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Demo Day at Middle Bucks Institute of Technology (2017-2018)

The Halloween season is always exciting for the Cosmetology students at MBIT. Each year, the school would give the students one of two options - to build a scarecrow that reflects their field of study, or to build a haunted house. The Cosmetology students are very excited about either, but a main reason why is because it gives them the opportunity to make a mannequin or each other scary looking to creep everyone else out!

Many students over the years have requests that I give them a special effects demonstration before the day of Halloween so they can do it at haunted houses or for parties, or to simply scare their families. This year, each level got a chance to get a special effects demonstration, to which you will see pictures and an in-depth explanation on how each creation was made.

First and foremost, was 100 level. They are the newest Cosmetology class, and many of them have not been exposed to special effects makeup up-close.

The first makeup the class learned was a broken nose and a black eye. The broken nose (done for all three classes) was created using 3rd Degree, a silicone based makeup mainly used for molding raised injuries and uneven edges. The 3rd Degree was molded into a raised shape above the bridge of the nose, then a slit was created to simulate the nose being split open. Alcohol activated makeup and cream makeup was used to color the broken nose, while cream makeup and a stippling sponge was used to create the black eye. Inside the cut of the broken nose, black coloring was used to create the illusion of depth to make the cut look more realistic. The blood, which was the class' favorite part, was used 3 times during this look: gel blood was used in the cut, liquid blood was dripped from the cut, and liquid blood was also used inside the nostril.

Next, many students were interested in learning about a slit neck. Slit necks on professional sets use a prosthetic, tubing, and forced air to create the illusion of a throat getting slit. For the use of Halloween or character makeup, I showed the students how to create deep cuts using just highlight and shadow. To create the deep cut, black cream makeup was used along with a small, thin brush to draw an uneven thicker line. Along the edges of the black line, A very thin line of lighter skin tone (I used a pale yellow) was used then blended to create the illusion of slightly raised edges, which also creates the illusion of a deeper cut. Because fresh cuts do not have any irritation, no red coloring was used for this demo. Next came the blood - instead of using a spatula, I used a syringe of liquid blood to drip a large amount down her neck.

The class was also taught more about bruising, and the multiple ways bruises can look as they are healing. On this student's eyebrow, was a bruise that was a few days old, but has not yet began the majority of its healing process. On her right cheekbone is another bruise that is about a day old, and more severe.

Finally, was this bad boy right here. Here's the story: I gave the class a demonstration of a deep cut on an arm using 3rd Degree, gel blood, and KY Jelly. One student asked me if there was a way to turn a cut like this into stitches, which I replied yes, with the right tools. Neither myself or MBIT had thin string available for which you would actually use stitches like this for, but instead, had a type of string that was more "yarn-like", so we went with it. Using pros-aide and smaller pieces of this string, I created a more unrealistic version of stitches over the deep cut. To blend the edges of the string down, I used pros-aide, alcohol activated makeup, and gel blood to create the illusion that the string was "pushed" into the skin rather than stitched.

The 200 level class had seen a few special effects demonstrations the previous year, so I decided to keep some stuff they learned last year, in addition to adding something new.

The broken nose and black eye was something they had learned the previous school year, but were interested in seeing again.

The class was also interested in learning more about different bruising techniques. Unlike the 100 level, they were more interested in the bruising that reflects a serious injury, like a fight or a broken bone in the face. This student was given bruises on her left eyebrow bone, right cheekbone, and chin.

This is an example of something more in-depth that this class got to learn this season - a deep cut. Last school year, they learned about 3rd Degree and different coloring techniques for injuries such as a broken nose and black eye, as mentioned before. This year, we took those coloring techniques to another level. Within the 3rd Degree, I carved out a large slit for the deep cut. Using similar coloring techniques as the broken nose and highlight/shadow (black inside the cut, highlight outside the edges), I created the illusion of a deeper cut in her arm. Two additional coloring techniques were used for this look: first, a deeper blood red tone of alcohol activated makeup was used on the inside edges of the cut to create the illusion of blood and tissues being exposed in the cut and second, a light coat of brighter red tone of cream makeup was used around the edges of the cut to create the illusion of irritation. The finish off the look, gel blood was used, which kept a layer of KY Jelly in place. The jelly gave the cut the illusion of pus and watery fluid for a more realistic look.

Another new look for this class was the creation of boils, a very nasty infection. Boils of this stature are usually done with a prosthetic, but desperate times call for desperate measures! For their demonstration, the boils were created using 3rd Degree, which is more difficult to do because the silicone mixture needs more time to set before it can be colored. The molding of the 3rd Degree came in two steps: first, the boils (unopened) were created and second, popped boils were created. I decided for this look to put the popped boils alongside the edges of the infection, while the bigger boils were in the middle, unopened. Coloring for this infection was fun. First, for the larger boils, I used a combination of a mustard yellow cream makeup and a moldy green cream makeup to create the illusion of pus and infection coloration. Infections such as boils can create swelling in the surrounding skin, so I used a deeper purple cream makeup around the larger boils and some of the popped boils. For the boils that have popped, similar coloration for deep cuts (black in the cut to create depth, red around the edges, etc.). For these popped boils, however, the same green moldy color was used to create the illusion of infection. Lastly, the look was topped off with liquid blood inside the popped boils and KY Jelly was used to create the illusion of pus. Definitely one of the nastier looks of the day!

The 300 level class got the opportunity to learn more makeup looks for haunted houses, since they had two years of special effects already. Many students in the class work in a haunted house or a haunted farm, so they have been exposed to some of these looks already.

First, I showed the class the use of doing deep cuts using highlight and shadow, alongside liquid blood so they could use this look for Halloween.

Next, I created the same broken nose and black eye look at a reiteration of the past two years. Many students who work in haunted houses or at haunted farms said they have started to use 3rd Degree for their makeup looks.


The last makeup look for the class was just a basic skeleton character makeup used in many haunted houses. This look was achieved using cream makeup and alcohol activated airbrush makeup. I also used this look to show the students Tooth Laquer, which is a alcohol activated tooth coloration used to alter the color of teeth (colors include Nicotine, Tobacco, Black - used on this student to black out her teeth - and Rot). This makeup looks very different in the light than it does in the dark, so I had the model close her eyes, open her mouth, and wait until I shut off the lights (the majority, at least) to then talk and move around. The best part of this makeup is when the model opened her eyes while the lights were off. Definitely a freaky moment!

Overall, it was a very good couple of days. The students enjoyed their time learning many techniques, and they all were very intrigued by what can actually be created with the same products!

Who knows, maybe next year we'll get a chance to go bigger and better!

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