How do I fake a sooty/grimy face?

I'm working on a steampunk outfit for a convention, and am going for a "boiler stoker" sot of look.

For this I need to fake a sooty face (with clean bits where my goggles would rest if they weren't on top of my head).

But what can I use for the grime, without using actual muck, or looking like a horribly racist black-face performer?

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6 replies since 15th August 2010 • Last reply 15th August 2010

I'm not an expert or anything but if I was trying to achieve that look I would probably use loose black eyeshadow with a sponge.

That's somewhere to start maybe..?

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i did bruises for play once with black eyeshadow. Happy I think that would give you the look you're going for. And the dark black under the eyes of my profile pic <--- was for an angry drill routine and our makeup mom did that with a sponge and loose black eye shadow. A very dark brown might be better to start though if you're not doing stage makeup. up close the black may be too much..

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Ah! That's a good idea.

If I use a goggles-shaped template, I can have a sharp-edged dark outline that fades away as it gets further from the eyes. Like a raccoon Happy

Thanks Rachel and Ruby!

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i agree, but maybe try having undertones of a rusty-red and brown too?

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Maybe put the googles on, and sort of pat the makeup around it.

Mixing some vaseline and dark (dark brown, gray, black) shadow can give a sort of oily effect (don't know if people who worked in a boiler room used oil, but just thought I'd throw that out there lol).

From what little I know, I always think that there's going to be a sort of fine layer of soot and ash on EVERYTHING and the person would wipe it away, and it'd leave streaks of "clean" skin, ya know? Maybe put the colours (I think black might be a little TOO dark, and grey colours might work better) on your fingertips and use that to apply it, ya know?


I also think of people from Silent Hill and the colours from the movie set lol

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