The Stage Deformity
Tips and tricks to creating the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage makeup design using basic supplies (including liquid latex).
(BroadwayCon 2016, photo by Janna LaPenter)
- Liquid Latex (*see warnings below*)
- Cotton balls
- Foundation Makeup (greasepaint, creme, water-based, etc)
- Translucent Setting Powder (for creme and greasepaint makeups)
- Eye liner/shadow for highlights/lowlights (or cream makeup highlights/lowlights)
- Makeup sponges
- Sponge paint brushes
- Castor Sealer (for creme makeup)
- ProFace No-Sweat Spray
- Prosthetic adhesive (such as Telesis, Pros-Aide, medical adhesive, etc....requires remover)
- Barrier/Setting Spray
* DO NOT USE LATEX IF YOU HAVE A LATEX ALLERGY
* Avoid getting liquid latex in your hair or clothing. It is difficult/impossible to remove!
* Avoid using Barrier Spray or No-Sweat spray around your eyes
* Allow about two hours from start to finish
Types of Makeup:
There are numerous options to choose from when it comes to selecting the type of makeup (foundation) to use. Generally speaking, stay away from everyday street makeup you can find in drug stores, etc, and stick to theatrical quality makeup. It'll have much better coverage and therefore be much more effective. I've stuck to creme makeup over the years, but one thing to keep in mind if using creme makeup is the need for castor sealer as well. You cannot put creme makeup on latex, because the latex will begin to break down. Creme makeup lacks the castor oil ingredient to prevent this, so before you put on any cream makeup, you must put castor sealer on the latex first. Let that sit ten minutes or so, then wipe the excess off. After that you can apply the creme makeup over the latex and continue. Creme makeup also requires the use of setting powder to set the makeup and prevent it from rubbing off all over you and your clothing. Rubber mask grease paint (RMGP) is a widely used makeup made especially for latex appliances, therefore requires no preparation with the castor sealer. I would suggest RMGP only for use on the appliances, though, and not the entire face. Use creme, water-based, etc makeup everywhere else if you choose RMGP for the latex. RMGP also requires powder to set it, and generally much more powder than creme makeup does. Water-based cake makeup is another option, and should not require any special preparation. Finally, alcohol-activated makeup is a fine choice that does not need any preparation or setting materials like spray or powder. It stays put on one's face very well on its own. However, it's generally much pricier than other options listed here. For a list of theatrical makeup websites, scroll to the bottom of my Makeup page.
You may want to cover your brow to conceal it and protect the hair from the latex. You can purchase eyebrow plastic to cover, use gelatin such as Mehron 3D Gel, or go especially low-tech with a simple bar of soap. To use this method, simply dampen the soap and rub it into the brow with and against the hair growth until all the hair is well covered. Smooth the hair down and cover with cream makeup, latex, or whatever other product you intend on using. Spirit gum and glue sticks also work well for blocking out eyebrows.
Advice on Adhesives:
Spirit gum is a favorite sell for Halloween shops, but it is a poor choice for attaching prosthetics. It is much better suited for lace hair pieces and crepe hair. It is cheap and easily found, but be aware that there are higher quality products available. A silicone or acrylic based adhesive such as Telesis or Pros-Aide, respectively, will offer a much more secure bond. Be aware that these more powerful adhesives require a proper removal agent.
Full Makeup Application Demonstration:
Creating the Stage Disfigurement
1. Start with a clean face
2. Pour small amount of liquid latex onto disposable plate or dish (after allowing it to sit in the open bottle for a moment to allow ammonia smell to dissipate) and dip sponge brush into it
3. Use the sponges or sponge paint brushes to apply in thin layers to desired area (in my case the cheek, around the nose/mouth, and just under the jaw)
4. Rip cotton balls into desired size and roll pieces of cotton in latex
5. Apply to face in desired areas and allow to dry
6. Apply several layers of latex over the cotton to help smooth and secure it
7. Once finished with latex applications, apply Castor Sealer to latex (ONLY if using creme makeup) and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes, then wipe it off
8. Apply foundation makeup with sponge
9. Apply setting powder to help set the creme or greasepaint makeup and prevent it from smudging
10. Create highlights/lowlights using eye liner and eye shadow to desired effect (if using cream highlights/shadows, powder after each color)
11. Apply lip color as desired.
12. Spray setting spray over face and all areas covered by makeup to prevent it from rubbing off (consider using cotton balls to apply the setting spray in order to prevent it from getting in the eyes)
* Apply prosthetic adhesive to glue the edges back down if/when latex separates from the skin (remove using an adhesive remover or 90+% Isopropyl Alcohol)
* To remove the latex (with no adhesive), simply peel off. Remove foundation makeup with makeup remover cloths, cold cream, etc
* If using gelatin to cover eyebrows or as a substitute for the latex, see the gelatin tutorial for instructions
Comments or questions regarding the makeup process? Please email me at phantom[at]phantomonabudget.com!