Halloween is right around the corner and the Pros at IMPO have been trying to figure out a good post to write without boring our readers with the same old "how-to" information! Seriously, how many times can we write about Vampire, Zombie and Witch makeup and keep our savvy audience interested?
Pro MUA Cathi Singh, remembered a cool makeup/costume challenge she was given on a recent shoot and thought that our readers would not only get a kick out of some behind-the-scenes views, but that maybe someone one out there needed an idea for a costume that is totally unique and original! So, if you waited until the very last minute and now all the cool Halloween costume ideas are gone, then read on and let the Pros help you discover your inner Superhero!
Sometimes in the makeup world, we are not given alot of time to research and prepare for a project, and have to think on our feet for a quick solution. Such was the case for me a few weeks ago. One of my long-time corporate clients called with a big idea that involved hair, makeup and costuming; only thing was, we had a day and a half to accomplish it before the print deadline!
They needed a superhero custom made for their company.
Initially they wanted to purchase a superhero costume and make simple tweeks. But at the end of the day, it still felt like we were playing dress up. There is a fine line between corny and cool and we were walking it.
I called around and researched some body suits, and came across a costume shop with a large inventory. After picking their brains via phone the idea for liquid latex was suggested. Knowing that my creative director loves to push the envelope visually, I quickly presented the idea (and the pros and cons). He jumped at the idea and I purchased the kit and paint sight unseen. Now, I normally would not do this, for obvious reasons - needing to test it on camera, get to know the product, etc, but I was on location for another project and could not get to the store due to distance. I did extensive research online and with the costume shop owner, who was very familiar with the product. I did bring some costumes with me as a back up if the latex did not present well.
A few key things to remember before starting a latex paint project:
- Make sure your model is not allergic to latex or ammonia or aloe vera gel. All of these things will be painted directly onto their skin and will need to be worn for at least 5 hrs (the amount of time it takes to paint the body).
- Get permission beforehand from the agent, model and company you are working for. The model needs to be ok with shaving their ENTIRE body and standing for at least 5 hrs. The latex paint also has a strong odor and you will need ample space and air circulation to work in.
- Get a tarp, wear something you don’t care about ruining (latex stains clothing)
As a base coat, you need to apply an aloe vera gel or moisturizer to the entire painting surface. The latex will seem tight at first, but as the body naturally warms to it, it will become pliable and move with the model.
Note: Once you apply the aloe vera gel, also check that your model is wearing an anti-perspirent. As we learned, too much condensed moisture under the latex causes it to stay very tacky, catch on itself, and potentially make holes in that area.
I did not wear gloves, but you can if you wish. We started with the chest, and did one full coat from shoulder to waist. The first layer is very light and had streaks from the brush. Don’t worry about those, they will disappear with the next few coats.
I then moved to this sides and then his back and painted those while the chest dried. After each layer, it is imperative that you completely dry the latex with a blow dryer before applying the next layer.
After his midsection had two coats on it, I moved to his arms. Its important while the latex is wet that the model not bend their arms or torso, as the latex will stick to itself.
I let the second coat dry completely before applying 3 more coats. The instruction say to get a truly opaque color, 3-5 coats is needed. Because the lighting of our shot involved some extremely bright spotlights, we applied 5 coats so it would be a very bold, dark finish. My paint kit came with a specialized foam brush pack for $10. I highly recommend buying two, as I went through 4 different brushes, two of them the small body rollers.
Once dry, closely inspect the entire surface. This is the time for final corrections, layers, etc. This would also be a good time to apply any decals, logos or designs in a different color.
The last step is to apply the Shine Seal Spray. This product dulls the tacky finish latex has and allows for smooth movement. It also adds a dramatic and glossy finish that makes it look like skin. Because this product contains silicone, once applied, you cannot paint latex over it. It is your final seal. We tried to add more to a small area of his arm, and it dulled the black to a matte gray finish, and made the texture visibly rougher.
We equipped our superhero with gloves, boots, and knee braces. I also painted a mask on his face using waterproof liner. He was able to bend, jump, and move like a superhero without any difficultly. The latex stretched like a second skin.
For removal, it’s best to rinse with warm water and soap. Our model had some baby hairs that he did not shave and it made the removal process more difficult and slightly painful. The latex will peel in small sections off the skin. If it gets into the hair, remove with baby oil. (Do not remove like the photo below is showing - that was just for fun behind-the-scenes photos).
The end result was a huge success, and the images were very heroic. Best of all, I was able to produce the exact idea my client wanted, and in record time!
This taught me that you can find tools and unique items in unexpected places. Think outside the box, and venture beyond the makeup store to a costume shop, art supply or craft store.
There are several brands of Liquid Latex Body Makeup on the market. Brand X and Graftobian make them as well as other manufacturers. Do your research and call around to various stores before purchasing.
Remember, this idea is not just for Halloween, you could also wear it to show team spirit at a sporting event, during Mardi Gras or another fun event like a parade or Burning Man! Any place where you want to show off your own originality! Plus, it's expensive to rent, make or purchase a full costume, but using a product like Liquid Latex Body Makeup makes your dreams way more affordable!
The Pros hope this information was useful and we wish everyone a very Safe and Happy Halloween!