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5 Biggest Problems When Wearing Prosthetics (and How to Combat Them)

Wearing prosthetic makeup is a great way to enhance any costume for Halloween, fancy dress parties and cosplay at conventions, but there are a few issues it’s worth thinking about in advance to make sure you keep looking your best after you have gone the extra mile with your look.

Tom Applies a Prosthetic

1. Heat

No matter what material your prosthetic is made of, heat can cause problems. Glues that were sturdy at normal temperatures can soften and become less effective and allow your appliance to slip or begin to peel away from your skin.

Combat it: Keep as cool as possible for as long as possible. If you’re filming, prioritise your actor and keep them cool in the shade with fans, cold drinks and ice packs anywhere that prosthetics aren’t applied. If you are on a night out in a hot environment take regular breaks in the fresh air and again, have iced drinks to keep your core temperature lower.


2. Sweat

Sometimes sweat is a result of heat, but some people simply sweat more than others, even in cooler conditions. If you or your model is someone who is prone to sweating, you need to address this well in advance of applying your prosthetics

Combat it: First of all, make sure the skin is as clean and as free of hair as possible. Clean the skin well with 99% alcohol (you should do this anyway) and use Sweat Stop before applying the adhesive to try and reduce the amount of sweat that is going to build up under your appliance. You can buy 99% alcohol in pharmacies and also from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

3. Moisture

No matter what the conditions, moisture will always build up around the nose and mouth. Drinking, eating and even just breathing will create damp conditions which can cause havoc with your application if you haven’t prepared for it.

Combat it: If prosthetics are anywhere near the mouth, always have your model use straws to drink, and if possible avoid hot drinks altogether. Hot drinks will give off steam which will add to the problem. Cold drinks with ice consumed through a straw will always be the best option. In addition, use NimbaFix Silicone Adhesive (even on gelatine prosthetics) around the nose and mouth for any applications that are going to be worn for a long time. It has a little extra bond and should stand up better to moisture issues.

An consume iced drinks to keep cool and always use a straw to avoid moisture building up on your prosthetic
Consume iced drinks to keep cool and always use a straw to avoid moisture building up on your prosthetic

4. Scratching

Guaranteed, the second you get into prosthetics you are going to get an itch – usually smack bang in the middle of your application. Scratching that irritating itch can not only affect your paint job, but if you dig your nail into the edge of a prosthetic you can ruin the seamless effect you’ve worked so hard to create.

Combat it: Once again, clean skin will be your best friend. A good wipe with 99% alcohol before application will reduce the chance of possible irritations that will get an itch going. Also have a supply of  talc and a powder puff or soft tissue to hand – if you get an itch, carefully place a heavily powdered sponge or tissue and manipulate it gently. You should be able to eradicate the feeling of the itch and leave nothing behind but excess powder. Most importantly, never apply any makeup to skin that has an underlying medical problem that means the skin is already irritated, scratched or overly sensitive in any way.

5. Long days

If you’re filming someone in prosthetics or attending a convention in makeup, chances are it’s going to be a long day. As time goes on the natural oils that your skin produces will build up and eventually, adhesives will begin to lose their grip.

Combat it: Being prepared is the key. Assume that a long day is going to affect your makeup and make sure you have extra adhesive, cotton buds and brushes to hand. For extra security also bring 99% alcohol so if you need to you can completely clean an area of the skin and the back of the prosthetic to apply more glue for a fresh bond.

SFX Materials
Always keep prosthetic adhesive, cotton swabs and a powder puff on hand for quick fixes

Check out our YouTube Channel for extra tips and tricks on applying prosthetics, and watch our video below for a basic overview on the process.

Got a makeup FX question or comment?

We love hearing from Nimba Creations customers, Cosplayers, Actors, Movie Makers and Makeup FX artists at every stage of their career. If you’ve got a question or comment about our products, Makeup FX or want to show off your lastest creation you can contact us via our Facebook Page.

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