This article is an effort to compile a demonstration introducing beginning makeup enthusiasts on special FX Makeup. It requires about 2 hours, which may be divided into bodypaint and buildup effects, and molded prosthetics. It requires an assistant/model to aid in the demonstrations.


  • This is Effects makeup, not beauty makeup!
  • Disclaimer, panel contains some gore.
  • This panel is on techniques and materials, not on artistic skill. If you want that, study drawing and anatomy.


  • Use products and techniques at your own risk.
  • MSDS is your friend
  • Sanitary concerns, makeup care
  • Latex Allergies
  • Particulate matter and Silicosis
  • Avoid VOCs
  • Fire Safety
  • Preventing stains and other messes.
  • Special FX Contact lenses.


  • Avoid pricey makeup brushes, art brushes work just as well
  • Sponges
    • White Polyurethane (Buy lots!)
    • Natural sponges (for dry cake)
    • Stipple sponges (more later)
  • Powder puffs
  • Q-tips and makeup applicators

Paint (body makeup)Edit

  • Body chemistry affects holding power.
  • Brand matters a bit less than you may think.

Halloween makeup Edit

Street makeup Edit

Street makeup Comes in wide variety, some is just fine for simple effects, others are junk.

Loose powder ("Mineral") makeup Edit

  • Effectively just pure pigment + mica.
  • Good for colormatching over latex


  • Greasepaint is inexpensive and readily available at costume shops
  • Waterproof
  • Easy to blend
  • Thick; Hard to apply evenly
  • Weak against heat
  • How to powder

Rubber Mask Greasepaint (RMGP)Edit

  • Somewhat obsolete

Creme makeup Edit

  • Similar to greasepaint, but much smoother.
  • High opacity, popular for stage makeup

Dry cake Edit

  • Max Factor available most anywhere
  • Natural sponge works best
  • Not waterproof
  • China-doll/mannequin appearance

Moist cake Edit

  • Genericized trade name, "Aquacolor" (Kryolan)
  • Good coverage, interesting blending properties.
  • Set with fixitive spray/hairspray

Alcohol Activated makeup Edit

  • Extremely popular in Hollywood
  • Strongest hold of any makeup category.
  • Expensive, and generally cannot be found in stores
  • Professional product, take care when using alcohol.

PAX Edit

  • Professional product; generally recognized as safe.
  • Pros-aide + LiquiteX, invented by Dick Smith
  • Make it yourself! Prosthetic adhesive (prosaide) and whatever color or blend of acrylic paint desired
  • MUST be powdered!
  • Stains like mad, lasts for days.

Airbrush makeup Edit

  • Preformulated, or liquid makeup
  • AA Makeup
  • PAX If careful.
  • Selecting an airbrush & pump
  • Stencils

Demo application of an airbrush tattoo

Scars & 3d effects Edit

  • Simple scars can just be drawn; often quite appropriate for anime cosplays.

Collodion Edit

  • Technically two types, flexible and rigid
  • Quick and easy scar (demonstrate)
  • Keep away from eyes and nose

Demo a quick Kenshin-type scar

Liquid Latex Edit

  • Most effective when combined with some bulking material (cotton, paper towels, grains, seeds, cereal)
  • Paper thin edge
  • Ammonia, avoid if possible, avoid eyes and nose in high amounts.

Demo a Zuko type scar

Derma wax, nose putty, putty wax Edit

  • Once used commonly in stage makeup and silent films.
  • Low adhesion not terribly reccomended for cosplay.

Gelatin Edit

  • Cheap, can be made from grocery store ingredients
  • Some formulations better against moisture and heat than others

Demonstrate making the stuff

Silicone Edit

  • The hip new thing among the pros
  • Expensive, and must be ordered
  • Easy, lifelike, flexible, stays on, and reusable

Run the Brick in the Yard video

Blood Edit

  • Homemade is perfectly good, better than most prefab bloods

Demonstrate recipe

  • Unfortunatley, issues with staining make it ungood for cosplays
  • A/B blood or powdered blood for stagefight wounds
  • Gel blood based on gelatine, silicone, or prefabricated bloods are all much less messy.
  • Guts can be made by drizzling latex into vinegar, or making sheets of latex and drenching them in blood.

Fangs Edit

  • Scarecrow fangs are usually just fine
  • Dental Acrylic is nasty stuff, but it's safe once cured.
  1. take dental impression
  2. make lifecast
  3. seal cast
  4. Sculpt dentures in clay or wax
  5. Make Flexible mold
  6. Clean off clay/wax
  7. cast dentures
  8. finish


Effectively the same technique on a larger scale, and with different casting materials.

Foam LatexEdit

  • Difficult, messy, fairly expensive, fragile.
  • Classic, all Start Trek makeup was latex.


  • Cheap, reusable, realistic
  • Fragile

PU (Cold) foamEdit

  • Great for props, usually not recommended for prosthetics due to toxicity.


  • Much of the same techniques as buildup effects.
  • Will not cure against sulfure products (certain clays, foam latex)