Fake sweat can tell help a story

image from health.howstuffworks.com

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.

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.

Twitter: @MakeupDrShari
Facebook: MakeupDrShari
Examiner.com Articles: LA Makeup Examiner

7 thoughts on “Fake sweat can tell help a story

  1. Hi, thanks for this… very helpful !
    I’m in NYC and I’m going to do make up for a short film and I’ve never done it before !…(I did runways and red carpets, very different…) and I’m freaking out !!! 😉
    The story is happening in a dance studio, they are all actors/dancers, and the majority of the scenes happen during their rehearsals…
    I need to do a no make up make up, but they still need to look good !… do you have any advices on products I could use ?
    I also have a scene with a gun shoot (fake blood running on a shirt…) do you recommend any ?
    Also concerning the fake sweat, you said we should be very careful not having the product in the eyes… what if the drops on the forehead fall on the lid and get it there… does this hurt too? Is there any “safer” way to do fake sweat on the face ? (baby oil and water ???)
    ANY tips are welcome… thanks a lot !

    • Hi, Thanks for the comment! I am sure you will do just fine on set. You asked a lot of question and I will try to answer them the best I can. You can also check out my blog on *natural makeup.* * * * * *Blood: * I am a big fan of Ben Nye Stage Blood. They also make a good Fresh Scab Blood, which is thicker, if you need the blood to look clotted. Mehron makes a good squirt blood in a variety of colors. Just remember that the blood you pick should depend on the age of the wound and what part of the body is bleeding.

      *Glycerin sweat in the eyes:* I have had glycerin in my eyes and it doesn’t hurt, it was just a little uncomfortable. I was on set recently and we had about 10 actors that all needed to be sweaty (even though it was 45 degrees outside). The actors closed their eyes when we sprayed them with the glycerin mix and then dabbed their eyes before letting them go. The glycerin mix was running down their face and no one had a problem. If there is some concern, use a stipple sponge to apply the “sweat” to the face.

      *”No make-up” make-up look: * *Foundation*: Start with a primer. I really like Napoleon Perdis’ Auto Pilot Pre-Foundation Primer and Smashbox’s Photo Finish Foundation primer. A primer will help even out the skin without pigment.

      Use a shear foundation, or can thin your own foundation out using a moisturizer.

      Even if you are not doing a heavy makeup look you should still use concealer over any imperfections. Try Make Up For Ever’s Full Cover Concealer. A litt bit goes a long way, so use it sparingly.

      Remember to powder he look well. Cargo Cosmetics and Make Up For Ever make excellent face powders. DON’T use mineral makeup, most don’t hold up well on camera.

      *Cheeks*: Gel and cream blushes tend to look more natural than powders. Try Nars cream blush and Tarte Cheek Stain.

      *Eyes*: Keep the eyes neutral. You can use matte nude colors on the eyes or just use your loose face powder on a full eyeshadow brush, with slightly darker shade to countour the eyes. A soft eyeliner and full lashes can make the nude makeup look pop. You can’t go wrong with MAC or Make Up For Ever products

      Since you do runway and fashion, you should have no problem on set. Keep the look clean and light. *Keep an eye on the monitor when filming,* to see how the makeup reads on film, in case you need to make adjustments.

      I hope this helps. If you have any questions, let me know. Good Luck! 🙂

      • Thank you so much for taking the time to answer me so completely ! That is so kind of you… and it’s very very helpful.
        One last question and I promise after that I will leave you alone 😉 : To make a sweaty face with foundation on, what’s your way to make the foundation waterproof ? will the foundation and concealer be running when I spray the glycerin + water ?
        Thanks a million !

        • No worries, I am happy to help. I have sprayed the “sweat” mixture over Cinema Secrets, Ben Nye and Make Up For Ever cream foundations/concealors, but only after the skin was well powdered. I think that setting the foundation helps. All the foundations withstood the glycerin mix quite well, because the glycerin beads up and sits on top of the skin. When you are applying the glycerin mix, just spray or dab it on the skin, never rub. That way you won’t disturb the makeup underneath. You may have to touch up a bit here or there, but no more than usual. Good Luck!

  2. Just read all the above and Thankyou so much I have a Photoshoot tomorrow as hairstylist and Mua and first time using fake sweat so really appreciate the tips ❤️ Thankyou x

  3. Woah! I’m actually enjoying this template/theme with this internet site. It’s straightforward, yet successful. Frequently it’s very, very hard to have that “perfect balance” in between outstanding functionality in addition to overall look. I need to declare you’ve completed an excellent work with this particular.

Leave a Reply to Sarah Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s