As Halloween stalks nearer, we are accustomed to hearing more and more questions about special effects makeup. The most common one being, “I’m doing effects for the first time. What do I need to have?” This question is fully loaded since there are so many ways to create special effects, but in this post, we’re going to cover the most extreme basics with a product list that will get you ready for Halloween and beyond.
Ben Nye Professional FX Wheels
Ben Nye Creme Color Professional FX Wheels are great for beginners because they each contain multiple colors (four or six each), and range in price from $16-$20 making them incredibly economical for both your wallet and your kit. The Rainbow Wheel is an ideal starting point since it has the primary colors red, yellow, and blue, along with secondary colors orange and green. It also contains black. This wheel is great for learning color mixing and can make almost any shade needed. For a time-saving shortcut, check out the wheels based on themes or characters. Zombie, Death, Monster, Master Bruise, and Master Disaster are some of the options that will have you coloring your effects faster than ever.
Ben Nye Nose and Scar Wax
Ben Nye Nose and Scar Wax comes in three shades: Fair, Light Brown, and Brown. Choose the wax closest to your skin tone to diminish the need to paint it to match your skin. This wax is moldable and can be used for cuts, scars, burns, and even advanced effects like tendons. Be sure to have moisturizer on hand to keep the wax from sticking to your fingers.
And how do you get it to stick to your skin?
Ben Nye Spirit Gum
If this post is beginning to sound like an advertisement for the brand, it’s not. It’s just that Ben Nye products have been used for decades by budding artists and pros alike because they are safe, perform well, and are cost-effective. If you’re just starting with effects makeup, Ben Nye Spirt Gum is very newbie-friendly because it is a mild formula that has good hold. Remember when working with it, be sure it doesn’t get in the eyes or mouth, and always have a remover on hand.
Alcone Company Stage Blood
Alcone Company Stage Blood is an excellent choice for Halloween makeup or anytime you want some cool blood effects but are also on a budget. You’ll get the most bang for your buck and have plenty of the product for experimenting too. This bright blood lends itself well to gruesome effects but keep it outside of the eye and mouth; there is detergent in the formula for easy washing out of fabrics.
Alcone Company Liquid Latex
Alcone Company Liquid Latex is an SFX makeup staple. It can be used with tissue to create scars and applied over taut skin for old age makeup effects. You can also mix it with loose cotton for elephantiasis, layer it on glass for painted prosthetics, and use it to stipple over the appliance edges to blend them into the skin. It’s usefulness when making out of kit effects is innumerable, and the more you work with it, the more you will find ways to use it.
Dick Smith Brush Set
How do I apply all this color and spirit gum!? The Dick Smith Brush Set.
It contains six pieces of synthetic brushes that vary in shape from wide paddles to tapered tips, allowing you to create both broad strokes and detailed effects. Synthetic fiber brushes are invaluable when doing effects work because they’re incredibly sturdy and deposit products onto the skin (or prosthetic appliance) quickly and evenly. They’re also easy to clean and inexpensive–a big plus for beginners.
Stage Makeup 10th Edition by Richard Corson
Ok, so now you’ve got the gear, but what about the know-how? How do you use all these things? Fortunately, Stage Makeup by Richard Corson is here to teach you with its more than four hundred pages of information, including everything you need to learn basic out-of-kit effects at your own pace. It also contains lessons on corrective makeup, hair and wigs, and film and television techniques with contributions from Dick Smith, Matthew Mungle, and John McFall. From old age effects made by highlights and shadows to full-on prosthetic fabrication and application, Stage Makeup will have you up and running and creating phenomenal makeup effects with confidence in no time!
Special effects makeup represents a world of possibilities where wax turns people into creatures, plastic tubing makes a werewolf puppet breathe, and rubber prosthetics safely replicate dangerous wounds. It can be broad, challenging, and sometimes intimidating, but with the right tools in hand and your imagination, it can be magical and make your Halloween downright fantastic! Get ready to wow your friends, family, and those neighborhood kids with your incredible SFX makeup skills.
This post contributed by J.D. Kraemer