Its no surprise that now-a-days gore has become something that requires LOTS
of blood to satisfy audiences, and with the addition of CGI to horror flicks, the
need for hours in a makeup chair for prosthetic applications has been cut down.
But what about indie films? Photo shoots? Local Haunts? Those that don’t have
the funds, time, or NEED for CGI? I learned everything I know about SFX Makeup
through books, movie watching and watching other artists work. I have not yet
converted to GELFLESH, but will eventually convert as many people are allergic
to latex. Throughout my time with the mafia I will be treating all of you horror-
loving readers to how-to makeup sessions, the latest happenings in the SFX
world, spotlighting movies for their SFX work, and of course, talking the latest
and comings in the SFX world and the artists who make it what it is. While I’m a
newbie to the craft, I’m learning more every day, and I will also be bringing those
experiences to you, what’s it like to be a freelance artist? What’s it like to be
to this world? What’s it like to work on movie sets, haunts, etc? And everything
For my first article, Ill be treating you guys to a very simple, yet VERY effective
and fun how-to. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE make sure that whoever you will be
trying this makeup on is not allergic to latex products. Take a small amount of
latex and dab it on the forearm, if for any reason it itches or burns, remove the
product with soap and water and stop what you’re doing.
What You need:
-Latex (I use Ben Nye, and you can buy it in “natural” color as well
as “clear”. There is also a “sensitive skin” option through Ben Nye.)
-Black and Red Aqua Color (or a similar black face/body paint: I use
Kryolan Aqua Color in Black 071 and Red 079) Aqua Color is a Glycerin
Based makeup used primarily for face and body painting. A little goes
A LONG way, and all that’s needed is a moistened sponge or brush and
voila! If you do not have access to aqua color, you can easily find black
face/body paint through places like Spirit Stores or even grocery stores
around the Halloween season!
-Bruise Wheel. (I use Ben Nye Master Bruise Wheel.)
-A brush for use ONLY in the latex, once a brush is used in latex, its
pretty hard to strip and re-use for anything else. You can also use
makeup spatulas to apply latex.
-Two fine tipped brushes for shading, painting and applying blood and
also a blush brush to be used with your finishing powder.
-Loose finishing powder. (Can be found in the makeup aisle of any store)
-Paper towels, a cup of water, and a paper bag/something to cover your
-Fake Nails. (Optional)
-And lastly, BLOOD! You don’t need a lot, I use FX Blood as well as fresh
Now that you have everything you need, set everything out, and wash your hands
thoroughly. Whether its you, or someone else you’ll be applying this makeup on,
make sure the area is washed and dried. NOTE: Regardless of what TYPE of latex
you chose, it will dry clear so don’t worry about that glob of pale pink, yellowish
stuff on your hand. You can apply this makeup on ANY of your fingers (OR TOES!) If
you’re wanting the broken nail look to go along with this, find the nail that matches
the finger you’ve chosen and have fun with it! Crack it, cut it, hit it with a hammer,
it’s your creation. Once you’ve gotten your nail cracked the way you want it, apply
it as noted in the directions, with the nail glue and wait for it to dry and set.
Be careful, nail glue is sticky and because of the cracks and crevices you’ve now
made, the liquid is likely to seep through, grab a brush and use the end to help
hold down the nail and set it. But what if the nail breaks or parts of it crack off?
THAT’S OKAY! It will just make it look cooler. The beauty with SFX makeup is that
a “mistake” can actually MAKE the makeup.
Once your nail is set the first step is to uncap your latex and take the designated
latex brush, dipping it into the latex and applying to the skin. With latex, a little
goes a long way, and its completely up to you how you want your “cut” to go. Think
about your injury. How did you get it? Was your finger slammed in a car door? Was
it bitten? Was it hit with a hammer? Put into consideration the method of how you
injured yourself. Once the latex has begun to dry (it will turn
a yellowy color and begin to blend with your skin), take your toothpick and carefully
run it along the middle of the latex line you’ve made.
This is the part that requires you to be tedious and careful, but don’t worry if
you tear some away or part of it doesn’t rip down the middle (as seen in the picture),
leave it alone and when it comes time to apply makeup, it’s an easy fix.
Now you have your cut, and a cracked nail, its looking a little funky right? That’s
okay, its supposed to. Take your finishing powder and blush brush and lightly dust
the cut, this will help take away some of that shiny look and help set it. Next up
comes your black aqua color and a fine tipped brush. Wet the brush (if its required,
paints that come in bruise wheels or other costume shop type makeup’s don’t require
you to use a wet brush), pick up some paint on your brush and run it along the inside
crevices of your cut, this will give it depth and make it pop! Also dab some along
the side of your finger and near the nail. Repeat the same actions with the red aqua
Next comes your bruise wheel. This is where you get to be creative with this
injury. Use purples and dark reds to give it depth as well as color along the finger
nail and side of the finger to give the illusion of swelling, and bruising. Blend
along the edges of the latex to help them pop and give it more of an illusion that
your skin really did rip from your fingernail and down your hand.
Lastly, comes your blood! Take your other fine tip brush and dip it into the blood
(or fresh scratch!) and run it along the inside of the cut and along the cuticle
and side of your finger. Once you’ve got that done, dab some blood along the edges
of the cut. It’s even okay to drip some outside of the cut towards the bottom of
your hand, this is your creation so have fun with it, you can never have too much
blood. The cuts I’ve made are thinner, but you can definitely make them larger and
extend them (or shorten them) however much you’d like.
I hope this was fun and easy for you guys! It takes a little bit of practice and
playing around but once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s a very fun and effective
injury to use and play jokes on your friends and family!