What’s the best way to apply Halloween makeup?
Slowly, say fans of the holiday and all it entails.
“I’m talking an hour and a half if need be,” says Ron Ferraro, owner of Fantasy Festival in Algonquin, who has done more than his share of dressing up.
Ferraro remembers dressing up as a man from outer space in 1951, donning makeup and covering his eyes with his mother’s torn nylon stockings. Spirit gum, an adhesive popular for Halloween costumes, kept the top of a flashlight mounted to the middle of his forehead.
Wires through his hair and down his back connected to batteries so he could flash light into the eyes of those who answered the door. A vacuum cleaner hose rounded out the costume as his breathing apparatus.
“I’ve been into makeup for a long time,” he says.
In the costume business for 29 years, Ferraro predicts zombies and vampires will be big again this year when it comes to costumes that require makeup.
“There have been a number of zombie movies,” he says. “A zombie gets to act stupid, so it’s an excuse.
All you have to do is stumble around going, ‘Brains, brains.’”
However, he does note a few good tips that should elicit a good reaction from the crowd.
Use spirit gum to glue plastic fishing worms and candy gummy worms to your face, Ferraro says, because after all, you’ve been in a grave awhile.
Then every once in awhile, pluck off a gummy worm and toss it in your mouth, he says. People will love it.
Ferraro offers up additional tips — especially for those using makeup — to really show off this Halloween.
• When using spirit gum, paint it on your face or body and splash off the solvent until your finger starts to stick. Then put the piece in place, whether it be a fake mustache or a gummy worm. The alcohol in the product pulls moisture from your skin and you’ll end up with mud if you don’t splash it off, he says. “And you get the old comedy routine of the mustache falling down,” he adds.
• For other adhesives, corn syrup and flour can work and will wash off with soap and water, but it will sweat off. Remember, with any liquid latex, it will pull hair when peeled off. Even girls must take note, Ferraro says. They might not think they have hair on their face, but even the very fine hair hurts when pulled off, he says. And always test liquid latex to make sure you don’t have an allergy by trying it on a wrist first.
• To remove the adhesive, use spirit gum remover or even rubbing alcohol if you’re having trouble, he says.
• Powder-based makeup works best, whether it’s water- or grease-based, he says. “That allows you to scratch if you have an itch,” he says. Plus, you can put a second color over it without the two blending. Press the makeup in place using a powder puff or even an old sweat sock, but don’t brush it.
• Use non-transparent makeup that covers a face easily. “Street makeup is not good for Halloween,” he says. “For theatrical use and Halloween, you want something to cover, like using paint.”
• A mistake people frequently make is using too much makeup, Ferraro says. A face only requires a spot of good, quality makeup on a forehead, each cheek and a chin. “The pigment is so heavy, it will cover without putting on a real thick coat,” he says.
• To remove cream makeup, use soap and water. For pancake makeup or hard-pressed makeup, use a wet sponge and water. A more grease-based makeup might require baby oil to remove. “If you’re in a real pinch, you can use margarine,” he says.
• As for wigs, wear a wig cap underneath to keep your hair in place, unless, of course, you’re bald. And put the wig on front to back as opposed to the other way around.
• Colored hair sprays are handy, but don’t use them if you’ve had your hair bleached recently. “The more recent the bleach job, the more you’re asking for problems,” Ferraro says. An example would be a recently bleached blond spraying her hair red. Her hair likely would turn orange once washed, he says.
Otherwise, the sprays wash out with shampoo. And the heavier the spray, the better, he notes. If you spray it in your hand and it runs off, it might not work well.
• To make your hair stand on end, most gels and hair sprays work. “I have a product that is a gel that you mix when you’re using it, and it glows in the dark,” he says.