What should I have in my SFX makeup kit?

What should I have in my SFX makeup kit?

What do you need in your kit when you are an SFX Makeup Artist?

To really quickly answer the above, it ultimately all depends on what job you’re walking into.

Have you prepped beforehand for the application and have prosthetics already cast and ready to go? Are you working solely “out-of-kit”? A lot of these answers will determine what to pack for your job. It’s also worth considering only taking what you really need – this saves time, space and a lot of mess.

You won’t need your entire kit on set, but there are still a set of comprehensive tools and products you may want located in your kit, ready for all and any applications.

A lot of kits are purchased through educational structures; these tend to be multi-purpose tools and materials that will get you through all semesters/units at colleges/universities. Some items for example: stainless steel palette and spatula, sculpt-gel and a brush set. As much as these are great to keep, there are many other items you will want to include or just simply have available for your first post-graduate job.

Otherwise, kits are usually built by the individual over a period of time, replenishing some items over and over, or simply buying the latest palettes, new colours or out of kit effects for specific jobs, etc.

To start your kit, it always comes down to what you most likely will need to use immediately, from this, build your stock up gradually as and when needed. (Or wanted!)

It can become very expensive, very quickly. But you will find each item worth its place in your beloved kit.

BUT FIRST, let’s talk staples!

Everyone will have their own selection of preferred materials, but here’s some of the teams at Mouldlife.

  • Apron & Cape protection for yourself and actor
  • Hair pins, grips, tie and headband keeping long locks out of your actors face, you’re your way during the application
  • Cotton pads & cotton buds pre-application cleansing, removing flashing and removal
  • Disposable shot glasses to dispense adhesives and alcohols
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Skin cleanser a non-greasy sensitive skin cleanser will be suitable for all skin types (just in case) and will prep the skin for application
  • Skin barrier creates a protective barrier between skin and applications
  • Adhesives; Telesis, Snappy G, Pros-Aide, Aquafix silicone adhesives and acrylic based adhesives depending on application
  • 99.9% Isopropyl Alcohol used for cleaning your prosthetic appliance before use and to activate paint palettes. Also used for dissolving edges when encapsulated with Super Baldiez
  • Acetone used for dissolving prosthetics encapsulated with Baldiez
  • Appliances your pre-made prosthetics pieces
  • Bondo / Cab-O-Patch cab-o-sil and pros-aide cream/filler – used to fill air bubbles, or to help correct edges
  • Sculpt Gel used directly on the skin for quick skin effects, or as a filler like the above
  • Alcohol Activated Palettes used in light washes when activated with IPA for light washes of paint
  • Translucent powder sets any tacky residues
  • Makeup sealer sets paintwork in place
  • Mattifier removes unwanted shine
  • Remover removes prosthetic appliances and remaining adhesives
  • Water wipes for the actor to refresh after removal and for your hands, etc. during application
  • Hair dryer speeds up adhesive tackiness time
  • Brush and sponge set varied set of brushes and sponges for different textures. A very cheap, replaceable set of brushes for glue application (otherwise use cotton buds – no one will miss those!)
  • Tweezers and scissors varied sizes for gripping curled edges, trimming flashing, etc.
  • Stainless steel palette and spatula/wooden tongue depressors for mixing paints or sculpt gel

Now this is specifically on set kit basics. The materials above will get you through a prosthetic application. Let’s now go through a checklist for character applications!

  • Dirt powders pre-made cosmetic dirt’s in a range of colours charcoal, soil, sand, and so on.
  • Dirt Sprays / Palette matching colours to the powders, provides an alternative application – can be thinned for a rivering through the pores/wrinkles look.
  • Tooth lacquers / Palette to temporarily discolour teeth to fit into the overall character
  • Rubber mask grease paints for latex and foam latex application
  • Hair palette to temporarily colour/paint hair according to character, often used to grey the hair or disguise grey hairs
  • Tattoo cover colour corrects tattoos in case they need to be hidden
  • Tattoos a selection of pre-made tattoo transfers or tattoo alcohol activated inks to paint your own
  • Skin Illustrator glazing sprays and gels water based and translucent perfect for around the eyes and to create realistic sunburn, bruise effects!
  • Skin effects e.g. scab paste, wound filler, fresh scratch, pus, vomit, chapped lips, rigid collodion, old age stipple
  • And finally… BLOODS - scab paste and wound filler as mentioned, liquid bloods that are non-drying, liquid bloods that dry, edible/mouth-safe liquid bloods, blood capsules, blood powder, blood for eyes, non-beading bloods, silicone flow blood, all of the above in the different colour stages (venial, arterial, aged) the list goes on, and on and on…. And on.

The temptation to top up our kit with exciting new products will from time to time get all of us! Nothing will go to waste.

From the above you have what’s needed for gore to otherworldly.