Creating Amazing Facial Hair with Crepe Hair- By Jenna Maxwell
When it comes to creating a costume character, sometimes getting the style of facial hair just right is critically important. Certain characters absolutely require specific facial hair in order to get the costume look just right. Try and imagine characters like Abe Lincoln, Charlie Chaplin, Jack Sparrow or even one of the Duck Dynasty fellows without their signature facial growth--it just doesn't work! Growing your own beard, scruff or mustache isn't always possible for a costume, so you may be wondering if there is an easy way to create realistic looking facial hair for your favorite costume look. The answer is...absolutely yes! The best part is, that you do not have to have a lot of experience or even be a professional makeup artist in order to get very good and surprisingly realistic results when creating your pseudo facial hair. The transformation that you can get by using these techniques is pretty amazing. We have put together some basic how-to instructions for you to follow so that creating that faux mustache; beard, sideburns or scruff will be very easy and simple to do!
Choose Your Style:
The first step in creating your facial hair is to know what style of beard you are looking for so that you will be able to choose the best products in order to get the desired results. There are many different beard, mustache and facial hairstyles that can potentially be created. Some of the most familiar styles of facial hair include goatees, mutton chop sideburns, chin curtains and of course full-length beards. The sky is really the limit when it comes to creating various facial hair looks, so don't be afraid to try something new and imaginative in order to get your character look just right.
Assemble Your Materials:
Based on the style and color of facial hair you want to create for yourself, the next step is to choose the materials you will need in order to make your beard or mustache. The looks we describe in this article are all created using crepe hair that is adhered to the skin with a product known as spirit gum. Crepe hair comes in many different colors and can be obtained in straight lengths or curly lengths. You will want to be sure to get the type of crepe hair that most closely resembles your desired finished look. Most beards can be created using the curly crepe hair, which can be ironed if a straighter hair is needed, so when in doubt, this is the type you should try.
Choosing a Color:
When it comes to choosing the best color for your beard or facial hair there are plenty of shade options available. Real facial hair is often a combination of colors so consider mixing a couple of colors for a more realistic look--for example, try mixing in a little bit of grey with darker shades, etc.
In order to get your beard to adhere, you are going to need to use spirit gum. This usually comes in a small bottle with a handy brush that comes in the lid for very easy application. You should also obtain some spirit gum remover so that when the time comes to remove your facial hair, the process will be quick and easy! You will also want to have some sharp scissors handy in order to cut your crepe hair to the desired lengths for application and you will also use these to trim up your facial hair if necessary once it is completed. If you are planning on ironing your crepe hair to make it straighter, you will also need a steam iron and an ironing board.
Curly crepe hair comes in braided lengths. Before the crepe hair can be applied to the face, the braids will need to be cut into a manageable length, unbraided and the twine that is braided into the hair will need to be removed. Remove the strand of twine that is holding the hair together and discard it. Fluff out the fibers of the crepe hair so that they begin to separate.
For curlier beards you can choose to just separate and fluff out the fibers of the crepe hair and apply it to the face, If you want a straighter looking beard, you will need to either get the fibers damp and then lay them gently out to dry which will loosen the curliness of the hair or you can choose to iron the fibers. If you choose to iron the crepe hair, you must use a setting with a great deal of steam coming from the iron. Be very careful when ironing with a lot of steam so that you don't burn your fingers. For the best results, use fairly thin strands and make sure the fibers are fully separated before attempting to iron them. Prepare as many strands as you think you are going to need in advance so that you have all your crepe hair ready to go before you move onto the next application step.
Depending on the style of facial hair you are attempting to create, you will want to decide where to begin and end. Generally speaking you will want to start low on the face and build up from there. In other words, if you want facial hair on the chin area, you would start the process underneath the chin and build up from that point, layering thin layers of hair on top of one another.
In order to get the crepe hair to adhere to the face, you are going to need to apply spirit gum to the face with a small brush. HINT: Do not apply spirit gum to freshly shaven skin; it's much better to shave the night before application to avoid any potential irritation. Get a small section of hair ready to apply--usually about 1" wide and cut to a little longer than the length you desire in your finished beard. Apply the spirit gum to a small area of the face, once again, beginning at the lowest point you want hair and then working upward. After you have brushed on the spirit gum, you will need to tap the spirit gum gently with your finger. This tapping process increases the tackiness of the spirit gum and will allow the crepe hair to adhere very easily. Press the prepared section of crepe hair into the spirit gum. If small pieces of hair don't adhere, you can just pull them off. Prepare the next piece of crepe hair in the same manner; making sure that the area you intend to cover in crepe hair has spirit gum in place to adhere it to. Don't forget to tap the spirit gum so that it becomes super sticky before you attempt to adhere the hair. Continue this layering process with the hair until the area you wish to cover with crepe hair has the look you desire. Don't worry if your facial hair seems overly thick, bushy or long. Once you have all the crepe hair in place, you can give your facial hair a good trim in order to style it however you like. When trimming your beard, use barbering shears for the best results. Use extreme care when trimming any areas of hair that are near your skin! For the most natural result, point the blades of the shears in an upward direction.
- Always work with small sections of hair during the gluing on process. Don't try to glue on big chunks of hair all at once, as it won't adhere as well and your results will look less natural.
- Blend in a somewhat lighter shade on the top layer for a more natural hair effect that looks like highlights.
- Don't glue facial hair up too high on the face unless you are creating a wolf man look.
- Use spirit gum to adhere small, layered tufts of hair to the upper lip to create a mustache, applying the crepe hair in the same manner as described above. NEVER glue the lower edge of the mustache hair down, as it needs to hang freely in order to look like natural growth.
- Once you have all the crepe hair glued into place, gently press the hair down again around the face, making sure all the pieces are adhered well. Apply more spirit gum if needed and fill in any "bald" spots that you may have previously overlooked. Comb through your facial hair with a very wide toothed comb to groom the hair and while doing so, check for good coverage.
- When trimming your facial hair, take your time and go slowly as it's always easier to go back and cut more than it is to put more crepe hair on and begin the process from the beginning!
In order to create the look of a new or very short beard, you will need to follow the above instructions with a couple of exceptions. Begin with a length of straight crepe hair in the desired color. Using very sharp scissors and holding the hair over a small container, cut very tiny particles of hair, collecting them in the container. Continue to cut this hair "dust" until you have enough cut to cover the desired area on your face. Using the technique for applying spirit gum as outlined above, apply the spirit gum to small segments of the face and tap to make it sticky. Using your finger, press the small particles of hair into place where you have applied the spirit gum. Always start at the lowest point on the face and build up from there, doing the mustache area last, if desired. This technique creates an incredibly realistic looking scruffy beard--your friends will think you grew it yourself!
Pull off as much of the crepe hair as possible. Apply spirit gum remover with cotton balls or a soft cloth or brush. Gently wipe away the hair as the spirit gum dissolves. Wipe off any remaining spirit gum residue and when the hair has been completely removed, wash the face with soap and warm water.
Finishing off your best costume look with realistic looking facial hair is both easy and fun. Crepe hair is a great way to get professional looking results that are easy to wear with long lasting and simply amazing results. Have fun creating all sorts of facial hair looks with crepe hair--it's so much fun to be fabulous!