Special Effects Makeup: A Look into Prosthetic Makeup

By Marah Morrison

People who want to take Halloween to a whole new level should check out prosthetic makeup.

Otherwise known as SFX, or special effects makeup, prosthetic makeup is the procedure of using prosthetic sculpting, molding and casting techniques to create advanced cosmetic effects.

Integrated language arts education major at Youngstown State University and makeup artist, Samantha Mickey, got into makeup through YouTube videos. Since then, Mickey has been practicing her makeup skills and growing her makeup collection.

Mickey said she wants to get her esthetician license to be able to do makeup for special events on the weekends, especially weddings, and do people’s special effects makeup for Halloween.

“SFX makeup has really transformed over the years and the possibilities are endless,” Mickey said.

She recommends that anyone who is going to try special effects makeup should practice frequently. Mickey said it’s important for people to take the time to know the material they are using and to hone their skills.

“With some practice, anyone can make some cool looking scars or bruises,” Mickey said. “I feel that SFX makeup allows people to add a realistic element to their costumes or cosplay.”

Sarah Dooley, a junior at YSU and makeup artist, was interested in theater growing up and believes that background strengthened her love for special effects makeup.

Dooley learned a lot from years of doing makeup such as alternative ways to complete different makeup applications.

“This really comes in handy when you have a client that has an allergy to something like latex,” Dooley said. “Having knowledge about alternative application allows them to have a more wide-range possibility for makeup designs.”

Dooley said the special effects makeup industry is competitive and it is important to practice. Dooley uses her talent quite a bit, whether she’s doing it for clients, her friends or on herself to build her portfolio.

“I try not to let it go untouched more than a week or two without practicing,” Dooley said. “It is really important to challenge yourself and think outside the box when doing special effects makeup.”

Nicholas Chicone has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in interdisciplinary studies from YSU and owns Envizion Studios where is he the artist and designer.

Chicone was always curious on how to make a better Halloween costume and wanted to pursue special effects makeup further by participating on the show “Face Off and working at haunted houses during the haunt season.

“I use special effects makeup a lot in my art,” Chicone said. “I have a focus in sculpture and I use makeup techniques to finish my projects and color them.”

Chicone recommends not using YouTube as a source of information to anyone who considers using special effects.

“There’s a lot of dangerous and wrong ways of doing things online,” Chicone said. “Read books and teach yourself from the professionals in the industry.”

Chicone said the art form has become a more common and fantastic way to step up one’s Halloween game.