January 6, 2022

Special FX vs Prosthetic Makeup

Special FX vs prosthetic makeup of man who looks like a red tiger

Special FX and prosthetic makeup are everywhere in film, television, theater, and photography. There are many mind-blowing examples of how makeup can change the appearance of actors. Here’s what you need to know about special FX vs prosthetic makeup.

What is special FX makeup?

Special FX makeup, or special effects makeup, is any makeup that creates an illusion or non-traditional look. Some examples of special FX makeup are old-age makeup, non-human creatures (ex. animals, zombies), or injuries. Furthermore, using special FX makeup can make someone look like something they are not. This kind of makeup requires a lot of creativity, imagination, and skill.

What is prosthetic makeup?

Prosthetic makeup involves molding, sculpting, or casting to change the shape of someone’s features using makeup. Additionally, this form of makeup can make someone unrecognizable by altering features like noses, chins, jaws, teeth, and more. Prosthetic makeup is a type of special FX makeup.

What’s in special FX makeup?

Special FX makeup uses various materials like blood products, silicone, liquid latex, gelatin, and professional makeup palettes. Sometimes, people create wounds like scars and bullet holes with small, pre-made appliances. It is also common for makeup artists to use bald caps to create a blank canvas for makeup or wigs.

What’s in prosthetic makeup?

In prosthetic makeup techniques, physical prosthetic pieces are applied to a person’s face. Silicone, foam latex, and gelatin are used to create these pieces. Afterward, the pieces are then applied to the person’s face using skin-friendly and durable glues and blended using makeup palettes.

What’s the difference between special FX and prosthetic makeup?

Prosthetic makeup is a subset of special FX makeup that uses many of the same materials. Although both kinds of makeup drastically change a person’s appearance, prosthetic makeup uses larger prosthetic pieces applied to someone’s body to achieve the desired look. Special FX makeup is a broader term for special makeup techniques that change someone’s appearance.

Learn more about makeup at L Makeup Institute.

If creating truly unique and mind-blowing makeup looks through special effects sounds interesting to you, why not look into enrolling in special FX training? Becoming a professional makeup artist is an exciting and rewarding career that can take you to many places. But the first step is to earn your education.

At L Makeup Institute, our goal is to help the makeup artists of tomorrow perfect their skills and gain hands-on experience to help them with their careers. We offer a wide variety of training, including focused special effects makeup classes, to help you explore your talents and learn impressive techniques. So if you are ready to start special effects makeup artist school, reach out to L Makeup Institute today.

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