As clowns we love to hear “You crack me up!”
But we don’t like to see our makeup cracking up. This is a common complaint from clowns about their makeup:
“HELP! My white make-up is cracking! What can I do??”
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Here are some important things to consider: choice of greasepaint, skin prep, application, and powdering.
First thing’s first: Use high quality greasepaint make-up. I recommend Mehron, Ben Nye, Krylon, Jim Howle, and ProFace (if you have any ProFace greasepaint left, as the McBrydes are no longer making this make-up. But they are STILL MAKING PROKNOWSES!!! Don’t panic!)
Let’s go through the possible reasons your make-up is cracking.
You have deep creases in your face.
The sad truth is if you have deep lines in your face, your make-up will eventually crack. The deeper the line the sooner it will crack. Some imperfections we will just need to live with.
The good news is you can make them less noticeable with some simple steps:
Wipe your face down with alcohol on a cotton ball or pad. This cleans off any excess skin oils. It also tightens up your pores.
If you have an excessively sweaty face you need to use a sealer made for facial skin. Skin Prep Pro by Mehron works great for sealing your pores. The sweat coming out of your pores will break down your make-up and cracks will show more quickly.
Be sure you do not put your clown white make-up on too thick. Whether you apply your make-up with your fingers, foam wedge or sponge, or a brush, I recommend you pat the makeup firmly into your pores in your troublesome areas. This provides an even finish as well.
Setting with Powder
Powder as soon as possible! The warmth of your skin will start to break down the grease, so getting it set right away is important.
Cracks and creases need to be smoothed out right before you powder. If you power in a crack or crease, it is permanent. Fill your cheeks with air and pat out the creases with your finger or sponge. Push your tongue against your cheek to help give a firm surface to pat.
Prime your powder puff or sock with plenty of powder! Powder the white on your makeup first or as soon as you are doing any blending with other colors. You can even powder problem areas (like eyelids and corners of mouth) while leaving the rest of your make-up wet if you use a powder puff instead of a sock. Use one puff for your white and one for your colors to be safe and avoid color transfer.
Be sure to powder in all the troublesome areas carefully. I have trouble in my eye sockets and under my chin! I fold a powder puff in half in order to get the powder where it needs to go. Stretch out your neck by tilting your head back.
Touch your face lightly to find all those sticky spots. But it was dry just a second ago!!! That’s right, it might have felt dry, but as the wet grease make-up absorbs the powder it can get sticky again. Use your puff to press the powder into the grease. You cannot powder too much. The grease will absorb as much as it can and then it stops.
Once done pressing powder into the grease make-up let it sit on your face for 2 to 5 minutes. Yes, that seems like a long time, but the longer it sits, the longer your makeup will last.
Then brush it off. Use a really really good powder brush! A brush with a lot of soft, fine, natural-hair bristles will take off more of the powder without smearing your make-up. Try our goat hair powder brush. It is the best brush I have ever found.
Test for wet spots again. Repeat the steps above.
Let’s tackle some other makeup questions I get asked a lot:
“What the heck? I just put an imprint of my red mouth on my white cheek!!!!”
Yup, not enough powder on your puff or sock. OR too much wet make-up on your face.
Make sure your puff or sock is primed with enough loose powder to do the job. Colors like red and black cause the most problems. Load up your puff with powder. Carefully press onto your face. DO NOT RUB!
Take a look. Is there make-up on your puff? Add more powder. Repeat. Let that powder sit on wet areas for 5 minutes before you brush off the powder. Be gentle until you are sure all is dry.
For a visual example, CLICK HERE to watch a short how-to video we made.
Let’s talk seriously about the biggest myth in clown makeup: spritzing with water. THIS DOES NOT SET YOUR MAKE-UP! Water can NOT set grease. Oh yes, It can take the haze away and brighten colors a bit. But your face will crack and start to break down sooner if you spritz with water. Wet paper towels will cause the same problems.
Sorry folks — it’s the truth!
Instead, you should spritz with a fixative sealer such as Mehron’s Barrier Spray. This clear alcohol-based spray takes away the haze and locks in with the powder to provide a long lasting finish resisting to cracks and graininess. It was designed specifically for this very purpose! Also, those colors will return to their regular brightness after 10 or 15 minutes from the warmth of your skin.
How to make a great clown face last all day?
Bring along your powder. You need to keep your face dry. A lightly loaded powder puff will do the trick. Keep it in a zip-top baggie in your pocket or travel kit. Touch up those problem areas. Easy!
The truth is unless you have a make-up judge looking up your nose, most folks really don’t care about a few lines or cracks on your make-up on a hot day. They get it! You are just obsessing at a line around your mouth or eye. They are looking at the whole picture, make-up, wig, costume, shoes and all the fun stuff you are doing!
Give yourself a bit of a break. Do your best and remember to have fun. If you are having fun and entertaining your audience, they really aren’t looking at the little cracks in your make-up.
Take a look at my other articles to help with clown makeup:
- When is it time to replace your makeup supplies and greasepaint?
- How to clean out and organize your clown makeup kit
- Powder Sock versus Powder Puff
- 4 Ways to keep your clown face looking fresh all day
- What’s the difference between Clown White and Clown White Lite?
- The best method for washing off greasepaint
- Try this to clean off your makeup and facepaint brushes
- How to properly use a powder puff
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Mooseburger Clown Arts Education has been running one of the world’s most well-rounded clown schools since 1996. Performers from all over the globe travel to Minnesota each summer for a fun and intensive clown training program. Each aspect of our clown camp is designed to meet your needs and boost your confidence as an entertainer.
Whether you want to join the circus, visit nursing homes, run your own birthday party business, paint faces, or twist balloons, there is something just for you at Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp.
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