Monthly Archives: July 2010

Picture By bbradley

“Aromatherapy is… the skilled and controlled use of essential oils for physical and emotional health and well-being.”  Valerie Cooksley

Yesterday I read an article in the New York Times about Aromatherapy Bars, In Competition for Your Nose By Jennifer A Kingson. There are not that many Aromatherapy Bars and pretty expensive. When I worked in a Spa many years ago we did mix our own essential oils for treatments. Between giving facials and body work oils were a big part of why a client came back. In makeup some of us do have cosmetic and massage licenses.We can apply spa type treatments for actors in the makeup trailer. It really is up to you. However you choose to address treatment products for your actors remember not to experiment and to be aware of any adverse reactions. Essential oils and how they work is very complex in nature. Only practiced Aromatherapists  should work with certain essentials oils.  Essential oils can be used alone, diluted, together with another product or inhaled. For example you can dilute oils with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Jojoba and avocado oils.  What are essential oils? They are concentrated plant extracts. Like grasses, leaves, peels of fruit, flowers, wood, and roots. Just to name a few. Essential oils should be kept away from children. Two commonly known companies that sell Essential Oils are StarWest and Aura Cacia. A few of the common Essential oils are listed here with descriptions that only pertain to  Spa type treatments. Always do your research and read detailed information on any oil you are going to use. Along with any suggested use or warnings.

 Aura Cacia   StarWest 

Common Essential Oils are:

Bergamot: Can be used to treat oily or acne prone skin types.

Cedar wood:Antibacterial, Antiseptic, Astringent, Diuretic, Stimulant,insect repellent. 

Cinnamon: energizing, invigorating, and refreshing.

Clary Sage: heals most skin irritations. Works well in facial masks.

Clove: Antiseptic, disinfectant for mouth and teeth. Used often in massage oils. 

Chamomile: A calming oil. Used to relax and soothe.

Eucalyptus: Antiseptic, antiviral, bactericidal, deodorant, expectorant, fungicidal, and insecticide.

Frankincense:  Anti-inflammatory, Sedative, Calming and detoxifies.

Grapefruit: Antibacterial, Antiseptic, Astringent, Detoxifier, Stimulant.

Geranium: Helps to balance the skin.

Lavender: Balancing, relaxing, uplifting, skin care, and treatment for burns.

Lemon grass: Lemon grass is uplifting and often used in Massage, bath, or lotions.

Lemon: Helpful to treat wounds, infections, and uplifting.

Peppermint: treat aches and pains, digestion, indigestion, headaches and skin treatments. Sensitive skin.

Rosewood: Astringent in nature. Can be used as a deodorant, insecticide, and stimulant.  Can also be used for jet lag.

Rosemary: Stimulating product. Up lifting. Good for muscle aches and tension.

Spearmint: Less strong than peppermint. Good to use for children.

Sage: Relaxing oil . Used often in massage products. Helps with aches and pains. Soothing.

Sandalwood: Aids many skin ailments, stress reducer; uplifting.

Tea Tree: Healing oil. Good for any kind of anti-fungal treatment.

 Vetiver: Great for the skin. It is used to reduce wrinkles and stretch marks.Moisturizes the skin and helps to heal wounds.

Patchouli: Anti-inflammatory; cell regenerator. Alleviates depression and anxiety.Used most often in perfume, incense, massage, bath, and diffuser.

To name just a few.

 Picture by California Gormet

Essential Oils to stay away from:

Almond Bitter: Bitter almond oil contains prussic acid, known as cyanide, and is a well-known poison

Mugwort: Contains thujone which is poisonous.

mustard: As an essential oil, mustard oil is toxic because of its high content of allyl isothiocyanate. The oil is a skin and mucus membrane irritant

Pennyroyal oil is a toxin.( pulegone content) if ingested pennyroyal oil can cause death.

Sassafras: Extremely toxic and a carcinogenic.

Wormwood: Known also as Artemisia absinthium. Contains neurotoxins that can bring on seizures.

Just to name a few. For more information about Essential Oils go to: w/Paula Ford Martin


Samina Pure Makeup

Samina Akhter a Muslim businesswoman has created a line for woman. Most importantly for Muslim woman. Islamic law does not allow alcohol and some kinds of meats. Woman questioned what to wear in the way of makeup. Finding that there is makeup made with animal products like fatty acids and gelatin that comes from pigs. Samina created a line of lipsticks and eyeliner that contain ingredients like plant extracts, and essential oils. The business now has Halal accreditation since early June. 

Information found:  Article Halal certified makeup launched in UK By Aftab Gulzar

Catherine Saint Louis wrote an article, Beauty Spots, for The New York Times about Argan Oil for hair. Artists have been picking up on the product to use on their clients. What is Argan Oil? Argan Oil is found inside the nuts of an Argan fruit. The tree is mostly concentrated in Southwestern Morocco. Argan Oil is a product used by the beauty Industry. Known to reduce wrinkles, preserve the elasticity of the skin, and tame frizz in hair. Argan oil contains Vitamin E, Antioxidants just to name a few. Sold for cosmetics use  for Hair, skin, nails, and  health.

 Products like Moroccanoil hair products and Orofluid contain Argan Oil . These products can be used on any hair types. The Argan Oil Society recommends ArganSense Natural Beauty. For more information about products and Argan oil :

Yvette Rivas on set for NBC’s Trauma 

Yvette Rivas Department Heads and Keys for hair on many projects like Rent, and NBC’s Trauma. Yvette is often requested to work one on one with celebrity clients. Her knowledge of all hair types put her in demand. Yvette has  suggestions on how to use products that contain Argan Oil.

Yvette: Products with Argan Oil are versatile. You can use the product for fine all the way to coarse hair. Oils can be used for touch ups on set to add shine, refresh the hair and smooth down flyaway. Here are a few hair tips:

Damp Hair: When the hair is damp apply a few drops in the palm of your hand. Rub together and run through the hair with your fingers. If the hair is fine use less drops. The opposite can be said if the hair is coarse and dry increase the drops. You be the judge. Follow with a blow dryer to style.

Dry Hair and the Flat Iron: Apply a few drops to the palms of your hands and follow the steps above.  Flat iron on a lower setting so not to burn the hair. The oils will protect the hair while flat ironing. At the same time add beautiful shine.

Hair Extensions: You can use Argan Oil products on hair extensions. I do apply halfway down the hair  and not right on top of the glue line. Wash the extensions as you would normally depending on your situation. The products do help to blend extensions nicely into your clients own hair.

 Photo By Emmyfagg

We all know about lead poisoning. Most of us know about the color additive Kohl. Kohl has been found to increase levels of lead with exposure. Especially children. In some areas its common for mothers to apply Kohl to the eyes of children. Mothers who use Kohl for makeup have been found to have children with higher concentrations of lead.Kohl also contains other materials such as aluminum, carbon, iron, and zinc compounds. Kohl products are not legal in the united states. Kohl , Kajal, Al-Kahal, and Surma are the names to look out for in products. The FDA has an Import Alert for cosmetics coming into the country. Not only because the products containing Kohl would be unsafe but there are also labeling violations. There are labels that  wrongly say they are approved by the FDA. To read more go to:  Kohl, Kajal, Al-Kahal, or Surma: By Any Name, a Source of Lead Poisoning There are eye pencils and products that use the name Kohl but that refers to the color.

This is a wonderful SIMPSON’S style rendering of the ILM model shop done by Artist Miguel Sandoval in 2003.We all loved it!In this photo:
In the picture: Jon Foreman, Fon Davis, Steve Gawley, Charlie Bailey, Lorne Peterson, Keith London, Grant Imahana, Brian Gernard, Danny Wagner, Migs Sandoval, Don Bies

Zombie Makeup  By Danny Wagner

What makes Danny Wagner’s Zombie makeup work is using multiple types of mediums and appliances.  Sometimes we all get into a rut by not thinking outside the box. Independent films are a great way to learn these methods. You have to think on your feet.

Danny:  This was a Zombie Makeup for an ILM party.   I used different appliances to get the final result.  The makeup should take about one and a half hours.

First gather your products you are going to use. For me that was Latex appliances, foam latex piece, Platcil-Gel 10 fast setting silicone, Telesis 5 prosthetic adhesive, Illustrator, hairspray, and hair gel.

Steps for a Zombie Makeup:

1. Clean the face

2. Use hair products to flatten the hair. In this case FX Special effects Spiking Glue and Freeze Spray was used.

3. Glue on your appliances in the pattern you want. 

4. Latex the main appliance. Burman slip rubber latex was used.

5. Don’t worry about edges.  To save time cover edges with silicone. Sculpt an organic type pattern. No seaming or blending involved.  

6. Glue on scraps of foam latex pieces in the areas you want the skin to look ripped.

7. Illustrator is a good makeup to color and bring out the piece.  Illustrator Zombie and FX were used for this makeup.

8. Add lots of blood! Now a days use a blood that appears wet but stays dry. That way you won’t make a mess.  Use flowing blood for a real drippy effect.


The last year on Trauma I had the pleasure of working with Danny Wagner. Danny worked in makeup effects with department head Stephan Dupuis.  Many times makeup testing is mentioned by me. There are productions that do not want to take any chances with a particle makeup look or need. Danny has a unique perspective makeup testing for effects. This area can include sculpting, puppet making, mold making etc. I had a chance to sit down with Danny and pick his brain for a little inside information. First a little background information.

Danny Wagner is a  special makeup effects artist, sculptural designer,creature maker,  and puppeteer. Makeup and creatures work has been a part of his life since childhood. Danny studied all the masters and focused on the coursework in college that would lead to a career in this field.  In 1988 he was hired by ILM to work on Ghostbusters 2 as a “CREATURE FABRICATOR”.  He also had the opportunity to work for other bay area creature and makeup experts such as Chris Walas Inc (CWI), Colossal Pictures and Magic Vista Studios.  Since 1993 Danny has primarily worked at ILM full-time, contributing to both feature films and commercials.  As a  special makeup effects artist, sculptural designer, model and creature maker, and puppeteer Danny has worked on all the three Star Wars prequels including the special editions. As a sculptural designer he contributed to The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, Sign’s, Van Helsing and the Star Wars prequels at ILM and the J.A.K. Art Department. Between 1988 and 2007 Danny worked on such films as War of the Worlds, Men In Black,A.I., Pirates Trilogy, Star Wars special editions and prequels, Jurassic Park Lost World,  Galaxy Quest, Star Ship Troopers and Back to the Future Part 2. Indiana Jones 4.

Makeup testing for Effects:

Danny: Productions will approach me for makeup testing because of the need to find out the cost of an effects and how much time is involved creating a look from start to finish. This helps production decide what they will use and how long it will take to produce. When testing I tend to use materials that work better or faster. I love Platcel Gel 10 for silicone prosthetics. Skin Illustrator for colors. Fast setting silicone is great. Transfers are  easy to apply and blend for scars and various 3D prosthetics.There are so many good materials to use. Depending on the design testing can be for an hour with discussions about the piece lasting hours. For an example a makeup test for a small front face with no hair or fur. If it’s a huge character with over lapping pieces testing for the application itself can go for hours. Some of my most memorable makeup tests were Bib Fortuna for Star Wars Episode One. Orn Free Ta for Episode 3 and Revenge of the Sith.

Below is pictures of a Makeup test that involved a prosthetic piece.

A head shot is taken to start Photoshop design.

Using the lifecast of the actress I started to sculpt the prosthetic out of MSP Medium clay using rakes and loop tools. Finish the sculpt by smoothing the surface using  cheese cloth, soft brushes with orange solv and alcohol.  

The finished sculpture for the makeup design.

Photoshop makeup design sample one

Photoshop makeup design sample two 

As makeups are sculpted there can be changes which is called sculpture design. Happens all the time. If there are no designs to look when your  sculpting then you are designing the prosthetic as you are sculpting which is prosthetic sculptural design. When you are finished sculpting you can mold it out of plaster called Ultracal-30 or another material like Syntastic dough. Depends on the materials you want to use for casting. Also budget will come into play. Plaster is the cheapest and fastest. Casting material can either be a foam, latex, gelatin, or silicone piece.