Smudges, smears and runny noses; no matter how long you’ve been clowning you will encounter some sort of make up mishap along the way. Heat, humidity and the need to eat in costume can give need of a touch up here and there but poor make up technique is the bigger culprit when things go awry.
Let’s take a look at some issues one might have with clown make up and methods of repair and prevention.
An ounce of prevention:
Our pre- makeup routine is the first line of defense to help eliminate some of the make up issues such as, cracks, creases and runny make up.
*Always start with a fresh clean face free of dirt and natural oils, this ensures the make up will take to your skin properly. Oily skin can also lead to the make up not setting well and become runny later in your performance.
* Make sure to shave; make up does not go on well over beard stubble. The exception is if you color your beard for a character.
*If you tend to have dry skin use a moisturizer before you apply your make up, dry skin can cause creases and cracks in the make up.
*If you have a tendency to sweat a great deal, try a product called No Sweat. Apply to areas of the face that tend to produce more sweat like right at the hairline, this will help reduce the likely hood of sweat ruining your make up.
Use quality products:
The proof is in the pudding or clown make up in our case. Make up from Mehron, Jim Howle or Ben Nye are among the top professional brands available that will deliver the best results for a good clown face. Remember you need to find the brand that best works for you, some make up may not agree with your skin type. (Also read our article on senior clown make up.) The same rule applies for clown noses and adhesives; quality products deliver the best results.
You do all these things and you still have issues? Here are some common problems and ways to prevent them.
*Make up does not stick to skin. Even though you washed your face, you may need to use and astringent like witch hazel to remove access facial oils. You also may wish try a barrier spray prior to applying make up, this is similar to No Sweat.
*My make up always smears off wear my wig touches it. Make sure your wig is trimmed up properly, after doing all the hard work on your eye make up you don’t want to cover it with a wig. Pat and powder your make up so it sets well.
*Smudges and smears of any kind may be due to the fact you did not pat and smooth your make up properly in the first place. Some clowns even use a thick course bristle brush to pat the make up into the skin and then smooth it with the fingers.
* Proper powdering techniques are crucial in setting the make up and reducing any kind of smears. Use products meant for the face, athlete’s foot powder is not a good call. Never use a powder with cornstarch; this can cause unwanted clumping or unusual texturing. You may also find a need to re powder if you are working in the heat or are going to be in make up for several hours.
* You may also wish to a product called Final Seal to lock in the freshness and help prevent smearing.
*My make up looks all bumpy and weird when I put it on. Did you cover your make up the last time you powdered? If powder falls into the open make up it can cause it to dry up and get clumpy. You may be able to use a damp towel to wipe off the surface of the make up cake and restore it to original consistency.
Runny noses and noses running:
Is there anything worse than having a runny nose due to allergies or a cold when you have to glue on a clown nose? I know this is a big bummer for me. Cold and allergy medicine can help relive the symptoms but you may still have a bit of a runny nose that will not be good capped off by your clown nose for an hour or two. A solution can be using a strap on nose that is easily lifted to blow your nose when needed.
My old pal Snudek showed me how to convert one of my clown noses into a strap on with some mono filament a rubber band and elastic.
+Use a piece of the larger style rubber band and secure one end of the mono filament into it by way of needle.
+With mono filament threaded on a needle, push this through your clown nose from the inside out at the middle of the side of the nose.
+Make sure the piece of thread goes behind your ear and cut the thread. Attach to one end of the elastic band.
+Repeat these steps for the other side, adjust the thread so that the elastic is at the back of your head to be hidden under your wig. Make sure that the nose fits snug but not too tight.
Now if that is too much work, string kits are available for purchase.
My glue won’t hold my nose in place.
Just like make up there are different types of adhesives out there, find the one best suited for you. I use a medical adhesive to keep my nose in place this seems to hold up best through heat and sweat. Also using the No Sweat around the nose area before gluing can help eliminate slipping noses.
Clowns’ gotta eat!
At some point you may be in your clown gear for several hours and of course you will have to eat in costume. This can cause an issue with the make up around your mouth and lips. Try cutting up your food in small bites to avoid smearing your make up. Stick with simple things that aren’t too messy, a big plate of lasagna is not a sensible meal in clown. Use a straw when drinking, this really minimizes any wear on your make up.
Finally, have a touch up kit on hand to freshen up your face after your meal or other boo boos. Keep a small kit in a cooler for touch ups; this way if you are in a hot environment the make up will not melt.
Hopefully we have covered the major mess ups with clown make up but be sure to check out our other articles on clown make up.