SFX Makeup

SFX Makeup Glossary

Here is an overview of some commonly used words and terms within the make-up, film, theatre, cosplay, prop making, haunt, and entertainment industry.

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Used to activate a product.


Solvent used to blend the edges of bald caps made of glatzan.


Small paint gun that use compressed air to spray on makeup or paint.

Alcohol Activated Makeup

Extreme water-resistant makeup that are activated with 99% isopropanol. It only dissolves in alcohol. Great for filming outdoors and on wet locations. Alcohol activated makeup is great for SFX makeup and for coloring prosthetics and can be applied both translucent and in more thicker layers.


This is a casting material that is mainly used to make a copy of a person’s head, body part, or whole body. It is typically made from kelp, and should be stored in a dry place. It is commonly used for life casting.


A robot created to look like a character, animal or creature. Often found in amusement parks.


Woodbox used in the film industry.


Armature is often made of steel and serves as a ‘skeleton’ on which to sculpt.


Two compound silicone system created by Kryolan. Used directly on the skin to create different effects.


Water Makeup from Kryolan. Great for face painting or halloween makeup.

Aquacolor Soft

Liquid water Makeup from Kryolan. Can be applied directly from the tube.


Light coming from behind the actor, stage or set.


The process of baking foam latex prosthetics.

Bald Cap

A cap used to make someone appear to be bold. often made of latex, vinyl, glatzan or cap plastic.


A type of liquid latex used to create bald caps.

Ben Nye

Ben Nye is a makeup brand that was founded and is manufactured in Los Angeles, USA. It is well-known among both professionals and hobbyists, and it is named after the award-winning makeup artist, Ben Nye.

Ben Nye Bond Off

Remover that removes both mastix/spirit gum, prosthetic adhesive and other types of skin glue.


A balloon that are used under fake skin to make the effect of moving skin,

Blood Capsule

Gelatin capsules filled with either fake blood or blood powder that is safe to use in the mouth. Used mainly to create the effect of fake blood coming from the mouth.

Blood Gag

A special effect involving fake blood.

Blood Gel

Thick fake blood. Stays on place and doesn’t run.

Blood Paste

Thick fake blood used to create the effect of old coagulated blood

Breaking down


Call time

The time to meet up at a film or TV set or location.


Computer Generated Imagery

Character Makeup

The techniques used to create different characters for both stage and screen. Often used as a term to describe the process of changing someone’s appearance.

Chip Brush

Cheap brushes that are great for mold making, blood work and to paint props and scenery. Great to work with liquid latex in molds.


Clay is a substance that can be molded and is used to create the form of prosthetics and props before mold making. It is also used to make maquettes. Some clays are water-based, while others are oil-based.

Cold Foam

Makeup product from Kryolan to cast prosthetics.


A product used to create the effect of realistic old scars.


The process of making skeletons, bones or skull props look more like a corpse by adding skin and muscle.


The clothes a actor or performer is wearing in a movie, on halloween or in a theatre performance.

Creme Makeup

Thick makeup great for stage makeup, character makeup, cosplay and SFX. Great to highlight and shadow but also as a foundation. It can be applied directly to the skin without needing to be activated.

Crepe Hair

Hair used to make beards, mustaches or in creature makeup. Another name is wool crepe.

Derma Wax

A wax used to make scars and wounds on the skin. Another word for or a different type of scar wax. See scar wax for more information. One brand that deliver Derma Wax is Grimas.

Dirt Paste

Makeup product from Grimas. Great for creating effects for zombies and monster makeup


A process to make things or clothes look old, weathered or used.


Mainly used for controlling stage lights, smoke machines, special effects, and sometimes animatronics.


A rotary tool used for detail work. can be used for cutting, sculpting,


Another word for decorating.


A dresser is a person who helps actors to put on their costumes.


Lash adhesive. Can also be used to hide the edges of latex prosthetics and to create small effects on the skin like a scar.


Epoxy is used in prop making to create props or molds for makeup effects.

Eye line

Eye line refers to the direction in which an actor is instructed to look during a shot.


A type of fake blood from Kryolan that can be safely applied to the eyes to create various effects.

Face cast

A copy of someone’s face usually made in plaster or ultracal.


Used to create strong molds.

Final Seal

A makeup sealer from Ben Nye.

Flat mold

A flat mold is a type of mold, usually made of silicone, that has a very flat surface. It is commonly used for creating scars and wounds in special effects and makeup.

Flocking machine

A flocking machine is a device used in the production of various objects to apply a coating of fine particles called flock. The flocking process can add texture, color, and a soft, velvety feel to surfaces such as fabrics, plastics, and metals. The machine generates an electrostatic charge that attracts the flock particles to the surface of the object being coated, creating a uniform layer. Flocking machines are used in a variety of industries, including automotive, fashion, and crafts.

Foam latex

Latex mixed with foam to make prosthetics or props.

Foam capsules

Capsules to use in the mouth that make white foam.


Foundation is the base layer of makeup that is typically applied first.

From the top

Acting the scene from the start.

Fuller’s earth

A type of fake earth or dirt that is commonly used in special effects and SFX makeup.

FX Wax

Another name on scar wax.


A product used in makeup effects to create burns and wounds directly on the skin. Also used to cast prosthetics and sometimes props.

Gelatin capsules

Gelatin capsules are clear capsules that can be filled with mouth-safe fake blood or blood powder.


A material used to make glatzan bald caps


Used to create the effect of sweat and tears.


A makeup manufacturer based in the Netherlands, well-known in Europe and used in the film, theater, and beauty industries.


Makeup brand from the USA.


Used when working with, combining and mixing loose hair. Looks like a plate with lots of metal spikes. Should be used with caution. Often used with crepe hair/whool crepe.


High definition


Isopropyl alcohol. Used to activate alcohol activated makeup.


Short term for isopropol myristate


Isopropanol is commonly used to clean makeup tools, brushes, and other surfaces. Some artists use isopropanol to cleanse the skin before applying makeup, and it is also used to activate alcohol-activated makeup.

Isopropyl Myristate

Isopropyl Myristate is primarily used for removing makeup, adhesive residue, and skin oils. It is also occasionally used as a solvent or emollient in cosmetic and personal care products.


The process for making a wig, beard or hair piece.


Professional makeup brand founded in Germany. Kryolan makeup is used for various applications such as theater, film, TV, fashion, SFX, bridal work, cosplay, body painting, and Halloween.

Kyro sirup

Used to make fake blood.

Liquid latex

Used to create many different effects like wounds, scars, blisters, burns. Also used to create props, masks, fake body parts and details to costumes. NOTE – Vaseline/petroleum jelly and silicone can’t be used near liquid latex because then the latex won’t dry.

Liquid Set

Mixing fluid used to activate water makeup or cake eyeliner to make it more long lasting and smudge proof.


A form you can cast prosthetics, masks or props in.


A glue used to fasten prosthetics, beards, mustaches or crepe hair on the skin. Also known as Spirit Gum.

Makeup Artist

Person working with either designing or/and applying makeup. A makeup artist can work in both theater, film, TV, theme parks, fashion, haunted attractions and with bridal makeup and other events.


Products that are safe to use on and applied on the face or body.

Makeup chart

A drawing of how the makeup will look finally applied. Or just a section of the makeup. A makeup chart often includes details of what materials that are used.

Mask latex

Latex used to create masks.


Makeup brand from USA.

Monster Clay

Well known brand of clay for monster makers, prop makers, cosplayers, and makeup effects artists. Made by The Monster Makers.


Small bits and pieces of dried latex in random shapes that is used in wounds, on costume or for other effects to create textures or rotten skin.

Old Age Stipple

A makeup product that is applied to stretched skin to create the appearance of fake wrinkles.

Old age makeup

A process of transforming a person’s appearance to make them look older, which can be achieved using makeup techniques such as paint and powder, as well as prosthetics.


Photoshop is a powerful photo editing software developed and published by Adobe Inc. It is widely used by photographers, designers, digital artists, and other creative professionals to manipulate and enhance digital images.

Plate Mold

A plate mold is a type of mold that has a flat surface.


Plaster is a white powder that is commonly used for casting and mold making.

Post Production

Post-production refers to the process of editing and enhancing a movie or video after it has been filmed. This can include various tasks such as editing, color correction, sound design, Foley work visual effects, and more.


PPI (Premiere Products, Inc.) is the manufacturer of Skin Illustrator palettes and other products for SFX-makeup.


Refers to the stage of work that takes place before filming begins, which includes tasks such as scriptwriting, designing, budgeting, location scouting, casting, and more.


Prosthetics, also known as appliances, are pieces that are affixed to the skin to alter a person’s appearance, create special effects, or simulate injuries.


An object that is used or held by an actor during a film or theatre performance.

Prop master

A person responsible for the props in a production.

Prop Maker

A prop maker is a person who creates props for various mediums such as theatre, film, television, or theme parks.


A type of adhesive used for attaching prosthetics to the skin. It was originally designed for use in the medical industry.


A prosthetic is a piece that is attached to the skin to alter a person’s appearance, such as creating the illusion of a different person, a wound, changing someone’s age, or creating a monster, alien, or fantasy creature.


Another word for prosthetics.


A rake is a sculpting tool that typically consists of a handle and several pointed prongs or tines, which can vary in shape and size. The prongs or tines can be arranged in various configurations, depending on the desired effect. Rakes are commonly used in sculpting to create texture, fur, hair, or other fine details.

Release agent

A release agent is used between molds to ensure that they can be separated. Vaseline or petroleum jelly is sometimes used as a release agent.


Resetting refers to the process of preparing for a new take on a film or video shoot.

Rigid Collodion

Rigid Collodion is a makeup product that is used to create the effect of old scars, burns, and wounds. It is easy to work with and can produce highly realistic results.

Rubber Mask Grease Paint – (RMGP)

Used to color latex and latex appliances and does not contain any materials that break down latex. It is not recommended to use it directly on the skin.


A runner is a person who performs various small tasks on the set.

Scar Wax

A wax that is applied directly on the skin to create effects such as wounds, scars, and other effects. Many brands produce different types, colors, and consistencies of scar wax. Sometimes it is necessary to apply skin adhesive underneath the wax before application, and seal the wax with either castor sealer or liquid latex.


Sculpting is the process of using a malleable material, such as clay, to form a three-dimensional object or shape. In the context of special effects, sculpting is a fundamental skill that is used to create a wide range of objects, such as prosthetics, masks, props or maquettes.

Sculpt Gel

Silicone components mixed together to create a paste that can be used to build fake wounds, scars and other effects directly on the skin.

Sculpting tools

Sculpting tools are used to shape and manipulate clay. Smaller tools are ideal for adding intricate details and textures, while larger tools are used for forming bigger sections of clay.


Sealer is a product that can refer to a makeup sealer or a sealer used for sealing sculpts or props. Kryolan Fixing Spray is a commonly used sealer in the makeup industry.


Great for creating different effects when applying water makeup to create skin tones and fantasy creatures and to apply fake dirt.

Skin test

A small test of a makeup product on the skin to check for allergic reactions.


Used in SFX Makeup to create prosthetics, props and other effects.

Skin Tite

Skin Tite is a silicone product from Smooth-On that is used to create custom effects directly on the skin. It can also be used as an adhesive to apply silicone masks and prosthetics.

Skin illustrator

Skin Illustrator is a makeup brand by PPI that uses alcohol-activated colors.


Face painting brand from Britain. Used worldwide for face painting, Halloween and more.


A spatula is a versatile tool used for scraping makeup out of a palette, working with scar wax, or sculpting. Spatulas are typically made from plastic or metal.


Short-term for Special Effects.

Spirit Gum

Skin adhesive. Mostly used to glue down front lace from wigs and to apply fake beards, mustaches and crepe hair. Spirit Gum is also known as mastix.

Spirit Gum remover

A product used to remove spirit gum from the skin and lace.

Splatter brush

A splatter brush is a tool used to create a splatter effect with paint or makeup on a prosthetic, skin, or other surfaces like props, scenery, and so on.

Special Effects Makeup

The process of using makeup to create different effects like scars, wounds and monster and creatures. Can also be used to change someones appearance.

Stage makeup

Makeup used by actors on a stage.

Stage makeup artist

A makeup artist that are specialized in stage makeup and theater makeup.


A technique when applying makeup or paint.

Stipple Sponge

A sponge used for make-up effects such as scratches, beard stubble, bruises, road rash, application of blood and more!

Sulfur-Free Clay

This is a type of clay that does not contain sulfur.


Cream Makeup from Kryolan.

Tear blower

A tool used by makeup artists that is made of acrylic glass and filled with menthol crystals. By blowing into the end of the Tear Blower, the menthol vapors are released and stream into the actor’s eyes, which causes immediate tears. The Tear Blower can be used multiple times until the menthol crystals lose their effectiveness.

Tear stick

A stick used under the eyes to create the effect of tears.

Texture Pad

Used for sculpting to press against the clay to create textures.


An strong adhesive used to glue on silicone prosthetics.

Thick blood

A type of fake blood that is thicker in consistency. It stays in place and is great for maintaining continuity in makeup effects.

Tinsley Transfers

A company that produces 3D FX temporary tattoos and makeup

Tooth color

See tooth enamel underneath.

Tooth Enamel

Similar to regular enamel paint, but intended for use on teeth. Tooth enamel comes in many different colors, including black, green, brown, gold, nicotine, white, and red (blood).

Tooth Lacquer

Another word for tooth enamel.

Tooth Wax

A black wax applied to a tooth to create the effect that a tooth is missing.


A product from Kryolan used to create the effects of old scars, pimples, and wounds. It comes in a tube and can be applied directly to the skin and molded into shape.


A strong type of plaster used to make molds.

Ultra slime

Non-toxic slime used in over a thousand films. Is extremely stringy and hangs on almost anything. Often used to create the effect of slime or saliva from monsters, aliens and many other effects.


Sometimes used as a release agent and can also be used to create the effect of sheen and sweat. It can also be mixed with fake blood to create homemade blood paste.


The process of making wigs and other hair prosthetics

Visual effects


Water clay

Water based clay.

Water makeup

Makeup that needs to be activated with water. It is also sometimes referred to as “face paint,” “body paint,” or “Aqua makeup.

Watermelon transfer

Transfers applied with water.

WED clay

A water-based clay mixed with glycerin that stays soft for a longer time before drying. It is named after Walter Elias Disney and was originally designed to be used by Walt Disney Imagineering to sculpt animatronics for use in Disney parks. WED clay is great for sculpting larger items such as masks and full bodies. It should be sprayed with water periodically to prevent the clay from drying out.


Hairpiece worn by actors and talents. Used to change someones hair either by length, texture or color.

Wig block

Used to style wigs.

Wig cap

Used underneath a wig to help keep the wearer’s real hair in place.

Wig lace

A fine lace used to create wigs.

Wig lace

Thin lace used for wig making.

Wig maker

A person making wigs and other hair pieces for theater, stage, screen or normal use.

Witch Hazel

In SFX makeup, Witch Hazel is mainly used to blend the edges of gelatin prosthetics.

Wool Crepe

Hair used to create fake beards, mustaches, wigs, and hairy creatures. Wool Crepe comes curly, and often needs to be straightened before use. Also called for wool crepe hair.


A material used by cosplay artists to create armor and props.

Working time

How long it’s possible to work with a material or product before it starts to kick/dry.


Digital sculpting program used by character designers.

3D transfer

Prosthetics invented by Crinstien Tinsley.

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