About Me

Brisbane, Australia
A professional working Make Up and Hair Artist for over 20 years in the Film Industry I have ALMOST seen and done it all. Working on such films as 'Lord of the Rings', 'Daybreakers', 'Matrix','George of the Jungle II' 'Scooby Doo', 'House of Wax', 'Aquamarine', 'H2O Just add Water' TV Series to name acouple that are interesting. For the things I am yet to see and do I am saying bring it on. I have the best job in the world and would love to share with interested people some tricks of the trade that I have and will help them in their day to day lives and if your a aspiring Make Up Artist give you advise and answer those questions that come to mind about getting into the industry, resumes, tech tips, and more. This will help being online as I am not always able to take the calls I recieve. Lets get started. Love to hear from you. Movie Data Base: www.imdb.com/name/nm0756608

Saturday, September 25, 2010


OK its time to fill or refill your makeup kits and everyone just wants the best products / deals and
lots of it....me too! We are not talking resale here....... this is for your work kits!
I can only suggest that others  will suggest different things to you, when you are getting started it is best to stick to the well known brands so you don't waste your money on lots of things you hate and will never put on anyone (there are a lot out there trust me I have donated to theatre groups over the years)..

Look as much as we would love to buy locally, the dollar is so good at the moment that buying online from USA is a good move. Our supplies here need to be more proactive with the dollar value, and they would sell more. You know, when its up then lower there prices, when its down etc....food for thought and if you ask maybe you can get a deal from your local supplier based on the dollar on the day. I would ask...after all its a sale for them.
I love Frends and Naimes in the US, and always come home with a suitcase full of new things when I go over. 
We have some great suppliers here, so get online and have fun.
Type in : makeup supplies/au

I will give you some of my favs: local and international
www.barnes.com.au  (for all your Sculpt/Mould/Cast goodies- meet me in store Brisbane from 11 October 2010)

www.kryolancosmetics.com.au  (formerly Backstage Melb)
www.crownbrush.com ( my fav is the Italian Badger Series - so cost effective you can have a set for every actor)

Well these are just afew of my favorites and there are so many others, so happy hunting to either adding to your existing kits or creating a brand new one.
Remember .................
Makeup to love , love to makeup ....................Kym
Let me know if you have any favs and I will add!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010



Hi Kym,
I was hoping you could give me some tips on continuity.
In the past I have taken lots of shots with a digital camera and used the camera itself to look back for reference, it works OK for small short films, but its tricky to loose track of what is what even then. I have a 2 week location shoot coming up and I will have access to a camera & laptop but no printer. What would be the best approach?
Thanks so much, really helpful great blog!.
Dear Shari, the best way to keep track of your photos for continuity is to TAKE A PHOTO OF THE SC. NUMBER ON THE CALL SHEET before you start taking photos for that scene. (if your camera wont let you focus on the small print just write it UNDER in black felt pen and then take shot).
If you dont get a call sheet ( god forbid) just write on piece of paper and take shot ...........ie
Sc 5 D4  Ext Cabin - Lois Lane  ...........(lol)
Works really well as you just have to go to the shots after and hey presto there they are for continuity.
The other way is to buy a camera down the track that you can write on the screen with a stylus the Scene etc.
They are alittle expensive but worth the investment down the track.
Hope this helps for your up coming project. Have fun!  Let me know how it goes .    Kym

Saturday, July 3, 2010

BALD CAPS - What a nightmare

Well they teach you how to make one and apply one in Makeup School, but try to make it work on film is a nightmare you would rather hand over to someone else. Right!
The traditional Bald Cap, no matter what material you make them from , whether you can blend the edges always comes short with the back of the cap. The actor moves and it wrinkles unnaturally, it starts to move under all the closed in heat and sweat the actor produces during the day.
Bald caps are fantastic for under prosthetic appliances but in my experience a fully sculptured bald cap neck piece is the answer ( back of the head). You can sculpt in the natural curves of the back of the neck and even extend to shoulder and side of neck if you wish. (Go check out someones neck now, there are contours there and not just a flat surface which you get from applying a traditional bald cap)
Everyone remembers Tom Hanks in 'Philadelpia' when he had that bald cap on. It was all working well and then there was that ONE shot of the side and back that made me want to ring the editor and tear him to shreds on behave of the makeup department. You see you cant believe anyone when they say 'We will never see it from that angle' -  My advise is they don't have your back. Just be aware that your makeup will be shot from any angle and usually by multiple camera.
Photography is different as you do have control on the day. Just like this photo above, I designed and applied this makeup only to be shot from the front. Thank god as the back was a  wrinkle mess! lol.
The actress had really long hair and I had it hanging down her back. This is another problem with using bald caps on film, you have to wrap the actors hair tight and smooth to the head to iron out any lumpy bits, this is a big ask especially with any hair of length.
I have done afew makeups with what I call my 1/2 bald cap, and used the actors own hair at back and applied lace hair pieces to the top and sides of the cap ( old age ) and this works well.
Anyway , a technique to cool not to include in a Makeup class , so it will continue to be taught, just remember all the things that just dont work with them and you will be fine. And freshen up on your sculpting and moulding techniques.  Valuable tools for any makeup artist.
Happy Makeup....ing    . Kym

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Over 80% of freelance artists/technicians are NOT insured. This not only limits your job prospects it is a bad case of what the hell are you thinking.!!!
This is how it goes: If you only work for a specific production company and receive a wage, you are covered under their insurance for the duration of that contract.
If you freelance and do various jobs in a week , month or what ever, you are responsible to have your own work cover, public liability insurance.( and of course in AU - ABN)
If you DON'T - be warned - you are liable for anything that happens, goes wrong with the people you are doing Makeup on and if you have an accident you are not covered with out insurance.
So many technicians and makeup artists I have spoken to over the past year are NOT covered.
Their response is 'I cant afford it' - mmmmhh if you cant afford it then don't expect to afford the millions of dollars someone could sue you for , reaction to products, accidents with tools, etc.
Dont say 'That won't happen to me' it could happen to anyone and that is what 'Insurance' means.
The other insurance you MUST have is Income Protection, because as a freelancer if you get sick, you cant earn money, so you need to protect your possible income outcome.
I think that says it all. GET INSURANCE now if  you want to work in the freelance world!
For those who are working on low, no budget, films - if you think they have your back - think again!
Always ask, is my tip this week.
I am not going to recommend any companies as they all do different things, get on the phone or online and discuss with a professional broker to tailor make your requirements.
I am most passion about this subject and now scared with the lack of knowledge artists have about this topic out there!
If you have any advise or have a company that you would like to share with everyone please post a comment at the end of this blog. Remember we are all in this together! I will post your advise.
Thanks and insure UP!           Please.  Kym

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Atelier Makeup


ATELIER MAKEUP PRODUCTS : I have been getting alot of questions about Atelier,
So here is the site again.
Fantastic liquid foundations as they are available in water proof as well.
For example if you are ordering a 3YFL ( 3 yellow fluid) then the matching
water proof is 3YFLW.
There lip and eye palettes are great as well. Love there lip and eye pencils and metallic powders.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


THE CLAY CUTTER : Wish I had one of these years ago. Contact Mark on
for more info and a great price.
Thanks Mark , your a time saving legend.  Kym

Saturday, April 17, 2010


CALLING FOR BLOG TRICK AND TIPS QUESTIONS ............or just want to confirm your on the right track with your design and how to!
Don't forget you are all welcome to ask questions about 'How To' if your stuck and need some assistance!
I love it and am most happy to share with tricks and tips for your make up jobs.
After all I have made 'Cold Sores' to 'Dinosaurs'.......budgets for low to big budget films and all in between so it  will be great to hear from you if you need advice.   Kym

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Even though trained in wig making and I dont want to count the number I have made over the years there has
always been a little trick I use for wigs, makeup and effects work. Getting the foundation (structure) just right can save you time , money and get the perfect fit ever time.
If you can get a life cast of the actors head then the rest is easy. The traditional ways of old to take a template with clingwrap and tape is great and I still use it, but doing an actual life cast is the best.
You can use indalible ink to mark out the hair line before the life cast and hey presto , its all then up to you spending the next days making your masterpiece.  Good luck . Kym
Dont forget my recommended wig books list on my blog.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


THE QUICK AND EASY WAY TO MAKE A COOL GELATINE APPLIANCE IN THE MAKEUP BUS..........Film this pic is from : 'Seconds to Spare' - Actor was Jerome Elders.
My no frills, easy recipe to a great effect , blisters, burns, cuts , heads, body parts ,you name it. It only takes 10 mins and could save your butt.
When Gelatine first became the product to use everyone was so top secret with formulas they had come up with, or bought off technicians that it was turning into a science project. I had been using gelatine for years for different effects and was not adding all the 'magic' extras ingedients people where telling me they used.
The picture above is several generic sculpted pieces from silicone moulds I made, color and spatulated gelatine technique. If you have a one off scene then go for it, but if continuity is involved I always used  moulds.
Here's my recipe: You will need a portable stove top ( I always had a single phase, one coil stove top in the bus). In my opinion a microwave just doesnt cut it.
: a small sauce pan : measure cups : wooden spoon or spatula.
: flesh colored WATER based makeup foundation or tint.- not too much
: flocking - ie red if you have it to add to mix for intrinsic color.
The rule is 5:5:4  - if you remember this you wont go wrong.
*Thats 5 parts water, 5 parts gelatine(powder) , 4 parts glycerine
*Place water into sauce pan and gradually add the gelatine until it is dissolved (if you add TOO quickly it will go lumpy)
* Add glycerine and stir in well
* Color as needed.
As this technique is applied to 'living actors' generally ,that means their bodies are warm you need this little extra technique to keep it all together or the gelatine will eventually melt.
Your next best friend is Prosaide. Apply Prosaide to skin and dry and powder ( this will form a barrier between the gelatine piece and the body ) A technique Thom Supranant told me when he worked on 'California' in the desert .Thanks Thom.
I actually used this formula on the old age makeup I did on Scooby Doo 1-Old Man Smithers - Nicholas Hope and many more over the years.
Apply gelatine pieces, and seal with prosaide ( several layers). Powder - Color - Ready!
Have ago and add this little technique to your makeup kit for just the right scene.
I have even made full gelatine heads (slush method and back filled with 2 part polyurethane) with this technique added afew drops of pure vitamin E (natural preservative) to the gelatine mix, I still have them years later.
Let me know how you go.   Kym

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Over the years other than taking afew trips to the US and talking to countless techs on the phone just getting in there an advancing my skills allowed me to cross over in many areas of the film industry. The more skills you have the more work you can attract in the quite times.
I did alot of display work outside the film industry and  Hair Shows for companies for launches of new products. Creating something alittle different. Actually when I think about it they paid better than film sometimes.
In doing these jobs I had to cross over alot of areas, sculpting, mould making, fabrication, finishing, wigs, costume design etc. Very cool to complete a awesome piece from scratch. Thanks to the techs that worked alone side me aswell. Brad who was my business partner and amazing artist also for alot of these jobs.
Hope you enjoy a few interesting pics of some of the 'out of the square' creations.   Kym

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I was having a discussion with regards to how many times the LIGHTING on low budget films can effect your work. There are so many times that you will be in this situation in your career as a Special Effects Makeup Artist as we don't always get to work on the 'BIG ONES' where time and talent from the DOP is priority. Ive done both so I know.

My general rule is to have the Makeup Effect 'picture ready' at any angle before stepping onset. Saying this however still requires a lighting guru to bring your makeup to life. Particularly using pieces that dont cover the entire face, the light reflects differently from skin and prosthetic. Particularly foam latex.
I would love to hear any stories about experiences of this kind as it goes on all the time.

Just a quick story from me afew years ago to get you started.
You had to be there for the impact but it was the funniest night ever in my career so far! Now that I reflect on it all these year later.
I was doing a low budget horror film and had created a wrap around neck piece for a decapitation scene with  garden shears. Now that is cool as an effect. We had the shears rigged to enter frame, neck piece primed with blood tubing, cut and ready to go. The Actor had to enter frame. WELL this neck piece was applied brilliantly, seamless for foam. Still there is prosthetic and skin right next to each other - at this point this is where you would expect your DOP to work with you. Well - here we go - it was late at night and everyone wanted to wrap and of course the effects are the last to shoot as it is messy etc. I except that.

Needless to say the work lights where better than the lighting from this jerk so I refused to shoot it till it was right. Ooooops ...down the hill came the Producer and the Director to see what was the hold up.(I think I saw actual dollar signs in the eyes of the Producer - lol)
I explained my problem and lack of respect for not allowing time to light and shoot this scene. I think I actually said that 'the work light' was better than what was being set up... oooops again. Which the DOP replied ' well your no Rick Baker'. To which I replied ' He would not work on this SHIT' and stared him down I was not moving and I was employed to do this effect and I was going to deliver!
Explaining the importance of this scene to the film the producers agreed to 'over time' and it was shot and looked great.
I must say I have not worked with that DOP again but the Producers yes, and they loved the rushes (dailies).
So many times on these shows our work is not treated with respect and the talent it deserves, its always just a hassel to deal with as we are percieved as the HOLD UP FACTOR. Well if its an effects film than deal with it everyone..........we spend alot of time creating these makeup effects before the camera EVER starts rolling.
Stay turned to my blog as I am going to upload some pictures and have some discussions! Join up as a follower and I will keep you posted. ENJOY! Let other Makeup Artists know and lets get into it!

Love to hear any stories you might have!  Makes our world crazy but never boring!    Kym

PS Hey Beauty Makeup Artists, ever thought that if the lighting was right your work would not need as much photoshop in print! Interesting.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

WOLFMAN - Rick Baker and Foam Latex

I was so excited to see that Rick Baker had used Foam Latex on 'Wolfman'.
It looks fantastic , makes me realise that you can work with foam and do the makeup job well. Too many people are going the silicone route and that is great but lets not forget the old foam latex that made most of our careers in monster making come to life is still out there. (Yes I hear you saying , but the makeup didnt have to be translucent) but hey I LOVE foam latex, working with it, applying it , painting it, love it love it love it.
Burman Industries have just aquired GM Foam from Gil , but he is staying on as consultant and for quality control of the product and it will retain the GM Foam name , which is fantastic news.
I spent alot of time on the phone in my early career talking to Gil with all the issues I had working with foam in Australia and he was the most informative, generous man you could meet. I got to then spend sometime with him in LA at his shop. Great Man! Thanks for the Gallons and Gallons Gil !
Check out afew interesting articles including the Rick Baker/ Dave Elsey 'Wolfman' in the latest Makeup Magazine.
Happy Monster Making to all.   Kym

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wig Book - by Patrica Baker

I Love working with wigs.......... and have made my fare share over my career so far. From custom made wigs to fronting a human hair wig for a double, wefts for extentions and facial hair.
I dont mind sharing any tricks of the trade for working and making wigs as it is hard to find enough people to employ in hair departments on films as it is. The oldies of the industry are somewhat protective of their craft. - Why I dont know!
If you ever wanted to know how to work with WIGS then this is the book by Patricia Baker  for you. It covers tools you need - how to wig knot - make a wig base - wefts - dressings - blocking wigs - everything you cant find out from those old wig makers.
Heads up for any Makeup Artist who wants to add a valuable skill to your trade. Most TV and Films will require you to use wigs, even if its for doubles. If you dont know how to do it then they will get someone else who does, so start learning as many skills as you can and save you and your production time and money. This book is the full guide. Ignore some of the pictures as they are theatrical but the structuring and how to do is the best out there. You wont be disappointed. I love it and get my assistants to refer to it on productions and learn.. learn.. learn. Good luck . Kym
PS for big budget films there will be a wig department - now that's a great job - so start learning!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Makeup Books

When I started out there where very few books for reference , hard to get hold of and although a little outdated now worth ever dollar spent!
I was always an Fangoria nut and have the first issue and thousands after. Its the publication of other leading books that have made me continue to be encouraged to do better in my career!
Although some of the original books still stand the test of time there has been an amazing increase in publication for the aspiring and working makeup artist to wet your appetite and lean more and more about the products available for your craft. I encourage everyone to have a library of reference material as you just never know when you will need it. My book collection is crazy big and I love it. It also reminds me on how far we have come in Make Up.
I have included some reference books on my blog from Amazon.com as this is where I get most of my books these days. I HOPE YOU ENJOY and start adding or even just start reading. The magicians of our industry sharing there tricks of the trade for everyone.   Happy reading .  Kym

Kym Sainsbury- Make Up Tips- fashion to film: HUMAN HAIR WIGS ONLINE

Kym Sainsbury- Make Up Tips- fashion to film: HUMAN HAIR WIGS ONLINE
Thanks gabswigs123 for your comments. Hope I can continue to answer questions and
add new information that is helpful to you in the future. Kym


Cant tell hey...I had the best teeth techs on this one

H2O Just add Water

H2O Just add Water
Making Mermaids Come to Life

Working on a Film Set

Working on a Film Set
All the answer to your questions