Special Effects Makeup


Whether you want to create a unique look for a theater production, Halloween or a holiday party, special effects makeup allows you to transform any face into something magical or out of this world.

Special Effects Makeup Ideas

Any makeup that dramatically changes the appearance of a person can fall under the category of special effects.

Fun Effects

  • With added wrinkles and silver hair color, you can age instantly.
  • Glittery makeup and bright colors can be used to create fantasy looks.
  • Tooth colors can make you look like you just emerged from the grave or have spent a lifetime smoking cigarettes.
  • Even become the opposite sex with the right special effects makeup application.

Bloody Effects

Whether it's dripping from vampire fangs or oozing from a realistic wound, fake blood is a mainstay in special effects makeup. An easy way to make your own fake blood is to add red food coloring to corn syrup. The syrup provides just the right consistency for realistic bleeding effects. Fake blood is also easy to find around Halloween or from online retailers.


Don't neglect the hair as part of your special effects makeup. Sprays and creams can turn you into a blonde bombshell or a raven-haired beauty, even making your hair glow under a black light.


Using other accessories can enhance the look you've created with makeup. FX contact lenses can add to the illusion by changing the shape and color of your eyes, whether you want to show your feline side or try for something a little more demonic. The right pair of teeth can complete a scary or comical costume.


Sometimes makeup alone isn't enough to create a particular look. In this case, foam and latex prosthetics can be used to change the shape and texture of a face. The prosthetics are applied to the face with adhesive and then covered with makeup for a seamless look. Whether you're adding horns or a more prominent chin, the transformation can be amazing.

Online Resources

  • Special Effect Supply Corporation sells everything you need for makeup effects. If they don't sell it, they can point you to someone who does. For instance, they won't sell special effects contacts because they're regulated by the FDA, but they do provide contact information for eye doctors who do. Informational articles on everything from airbrushing to making fake body parts can help you perfect your special effects techniques. The site also offers a list of available artists if you're looking to hire a makeup professional and a list of haunted houses in the U.S. and Canada.
  • ScreenFace, based in London, features an online store with professional-quality products. Their images can also provide ideas for your own projects.

Helpful Books

If you're looking to learn the tricks of special effects makeup, a few books may help you perfect your application techniques:

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