LATEX MAKEUP by Cathi Singh

Sometimes in the makeup world, we are not given a lot 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 were launching a new product and their marketing team wanted a “superhero” custom made for their company. As an added challenge, I would have to incorporate the new product, an innovative knee brace for high profile athletes, into the design so it featured the brace without being too flashy of a costume.

Initially, the company thought it would be adequate to purchase a superhero costume and make simple tweaks. One of the main problems was our model was very well built, very tall, and did not fit the “average” mold of costume.

Not only was there not enough time for extensive tailoring, 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 made some calls, 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 detailing all 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 like needing to test it on camera, getting to know the product, etc, but at the time, 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. We were also fortunate enough to have the model stop by the store and test the product on his skin the day before shooting to make certain he did not have an allergy to latex.

As a back up, I purchased some black spandex shorts and tops just in case the latex did not present well. The model prepped his body by shaving the majority of his hair from his chest, arms and legs. He had to endure 5 coats of latex because the effect needed to be very bold, dark and have a shiny finish. This process took approximately 4-5 hours because there is a complete drying time between coats.

As an added precaution and final step I added a 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.

We equipped our superhero with black gloves, boots, and the new knee braces. I also painted a mask on his face using waterproof eyeliner. He was able to bend, jump and move like a superhero without any difficultly. The latex stretched like a second skin.

The end result was a huge success, and our superhero was very heroic. The images shot went straight from the camera to the editor and was printed in less than two days later. It spearheaded the campaign for the braces and has been used in all of their media outlets.

Best of all, I was able to produce the exact idea my client wanted and in record time. It goes to show that you can find tools in unexpected places and when you have a great team that is communicating and working on the same page, the results can be awesome!  This is a project I am very proud of and I look forward to my next latex painting creation!


It has been a long time since I have posted on this blog and I decided that one of my New Year’s resolutions would be to reach out to my database and write a monthly post for those who are interested.

Epic Makeup has gone through some changes and updates in the past year. In order to continue to provide our producers, directors, photographers, actors, corporate business and production company clients with the most professional makeup and hair services, we are excited to announce that we have expanded the team and I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce our new member:

Cathi Singh – Makeup/Hair/Body Artist:

Many of you know Cathi already. She has filled in for me on some of your projects as department head and other times she has worked along side as my key artist or assistant. I first met Cathi 5 years ago and since that time, we have partnered on many amazing shoots. Besides being trained in beauty makeup for HD television and film, she has expanded her skills to include fashion, sports, news media, red carpet, live events, as well as becoming Epic’s certified Spray Tan Artist, which handles all tanning requests from our actors and clients.

While both Cathi and I are trained in all genres of makeup artistry, our combined efforts of close to 35 years experience have given us the skills to handle most on set challenges.  

Recently, Cathi and I switched roles and she was my Department Head on the Ron Howard short film, When You Find Me, where I worked as the Key Artist.

This film is the first collaboration of Ron Howard and Canon after forming the company Project Imagin8ion. It began with a photography contest that started in May of 2011. Over 96,000 entries were submitted and Mr. Howard chose 8 winners. From there, a screenplay was written using the photos as inspiration and Mr. Howard’s daughter, actress Bryce Dallas-Howard was hired as our Director.

Cathi and I were brought on and began our pre-production process in September 2011. This is where the challenge began because Canon had secretly developed a new film camera to compete with the RED and we were using the prototype to shoot the film. We were the first makeup team in the nation to shoot on this camera and the script had called for a “dream sequence” which was going to be shot using an infrared sensor.

We discovered that shooting in this mode the camera picked up all the blue veins in the actor’s face, but because Bryce asked us to make the actors appear “ghost” like, the blue veins needed to disappear. We tried several different techniques and finally figured out what supported our director's vision.

Below is a link to Project Imagin8tion's YouTube Channel featuring the film's trailer, which is currently being prepped for the festival circuit and a link to a very informative, behind-the-scenes video where both director and DP speak in detail about the camera's film capabilities.

2011 also brought our team many interesting new clients both in the corporate and celebrity world. We continue to work on projects needing special effects, green screen shoots, HD television shows, webseries, breaking news spots and new product media tours.

We are proud to be providing makeup and hair services to the reporters at NBC San Diego for their on-air Super Bowl promos, as well as for their new anchor marketing needs.

We gratefully continue to work with many production companies in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County and surrounding areas. We have traveled to Europe several times in the past few years for our corporate client, LifeWave and hope to continue that service for other clients in the future!

The Epic Makeup website is getting a much needed face lift and will feature bios, resumes, portfolio pictures and links for Cathi and myself. The current version of the Epic site is still up and running, with the new site slotted to take its place soon.

Thanks for taking a moment to read this post. If you would like to subscribe to this blog you can do so via Feedburner on our sidebar. If you would like us to remove you from our database so that you no longer receive updates from Epic, please send us an email to:

We hope that 2012 continues to bring prosperity and success your way and the Epic Makeup Team is looking forward to working with all of you this year!

See you on the set!

posted by: Melissa Street

The Makeup Artist and Hairstylist Symposium - an Oscar day in the life of an MUA...

I recently attended the annual Makeup Artist and Hairstylist Symposium held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater the Saturday prior to the Academy Awards.  All nominated artists attend the symposium, as well as colleagues, students and family members.

This year the nominated artists are:

Aldo Signoretti (hairstylist) and Vittorio Sodano (makeup and effects artist) for IL Divo.

Aldo Signoretti started his career in Rome as a hairstylist and makeup artist on the films of Visconti, Fellini and Zeffirelli.  His credits include: The Last Temptation of Christ, Troy, Gangs of New York and Kingdom of Heaven.  He has won two Emmy Awards and has been honored with two previous Oscar nominations for his work in Apocalypto (2006) and Moulin Rouge (2001).

Vittorio Sodano is a native of Italy.  He started his makeup career at the age of 18 as a sculptor and prosthetic makeup artist at Cinecitta in Rome.  In 1989 he worked with Academy Award-winning makeup artist, Manlio Rocchettti at his special effects lab in Rome, which is the biggest specialized prosthetic makeup centers in Europe.  He was also a makeup nominee for Apocalytpo (2006).  His film credits include: The Black Dahlia, Ocean's Twelve, Empire of the Wolves, The Life Aquatic and Against the Wind.

Barney Burman (alien designer and creator), Mindy Hall (makeup department head) and Joel Harlow (Vulcans and Romulans creator) for Star Trek.

Barney Burman was literally born in the world of movie makeup!  His grandfather, Ellis Burman, created prosthetics, special props and animatronics for such early Hollywood films as The Wolf Man (1941) and his father, Thomas R. Burman, was Oscar-nominated for the makeup of Scrooged.  Barney started his own company, Proteus Makeup FX in 2004 and in addition to feature film work; he has worked on such TV series as The X-Files, Scrubs and Medium.  His feature film credits include: Fame, Tropic Thunder, Mission: Impossible III, Master and Commander, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Austin Powers in Goldmember.

Mindy Hall began her career in makeup as an apprentice at the San Francisco Opera.  She pursued work on Broadway and television before landing in the film industry in the late 1980s.  Mindy has been quoted describing her work on Star Trek as, “a collaborative energy!  Our group worked together as one, without borders and with true unity.  We overlapped our talents and skills in a wonderful way!”  Her feature film credits include: Pearl Harbor, A Walk in the Clouds, P.S. I Love You and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.

Joel Harlow attended the New York School of Visual Arts interested in makeup, but majoring in animation “by default.”  In 2001, Joel formed the company Harlow FX, which has since evolved into Joel Harlow Designs.  He has worked in television as well as feature films, earning Emmys for Stephen King’s The Shining, The Stand and receiving nominations for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Carnivale and Mad Men.  His feature film credits include: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dean Man’s Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, War of the Worlds, The Ring Two, Angels & Demons and I Love You Phillip Morris.

Jenny Shircore (makeup and hair designer) and Jon Henry Gordon (hairstylist) for The Young Victoria.

Jenny Shircore was born in India and moved to England at the age of 10.  She studied hairdressing at the London College of Fashion and was hired by the BBC, where she worked in the hair and makeup department for 15 years.  She began her feature film career as an independent contractor with the 1985 film Dreamchild, which was inspired by Alice in Wonderland.  She won a BAFTA Award for Best Makeup & Hair for Elizabeth (1998) and The Young Victoria (2009).   Her feature film credits include: The Phantom of the Opera, Vanity Fair, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Notting Hill, Mary Reilly and Mrs. Henderson Presents.

Jon Henry Gordon trained at Clarendon College in Nottingham and with several major wig companies before he got the change to join the Royal National Theatre.  Working on such shows as 42nd Street, The Phantom of the Opera and The Merchant of Venice, he met Dustin Hoffman who brought Gordon with him for Merchant’s 1989 Broadway production.  His feature film credits include:  Titanic, Inkheart, Enigma, Anna and the King, Elizabeth: the Golden Age, Amazing Grace and
Mrs. Henderson Presents.

It was amazing to listen and learn from these incredible artists.  I was stunned to know that every actor who portrayed a Vulcan in the movie Star Trek had to have their natural eyebrows removed (waxed/tweezed off) and then every false hair was pain-stakingly re-laid in order to create the Vulcan defined shaped eyebrow!

Below are a few personal photos taken at the symposium and I would like to congratulate Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow for taking home the Oscar for Star Trek!