Looking around the internet, I can’t find many written resources for creating SFX looks and hardly any blogs actually are SFX based so I’ve decided to try and fill that gap with some basic SFX tutorials.
I know that when I first started messing about with SFX makeup and teaching myself, I could have done with basic written tutorials with photos rather than videos that are edited and cut and 9 times out of 10, the full details aren’t there and it’s just the bare bones of how to do it.
I also find that a lot of the YouTube videos feature products that they prefer and a lot of the time that’s Third Degree Silicone and yes, it is a lot better to use to create the realistic wounds, many beginners do not own Third Degree straight off the bat and don’t want to go and spend in excess of £30 on a product.
And that’s why I’m going to do some basic tutorials along with full looks. The basic tutorials will also show me learning and teaching myself and they will sometimes have a video to accompany them. The full looks will be how I did it but rather than teaching you steps in detail, I’ll cover how to make the entire look because it’s likely the specific skills have been/will covered in a separate tutorial.
So as the title suggests, this is a tutorial on how to create cuts using Liquid Latex. Liquid Latex is cheap enough to buy and I get mine from a supplier on eBay who sells clear latex and other colours of latex. For this application of SFX makeup, you will likely want latex that dries clear or white. This seller sells latex for reasonable prices and it’s good quality latex.
I mentioned in my Joker Mouth Tutorial that you can buy two types of latex- runny stuff and thicker more congealed stuff. The best stuff to buy is the runny stuff and when you buy latex from a supplier, this is the stuff that you will get. I find the runny latex a lot easier to work with and build up with cotton and latex than the cheap stuff you find at party shops and stores like Wilko’s at Halloween. The runny latex is easier to make realistic looking because layers of skin aren’t thick and gloopy!
And if yours is, you need to see a doctor ASAP.
My SFX background is that I am entirely self taught. Despite being enrolled on a Hair & Media Makeup course, we don’t learn SFX. I am assuming that if you’re reading this you’re either self taught looking to progress or a hobbyist looking for something new to do. Either is fine and I’m hoping everyone will be able to benefit from this tutorial.
But let’s stop rambling and get into how to create cuts with Liquid Latex!
You Will Need:
Cotton Wool Balls
Water Activated Paints (Red, Brown and Black)
Setting Powder/Banana Powder
Disposable Makeup Sponges
Pieces of Bath Sponge
First you need to prep everything. You’ll need a space you can work in comfortably and I do suggest covering it with paper towels or cling film or anything to protect the surface. While latex does peel off, I don’t want you to ruin a wood table or something expensive.
At this point, you may want to shave the area you are applying the latex to unless you plan on using Isopropyl Myristate to remove the latex afterwards. I suggest shaving the area if you don’t have 99% alcohol to hand because an accidental waxing hurts- especially on the face.
Pour a small amount of latex into a non-metal cup or onto a tupperware lid. I bought some medicine measuring pots from Amazon for £3.99 for 80. These small measuring pots are great for measuring out small amounts so you minimize waste.
You can use a white eyeliner or lipliner to draw the basic outline but because all cuts are different and don’t really need a set shape, this step isn’t necessary. Instead, I prefer just drawing the outline of latex with a sponge.
You can make the cut as large or as small as you like but you only need to draw the outline and not fill in the middle.
Saturate the cotton in more latex and start building up the walls of the cut. On the inside edge, push the cotton up and use your fingers to create the effect of torn skin. On the outside edge, use more latex to smooth out the edges into your skin so the edge of the wound looks more natural. It’s hard to explain how to do this but when you’re actually doing it, it makes sense.
Using more cotton and latex, repeat this process to build up the sides as you wish. There is not right or wrong way to make a cut and the more ragged and imperfect it looks, the better.
Once it’s dry, cover the entire things with setting powder. This will take away the shine of the latex and also take away any tackiness from the latex. I know you shouldn’t apply powder before cream products but if you try to apply foundation and paint straight onto slightly tacky latex, it gets messy in my experience.
Before applying the foundation, lightly brush over the latex and cotton with a wash of brown paint or a brown toned lipstick. I learnt this trick recently and it helps make the foundation blend more naturally into your skin. If you apply foundation straight onto the latex, it will be lighter than your skin tone and you’ll have a hard time making the wound look more natural.
Cover the paint (once dry) with your foundation of choice. For this look I used the Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation in the shade Light Beige. This is darker than my complexion but the skin on the back of my hand is darker than my face and this was a better match. I first used a beauty blender to cover the wound and blend the foundation into the rest of my hand and then used a paintbrush to wash a coat of foundation + water to cover any small crevices that the beauty blender missed.
Now the skin is painted, we can move onto the exposed flesh. For this, I took the red water activated paint (again, you can use red lipstick for this) and covered the exposed skin in this and bought it up the edge of the cotton and latex to give the effect of splattered blood.
You’ll see that the red is too vivid for a cut so I used the brown again but this time had a very wet brush to that the red and brown started to mix. Make this look patchy with darker brown patches and more red patches to create the illusion of depth. Make the brown darker and more opaque towards the edge of the cotton and latex to again, give depth and give the illusion of shadows under where the skin is lifting up.
To finish the painting, I added black to the edge of the wound and light washes of watery black to the rest of the wound.
Before I added the blood, I took a bit of bronzer on an oval brush and dusted it over the outside of the wound to darken the skin and create a bit of irritation. This is optional but I’ve found it adds to the bruised and irritated look.
Now for the blood! I first took some darker more runny blood and painted that all over the inside of the wound. While that was still wet, I took a less dense bath sponge and started to stipple blood over the outside of the wound. I smeared it around a bit and really this bit is totally up to you to add as much or as little blood at you want.
Then, I took Snazaroo Gel Blood and squirted that inside the wound and dripped it over the edges of the ‘skin’ to create the wet, fresh blood look.
I made my cut the size of my hand and at first I was skeptical as to how realistic it would look but when I posted it online, I had a lot of people fooled into thinking I’d really hurt myself!
As you can see, this is pretty easy and straight forward for beginners. Working with latex and cotton is ideal for starting out because it dries slower and that gives you more time to work with it and practice rather than have to rush to work with it before it dries. This is the case with silicone.
Next time, I’ll be showing you how to make cuts with Scar Wax which is another easy one!
When it comes to these creations, if you follow the tutorial and post it to Instagram or Twitter, don’t forget to tag me so I know my instructions helped someone! My Twitter is @/melaniewithaie and my Instagram is @/melaniewithanie.
I hope you learnt something today and I’d love to know what you’d like to see next! Leave me a comment and let me know!