translucency of the rubber to actually make a thin translucent stretchy cap Ed French's "BALD CAP!The Video" details the process and I think he sells similar caps at [[1]]

Applying a prefabricated latex bald cap[]

You will need:

  • A bald cap obviously
  • Scissors: to trim the bald cap.
  • A fine-tip water based marker: to mark where to trim. A light color may be preferable
  • A skin-safe adhesive: For most cases, spirit gum is sufficient. In extreme cases, pros aide will provide a better hold.
  • Rubber Mask Greasepaint: to blend and color the mask. Any other non-oil based makeup is also acceptable.
  • Liquid latex: to blend the seams into the skin.
  • Old-age stipple (optional): confuses the eye and makes the seam still harder to see.
  • Various tools found in a standard makeup kit


  1. Prep the subject so they are seated comfortably in an upright position, consider some provision to prevent sullying the subject's clothing.
  2. Pin and/or gel down the subject's hair such that it is as flat against the head.
  3. Tailor the bald cap: Place the bald cap on the subject in the desired position. Draw lines with the marker where you'll want to trim the cap. This will likely include around the ears, on the back, and possibly on the front.
  4. Remove the cap and trim where your lines were drawn.
  5. refit the cap and check that you are satisfied. Repeat the above steps as nessisary.
  6. mark faint lines perprendicular to the border of the cap around the perimiter, spaning from the cap to the subject's skin. You'll be able to tell where the cap should be placed should you move it or if it slips.
  7. working in small sections of about two inches, apply your choosen adhesive as the product reccomends. Check the orientation lines each time before you adhere the cap to the skin.
  8. You may now wash off the orientation lines if needed.
  9. blend a thin line of liquid latex just outside the cap's edge in order to obfuscate it.
  10. If desired, stipple old-age stipple along the face and the baldcap to further mask the seems.
  11. if attempting a bald-person effect, one must first apply makeup such that the facial skintone matches the baldcap tone. Baldcaps are often translucent, so this step may be especially crucial for certain hair and skin color combinations.
  12. painting the details is probably the most crucial part. A bald head has liver-spots, freckles, visible blood vessles, and other discolorations. The details of accomplishing this are beyond the scope of this procedure, but are vitally important to consider.

External Links[]

Michael Davy's official website. This guy is an absolute authority on baldcaps (among other things), and is known to be very good to answer any questions.

www.makeupguy.com/Makeupguy.com/The_Store.html‎ to buy Michael Mosher's Bald Caps for HD DVD