Bring Creativity, Even a Bit of Gruesomeness, to Makeup Design

Nose and scar wax, sometimes called modeling putty, is an easy addition that brings dimensionality to makeup design. This versatile material lends itself to invention: Create a secret identity or just a shockingly great Halloween costume. For best results, try these tips from professional costume designer Josie Poppen, Drake instructor of theatre arts and the creative force behind many of the area’s professional productions.


Josie Poppen uses nose and scar wax to transform Cameron Reeves (Class of 2014).View a Gallery of the Full Transformation

Gather some inexpensive supplies. You can find nose and scar wax at theatrical makeup supply stores, online, and places that sell Halloween costume supplies. No need to match your skin color; you’ll be covering your new addition with makeup. Pick up a small bottle of castor oil, found at your local drug store, to finish the project.

Do a little research. Sketch what you’d like the finished design to look like or find sample photos that match your idea.

Think outside the scar. You can use nose and scar wax to not only add something to your face—a wart, a broken nose, a laceration, a scar—but also to create the illusion of something sticking out of your face—a pencil, a shard of glass (actually clear plastic), staples or stitches (black thread). Be creative. Be hideous.

Give your design staying power. Try to position the placement of the wax on parts of the face that are firm or stable. If you need a little extra sticking power, try incorporating some cotton fibers and spirit gum.

Finish the look. After shaping the nose and scar wax into your desired effect, dab on a light coat of castor oil. This will provide the proper finish that allows foundation to blend seamlessly between your skin and its waxy addition.

Have fun—but be smart. Even though some online examples may tell you differently, never fully cover up your eyes or nostrils with this versatile material.

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