The Lush Life: Flesh, Blood and Scales

Annaleigh back again with your latest installment of Halloween tips and tricks (and super-awesomeness!).  This week is, for me, one of the most fun things about Halloween: the makeup.  Now, I don’t brag about it very often on here, but I’m actually a makeup artist…so I especially adore this time of year because I get to put myself to work!  So, in interest of sharing my knowledge and being good to the readers, here’s some last minute makeup tips and tricks to get you through Halloween.

[Main image from “The Walking Dead” courtesy AMC Network]

Some basic tips:

  • If you’ve got allergies, be especially careful when buying makeup.  If you’re unsure of how you’ll react, spot test the makeup on your wrist at least 24 hours before you intend to use it on a large scale.
  • Begin with a clean face- it makes the makeup go on smoother and last longer.
  • If you don’t want your hair to get in the makeup, use a strong hold gel to slick it back.  Finish with some hair spray to really make it stay.
  • If you intend to color around your eyes, use an eyeliner of the color you want before applying any cream makeups.  Creams often get in the eye or get rubbed away from blinking whereas most eyeliners are made to be long lasting.
  • Planning on painting a large area of your face?  Use a large brush or sponge to get a basic shape and then finish it with a small brush for crisp edges…it’ll cut the application time in half.
  • If you’re doing multiple colors, start with the lightest color and add darker colors as you go along.  It’s easier to hide a little white in your black than the other way around when the brush crosses your outlines…plus it looks a lot more crisp.
  • Painting your whole face?  Start with the weird places like your ears, hairline, the creases around your nose, and your eyebrows first.
  • To set your makeup you can either purchase a makeup sealer or, if you don’t mind a bit of work, apply translucent powder with a powder brush.  The powder will absorb the oils from the cream and make it harder to smear the design.
  • Removing your makeup at night can be one of the most tedious tasks.  Cold cream and an oil-free eye makeup remover are my favorite tools…and it definitely helps to have cotton balls and swabs on hand.  Another important thing to remember is to wash and moisturize your face after you remove the makeup…it’s not good to forget this step and is the most common cause of after-Halloween bad skin.

 How to paint scales

Scales are pretty essential to a lot of sci-fi costumes, and they’re pretty basic to paint.  All you’ll need is the color you want to make your scales and something to darken it (for most colors, this is usually either black or brown).  Throw down a layer of your main color, then darken it just slightly (maybe a shade or two) in a container.  Paint the shape of your scales over the main color and you’re ready to go!  If the scales are in a place they are likely to be smeared, be sure to set the design with either a sealer or translucent powder.

How to create texture

A lot of “fake skin” and “texture” products come out this time of year and I start with giving you a note of warning: CHECK THE LABEL!  If you’re allergic to latex, this is especially important as most of the texture and prosthetic products are made from latex compounds.  An allergic reaction to specialty makeup is a common sight in ERs this time of year, so be careful.  Latex is an especially awesome product to use if you’ve never had problems, however, and can make for especially gruesome textures (rotting skin, old-age skin, plastic skin, bumpy textures).  If you add stuff including sand or cotton, the possibility of texture can be endless.  There are non-latex options (silicone, for example), but they are a lot harder to work with- especially for those who do not usually work with FX makeup.

Zombie Invasion photo courtesy AMC Network

How to make blood

There are literally hundreds of different recipes for fake blood ranging from edible to toxic, scabby to runny, and even alien looking so sometimes it pays to play around.  Most store-bought bloods this time of year will stain your clothes, so do not use them on light colored clothes you aren’t fond of ruining.  Also, most of them are not edible, so don’t use them in your mouth.  If you want something easy and edible, mix one part chocolate syrup and two parts strawberry syrup…but this will also stain.  It’s a great consistency and really yummy, though!  As far as making blood that won’t stain, one big tip I hear constantly is to add baby shampoo…it works sometimes for me, but not always.  One of the big things to remember with blood is that it’s a lot heavier than a straight liquid like water, and that sometimes gross and alien looking is even cooler.

And, of course, onward with the history!

Along with Samhain, there have been many other celebrations on or around October 31st throughout the years.  Catholics celebrate All Saint’s Day on November 1st…that’s actually where we get the name “Halloween.”  All Saint’s Day is also called Hallowmas and, as such, the night before was “Hallow’s eve” and eventually became “Hallowe’en” and, then, “Halloween.”  In conjunction with All Saint’s Day, Dia de los Muertos (literally “Day of the Dead”) is celebrated in Mexico on November 1st and 2nd as a way to honor family and friends past and present.  The Manx (inhabitants of the Isle of Man) celebrate Hop-tu-Naa, which is a new year’s celebration with extreme similarities to Halloween, on October 31st.  Allantide, or Nos Calan Gwaf, is the Cornish version of Halloween (also celebrated on October 31st), and Calan Gaeaf is the Welsh version of the celebration (again, celebrated on October 31st).

Check back on Saturday for the geek-tastic update about Halloween in geek culture. 🙂

The Schedule

October 17th: Party Ideas
October 19th: Costumes
October 21st: Decorations and Crafts
October 23rd: Recipes (Food and Drink- Alcoholic and Non)
October 25th: Jack-o’-Lanterns
October 27th: Last Minute Makeup Tips
October 29th: Halloween in Geek Culture
October 31st: An Extra-Special look at Halloweens of this Lush’s past…yeah, I’m going to bare my costumed soul for you all!

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