How to Use Makeup for a Fake Beard

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When you create a costume, detail matters, and a realistic beard can make the difference between a good costume and a great one. It's not difficult -- you can use makeup to create a beard that accurately matches your hair or wig color for Halloween, cosplay or when dressing in drag.

Things You'll Need

  • Foundation
  • Mascara, liquid eyeliner, face paint or similar product in a tone slightly darker than the hair on your head
  • Stipple sponge, or a brush with stiff bristles such as a toothbrush
  • Makeup sealer

Step 1: Pick a Beard

Study a few pictures of beards before you start. Beard hair isn't indiscriminately scattered all over the face, and its distinct distribution is particularly noticeable when it's growing in as stubble. There tend to be lighter patches near the lips and on the chin.

You may also have to add contouring, to simulate the three-dimensional nature of hair when using makeup. A beard, for example, often looks darker at the edges of the face because you're seeing multiple hairs at once where the skin curves. Shadows can also make a beard seem darker in places.

Step 2: A Good Foundation

When wearing any kind of makeup, it's a good idea to use foundation. It smooths out your skin and protects it, as well as making it easier to apply and remove other products. If you are using face paint for your beard, make sure you read the instructions, which might suggest a particular undercoat or foundation for the product.

By itself, a beard might look odd if you have a very feminine facial structure. The right kind of contouring can work marvels to create the illusion of a more masculine face shape. You might also consider thickening your brows and toning down your lip color, if appropriate.

Warning

  • Always try a patch-test first to make sure you aren't allergic to the product and that it will match your skin tone. A good place for a patch test is the inside skin of your wrist and arm because it's thin and sensitive, similar to the skin of your face.

Step 3: Draw It Out

You have several options for products when it comes to drawing on your beard. Mascara, liquid eye-liner and face paint could all work. The important thing is to find a product that matches your hair color, or is slightly darker. If you cannot find a product that matches your desired color exactly, you can try mixing two similar colors together to get the right tone.

Pour a small amount of the product or products onto a disposable flat surface, like an old piece of cardboard or magazine. If necessary mix it until you get the right tone. Dab a stipple sponge -- or if you don't have one, an old toothbrush or nail brush -- lightly on the product.

Stipple the color onto your face, making sure you keep to the pattern you chose. It's much better to start lightly and build up tone in darker places with additional stippling than to try and do it all in one pass.

Tip

  • Do not use powder eye shadows, as they are likely to smear and won't stipple well. Creme eye shadows in a very strong tone may work.

Step 4: Seal the Deal

You can now apply makeup sealing powder or spray to ensure your beard isn't going anywhere. Follow the directions on your particular makeup sealant, and apply it as lightly as possible so you don't smear your work.

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