For the past few weeks, I’ve been dappling with various cosplay make-up looks, particularity the Joker and Deadpool. Whilst the Joker was pretty easy, Deadpool gave me a hard time (Are we surprised?) You can check out a few looks of what I’ve been working with in the slideshow below! Whilst practicing, I made a pretty stupid mistake right off the bat, which was I did NOT prep my skin for applying liquid latex. This inspired me to write this post so that no one else makes the same silly mistake.
First, what is liquid latex? It’s a product often used within special FX makeup and one of the most commonly used. Many cosplayers use it to create scars, cuts, added features and more to a costume. Liquid latex contains about one third latex and about two thirds water. There’s less than 1% ammonia in the mixture to keep it from spoiling and to control the pH. It’s the first product I got for my growing special FX kit! Now, let’s get down to how to use the stuff.
1. Before doing anything, shake your bottle of liquid latex and then open it for 3 to 5 minutes to let that slight ammonia smell diffuse out in a properly ventilated area. Also, don’t put the product anywhere near your eyes or nose. Even with opening it for a while, it can irritate your eyes and nose. I think it goes without saying to not put this stuff in your mouth. We’re not in playschool and eating glue anymore.
2. Finally, you can now put this stuff on your skin. Well, almost. You’ve got to test to see if you’re allergic to it first. Just like with hair dye, you have to make sure you’re not gonna blow up or turn bright red if you slap the liquid latex all over you. Do a patch test; take a small bit of the product and place it on a small bit of skin, like behind your ear, on your wrist, any part of skin that you can hide if things go wrong. If all goes well, you can get started on making some awesome costume make-up.
3. Next, make sure your skin is ready to handle this pore-clogging substance. The best way to do this is to exfoliate your face the night before, then cleanse and moisturise a few minutes before applying the liquid latex. To save any pain in the future, apply some Vaseline (or petroleum jelly) on your hairline and a bit over your top lip just before your ready to start getting to work. This acts as a barrier between the latex and your baby hairs.
4. Speaking of, you’re best to be hairless. If you’ve a beard or even a bit of a moustache, either shave it off or apply some Vaseline on top. I did a stupid thing of applying liquid latex all over my face for my second attempt of Deadpool and oh my God. The absolute pain of having to peel all that off. Let’s just say, if you don’t wanna pay to get your eyebrows waxed but you’ve an abundance of liquid latex, you’re sorted.
5. The next part is actually applying the liquid latex. You can use your fingers, whole hand, a sponge, a brush, whatever you fancy! If you are using a brush, wash that bad boy as fast as possible, ’cause that stuff is hard to wash off. The best I’ve found to remove the latex is acetone (and thick gloves!) but your brush will never be much use again. Invest in a heap of cheap sponges that you can throw out after, it’s honestly the best! I picked up a massive pack bag from Penney’s for €1.50. Or you can be super cheap and just use your fingers, but this is a messier process than sponges!
6. The most stressful part of liquid latex is really waiting for it to dry. The best prep advice I can give for wearing liquid latex to a con is to create all your bits before your event. And do it well before! You can re-attach any prosthetic you made with spirit gum. What is spirit gum? It’s kind of like glue for your face. Again, patch test it. It’s most commonly used in costume make-up for applying false hair to the face or sticking down a bald cap/wig. It’s pretty handy! Definitely a great investment if you are interested in costume/cosplay make-up.
Handy tip: When you’re applying it, just follow your instincts. You’ll know best what’s going to work out. And if you’re totally lost, there are HEAPS of YouTube tutorials on how to do almost any kind of costume make-up. There’s no rule book on how to apply liquid latex, you’ve just got to keep trying and failing until you find a technique that works for you. Don’t think less is more, because more is best!
So god speed, my friends! You can check here on the best way to remove liquid latex and other costume make-up prosthetics.