This Tutorial includes a variety of acne examples that can be applied. This tutorial is a guide that covers the basis of what would be required and it should be noted that this is an exaggerated example of acne SFX and not every example of acne shown in this tutorial is necessary when applying your own acne SFX make-up.


As an aid to fellow filmmakers who may also require the SFX knowledge of how to create professional acne SFX make up we have put together a step-by-step guide from the make up test for our film.

Our FREE SFX acne make up tutorial features professional make up application tips and has been provided generously by SFX make up artist Arabella Clarke. Arabella frequently holds workshops and classes to teach others her delicate skills. Check out her work here.


(Total: £287.42)



(Total: £35.28)

Step One – Base and Blend


Arabella uses Skin Illustrator Skintone and FX palettes to apply the initial red marks on which the acne will be built upon. She uses her Screenface brushes and Isopropyl Alcohol to activate the palettes.

Use the stipple wand to break up the red colour and give the make up a more natural blemish effect.

It is important to blend the edges of these red marks into the skin to create a realistic inflamed look.

Alternatively shades of red blush can be used to create the base. The most important thing to remember is to BLEND.

Step Two – Layer and Colour


Next Arabella mixes Sculpt Gel A, B & C together to be applied for the raised area of the spots. Sculpt Gel dries very quickly so the application must be precise. The spatula must be cleaned with the Isopropyl each time before being placed into a different Sculpt Gel pot. (See photo D). This is to stop the different pot mixtures contaminating one another.

Only a small amount of each Sculpt Gel is needed per application. (See photos E – G.)


Alternatively you can use wax mixed with foundation, spirit gum will be needed as adhesive.


The colouring depends on the type of spot which you are looking to create.

  • A blackhead will simply require small black dots within the redness of the skin applied by either the FX palette or pencil eyeliner. Often they come in clusters so Arabella has created a small cluster of blackheads which can be seen at area A.
  • A whitehead can be created very easily with the spatula and margarine. Take a very small amount of the margarine and dab it on top of the Sculpt Gel/Wax. Yellow wound gel has been applied on top of the red base and before the margarine to help with the infected effect.

The types of spots Arabella created can be seen on areas B, C and D.

Area B show the small whiteheads which are common on the nose.

Area C shows a freshly picked spot.

Area D shows the aftermath of a large inflamed picked spot with dried blood.

Red inflamed spots can be re-coloured red after the Sculpt Gel/Wax is applied.

Step Three – Detail


To add an infected scab to a healing spot Arabella uses flakes of dried gelatine but you can use latex/old age stipple or porridge oats instead. The application requires a type of glue called prosaide.This too is then coloured using the reds and yellows from previous steps.

The last thing to do is take an overall look of the face, does anything stand out too much? Go back to your blending and make sure the blemishes appear natural. Remember the face has a natural uneven tone to it.

For extra shine to the face apply vaseline.