I think this may be the first tutorial on my blog? I want to start doing more tutorials in the future though so watch this space!
Anyhow, after doing a poll on my Twitter, a few people said that they’d be interested in a Halloween SFX tutorial. This is probably one of the most common looks to do for Halloween but once you get the basic principles of how to apply and work with the latex, you could easily branch out and do different wounds, slit throats and lots more.
Now, I’m no expert with liquid latex at all. SFX is something I’ve only really tried in the past few weeks but with the right tools it’s really quite easy to do. It can also be fairly cheap if you know the right places to get supplies. I do a course in Hair & Media Makeup at the moment and in one of my first lessons, I picked up some latex and just used my initiative to create a wound on my arm. Aside from it being very poorly painted with face paints rather than foundation, it was pretty good for a first attempt with no instruction. Since then, I created a couple more wounds, a slit throat and this look twice.
I do use SFX stuff for this tutorial but along the way, I’ll tell you alternatives for what I have and use.
Without any further ado, let’s create this look!
(Note: Apologies for the terrible quality photos! The lighting isn’t great in my room so my iPhone selfie cam doesn’t take great photos)
You Will Need:
Your normal makeup
Full coverage foundation
Banana powder or translucent powder
Liquid latex (Runny or more solid. Runny does have better effects but the more solid latex is more readily available from party shops, Wilkos if you live in the UK and many other places stocking halloween makeup)
Tissue paper (2 or 3 ply)
Cotton wool balls
White or light coloured eyeliner/lipliner
Nail Scissors or small scissors
Fake blood (You can get this pretty much anywhere that stocks halloween goods. Cheap blood works just as well as expensive)
Red, brown and/or black face paint (I use Snazaroo single paints but most stores with halloween stuff have small colour wheels with reds and browns and other colours)
Makeup sponges (Have a couple to hand because the one you use for latex won’t be any good to apply foundation or blood!)
Brushes (Preferably ones you don’t mind potentially getting ruined. I use a pack of small paintbrushes from The Works and some I found on eBay)
Step One: Step one to this look is really easy. Scrape any hair back off your face and tie it back securely. Try to make sure no hair at all is on your face or falling on your face because when you get to applying the liquid latex, you’ll get hairs stuck and it hurts. You can also take a razor and shave the lower third of your face from the nose down. This is entirely optional but I find it does sometimes help when taking off the liquid latex because it’s not giving your face a good waxing!
Step Two: Apply a full face of makeup as you desire. Try to use as full coverage foundation as possible because this will make camouflaging the latex easier. You can be as glam or as minimal as you like. You don’t need to do the lips because you’ll be covering them later. If you have the Dermacol foundation that covers absolutely everything, use this.
Step Three: This is the main prep stage. Make sure you’re somewhere where you can clean up easily and if possible, cover your clothes with a towel. If you’re going in costume, it’s best to put it on before the SFX makeup because it’s a lot easier.
Separate the tissue paper into the individual sheets. If you go to the corner, you can see how many thinner sheets it breaks off into. With these sheets, rip them into strips and vary sizes between larger and smaller. Do the same with the cotton wool- pull off wispy bits as a pose to chunky bits.
Step Four: Draw an outline of where you are going to apply the latex in the white or light coloured eyeliner or lip liner. If you can imagine a Cheshire Cat grin, draw the mouth so that the lines start about a third of the way into your top lip, curve up to almost the ear and down and under the mouth to connect with the other side.
Step Five: This will be your first layer of latex. If you’re using the runny latex, use a makeup sponge but if using the thicker stuff from joke shops or the halloween aisle, spread on using a spatula or tongue depressor or even the end of a teaspoon!
Try to work in small sections so it doesn’t dry so quick. Put down the latex and then cover it with the tissue. Cover the entire area before letting it dry completely. To speed this up, you can take a hairdryer and blow dry the latex but be careful not to burn yourself.
Step Six: Repeat step five all over again on top of the first layer of latex.
Step Seven: When both tissue layers are dry, apply a layer of latex and then put the cotton wool on top instead of tissue paper. You may look a bit like Santa Claus but don’t worry, this isn’t the final look!
Step Eight: Apply the final coat of latex but this time, don’t cover it. Apply it all over the cotton wool until it’s not fluffy. I find the cotton wool adds strength to the latex and paper and creates a thicker skin to create a deeper looking wound.
At this point, if you can almost blend the edges of you SFX into the face so it looks more natural, do so. Just take the latex on its own and neaten up the edges so the SFX looks more natural. It’s hard to explain but when you come to do it, you’ll be able to see what I’m on about.
Step Nine: Allow everything to dry completely before continuing. The latex shouldn’t be so sticky when it’s dry and it may look shiny. You can check the progress of the latex by gently touching it with your finger.
Step Ten: Once dry, use another makeup sponge to start covering the latex with foundation and blending it with the face to make it look more natural. If your foundation oxidises, the new coat of foundation will look lighter to what’s already on the face but you can give it time to oxidise slightly or use a banana powder or bronzer to match the latex as closely as possible to your skin. If you haven’t already, set the foundation with setting powder or the banana powder. I use banana powder.
Step Eleven: Using small scissors, start to cut the latex layers. Start at the corner of the mouth and without opening the blades, carefully slide the scissors under the latex to separate it from your skin. It should come away easily.
Then, start cutting each side in a smile shape. Don’t go right to where your latex ends, but I find ending the cuts in line with the outer corner of the eye works well.
Step Twelve: These cuts will look really clean and unnatural so take your scissors and cut away some of the latex to create a larger rip and more jagged edges. Fold back the flaps of the latex to make it look like the skin is peeling away from the wound.
Step Thirteen: This is optional but I usually take a light dusting of bronzer and sweep it along the edges of the cut to make the fake skin rips look more red and inflamed. More warm toned bronzers can give the illusion of inflammation and bruising but how much you go to town on skin details is down to you.
Step Fourteen: Now onto painting! First paint the exposed skin red. It doesn’t matter if it’s not neat or colours the latex, no wound is perfect!
Then, layer the brown or black around the edges of the exposed skin and more under the flaps of the latex. This adds depth and dimension to the wound. There is no right or wrong way to paint a wound but if you’re not too squeamish, a quick Google search may help you out!
Step Fifteen: The final stage is the fun bit.
If you have really red fake blood, you can either use this as it is or mix in the brown or black facepaint or some dark brown eyeshadow to make it darker. I personally like to do this initially and paint this around the edge of the wound to give the illusion of dried blood and then add the red blood inside the wound.
Go crazy! If you want blood everywhere then go for it! I personally like to get a stippling sponge or a normal bathroom sponge and dab it around the wound like blood splatters. Again, it’s personal preference.
And there you have it!
I hope these instructions are easy to follow but as I mentioned before, once you get into it it’s pretty easy to work out how to switch things up or change them.
I’ve become a huge lover of doing gore and horror makeup and actually find it pretty relaxing. Sounds strange, but I will sometimes find myself stressed and decide to stick on some music, get out my latex and SFX stuff and cut myself up.
Metaphorically, of course.
What are you dressing up as for halloween? Are you dressing up at all? Let me know in the comments!
And also, if you do follow this tutorial, please let me know how it turns out either by tweeting me @itsnotmelony or tagging me on Instagram @/melaniewithanie!