When creating any sort of look, whether it’s for cosplay or for a night on the town, it’s vital you have the right tools. However, the tools you need for a creative look compared to your standard beauty look are very different. While it’s important to have an almost endless supply of brushes to perfect that smokey eye, you want to avoid using brushes when using liquid latex – you will ruin your brushes no matter how much isopropyl myristrate you use.
For my creative looks, I use a host of random tools – sponges, cotton buds, cotton balls, toothpicks, spatulas, spoons and almost anything that’s just in sight. But there is one tool I constantly use, my steel make-up palette.
I mix a lot of colours together and have started mixing liquid latex with colour as well to enhance looks. So instead of ruining my plates or spending cash on paper cups, a steel make-up palette is essential. Like I said, you can mix different materials together but you can also squeeze out different products out so that you don’t end up with twenty different colours on the back of your hand. I even use my palette for my beauty looks – eyelash glue, mixing foundation, glitter mixes and more. It’s so handy.
The palette I use I bought off Amazon for cheap as chips, just under £5 (about €6). It came with a double-ended spatula as well, which is another tool I can’t live without. It’s the best way to mix together liquid products without wasting any!
So if you’re loving SFX make-up or are a beauty fanatic that’s looking for a new tool, a steel make-up palette is very handy to have.
I’ve been trying my hand at costume make-up for about a year now but my interest was sparked many moons ago. Halloween has always been my favourite holiday for as long as I can remember (next to Christmas, of course) because I get to go mad with my make-up and no one judges you. I love festivals for this reason as well! Any excuse to lash on glitter or put a vat of liquid latex on my face, I’m all for it.
But my ideas don’t come out of no where. There are some amazing make-up artists out there who inspire me daily – I’m a screenshot demon with these geniuses! Every look I do has been inspired in some shape or form by these MUAs below. With Halloween coming up, check out my top 9 SFX MUA’s to follow on Instagram.
Glam And Gore’s Mykie is someone I’ve been following for a few years now – you could even say she was my first influence into SFX. Just like her name suggests, she has some gorgeous glamorous tutorials as well as plenty of gorey, bloody tips and tricks for costume make-up. She is one of the most diverse and talented (if not the most talented) SFX MUA I follow on Instagram. She also has a fab YouTube channel.
Jordan Hanz is another SFX MUA I have looked up to over the years. Like Mykie, she does both beauty looks and costume looks. What I love the most about her looks is that she uses stuff you wouldn’t even think of using. She was the artist that introduced me to using hot glue guns (a cosplayer essential) for make-up looks. Obviously, you’re not putting hot glue on your face but just check out her Ice Queen tutorial on her YouTube to see what I’m talking about.
Where do I even begin with Goldie Starling? Real name Angie Davis, she puts in a massive amount of effort into all her looks. My favourite is her American Werewolf inspired look (above) because of the process of it all. It took time and effort but proves that hard works pays off. But she’s not all about spending hours on looks – she has some beautiful looks that seem intricate but are actually really doable. Check out her YouTube for more.
Made Yew Look’s Lex is one of the top body paint artists out there. Her make-up technique is so good that she’s able to trick the eye flawlessly. She also is a barrel of information about how to use basic SFX make-up and has dedicated a video on each product on her YouTube channel. Like Glam And Gore, I’ve been following her for a few years now and I haven’t looked back. Her looks are always interesting and innovative.
I’ve only been introduced to Rosie Mudie recently. It was while I was creeping for a quick idea I found her. What first caught my eye about her was her gorgeous skeleton look. She features a lot more beauty looks on her Instagram than costume looks but shows how easy it is to create costume looks with basic make-up products.
Jessica doesn’t have as many followers as the rest but her work is astounding and I can see her number growing rapidly soon. She reached out to me on Instagram when I posted a Deadpool look with some super helpful advice. I have been struggling trying to master the Marvel character’s face for so long and she gave me a few pointers on how to better it. Most of her looks are heavily gore based and are so good you will start to question if they’re real or not.
Marc Clancy aka Powdah is one cool dude. The quality of his work rivals that of a professional film make-up artist’s work who been in the business for decades. Another Instagram I’ve only come across recently, I’ve really enjoyed having a creep through his work. Be warned though, his Instagram is not for the faint hearted! Prepare to see some seriously gruesome work.
If ever you want to feel plain, look at Nicole’s Instagram. I am in love with her looks because she’ll take something already beautiful and vamp it up even more. Her Harley Quinn look is a great example of this. She also takes things that are not typically attractive looking but makes them sexy, like with her pirate look. What I love the most about her work is the amount of glitter she uses – I’m a sucker for a bit of sparkle!
Fernanda Machado is one gorgeous gal. She recently revealed that she had shaved her head – something I truly admire. Like with drastically changing her hair style, she is also incredibly brave with her looks. She was a finalist in the Nyx Face Awards this year and it was at the ceremony that she revealed her new ‘do. Fernanda chose to shave her head for her final video for the competition just to prove how dedicated she is to her art. If you haven’t seen her video about her Nyx experience and shaving head, definitely check it out.
If there is one thing I hate more than waiting for liquid latex to dry, it’s working with nose and scar wax. It is the most annoying product I’ve dealt with yet as I’m learning Special FX make-up. It’s taken me a fair few tries to figure out these simple little things to make it fair more workable. But thanks to some super helpful friends from the web and from my life, I’m finally able to use it properly! There are a lot of things to remember when using it but eventually it does become second nature. I’m currently working with Mehron Modelling Putty/Wax and it’s pretty stubborn, but fortunately I have five tips on what to do to make it easier.
The most important thing to know is that scar wax is a solid. You are going to need to warm it up somehow, and the easiest way is between your hands. Roll it out between your hands either into a snake or ball shape, whichever kind of shape you need for your make-up.
Buy A Spatula
It’s also pretty vital that you invest in a metal spatula. I got a cheap one off from Amazon that also came with a metal palette for mixing.
Moisturiser Is Your New Best Friend
SERIOUSLY. I would be lost without this tip. One of the best tips I’ve ever gotten was to use Vaseline to make the wax less sticky. I found that Vaseline was a bit too slippy so instead I use a body moisturiser or lotion to smooth it out. I rub a bit on my hands when I’m warming it up but also dip my spatula into the moisturiser when I’m smoothing the wax out on my skin or prop. If the spatula is leaving too many marks on the wax, I put a little bit of the cream on the tips of my fingers to blend it better into my skin.
Make It Look Natural
The scar wax I’m using it a more reddy colour than my pale cool toned skin and it looks even worse when I’m wearing my glorious orange fake tan. Because of this, I have a variety of powders and creams handy so I can balance out the colour to match my skin. It’s pretty simple, just think of it like making your foundation lighter or darker. For instance, I would use an orange or brown powder or cream to darken the wax to my skin colour. If it’s darker than my skin I generally use a white eye pencil to make it lighter. I use an eyeliner pencil just because I find it much easier to use than a cream and it gets the job done quickly!
Keep It In Place
Another helpful tip I got from another special FX fan is that to make sure your prosthetic stays in place is to invest in prosaide. I’m not too familar with it as I’ve only ever used spirit gum and that gets the job done fine. The only downside to spirit gum is that you need spirit gum remover to take it off but with prosaide you can use soapy water or my favourite product, isopropyl myristate. To keep the wax in place, smooth is out into your desired shape on your hand, smooth it down then carefully remove it. Apply the prosaide where you want the prosthetic to stick and put the wax back down. Again smooth it out using a little bit of moisturiser and apply more prosaide where needed.
And that’s really it! It is going to be the most annoying product you’ll ever work with but once you have these key tips in mind, it becomes much easier. I’m still no pro at it but I’ve learnt how to be better, which is the most important thing. Hopefully this helped you out if you hate nose and scar wax as much as me!