To the Pro Cathi Singh

Halloween is right around the corner and the Pros at IMPO have been trying to figure out a good post to write without boring our readers with the same old "how-to" information! Seriously, how many times can we write about Vampire, Zombie and Witch makeup and keep our savvy audience interested? 

Pro MUA Cathi Singh, remembered a cool makeup/costume challenge she was given on a recent shoot and thought that our readers would not only get a kick out of some behind-the-scenes views, but that maybe someone one out there needed an idea for a costume that is totally unique and original! So, if you waited until the very last minute and now all the cool Halloween costume ideas are gone, then read on and let the Pros help you discover your inner Superhero!


Sometimes in the makeup world, we are not given alot of time to research and prepare for a project, and have to think on our feet for a quick solution. Such was the case for me a few weeks ago. One of my long-time corporate clients called with a big idea that involved hair, makeup and costuming; only thing was, we had a day and a half to accomplish it before the print deadline!
They needed a superhero custom made for their company. 
Initially they wanted to purchase a superhero costume and make simple tweeks. But at the end of the day, it still felt like we were playing dress up. There is a fine line between corny and cool and we were walking it.

I called around and researched some body suits, and came across a costume shop with a large inventory. After picking their brains via phone the idea for liquid latex was suggested.  Knowing that my creative director loves to push the envelope visually, I quickly presented the idea (and the pros and cons). He jumped at the idea and I purchased the kit and paint sight unseen. Now, I normally would not do this, for obvious reasons - needing to test it on camera, get to know the product, etc, but I was on location for another project and could not get to the store due to distance. I did extensive research online and with the costume shop owner, who was very familiar with the product. I did bring some costumes with me as a back up if the latex did not present well. 

A few key things to remember before starting a latex paint project: 
  1. Make sure your model is not allergic to latex or ammonia or aloe vera gel. All of these things will be painted directly onto their skin and will need to be worn for at least 5 hrs (the amount of time it takes to paint the body).
  2. Get permission beforehand from the agent, model and company you are working for. The model needs to be ok with shaving their ENTIRE body and standing for at least 5 hrs. The latex paint also has a strong odor and you will need ample space and air circulation to work in. 
  3. Get a tarp, wear something you don’t care about ruining (latex stains clothing)
As a base coat, you need to apply an aloe vera gel or moisturizer to the entire painting surface. The latex will seem tight at first, but as the body naturally warms to it, it will become pliable and move with the model.

Note: Once you apply the aloe vera gel, also check that your model is wearing an anti-perspirent. As we learned, too much condensed moisture under the latex causes it to stay very tacky, catch on itself, and potentially make holes in that area. 
I did not wear gloves, but you can if you wish. We started with the chest, and did one full coat from shoulder to waist. The first layer is very light and had streaks from the brush. Don’t worry about those, they will disappear with the next few coats. 

I then moved to this sides and then his back and painted those while the chest dried. After each layer, it is imperative that you completely dry the latex with a blow dryer before applying the next layer. 
After his midsection had two coats on it, I moved to his arms. Its important while the latex is wet that the model not bend their arms or torso, as the latex will stick to itself. 
I let the second coat dry completely before applying 3 more coats. The instruction say to get a truly opaque color, 3-5 coats is needed. Because the lighting of our shot involved some extremely bright spotlights, we applied 5 coats so it would be a very bold, dark finish. My paint kit came with a specialized foam brush pack for $10. I highly recommend buying two, as I went through 4 different brushes, two of them the small body rollers.

Once dry, closely inspect the entire surface. This is the time for final corrections, layers, etc. This would also be a good time to apply any decals, logos or designs in a different color.

The last step is to apply the Shine Seal Spray. This product dulls the tacky finish latex has and allows for smooth movement. It also adds a dramatic and glossy finish that makes it look like skin. Because this product contains silicone, once applied, you cannot paint latex over it. It is your final seal. We tried to add more to a small area of his arm, and it dulled the black to a matte gray finish, and made the texture visibly rougher. 
We equipped our superhero with gloves, boots, and knee braces. I also painted a mask on his face using waterproof liner. He was able to bend, jump, and move like a superhero without any difficultly. The latex stretched like a second skin.

For removal, it’s best to rinse with warm water and soap. Our model had some baby hairs that he did not shave and it made the removal process more difficult and slightly painful. The latex will peel in small sections off the skin. If it gets into the hair, remove with baby oil. (Do not remove like the photo below is showing - that was just for fun behind-the-scenes photos).

The end result was a huge success, and the images were very heroic. Best of all, I was able to produce the exact idea my client wanted, and in record time!

This taught me that you can find tools and unique items in unexpected places. Think outside the box, and venture beyond the makeup store to a costume shop, art supply or craft store.


There are several brands of Liquid Latex Body Makeup on the market. Brand X and Graftobian make them as well as other manufacturers. Do your research and call around to various stores before purchasing.

Remember, this idea is not just for Halloween, you could also wear it to show team spirit at a sporting event, during Mardi Gras or another fun event like a parade or Burning Man! Any place where you want to show off your own originality! Plus, it's expensive to rent, make or purchase a full costume, but using a product like Liquid Latex Body Makeup makes your dreams way more affordable!

The Pros hope this information was useful and we wish everyone a very Safe and Happy Halloween!

Inside Scoop!

When you find yourself working 12 to 14 hours a day, on your feet for most of that time and using your skills to solve problems which pop up without warning, then you can relate to us as professional makeup artists.

MUAs and hairstylists in the television and film industry rarely have the luxury of pampering themselves daily like they do their clients. If we get 30 minutes to eat lunch and use the facilities then we consider ourselves lucky. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we are abused or anything, it’s just that life and work on set is very unpredictable.

In the trailer, we as a team like to make this tin-can-like office homey. We burn candles, we put up photographs of fun, beautiful moments and we decorate much like our homes because we find that our actors, and some of our fellow crew members, flock to our trailer and use it like a home-away-from-home.

You can’t blame them! It smells good in there and it is a place of comfort where, depending on what is being filmed that day, you will find some peace and quite or a grooving dance party.

MUAs and hairstylists have to bring their A-game everyday. There are no bleeding hearts on a set. We are making movie magic and we cannot be a weak link in the chain. It doesn’t really matter if we didn’t get enough sleep the night before, or if we are having a personal problem at home or if we are not feeling well because the show, as they say, must go on!

Just like a magician, Pros have a few tricks up their sleeves that help them get through long, strenuous work days and I thought that our readers, who are hard working individuals in their own right, might enjoy knowing the “inside scoop!" This post will focus on many items other than makeup, so if you are only interested in powder and paint, then you might want to stop reading now or scroll down to the bottom of this post.

The Pros also want to make it very clear that we do not represent any of the lines that we are reviewing and we recommend that you seek the advice of a doctor prior to purchasing any of the mineral or food products we list.

Okay, now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let’s return to our regularly scheduled programming…

First and foremost it is important to eat healthy and that can be easy or hard to do on set!Crafty is short for Craft Services and we loooove Crafty! Why? Because you can get almost anything your heart desires from these wonderful people! They will make you an incredibly healthy salad for lunch or a juicy, greasy, hamburger. All you have to do is ask.

So, in order for me to not be overcome by cravings, this Pro likes to take a mineral supplement before each meal. I find that this controls overeating and helps me say “no thank you” when Crafty passes through the set with a tray of ice cream. 

I turn to Dr. Garland’s Naturopathic Therapies to help my body regain its health while building my immune system. In my life, this Pro feels that proper diet and exercise are absolutely necessary, but I find that I do not always have the energy or the time, so I take the following minerals:

Dr. Garland’s Life Transfusion Liquid Mineral Complex – this product contains minerals that we should be getting from our food, but in a liquid form. Per the instructions, I pour ½ teaspoon into a small glass of orange juice daily. Drinking these minerals in a juice will cut the taste. I have also used this product in bath water to absorb the mineral through my skin. It has helped relieve my tired, aching muscles after a long day.

Dr. Garland’s Fast Start – this Pro is finding that as I get older I am having trouble loosing weight and it doesn’t help that I have cravings for sweets everyday. This product helps boost my metabolism using green tea, vitamins and minerals. Taking this product with meals, as well as stretching and exercising daily has helped me to drop weight and control my feelings of hunger or cravings under stress.

Dr. Garland also has a great website called Ask Dr. Garland, where he addresses most health related issues plaguing the world today. You can purchase products directly off his website, read testimonials and Dr. Garland is available for personal consultation.

Guayaki Yerba Mate Organic Energy Shot – these little guys really help when the Pros have night shoots. They contain totally organic super food extracts that give you energy without the jitters and they have no controversial stimulant compounds or ephedrine. I prefer the Lemon or the Lime Tangerine flavor to the Chocolate Raspberry. One shot is usually all I need for a boost that helps recharge me when I run out of steam! This Pro buys them at Whole Foods, but I have also seen them at many grocery store chains in their organic or vitamin section.

Guayaki Yerba Mate Organic Greener Green Tea – the Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of drinking green tea for thousands of years and studies have shown that green tea may be helpful for those who suffer from high cholesterol, diabetes, liver disease and it can promote weight loss and boost your immune system. You can sip this tea hot or cold and feel good knowing that you are helping your body instead of drinking something that is bad for you!

Kushyfoot Lace Foot Covers – this product line is amazing! Not only is Kushyfoot available at most major retail stores, but this Pro just learned that Reflexology experts helped design the massaging cushions that are in all of their products. When I wear cute ballet flats to work I have to face the fact that my shoes are not exactly comfortable for long periods of time, so I wear the Kushyfoot Lace Foot Covers inside my flats and they provide padding that flat shoes don’t have. This helps to relieve tension and fatigue in my back, legs and ankles and I go home after 12 hours without sore muscles or cramping calves!

Kushyfoot Flats to Go – have you ever been in a situation where you find yourself wearing a pair of really cute shoes that are the most uncomfortable and painful pair you have ever owned? Well, this Pro just had that happen! I purchased an incredible pair of boots and decided to wear them for the first time on a shoot and I could feel the blisters forming on my toes and backs of my heels! I remembered that I had a pair of these black folded flats in my emergency wardrobe bag and pulled them out just in time! My feet cried in relief and I was able to finish my long shoot day without a major blister burst. These flats slip easily into any handbag and are great for travel plus, they come in a variety of colors like black, gold, silver, snake print, zebra print or alligator so you can be totally stylish and comfortable at the same time!

Luminosity Designs – this Pro is in love with candles and I burn them regularly in the trailer or makeup room to help create a soothing atmosphere for my actors and for myself! My very good friend owns her own candle company and makes some cute designs, plus she takes custom orders so if you need candles for a special occasion, then I suggest giving her a call. Her candles are affordable, long burning and the fragrances are not overwhelming. She can also take your company logo and put it on the candle containers for a classy added touch! If you want to be like this Pro and create a calm, relaxing, spa-like feel, then you will want to order the fragrance called Melissa’s Nag Champa. Yes! I have my very own fragrance, which is an exotic bouquet of sandalwood, champa flowers, violet and clove blended with sensual amber, ylang ylang, patchouli and musk! These candles really help me to relax during hectic times!

Now…onto the beauty products:

Talika Instant Beauty Tightening Gel – let’s face it, when you are tired from lack of sleep, you feel like everything is sagging! Talika, one of my favorite French skincare lines, invented a gel that tightens the skin to help minimize the severity of wrinkles. It also helps to restore a healthy radiance and make the skin appear younger looking. I use this product when I know that my skin is under extreme distress from lack of sleep, dehydration and improper diet.

Votre Vu Bebe Duette – another favorite French beauty company makes the best 2-in-1 hand cream and lip balm that this Pro carries in both my personal handbag and my set bag! The moisturizing lip balm is perfect for rehydrating my lips when they feel dry and cracked and the hand cream protects and heals my skin. Both have UV protection too and are the perfect size for travel!

Smashbox Limitless Long Wear Lip Gloss – if there is one thing that I find I never have the time to do while I am working, it is touch up my own makeup! I know, I know, it’s hard to believe, but it is true! This lip gloss from the geniuses at Smashbox is incredible because it really does last! I have found that I am able to wear it without reapplying for about 3-4 hours! Yes! You heard me…I said hours! Now, if you are the type of person that likes to lick or bite your lips a lot then you probably won’t get the same results and if you have a issues with thicker glosses, then this might not be the product for you, but for me, this product is amazing! I recommend the following colors: For Keeps, Limitless, 24/7 and Boundless.

Lise Waiter Waterproof Eyeliner – another staple in both my personal and professional arsenal is this eyeliner because it stays put and doesn’t budge! When I have zero time to check out my own face, this eyeliner never fails me and will not fade, even on my water line! It glides on smoothly and gives ample smudge time before setting. Comes in a variety of gorgeous colors too, but this Pro is partial to black, because I embrace my inner rock-n-roll chick who worships black, smudgy liner!

Chic and Shine Stick Foundation by Madina Milano – I fell head over heels in love with this product when I found it at a small boutique in Italy. I only purchased one and I now covet this product until my return to Italy in 2012 where I will promptly purchase several more! Simply put, it is the best highlighting product I have ever used and it is the perfect shade of delicate, shimmering pink. It gives just the right amount of light to every skin tone. Use on your brow bone, cheekbone, down the center of the nose, on the cupid’s bow or on the chin. It blends effortlessly and when your skin is looking tired from long work hours, you can perk up your face and create the illusion of luminosity!

The Pros hope that you have found this post useful and remember; these products are things that we use to help relieve our tired minds, skin and bodies. Not all products mentioned in this post will have the same effect on you so if you have any doubt, do your research and check with your doctor prior to purchasing.