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The Ultimate Makeup Artists Glossary

by Natalie Wright
The Ultimate Makeup Artists Glossary

Sometimes it can feel as though makeup artists have a completely different language. From filming terms, products, techniques and more acronyms than you can shake a stick at, it's easy to get lost within the technical jargon.

So here at the Armoury we thought it would be helpful to write a glossary to break down all of those technical terms. 

We would love to add and expand this list, so if you feel like theres any terms that you'd like to see below please let us know!


Acetone - A colourless liquid used to clean glue off hair lace and is an ingredient in many nail polish removers. Due to the fumes given off, it should only be used in well ventilated areas. Flammable, so it must be stored and used away from heat and direct sunlight.

Action - This is the Principal Actors cue to start.

Activator - Normally refers to the PPI product, a special proprietary blend of ethanol and isopropynal alcohol and is needed to activate all of the Skin Illustrator palettes.

Afro Hair - Synthetic fibre that replicates the consistency of Afro Caribbean hair. Can be trimmed and used in addition with Pros Aide cream to create realistic stubble effects and fill out beards. 

Alginate - Derived from seaweed and kelp, absorbs water very quickly an is used extensively in life-casting and as a mold making material within dentistry. 

Anaplastology - The art and science of restoring a malformed or absent part of the human body through artificial means.

Angora hair - The hair of the angora goat or rabbit.

Animatronics - The electronic technology used to animate puppets or other figures for entertainment.

Anthropometry - the scientific study of the measurements and proportions of the human body.

Appliance - Another name given to a prosthetic device.

Armature - an open framework on which a sculpture is moulded with clay or similar material.

Astringent - A cosmetic liquid that cleans and tones the skin. E.g. Witch Hazel. 

Attagel - A clay mineral used as a thixotropic, the active ingredient found in fullers earth. When mixed with PPI Green Marble sealer can be used as old age stipple.

1st AD (Assistant Director 1st) -
Easily mistaken for the director since they are normally the person doing all the shouting and giving everyone their cues. They are the person in charge when you are on set. Listen very carefully to what they say.

Airbrushing - A technique used to apply a variety of makeup (e.g. foundations, blusher, eye brows, temporary tattoos, tanning colours, colouring special effects) using an air compressor and an airbrush. The compressor pushes the liquid makeup product through the airbrush’s nozzle to create a fine mist of tiny droplets, which settle on the skin.

APHAMA - Association of the professional hair and makeup artists. 

Applebox - A box build of a strong wood or plywood which is capable of supporting weight. These may be of various sizes, the smallest of which is also known as a 'pancake' because it is nearly flat. (Lighting/Grip)


Bald Cap - A flexablie cap used to create the appearance of a bald head. Usually made from latex or vinyl.

Baking - The term often used by bloggers or youtubers, which has been used in the drag community for years, refers to letting translucent powder sit on your face for five to 10 minutes, which allows the heat from your face to set your base foundation and concealer, and then dusting it off your face, leaving you with a creaseless, flawless finish.

Back Fall - A hairpiece that is worn, as the name suggests, on the back half of the head, using the wearer’s own hair at the front to dress into the back fall. Good for situations where a front hair lace on a wig would be visible. A back fall (sometimes just known as a “fall”) adds volume, texture or colour. The front fits to the head on the crown area just behind the ears and goes down to the nape.

Backlot - Americanism. An open air part of the studio where sets can be constructed.

Backlight - A light which is generally mounted behind a subject to light the subject's hair and shoulders without illuminating a subject's front. (Lighting)

BB Cream - BB stands for blemish balm or beauty balm and is a cream makeup product. Promoted as an all-in-one facial product to replace serum, moisturiser, primer, foundation and sunblock (if it has an SPF). It can be worn alone as a tinted moisturiser, or as a regular foundation. It was originally formulated in the 1960s by German dermatologist Dr Christine Schrammek to protect patients’ skin after surgery.

BECTU - Media and entertainment union.

Bluescreen - Sometimes called Greenscreen or chroma-key. Filming takes place against a blue or green background. The background can then be replaced by a different location.

Bone saw - Usually a powered rotary oscillation is applied to a specialised cutting implement to provide smooth controllable cuts.

Breaking down - Reefers to a packing up and cleaning a makeup artists station, normally applies at the end on the working day.

Broken Lunch - Under the FAA agreement it is an additional payment if you are not given a meal break within a set time.

Boardwork - A term used to describe the act of making a postiche.

Bondo - A mixture of Pros Aide and cab o sill to create a paste used to blend seams and edges of appliances.

Box Mold - A type of mold made by creating a box shape and filling it with mold rubber. Can be one or two parts. 

Breakdown makeup - The opposite of beauty makeup. Often used to make a person look ill, or unwell.

Brush coat - The first thin coating of material brushed into into the mold or onto a sculpture to pick up details before building up reinforcing layers.

Brush up layer - The first layer of material that is applied using a brush to pick up detail.

Buck - Another word for the stone positive of a face from a lifecast.

Burlap - A loose weave fabric used as a reinforcing material in the outer layers of gypsum moulds, makes stone moulds stronger and less likely to crack.

Bladder - an inflated or hollow flexible bag or chamber, often constructed from latex to house blood for a blood gag.

Block - A block is a head- or chin-shaped item used in wig making and wig dressing. There are two different types: malleable blocks, which are made from cork-filled canvas and used to wash, set and dress postiche, and solid wooden blocks, used in wig making. Both types of block come in two different shapes: head-shaped (used for wigs) or chin-shaped (for facial hair) and is known as a chin block.

Bleeder - An escape hole for air trapped inside a mold.

Blend Line - The point at which the appliance or prosthetic tapers off into real skin.

Blood gag - A live in camera pumping blood effect, often using prosthetics, costume and camera/lighting set up to obscure practical set ups such as bladders pneumatic hoses or squibs. Blood gags can be as simple as an oozing would or as complex as an exploding head. 

Block Mold - Often a two piece rubber mold.


Cabo patch - An acrylic adhesive paste used to blend thick edges on foam latex applied with a spatula and blended with a wet sponge.

Cab o sill - Untreated fumed silica used as a thickener. Cabosil is a registered trademark of Cabot Corpation.

Case mold - A ridged multipiece mold the encases a sculpture when closed and clamped together.

Carcinogen - Any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that promotes carcinogenesis, the formation of cancer. 

CGI - Computer generated imagery.

Cholestrol cream - Hair conditioning cream often used as a realise agent on hair during life casting.

Cold Foam - A soft or ridged two part urethane foam that does not need heat to cure.

Collagen - A fibrous protein found in bones and tissue. When broken down by water becomes gelatine.

Call time - The time you must report to your given location. You must be on time.

Call sheet - A daily report normally produced by the 2nd AD. Given to the crew so they know what is being filmed that day.

Camouflage - A makeup product or technique designed specifically to cover skin pigmentation problems like vitiligo, scarring and birthmarks. Makeup products are usually a highly pigmented cream, so it covers well and only a small amount of product is needed.

CC cream - CC cream is a marketing term coined in the wake of the marketing term Blemish Balm cream or Beauty Balm. "CC cream" is used by some brands to mean Color Control cream, or Color Correcting cream, and some brands claim to reduce the appearance of skin redness or sallowness or to improve uneven skin tone.

Contra-indication - Something (e.g. an ingredient or substance) that can cause an adverse reaction.

Compressor - A machine used to supply air or other gas at increased pressure, e.g. to power an airbrush.

Continuous working day / night - A filming day or night where you will not be given a meal break, but a running buffet is provided while filming continues.

Confirmed Booking - This is a firm commitment to work on this day. Do not take another job on that day.

Chroma Key Green - Chroma keying is a technique used for combining two frames or images by replacing a color or a color range in one frame with that from the another frame. It is often used in film industry to replace a scene's background by using a blue or green screen as the initial background and placing the actor in the foreground.

Craft Services - Tea, Coffee and water station.

Cup Blocks - Wooden blocks with a dish or indentation in the center which are used to keep the wheels of light stands from moving. (Grip/Lighting)

Cut - An editing effect in which the instantaneous change from one shot to another is accomplished by joining the two shots together, so that one image replaces another instantly on the screen. This is also a cue to stop filming.

Continuity - A sequence filming over more than one day, or more than shot. It is therefore essential that nothing changes to upset the continuity of the scene.

Chop strand - Chopped strand mat or CSM is a form of reinforcement used in fiberglass. It consists of glass fibers laid randomly across each other and held together by a binder. It is typically processed using the hand lay-up technique, where sheets of material are placed in a mold and brushed with resin.

Collodion - A products used to create scars on the skin. The solution composed of nitrocellulose and acetone, once the acetone evaporates it pulls and retracts the skin creating an invenerted scar.

Condensation - cure silicone Also known as tin cure silicone and room temperature vulcanisation or RTV silicone. Used extensively for mold making.

Core - The interior positive portion of a multipiece mold.

Cream time - When working with urethane foams, cream time is the working time of the liquid before it begins to foam.

Cure - The chemical reaction that causes materials such a silicone, urethane and plaster to set, or harden up.

Cyan - A blue-green color which is the complementary color to red.

Cyclorama - Permanent background built in a studio which is nearly always coved or curved at the floor line to create a shadowless, unending backdrop. (Grip/Lighting)

Cyberscan - Method of transcribing a real object into a digital model by accurately measuring it with a laser. Normally utilised to scan actors or maquettes for sculpting purposes.

Crepe hair - false hair, usually of plaited wool or vegetable fibers, used in theatrical makeup for making artificial beards, sideburns, etc. Expand. Also called crepe wool.


Decalcification - The loss of calcium from bone or teeth.

Dental acrylic powder - Acrylic powder avalibke in a range of colours, when mixed with a liquid monomer becomes a plasic liquid used for making teeth.

Dental impression plaster - A very low expansion plaster used for dental impressions.

Dental stone - Very hard low expansion gypsum for casting dental impressions with dental alginate.

Detail layer- The first thin coat of material brushed into a mold or onto a sculpture to put up detail.

Death Glue - Extremely strong two part acrylic based glue. 

Dividing wall - A temporary wall made from WED clay to create a separate between the front and back half of a case mold.

Drawing Matt - Drawing Matt for holding and drawing out hair -a double-sided mat with little hooks on it (a bit like Velcro). This makes it easier for the wig maker to take a small section of hair to work with, and keeps the hair safe from being tangled or blown away.

Dremel - Versatile electric rotary tool with interchangeable heads used extensively by sculptors and mold makers.

Dressing - Refers to trimming, curling and setting postchie wigs and moustaches for a natural appearance.

Drip coat - The first thin coat of material brushed into a mold or onto a sculpture to put up detail.

Dupe - Usually a lower product that is the same or similar to a higher product.

Dog Box - On set term referring to a small static makeup truck. 


Ectomorphic - Relating to the component in W. H. Sheldon's classification of body types that measures the body's degree of slenderness, angularity, and fragility. Characterized by a lean slender body build with slight muscular development.

Emollient - Complex mixtures of chemical agents specially designed to make the external layers of the skin (epidermis) softer and more pliable. They increase the skin's hydration (water content) by reducing evaporation.

Endomorphic - 1 :of or relating to the component in W. H. Sheldon's classification of body types that measures the massiveness of the digestive viscera and the body's degree of roundedness and softness. 2 :having a heavy rounded body build often with a marked tendency to become fat.

Epicanthic fold - Skin of the upper eyelid that covers the inner corner of the eye. The fold runs from nose to the inner side of the eyebrow.

Ester - A chemical compound derived from an acid (organic or inorganic) in which at least one –OH (hydroxyl) group is replaced by an –O–alkyl (alkoxy) group. Usually, esters are derived from a carboxylic acid and an alcohol.

Extrinsic - Not part of the essential nature of someone or something; coming or operating from outside.

Extrinsic Stain - Adherence of bacteria or discoloring agents to dental enamel that cause the tooth to assume an unusual color or tint. It varies in shade according to the agent: coffee, tea, and tobacco cause brownish-black stains; chromogenic bacteria green to brown; and leaks from amalgam restorations bluish-gray to black.

Encapsulate - Enclose (something) in or as if in a capsule. Normally in reference to using a cap plastic (either sprayed or swilled) to encase a piece of silicone, creating a blending edge. 

Eye line - The direction the actor is required to look in shot.

Epoxy - Epoxy is either any of the basic components or the cured end products of epoxy resins, as well as a colloquial name for the epoxide functional group.


Fall out - When an eye shadow that is powdery in texture, flakes or leaves a dusty  transfer onto other parts of the face.

Fibreglass -  Is a common type of fiber-reinforced plastic using glass fiber. The fibers may be randomly arranged, flattened into a sheet (called a chopped strand mat), or woven into a fabric. The plastic matrix may be a thermoset polymer matrix – most often based on thermosetting polymers such as epoxy, polyester resin, or vinylester - or a thermoplastic. (Most commonly utilised for making large molds)

Final Checks - Hair and make-ups last chance to get everything right.

Finger waves - A makeup product or technique designed specifically to cover skin pigmentation problems like vitiligo, scarring and birthmarks. Makeup products are usually a highly pigmented cream, so it covers well and only a small amount of product is needed.

Flange - A projecting flat rim, collar, or rib on an object, serving for strengthening or attachment. Referring to the separating edge to designate the partitions in the mold. 

Flashing - Excess casting material in a prosthetic mood that is separated from the appliance by the cutting edge of the mood. Also, the area of a cold where overflow collects.

Flocking - The process of depositing many small fiber particles (called flock) onto a surface. It can also refer to the texture produced by the process, or to any material used primarily for its flocked surface. Flocking can also be mixed into silicones to create more depth and intrinsic colour. 

Foam Latex - Foam latex is a lightweight, soft form of latex which is used in masks and facial prosthetics to change a person's outward appearance. To create foam latex, a liquid latex base is mixed with various additives and whipped into a foam, then poured or injected into a mold and baked in an oven to cure.

Forensic - Relating to or denoting the application of scientific methods and techniques to the investigation of crime.

Foundation - Foundation is a skin-coloured makeup applied to the face to create an even, uniform colour to the complexion, to cover flaws and, sometimes, to change the natural skin tone. 

Fullers earth - Fuller's earth is any clay material that has the capability to decolorize oil or other liquids without chemical treatment. Modern uses of fuller's earth include absorbents for oil or grease and can be found as an active and inactive ingredient in beauty products. 

Fumed Silica - Fumed silica is made from flame pyrolysis of silicon tetrachloride or from quartz sand vaporized in a 3000 °C electric arc. Fumed Silica is mainly referred to as Cab-O-Sil in the makeup/sfx industry. 

From The Top - To start the scene from the beginning


Galloon - Galloon is a thin nylon or silk ribbon used to secure the front hair lace of a wig to the wig block. It reinforces the wig lace when blocked and prevents it from tearing. It comes in different widths (about 5-12mm) and is pinned over the hair lace to the block with small dressmakers pins called short whites. Galloon is also used to add strength to a foundations e.g. at the nape of a wig. It comes in a long length, so it can be cut as required, and is available in the basic hair colours (black, browns, grey, blonde).

Gaffer - The chief lighting technician for a production who is in charge of the electrical department.

Gaf Quat - Professional product created and sold by Kryolan, specifically designed to flatten down hair. Perfect to use under bald caps where a smooth surface is required. Dries to a hard finish and washes out with shampoo.

Gel coat - A thick polymer resin coat used in fibreglass fabrication; the gel coat is used as a detail or brush-up layer before applying resin and fibreglass mat or fibreglass cloth as strength layers. 

Gelatin - Gelatin or gelatine is a translucent, colorless, brittle (when dry), flavorless food derived from collagen obtained from various animal body parts. It is commonly used as a prosthetic appliance material. Widely considered to be hypoallergenic. 

GFA - Gel-filled appliances silicone gel often encapsulated by a thin envelope of silicone or plastic (vinyl) bald cap material. 

Glycerin - A colourless, oderless, thick liquid. A sugar alcohol, sweet tasting and low in toxicity. In makeup effects glycerin is used to simulate tears and sweat because of its viscous nature and low evaporation. Also found in WED clay to help it remain moist for longer periods than normal water based clays. 

Go off - A term normally used to describe the curing process of silicone, when the silicone has become a firm gel but is not yet fully cured. 

Green Marble Selr - Created as a makeup sealer for Premiere Products Inc by Kenny Myers and Richard Snell. Can be mixed with Cabosil and utilised as a product for ageing effects. 

Gypsum - A common mineral, hydrated calcium sulphate, used to make Plaster of Paris, Ultracal and dental stone. 


H-10 - A material used to flatten hair at the hairline to eliminate the bump under that bald cap and control the hair around the ears/nape of the neck. Made from a mixture moustache wax, Gaf Quat and 70% alcohol. 

Hackle - A piece of equipment used by wig makers, the base has long, sharp metal needles pointing upwards. Used in wig making to mix hair colours, separate different hair lengths and detangle hair. Has a removable cover to protect the needles and nasty mishaps.

Hair lace - Very fine, flexible netting material similar to tulle, often made of silk and used for creating wigs and hairpieces. 

Hair punching - The process of adding hairs to a prosthetic appliance one at a time using a specially designed needle, pushing the hair into the surface of the appliance in the direction that the hair would grow naturally. 

Hair tying - The process of knotting hairs into wig lace, one by one with a special needle resembling a fish hook (called a ventilating needle). 

Hexane - A petroleum distillate used as a solvent, Extremely flammable and are carcinogen. 

HSE - Health and safety Executive, responsible for health and safety regulations in Great Britain.

Hydrocal - A white gypsum plaster. 

Hygroscopic - Absorbing or attracting moisture from the air. 

Hypoallergenic - Designed to reduce or minimise the possibility of an allergic reaction. 

HOD - Head of department.

Hold the Red - Another take is about to happen.

Holding Area - Similar to Crowd Base, a place where actors will wait before being called onto set.

HD - Stands for high definition and refers to the high resolution of television and film cameras and broadcast methods. For makeup, it requires careful blending and use of products to prevent unwanted aspects (e.g. powder, edges, hair lace) being visible on screen. Colours can also be affected by HD, especially reds.

Hyper pigmentation - A term that refers to the darkening of an area of skin due to the abnormal excessive production of melanin (the pigment that contributes to skin colour).


Intrinsic coloration - Internal colouration. Often silicone or gelatine applicants are coloured intrinsically with different coloured flocking to replicate the appearance of human skin. 

IPA - Isopropyl alcohol

IPM - Isopropyl myristate

Isopropyl alcohol - Also known as isopropanol or rubbing alcohol. Sold either at 70% or 99%, the latter of which is used more frequently within makeup. (see IPA)

Isopropyl myristate - An ester of IPA and myristic acid. Used as an emollient and an effective remover for Pros Aide remover. (see IPM)


Jacket Mold - A combination mold made with a registered\keyed silicone or urethane rubber interior and a registered/keyed support that is keyed to the rubber interior for extremely precise casting. (see Matrix Mold)

Juicer - Mainly used on set and in film, juicer is a slag term for An electrician.

Jowls - Folds of flesh hanging from the lower jaw in older or overweight people. 


Kabuki - A short, fat and round makeup brush used to apply powder mineral makeup products.

Karo Syrup - Clear corn syrup used to make blood.

Key - An indention or protrusion to aid the precise aliment of a mold. (see hold key, registration key)

Key Make up Artist - Often collaborates closely with the Makeup Department Head. Together, the two come up with specific looks, and then you split up the necessary tasks.

Key Grip - The chief grip who works directly with the gaffer in creating shadow effects for set lighting and who supervises camera cranes, dollies and other platforms or supporting structures according to the requirements of the director of photography. (Production)
Kick - The amount of time that it takes a material to begin to set up. (see Go Off)

Knotting - The technique used in wig making to attach hair to a hair lace foundation. A knotting hook (a small tool with a hook at the end) is used to loop and tie the hair into place. It is a highly skilled technique and takes a lot of practice to become proficient.


Latex - The milky sap of Para rubber trees. Used extensively in creating makeup effects and prosthetics, especially in making foam latex. 

Laying on hair - The process of applying hair by hand (with hair and glue)a few strands at a time to create moustaches, beards, eyebrows ect.

Lesion - A region in an organ or tissue which has suffered damage through injury or disease, such as a wound, ulcer, abscess, or tumour.

Lifecasting - The process of creating a three-dimensional copy of a living human body or body parts through the use of alginate or life casting silicone, molding and casting technique.

Location - Not filming at a studio? Filming will take place here.


Matting - Matting or CSM is a form of reinforcement used in fiberglass. It consists of glass fibers laid randomly across each other and held together by a binder. It is typically processed using the hand lay-up technique, where sheets of material are placed in a mold and brushed with resin.

Marcel tongs - A metal curling tong that is heated in a special heater unit. The user manually checks the heat of the tong before using to prevent hair being singed. The tongs come in different sizes, from thin ones used to curl moustaches, to thicker tongs used to created Marcel waves.

Marcel Waves - Marcel waves are similar to finger waves in appearance, but created using Marcel tongs.

Mastix - Another name for spirit gum, an adhesive used to stick hair lace to skin (e.g. wigs, facial hair). Mastix remover is the product used to remove spirit gum glues.

Maquette - French word for scale model, sometimes referred to by the Italian word bozetto. Often used as a guide for a larger sculpture. 

Matrix mold - A combination mold made with a keyed silicone or urethane rubber interior and a keyed support mold that is keyed to the rubber interior for extremely precise casting. 

Melanin - Is the polymeric pigmentation found in our skin and hair. Melanin is the primary determinant of human skin colour. 

Mold key - An indentation or protrusion to aid in precise alignment of the mold parts. 

Mold negative - In making a casting of a three-dimensional object (positive) the resulting mold is the opposite or inverse of that object, a mold negative. 

Mold positive - The resulting cast of an object when material is put into a negative mold. 

Mold wall - A temporary water clay wall used to form a divider between the front and back halves of a case mold. (see dividing wall)

Mother mold - The rigid support shell of a soft inner mold. 

MSDS - Material safety data sheets, required by law on some products. 


NASMA - UK association for professional makeup artists and hairdressers who work in film.

NC - NC is neutral cool which means yellow undertones.

NW - neutral warm which means pinker undertones.

Negative - The mood surface that contains the reverse three dimensional imprint of the positive sculpture.

Nevus - A medical term for growths or lesions commonly know as birthmarks or moles.

Nitrile - Synthetic rubber copolymer, often used to make gloves due to its resilience  and resistance to chemicals. Perfect for working with RTV silicones as it will not inhibit or cause an adverse reaction. 

Nightshoot - Filming through the night. No set hours but could start as early as 4pm and finish as late as 7am.


Ocularistry - The field of designing, fabricating and fitting artificial eyes. 

Oil clay - Oil based modelling clay, the oil is mixed with the clay to prevent drying or shrinking. 

OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the main American federal agency charged with the enforcement of health and safety legislation. 

Overflow - Excess appliance material in a mold, flashing in added to a cold tho allow overflow some place to collect without damaging the mold or the casting. 


Parting edge - The parting edge or parting line of a mold determines how and where the pieces of a mold will fit together and come part. 

Paxs Paint - Prosthetic paint made from Pros aid and Acrylic paint

Pay or Play - A contract provision which commits the production company to compensate a cast or crew member for a project whether or not that project ever goes into production.

Playback - A technique of filming music action first, the playing the music through loudspeakers while performers dance, sing, etc.

Plaster bandage - Plaster of Paris impregnated cloth bandages used for making support shells for moods. 

Plaster of Paris - A white gypsum used for mold making and casting that starts off as a dry powder and is mixed with water to form a paste that creates and exothermic creations then hardens. 

Plasticize - To render or become plastic.

Plastiline - A type of oil based clay. 

Plate mold - In makeup effects a plate mold is a flat mold with negative impression, more often used to make generic wounds. 

Polyfoam - Urethane foam that can be used be either soft or rigid. Can be mixed at a 1:1 ratio either by weight or volume. (see cold foam, soft foam)

Polymer - A compound of hight molecular weight derived either by the addition of many smaller molecules or by the condensation of many smaller molecules with the elimination of water or weight. 

Polymerization - The bonding of two or more monomers to form a polymer. 

Positive - Any sculpture or model used to create the negative.

Pot life - Term of the working time of a material before it begins to cure.

PPI - Premiere Products Inc, makers of Telesis products and Skin illustrator palettes.

Print coat - The first thin coating of material brushed into a mold or onto a sculpture to pick up details before building up reinforcing layers. 

Prosthetic - An external piece of material that often denotes a change in appearance on the body. Usually made of silicone, foam latex or gelatine.  (see appliance) 

PSI - Pounds per square inch, a measurement of pressure.

Pull - Term for mask or appliance making, referring to each time a piece is removed from the mold.

Post-Production- The period in a project's development that takes place after the picture is delivered, or "after the production." This term might also be applied to video/film editing or refer to audio post-production.

Pros Aide - The brand name of a water-based adhesive used to stick medical and special effects makeup prosthetics to skin. Forms a waterproof bond to the skin.

Primer - A makeup product (can be a cream, gel or liquid) that is used after cleaning the face and before applying a makeup foundation. It preps the skin by smoothing out pores and fine lines, as well as mattifying the skin and helping a makeup application to last longer.

Paraben - A class of chemicals widely used as a preservative in all types of cosmetics. Parabens used in cosmetics are generally synthesised and the common ones used include methylparaben (may be listed as ingredient E218), ethylparaben (E214), propylparaben (E216) and butylparaben.

Pencilled Booking - A provisional booking, yet to be confirmed. Sometimes you may be given a heavy pencil. This is more likely to happen but still not confirmed.

Production Office - The headquarters behind the set, usually headed by the Production Manager.

Pick Up - A small part of a scene which has been missed or needs to be reshot that the crew will go back to complete.

Pin Curl - A traditional technique used to set hair in order to create a wave or soft curl. A small section of damp hair is wound into a spiral and pinned into place. Once dry, it is combed out to produce a soft curl or wave.

Postiche - Postiche refers to any item of fake hair, from wigs and hair pieces to beards, moustaches, side boards and eye brows. Can be made from real hair (e.g. human, yak, wool) or synthetics (e.g. acrylic).



Reset - Moving the camera to a different position.

Registration Key - A drilled or craved indentation or protrusion made of clay, rubber, or resin that is used to allow the precise alignment of a mold. 

Relative density - The ratio mass of a solid or liquid to the mass of an equal volume of distilled water or gas to an equal volume of air or hydrogen. 

Release agent - A material that allows you to separate cast objects from molds. There are 2 categories of release agents, barrier, reactive and chemical. 

Rigid foam - Rigid urethane foam mixed in a 1 to 1 ratio either by weight or volume. 

RTV silicone - Room temperature vulcanisation. Most commonly a tin cure condensation silicone, although there are platinum room temperature vulcanisation silicones.

Rubber mask greasepaint - Makeup designed to be used over slush latex or foam. Can be thinned down with IPA 99% to create washes of colour. 

Running foam - Term for processing a batch of foam.

Runner or PA - Can be instructed do anything at all to support the ADs and Production Office. From collecting people to and from the set to taking lunch orders or picking up faxes.


Sculpt - Another name for a sculpture, term used by effects artists. 

Sealer - A transparent makeup product (normally a spray or liquid) that goes over makeup (including everyday makeup, temporary tattoos, camouflage) to help it last longer and resist sweat, water, heat, humidity and rubbing.

Seaming - Removing and cleaning up surface blemishes and flashing off prosthetic  seams. 

Shell - Support mold, the rigid outer part of molds. 

Shim - Material, often thin wood or metal used as a dividing wall in mold making.

Silicosis - Also known as grinders disease or potters rot. A disabling nonreversible and sometimes fatal lung disease caused by overexposure respirable silica. 

Slip Latex - Liquid latex that will air dry and does not need a heat to cure like foam latex. Mainly used in the making of latex masks. 

Slush Latex - Liquid latex used for build up appliances or rubber masks. Called slush latex as it is poured into a mold and sloshed around forming a skin. 

Soft foam - Soft urethane foam mixed 1:1 ratio by either volume or weight. 

Special effects - SFX or SPFX for short, traditionally practical or physical effects accomplished during live action filming. This can include the use of machined props, scenery, scale models, pyrotechnics and blood bags. 

Spirit Gum - Also, called mastix. A liquid adhesive used to stick hair lace to skin e.g. wigs and facial hair.

Splash coat - The gypsum stone applied immediately after the brush coat using the remainder of the first batch of stone. (See Drip coat)

Stippling - An application technique usually created with a stipple sponge to simulate varying degrees of solidity. Such as shading, beard stipple or applying latex for an ageing effect. 

Stipple sponge - A rough open weaved synthetic sponge used to create a range of effects from ageing, shading, beards and capillary. 

Straight makeup - Corrective and camouflage makeup used to define and persons face not to change it. Straight makeup in general should be understated and imperceptible. 

Suppurate - To produce dischage fluid, for example the liquid discharge from a serve burn.

Shingle - A a short women’s haircut from the 1920s where the hair at the nape was shaved, or very closely cut, under a bobbed hairstyle.

SPF - Stands for sun protection factor and is a laboratory-measured level of protection against sun damage (UVB radiation). Found in sunscreens and some makeup products, the higher the SPF, the greater the protection offered against UVB, the main cause of sunburn.

Soundstage - At the studios an enclosed space where the set is constructed.

Stand By - This is a warning that filming is about to commence.
Split Day - A shifted day in hours. For example a mid morning start and a late evening finish. Pay is still a standard day.

Set - Where filming is taking place.

Shift Call - Not a full days work. Only used under the FAA agreement it is a maximum of four hours work.

Switch - A thick strand of real or synthetic hair that is used to add bulk, detail or colour to a hairstyle. The end of the switch can have a small elastic loop, making it easier to attach the switch to the wearer’s head.

Swatch - Swatch is a picture of the product rubbed onto the skin or finger to show you the color or texture.

Skin test - A test used to establish how skin reacts to ingredients or chemical products. A tiny amount of the product is put onto clean skin (like the wrist or behind the ear) and left for 24 hours. Should always be used before using products such as latex.


Take - Filming of a particular sequence. This will be repeated until the director is happy.

Telesis - Collection of products from Premiere Products INC, including a range of adhesives and removers. Used extensively in the makeup industry and by medical professionals. 

Terra alba - Dried, powdered cured plaster, as an additive to fresh plaster, which will cause it to kick or begin to set in a fraction of its normal time.

Texture stamp - A flexible stamp that can be pressed into clay to add texture during the detailing stage. 

Thixotropic - Used to thicken a viscous material, normally thixos are added to silicones to create a paste texture.

Tilt - The camera moves either up or down.

Tracking Shot or Dolly - The camera moves smoothly forwards or backwards by running on tracks.

Turning Over/Turning - This means the camera is about to roll.

Tightline - The inner upper rim of your eye (under the eyelashes).


Ultra cal - Super strength gypsum cement recommended for higher accuracy and greater surface hardness.

Undercut - Any area of a positive or negative that creates a locking state between the mold and the core.

Urethane - Also known as polyurethane. Rubber or plastic material that are used for making moulds, widely known for its tough property, urethane also refers to soft of ridged foam.

Unit Base - This is where the production team will base itself on any given day when on location.

Ultra par 4 - Aerosl release agent for removing epoxy parts out of molds. Also useful for removing silicone encapsulated appliances out of molds. Paintable mold release.


Vascularity - Vessels or ducts that contan fluids such as bloods or lymph.

Ventilating - Hand tying with a ventilating needle into a wig lace.

Visual effects - VFX visual effects usually integrated with live action footage or CGI. Visual effect predominately reffers to post production, whereas SFX refers to on set mechanical effects.

Vulcanisation - The process of improving the strength and freedom from stickiness and odour by combing with sulphur or other additives in the presence of heat and pressure. v


Water clay - Water based modelling clay, unlike WED clay does not contain glycerin.

WED clay - Water based clay utilised for creating large sculptures, the clay is very smooth and slow drying, stays moist for longer than other water based clays as it contains glycerin. Named after Walter Elias Disney.

Weft - A bundle of hair weaved and sewn together at the root end for easy application.

Wig block - Also know as a malleable used for dressing wigs and posthice.

Wig lace - A very fine flesh coloured four way mesh used to blend off hair lines where the hair meets the skin giving the impression of a natural hairline.

Witch hazel - An astringent used to rid the skin of oils before applying a prosthetic. Can also be heated and used to blend gelatine.

Working time - The amount of time to mix and pour before the material begins to kick or set.

Wrinkle stipple - Often made from liquid latex stippled onto the face to achieve the effect of wrinkles.

Wrap - This indicates the end of the filming day.

Wrap (Hair) - The process of dressing the hair in preparation for a wig or bald application. 

Weft - A long fringe of hair that can be added to someone’s own hair to create length, add fullness or coloured sections. The weft is made by weaving loose hair into a thin thread to create a solid seam that can be attached to the wearer’s own hair with pins, clips, glue or stitched in.



Yak hair - Coarse hair often used for hair punching and postiche.


Zbrush - Digital sculpting tool that combines 3D/2.5D modelling, texturing and painting.

4k - 4K resolution, also called 4K, refers to a horizontalresolution on the order of 4,000 pixels and verticalresolution on the order of 2,000 pixels. Several 4Kresolutions exist in the fields of digital television and digital cinematography.