News & Press: Moulage

Red Pigment Stain Test for Laerdal Manikin Skin

Monday, December 9, 2019  
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By Guest Author David Shablak 

Red pigments can be the worst of all pigments as far as staining, or hardest to get rid of. If you know anyone who has gotten a tattoo removed, the hardest pigment to get out is the red. So when the question of makeup staining manikins came up in a simulation user group on Facebook this one was already on my mind, but I wanted to perform a test to help out fellow Simulation Operation Specialists. Some of these materials I have had great results with in the past in short periods. The longer you keep these materials on the skins your results can be much worse, this is why I tend to keep makeup and blood on manikin skins for as short a period as possible, and NEVER overnight. For this test I left all materials on the skin for at least 24 hours. Hopefully you would never leave anything on longer, the results might change, and only for the worse!

First you have to know what your manikins are made out of and what reacts, or penetrates into their skins. Laerdal 3G series is a PVC material. This is why tegaderm sticks well, and silicone build-ups like Skin Tite, or 3rd degree, do not bond to the skin permanently. With this benefit the trade off is that some materials can stain your skins. Colors other than red also stain, but red and yellows seem to be the worst in my experience. 

When using makeup for daily use or moulage, two things can help 'lock in' a pigment from rubbing off or interacting with another layer/ color. These are barriers and sealers. Barrier products are typically put on before applying makeup to aide in the removal process and protect the skin, especially for repeated applications for something like a movie. Sealers are used after the application to 'lock in' pigments and give them durability and water-proof characteristics. 

In my test I used a control group of no barrier, a sealer from Ben Nye called 'Final Seal' (a favorite of mine), and Vaseline, a readily available material I use and teach as a good barrier product for Laerdal Simman PVC skins (and others as well). 

Since we tend to use a lot of different makeups and bloods in a simulation setting, I wanted to test quite a few. I mainly tested what I could get my hands on quickly. There were a few I really wanted to test that I could not find. This simply means that there will be another test! Quick disclaimer - I don't receive payment from any of the companies mentioned below. 

The brands/ types I used were:

Spirit Halloween - Injury Stack
Graftobian RMG - Purple (I couldn’t find a red that night)
PPI-Skin Illustrator, FX Pallette - Prime Red (Alcohol Activated)
Cheap Red Hairspray

Graftobian - Blood Paste
Fun World - Haunt Blood
PT Materials, Red Drum - Standard Red
Smooth-On - Ultimate Blood
Rob Smith’s Silicone Flow Blood - Arterial Red
Cutthroat Studio Bad Blood - Cimmerian Puce
Cutthroat Studios - Coagulated Red (A blood paste)
PPI Fleet Street Drying Blood - Arterial Red
Kryolan Supreme Blood - Dark Red

Results from the barrier products were very surprising. Vaseline as expected protected very well, but makes putting makeup on top a little challenging. It tends to make everything just smear. Surprisingly The “AA”, alcohol activated makeup stained yellow through the Vaseline. I use Ben Nye Final Seal a lot in moulage and love it. I thought for sure it would 'seal' the skin and not let things penetrate right? NOPE, I was very wrong. Final Seal offered no protection. 

Makeup results had interesting results as well. I have used AA makeup and love it. I teach on it and have given the ok for use on PVC Skins. Well, my heart was broken. The Prime red at least left a yellow stain on the skin. Cream and RMG came off just fine. If not with soap and water, the rest came off with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol. Red hairspray always stains! You have to protect the skin before use, and in a much larger area that you think, because of overspray. 

Bloods are another one that can be tricky with this skin. My old standard, and one new player in my word performed flawlessly. PTM Red Drum had been my go to for a great blood, for a good price. I met the owner of Cutthroat studios and his Bad Blood and he gave me some to test. Nope, I’m not sponsored or influenced. I will always give you my honest answer. It worked great, and came right off. I really like their coagulated blood as well. It dried to look cool, but was a lot more transfer resistant than cheaper blood pastes. Kryolan and Smooth-On left a very small bit of yellow, but not too bad, as well as Rob Smith’s (which I love using on real people). Fun World blood has a high water content and over the 24 hours evaporated and then wiped right off. Graftobian blood paste left a yellow stain as well. 

You can see the full test and results in the video below. I hope you are able to use these results to help in your future simulations. I am always trying new things and testing. Please feel free to contact me with questions, for help, or to tell me if you saw different results. I want to learn as much as I teach. I am available on most social media platforms like InstagramTwitterFacebookYouTube and others, usually as SimulationTek