Simple Make-Up Effects

In any production it is likely that at least one actor will need to significantly change their appearance. Here are a few ways to achieve this.

Moustaches and beards

CrÍpe hair is sold in long lengths plaited together to stop it tangling. When it is un-plaited it resembles a coiled spring, so hang it from one end and attach a weight on a bulldog clip to the other end to stretch it. A quicker alternative is to carefully tease it out over steam. Traditionally spirit gum is used to attach the hair, but there are alternatives that are just as effective and more pleasant. To make a realistic moustache you need to cut lengths of crÍpe hair, and glue them from above the top lip in stages working towards the centre. When you have applied several layers trim off the excess length to give the required style.

Witches warts and missing teeth

Traditional black witches always have warts and missing teeth. To create a wart use a little cosmetic putty or spirit gum to fix a rice crispie where you want your wart, before applying the main make-up. Teeth can be blacked out using liquid tooth enamel carefully painted on one or two teeth. Cosmetic putty is primarily used for adding to features like noses. Mix the putty with a little of the base make-up colour and mould it into shape fixing it with spirit gum. The edges can be blended in with the final application of make-up.


Although there are traditional styles of clown makeup, each clown is unique. Experiment with your makeup - be as outrageous or as simplistic as you want. Suggested colours for clown are white, red, yellow, blue, green, pink, black. Unless you are trying to emulate a pierrot type clown, you can use lots of colour and exaggerate your own features. Not forgetting clown noses, bright wigs, baggy trousers and oversize boots!

Blood / Bleeding

For a bloody nose or trickle from a minor wound just use Ribena (or similar) thickened with a little cornflour to give a not too runny consistency.

For larger amounts mix yellow washing-up liquid and food dye. If it needs to be edible use syrup instead of washing-up liquid.

There are professional products available, probably the best known in called "Kensington Gore" that comes in various size bottles.

All formulations of stage blood will stain clothing and skin as they contain food colouring. Put a barrier cream on hands or areas of the body likely to come in contact with any fake blood. Wash it off immediately. Soak clothing in cold water as soon as possible and wash with a little bleach if possible. You will probably need duplicate costumes in case blood does not come out or the costume is not washed and dry in time to use again.