Before You Start: Your makeup should be applied in a clean, well lit area. Give yourself plenty of room, and arrange your materials neatly in front of you. If you are doing the make-up on yourself, make sure you have an amply sized, well lit mirror. Wear old clothes— making up can get messy! Makeup should always be applied to clean skin, so wash your hands and face and you are ready to begin.
Household Tools Required & Optional:
Sharp Pair of Scissors-Required
Steam Iron & Ironing Board-Optional (for the hair application)
Preparation of the Hair
Preparing Crepe Wool: Do this in advance of applying makeup. Braided or pre-straightened crepe wool is required to create the fringe and the comb-over as shown in Figures A through D. If using braided crepe wool, grasp the ends of the braid and pull gently so as to unravel the thin twine which holds the braid together. Remove all twine so that only the kinked wool remains.
In order to straighten this hair, you have three options.
- Gently tease the fibers by pulling them, picking them, and pulling them some more and repeating the process section by section until the braid is straight. Fibers should be no longer than 9 inches for this process. Gently pull the fibers loose lengthwise and lay them on top of one another and pulling gently again is the way to achieve the best results.
- Submerge the entire length of twine free wool in water for 30 seconds. Lay it out on a towel and blot away excess moisture. Allow it to air dry or use a hair dryer.
- Using a steam iron on the “serious steam” setting, weigh down one end of the braid and pull the braid reasonably taught while you press the steam iron along the fibers until straightened. Take note that you may have to do a certain amount of untwisting of the crepe wool bundle as you iron it due to its often twisted nature. This option is by the fastest and probably the best way to fully straighten crepe wool, but it can also be the most hazardous–proceed with caution while using a hot iron.
1. Begin the application of the Crepe Wool by starting with the neck. You will be building this facial hair as you would shingle a roof: layering it one after the other, moving toward the center of the face. Select your hair from your pre-straightened bundle. Pull off just enough hair to create a 1.5 inch wide light band of hair about 4 inches long.
2. Trim the end of the hair straight across for easy application.
3. Apply Spirit Gum to the neck just behind the jawbone from ear to ear. Press the cleanly trimmed end of the hair into the spirit gum on one side using the handle end of your Brush. Repeat these steps across that band under the neck.
Note: For a kinkier, curlier beard, use un-straightened hair. Dark grey-brown crepe wool was used for the majority of this beard, with light grey-brown used for highlights and edges. Spirit Gum was used as the adhesive, but Liquid Latex or Pro Adhesive can be used as alternatives.
4. The first layer of straightened crepe wool is attached under the chin. Press the cleanly trimmed end of the hair into Spirit Gum on one side using the handle end of your brush.
5. Crepe wool is added to throat and neck by repeating the process across that band under the neck. The edges of the hair should be cut at an angle for this application so the hair points slightly forward as it hangs off the chin. It is important that you do not attempt to cover huge areas with one large bunch of hair. Smaller patches will yield superior results, especially for the beginner. Take your time!
6. Glue crepe wool to the center of the chin with Spirit Gum. Do not go all the way up to the lower lip with the hair, but halfway up the chin. This will make a blending layer for the light grey-brown to be added later. Add small patches of hair on either side of the chin, working back across the jawbone toward the ears and natural sideburns.
7. The application of the basic beard color is nearly complete. Do not go too high up on the cheeks. If you do, your beard might look like a werewolf’s instead of a human! Check for obvious gaps and loose patches and repair them before proceeding to the next step.
8. With the basic beard color completed, light grey-brown crepe wool is now applied very sparsely at the edges for a blending layer. A little extra has been added to the chin and side burn area for natural highlighting. A real beard is never all one color. The lighter tone breaks up and softens the sharp harsh edge across the chin and cheeks.
9. Beard is complete and mustache is started. Begin by gluing small tuffs of hair at the outer corners of the upper lip. These ends hang free and should not be glued into the beard area. Remember to leave room just under the nose for the blended hair.
10. Hair application complete. Press the beard down with a clean lintless or microfiber towel to make sure all the hair is securely attached. Gently comb through the beard with a wide-tooth comb, removing excess hair. Correct any bald spots or loose patches.
11. Using a sharp pair of scissors (a barber’s shears is recommended), carefully cut and shape your beard. Always make your beard longer than needed to allow for this final trimming. Don’t rush. Haste and carelessness can cause injuries. Pointing the scissor blades upwards as you trim (especially on the cheeks) will give a more natural appearance to your beard. Use small, sharp scissors to carefully trim the mustache. After trimming, Graftobian’s Setting Spray was used to set the beard and fit it into place.
Removal: Your crepe wool should be removed with Spirit Gum Remover. Pull off as much of the hair as you can, then moisten a cotton ball or a paint brush with the remover. Soak the areas with the remover and once its dissolved, the spirit gum will simply wipe away. Once all residue is gone, wash gently with soap and water.Back to SFX Articles