SFX is intimidating, especially if you're a beginner. Yeah, I'm probably being a bit dramatic, especially if you compare SFX to things like saving the world. Still, for me and many others out there, it's intimidating.
From the products used to the techniques applied, SFX makeup is on another level!
This field has grown so much in the past few years. Almost every movie and TV shows have an SFX team dedicated to creating fake wounds, aging wrinkles, supernatural transformations, etc.
To reach the pro level, there are a few necessary steps you need to complete. One of them is having an essential SFX makeup kit.
This is a duh, right? Realistic scars, gunshot wounds, or werewolf transformation is impossible with regular makeup?
Don't worry. I'm here to help! You can learn from my mistakes. Invest as soon as possible into building up the essentials in your SFX kit.
This blog will focus on the essential items that should be a part of your SFX makeup kit if you're a beginner or just starting out.
What are we waiting for? Let's get started!
5 Must-Have Products for SFX Beginners
1. Fake Blood
We can't start this list without first mentioning fake blood.
It's one of the holy grail items every, and I mean EVERY, SFX artist should, no scratch that, better have, regardless of whether they're a beginner or a professional.
Since many SFX makeup looks require blood, you should always have it in your kit. And you know what? You can make the fake blood yourself, and it doesn't require many ingredients!
All you have to do is find a tutorial, and you're good to go! It's also readily available in the market if you want to get your hands on some ready-made fake blood.
A pro tip for beginners: it's unavoidable to make mistakes when creating SFX looks, BUT DONT WORRY! Blood will cover up most imperfections of your work!
2. Liquid Latex
Another indispensable part of your SFX makeup kit is liquid latex. It's a favorite of many SFX artists out there for a reason.
That reason is its versatility!
Liquid latex can be used for many things: want to create a gory scar? Liquid latex. Need to execute a prosthetics look? Liquid latex!
To use it, all you really need to do is take some tissues or cotton and use liquid latex to create the ghastly look of your dreams.
However, as an SFX artist, you must be careful about latex allergies. Some of your clients or willing subjects (a.k.a family and friends) could be allergic to latex. Always test in a little spot if they are unsure of any latex allergies. Otherwise, you are going to have a very unpleasant scenario.
To reiterate! Always do a patch test first to see if any allergic reaction happens.
Similarly to liquid latex, wax is a standard part of any SFX makeup artist's kit.
Wax can be used to create a variety of looks because of its versatility. One way wax could be used is to create unique features on someone's face! That's cool.
Other common uses of wax for SFX include creating realistic scars, skin abnormalities, different types of wounds, etc.
4. Face and Body Paints
These special paints can be used to create limitless SFX looks.
Different body paints are available on the market, and you can choose according to your preferences.
For example, the most preferred are alcohol-activated paints because they are water-proof. Often times in movies, actors have to shoot in scorching heat, and it's essential for the SFX makeup to be sweat-resistant.
On the downside, they're a bit drying to the skin and definitely should not be used around the eyes. For eye-related SFX looks, use cream-based makeup.
5. Cream Makeup Palettes
And my last essential tip for this blog is to get some cream-based makeup. This is a must-have for every SFX artist. A must.
Investing in high-quality makeup products that last you longer and produce better results is better than spending hundreds of bucks on sub-standard products after every few months.
Working with cream-based makeup gives you more control over textures, and there are lots of shades available, all in one kit. Moreover, getting a solid cream palette gives full coverage to the body part it's applied to!
You'll notice that one doesn't need an overflowing kit overflowing with different SFX products. In this case, less is more.
As a beginner, all you need to have in your kit is some good old fake blood, liquid latex, wax, face and body paints, and good quality cream makeup products! In a future blog, I will write about the top Tools you should have in your kit!
Here is a suggestion for a standard starter kit from an amazing company.