Glossary of Technical Theatre Terms – Make-Up

A flammable solvent used in some prop/costume-making processes. Used by make-up artists to remove skin adhesive from the netting of wigs and moustaches by immersing the item in an acetone bath, then removing the softened glue residue with a stiff brush. Also one of the primary components of some nail polish removers.

An organic polymer which is a viscous gum found in the cell walls of brown algae. The commercial variety is extracted from seaweed. Supplied as a powder, when mixed with water it becomes a fast-setting mould-making material which is used to make casts of body parts or delicate prop items. The resulting mould is very detailed and strong. Dental alginate is used to make casts of teeth and gums. Take care to store the powder in an air-tight container as it's very absorbant and will 'go off' very rapidly if left open to the air.

Collodion by Kryolan Liquid make-up for simulating scars on skin. It contains ether, so is for adult use only, and must be used with care, as it degreases the skin. Follow the manufacturers instructions carefully. Afterwards, use a fatty cream to replenish the skin, and protect the skin from damage until it's absorbed.
Collodion on the Kryolan website

Theatrical make-up technique used to define and enhance facial and body features to make them more visible to the audience. A make-up colour that is slightly darker than skin tone is appled to areas such as the hollows of the cheeks, side of the nose, the temples to create a fake shadow effect to give a slimming and defining effect. 
Contouring is often used alongside highlighting, which uses a lighter tone on the tip of the nose, cheekbones etc. 
Wikipedia entry

Wax putty used to create skin wounds and bumps. The more the wax is worked with and warmed, the stickier it becomes, meaning it can be used without a separate adhesive. An oil-based make-up remover should be used to remove the wax. 

Rooms containing clothes rails and mirrors (often surrounded with lights) in which actors change into their costumes and apply make-up. Dressing Room doors have a list of the actors contained within.
See also GREEN ROOM.

Any technical or practical craft used in the creation of live events or experiences. As the definition of 'live events or experiences' includes music concerts, theatre, theme parks, visitor attractions, museums and sports events, the skills needed are very broad. It's not necessary for anyone to be highly skilled in all of the crafts, but an understanding of the whole picture is very helpful, and knowing when to call in a specialist (and where to find them) is vital.

The crafts involved in entertainment technology include, but are not limited to:
Lighting (stage lighting and architectural lighting)
Sound (live and recorded)
Video and Media (projection or display)
Scenic Construction and Automation
Show Control
Props and Masks
Make-Up and Prosthetics

Available as a liquid, pencil or in gel form, eyeliner is make-up that is made to highlight the outline of the eye. 
Eyeliners on the Kryolan website

A base layer of make-up.

Name refers to make up supplied in stick form, for application to the face or body. Needs special removing cream.


Widely used for special make-up effects, and as an adhesive for bald caps or wound effects. It can be applied over skin to create wrinkle effects.
Kryolan Liquid Latex

Products applied to the face or body of an actor to change or enhance their appearance. See also GREASEPAINT. Colloquially known as SLAP. 
Make-Up Resources at

Ben Nye Nose & Scar Wax A mouldable material (often made from wax, and called Nose Wax or Wax Putty) that can be used to change the shape of an actors' nose as part of a character make-up. Can also be used for a wide range of effects make-up, such as scars, bullet wounds, lacerations etc.
See also DERMA WAX.
Kryolan Nose Putty
Ben Nye Nose Wax

A water-activated make-up powder that is applied with a wet sponge. It's supplied as a flat, compacted powder in a circular plastic case with a lid .

(Make-Up) Originally 'pancake stick'. An easily applied stick form of matt foundation, used as a base layer for theatrical make-up. See also PANCAKE. 

An adhesive used to stick (e.g.) false facial hair to actors skin. Can be removed with surgical spirit.

Stagecraft refers to any technical aspect of theatre production (and also sometimes refers to film / TV production). It includes working in technical areas such as lighting, sound, scenic construction, costume & prop construction, stage management and makeup. It usually does NOT refer to the creative / design aspects of those technical areas.

Abbreviation for Wigs, Hair and Make-Up Department, usually in the TV/Film industry.