Why I Hate Spirit Gum…

Posted by Spat on April 1, 2011 in Cosplay, FX, Rant, Tutorials |

A rant by Spat.

I got a call today from my buddy Matt.  And while he and I were griping about some guy, Matt chimed in and told me that the guy also uses Spirit Gum to glue on his prosthetics.

Of course, the guy doesn’t, but Matt knows that Spirit Gum pushes my buttons!



And I can’t understand why anyone still uses it.

Spirit Gum

Spirit Gum

For those that don’t know, Spirit Gum is widely used as an adhesive for prosthetic make-up.  It all started back like 70 years ago when there was nothing else to use but Spirit Gum, and so people would use it for films as a make-up adhesive.  But only because there was nothing better out there.

Spirit Gum is actually a resin that’s made from pine tar.  When it dries, it dries hard, and is tough to get off.

The problem is that most appliances (as well as your face) are flexible.  So having a hard glue stuck to either of them, doesn’t work.

Once the days of the latex appliance dawned, Spirit Gum should have gone the way of the Dodo and bowed out of the way to let proper adhesives take center stage. But for some reason it’s stuck on… stuck like Spirit Gum as it were.

While anyone in the business knows not to use it, for some reason Spirit Gum has found its way into the collective consciousness of the world as being “THE” adhesive used for make-up.  People assume it’s still in wide use and that anyone doing FX Make-Up uses it daily.  And every year I see bottles upon bottles of it on the shelves at Halloween stores and even packaged with the store bought appliances.

If you take nothing else away from this blog, remember that you should always glue appliances to your face with an adhesive made from the same material that you’re gluing.  So if you’re using a latex appliance, use a latex based glue (or even plain liquid latex) like Pros-Aide or Duo.  Silicone Appliance?  Use a Silicone based adhesive like MA-200 or Skin-Tite.

Always check to make sure you’re not allergic before gluing anything to your face, and throw the Spirit Gum out!!

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