The Pirate.

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Pirates have been a great character presence in movies since the beginning of film and thanks to the Pirates of the Caribbean films, there has been even greater attention given to the navigators of the high seas.

I have often been asked the question if there is a way to color facial hair without it being a permanent dye. As a matter of fact, most face paint cakes work very well for this very purpose. This actually inspired me to give a demo on the process and a pirate makeup seemed perfect.


Coloring the beard.

Cosmetic wedge

Eyebrow brush

Face paint color of your choosing. I am using Ben Nye Black.

Additional effects:

Tooth enamel

Rigid Collodion

Red pencil

This is an easy design that most people can achieve without too much difficulty yet will deliver satisfying results.

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As you can see our subjects beard is quite grey so the transformation will be immediately apparent.

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Step 1. Get the eye brow brush wet and work the makeup onto brush keeping makeup as dry as possible. Work the makeup in form different angles to give a realistic look.

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Step 2. Use this brush and apply to hair directly around mouth: mustache, lower lip area, chin. Repeat the wetting process as needed but do not get the makeup cake over saturated.

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Step 3. Dampen wedge and continue to apply the makeup with wedge same as with the brush, this time on the remainder of the beard.

You may wish to try a different style makeup sponge but I feel the wedge delivers just the right amount of water to makeup ratio.

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Step 4. Take care to get the hair that lies beneath, not just the surface hair. This is done by using strokes in different directions.

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Step 5. Use upward motion strokes to ruffle the hair as it colors. This delivers a more natural effect.

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Step 6. Allow some of the grey to show through so the beard does not have a solid black hue but some highlights.

Look over the beard thoughtfully to ensure a full coverage before moving on.

The scar:

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Step 1. Using the red pencil, draw a light scar line to give  your pirate character a rugged look.

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Step 2. Apply the rigid collodion over the red scar line to give the scar life. Several layers will be needed in order for the collodion to do it’s job. Allow collodion to dry in between applications.

You can achieve a scar without the red pencil, this just helps add depth.

Once you are satisfied with the scar you may move on to the teeth.

Tooth FX:

You may chose to black out a whole tooth, paint one gold or give your teeth an over all decayed appearance  The variety of Tooth FX will help you achieve these looks.


You must first dry teeth using a cotton ball or paper towel, or hand towel. The FX will not adhere to wet teeth.

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Step 1. Quickly paint on the tooth fx before you start to salivate again.

Keep lips off of teeth while they dry. A blast form a hair dryer can help speed up the process.

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Step 2. Add a second shade of Tooth FX if desired, we chose to add some black for a more rotten look.

Final touches:

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Step 1. With the black makeup and wedge, darken the area under your eye for a more haggard look. You will want the cake almost dry.

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Step 2. Lightly shade the eyelid for sunken eye sockets.

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Step 3. Continue with some light smudges of black around the face to give you the look of working on the ship.

Fluff up the beard to make it look unkempt.

Alas ye scurvy dogs! Yer pirate makeup be finished.

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With the makeup complete add in the wardrobe and you are ready to head off in search of buried treasure.

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