Movies are about telling a story visually. In tv and film, makeup is a big part of telling that story. Maybe a character did something wrong, is nervous about a first date or it’s just the middle of summer? Sweat is an easy way to convey to the audience that the actor is hot or nervous due to his/her current predicament. Since it is not feasible to expect an actor to sweat on cue, the makeup artist is required to step in.
Make your own sweat
Create fake sweat by mixing glycerin and water in a spray bottle. How much you thin out your glycerin depends on how runny you want your sweat to be. 1 part glycerin to 2 parts water works well, but you should play around with small amounts to see what works for the look you want.
I have used glycerin straight to simulate droplets of sweat, but it won’t run well due to the thickness.
When using glycerin “sweat” remember to…
Ask the actor if he/she is allergic to glycerin. Do not apply if they are allergic.
Shake the mixture well before use.
You can spray the sweat on a sponge and apply exactly where you want it, or mist on your actors fact from a distance.
Find reference pictures that shows where people normally perspire (on the upper lip, temples, forehead, etc…)
Most of all, take care NOT to get the fake “sweat” in your actors eyes. Have the actor close their eyes when applying. I got glycerin in my eyes before. It didn’t blind me, but it was extremely uncomfortable. I wanted to punch the person that did it, but I couldn’t see them.
Of course there is more than one way to skin a cat. There are other recipes and specialty products simulating sweat. If you have any suggestions, let me know.
READ. COMMENT. CONNECT!
Please feel free to leave comments and let me know what you think. If you have a makeup or special fx website, I would love to hear about it.