Getting younger

I have found and watched several aging classes but all seem to be for getting older with some rare mentions of beauty makeup. I need to drop about ten years for my current cosplay. It does not need to be sturdy as it will be posed shots not action, not wet and not hot or cold. I just need some down and dirty basics for lift and smooth. Links would be appreciated.


  • De-aging can be a real challenge.  Aging is easier since you can easily add prosthetics, gray the hair, add wrinkles, etc.  With de-aging, you must rely on more subtle methods like darkening hair color, evening skin tone to remove blemishes added over time, adding a bit of color to the cheeks, etc.  This is not an area I have much experience in, since I've only really had to make people look older, not younger.   They do make some skin creams that work a bit like rigid collodion, that tighten the skin as they dry.  They can be used to remove puffy eye bags and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.  That could be one thing to look into.

    I'm curious if anyone has good tips for de-aging.

  • @Darrell Green In addition to the advice shared by @Chris Ellerby you can also use tape, artfully hidden within your hair, to subtly pull your skin back and remove facial wrinkles, and I can't overstate the value of good lighting. That will go a long way toward eliminating the shadows caused by wrinkles. Another great trick is to use gravity to your advantage. If you're looking up at your camera, gravity will pull your skin more tautly and remove some wrinkles too. Good luck!

  • I just got back to the forums pretty late tonight and excited to see the tips. Thank you. I can likely use all of these. The primary pose is, conveniently, the subject looking up as he climbs a hill toward camera. 

    My hair will be colored, as will facial hair and I can certainly use the application of the blemish coverage to make an even skin tone. Lighting in this shot is supposed to be low light sunset and washes out the original actors color but I believe I may be able to use a full face base as you mentioned in order to "tan" to the actor's skin tone and get the even tone in the process. Curious if I can find some product similar to the colloidian base mentioned and then full coverage the skin tone (tan in this case) over it, to smooth it further.

    I will post any products or processes I use but I think the tape will also be much easier than expected due to this pose containing a bandana. I would hazard a guess that since the upper hair is covered, I might get away with pulling back on my hair with some form of tension similar to using tape. I will try to find a how-to for the tape.

    The only thing I have found as a day-of tip is to stay hydrated and avoid diuretics. No specifics yet.

    These were my favorites so far:

    Kenneth Calhoun @Kenneth Calhoun did a short additional beauty makeup in his process of transfers ""
    and mentioned the other side of the industry being beauty makeups, so I am rewatching that session as well as the aging course with Bill Corso,

    Again, Corso's course had mentions of the aging/anti-aging process but the main course was about forward aging. He does a great beauty makeup portion near the beginning of the course but his actress is looking particularly young, even without makeup which is likely why she was used for the forward aging process.

    This build's target pose to match is here (below). I think the dark hair, olive to tan skin, bandana, lighting and posture allow me to use all tips listed. If anyone comes across anything, even as a possibility, I am willing to try it and post results. Again, thank you for the guidance.

  • Great tips Matt, Especially the lighting. 

    Good diffused lighting is super important to prevent wrinkles or other forms on the face from casting shadows.   Those shadows create visual cues for depth, which can add to a subject's perceived age.  Having a good fill light (bounce or otherwise) can help bring up the value of shadows on the face, and visually smoothen things.  This is especially important when working with harsh directional lighting.  Even on an outdoor shot (as you are targeting) some kind of fill or bounce is usually used, especially for medium shots and close-ups.

  • I was thinking of how to create reflectors (suggested above) vs buying them and found they are dang cheap either way. But the idea of diffused lighting removing facial wrinkles and shadows brought to mind cloudy or overcast days as better possible shoot days. It took very little internet searching to find that the use of cloudy days as diffusers and reflectors is common practice. I swear I learn new things daily. I live in Oregon and not far from the coast. This may very well have changed my plan of waiting for sunny days. I am pretty sure I can get full windshield dash protectors at the dollar tree. They have them in full reflective silver. But I saw the ones for photography are round. Do the round ones focus as well as reflect? Like really piling the light onto the face or similar targeting? I am a photo noob and have not used them.
  • The round bounce reflectors are mainly round due to how that type of structure folds up.  Silver bounces are great, but sometimes they are too bright, so having white is handy too.   You could use a large white piece of foam core for that or even a bed sheet.

    I'm sure there are some good videos on YouTube about using bounce cards/reflectors/etc to help fill in shadows.  Just be aware that many videos may show a reflector/bounce used as a key light, rather than a fill light.  And what you need is to reduce normal shadows (coming from light above the subject, like the sun) with a soft fill coming from below, but not enough to cast any new shadows.

  • I just got into 

    Stop Motion Animation Part 3: Camera, Lighting & Software

    so this is making sense. Thank you.
  • Does the gold reflector actually create a sun color effect? @Matt Winston @Chris Ellerby  If so, is that enhancement still available on overcast days when using the gold reflector? I am wondering if it could add some skin tone like a portion of what I am missing in this comparison split picture?

  • Darrell GreenDarrell Green ✭✭✭
    edited January 13
    I am not against makeup adjustments but don't want to overadjust if in combination with a bounce reflector's properties.
  • The gold reflector gives you a warmer look, but it's not very natural, and can throw off your colors depending on the situation.

    In this case you are matching against a final photo that has been color corrected and treated, so you'll want to do the same with your photo too.  Using the curves and color balance filters in photoshop you can get much closer to the target.  I also suggest making your photo layer in photoshop a "smart object" that way any filters applied to it are non-destructive.

  • Thank you. This makes complete sense. I hadn't thought about how it would also change the colors of my costume, not just my skin. And your estimation of the levels of digital color grading is spot on. In this scene they attempt to create a cloud covered sunset lighting but in fact the sky has very few clouds and the boat in the distance is sitting in full sun while Jack uses his scope to watch the scene. The very reason the bandana shifts from green to gray to green within seconds. Thanks again. I will take a silver and a white for day of.
  • Update on the search for youth effects makeup: I am seeing some pretty amazing wrinkle and scar coverage/removal using a product called dermaflage. It seems to be a colored silicone filler that comes with a textured applicator. It is fast, under 2 minutes per location. I have not tested this yet but it seems that the independents are testing it and it seems to work to hide scars and deep wrinkles. Definitely interested in not only trying this but questioning if this technique is something that is already being done by one of our instructors. The company brags that this started out as an fx Hollywood application. As an onsite, day of, getting younger tool, I am very intrigued. My guess is this is silicone like that used in fx but being applied directly to skin. Likely some kind of two part quick set involved. Any backstory or insight from the pros? I am looking at this thinking I could drop crows feet and laugh lines to gain a good 10 years on day of shooting cosplays of younger characters.
  • I have not tried the dermaflage effects makeup posted above but have tried the silicone patches in combination with moisturizers and can attest to the smoothing of skin and wrinkles for temporary results. I am speaking of the sheets of silicone that you stick to your skin and then peel off. Because I am cheeky and cheap, I now use window cling jelly decals that seem to be made of the same silicone as the cosmetic patches. I just take my christmas tree or pumpkin gelly window cling and cut it to the shape I want for crows feet or under eye. I apply a moisturizer first snd then lay on the patch about an hour or 2 before I need to do my cosplay effects makeup. It certainly works to take away about 5 years or more of aging but only lasts a few hours because the skin will again lose that moisture. I am hoping to try the dermaflage or other skin smoothing effects soon and will post. Here is a pic of my window clings that I have already tested with great temp results (cannot attest to safety and would suggest purchasing the made for skin version):

  • Darrell GreenDarrell Green ✭✭✭
    edited January 23
    OK, I found a really good demo for dermaflage by a film industry effects artist. This looks to be a very good anti aging tool for wrinkles and scars but I think I would push it further and use this in combination with rigid collodian to complete my ear transformation tests if regular cover makeups do not hide the collodian I used to reshape my ear. But for purposes of this thread, this looks to be a must have for dropping a decade on the day of shooting.
  • dermaflage sounds like a great option!  

  • Darrell GreenDarrell Green ✭✭✭
    edited June 18
    In addition to the gel flats, I have recently tried standard, one sided, scotch tape. Generically known as transparent tape, which as a name is less than descriptive, so I am calling it scotch tape because that only describes the one commonly known wrapping paper clear tape we all use. I noted that with only a little movement the gel flats would fall away and they get dirty quickly. After placing the scotch tape on a wrinkle for only a short while, 30 minutes to one hour, the area stays flat and moisturized with no wrinkle for nearly 3 hours. This works miracles when needing to do a photo shoot minus a few age wrinkles. This tape comes off cleanly and with nearly no adhesion after the skin moisture level rises to the appropriate level. I also found that if the edges are not pressed down, they leave little to no edge line on the skin. If the area is larger, layer edge over edge and then avoid pressing down the outer edges. I will post some before and afters in a few days. Starting with a moisturizer or oil very sparcely used in the direct center of the target area and then taping from dry over moisturized to dry (spanning the area) makes this process much quicker.
    Post edited by Darrell Green on
  • Interesting trick!  Looking forward to those example shots!

  • A couple points to discuss on this as to not oversell it: 

    1) The skin area must be relaxed before applying the gel patches and/or tape. Stretched or bunched skin that is taped will cause the tape to fold and this creates a very moisturized and deep crease, akin to using rigid collodian, although any large crease will smooth in minutes. 

    2) For a short time it creates a hyper moisturized area that will form a raised and slightly lightened area. Not as bad but a similar effect to having left your hands in water for too long or wearing rubber gloves for too long. This effect also dissipates in minutes.

    3. Smaller coverage areas are best for not creasing. 

    4. It can be used while napping or sleeping but this highly increases the chance of putting pressure on the tape or causing a fold and thereby a skin crease. If this can instead be done while awake or if you can maintain a face up posture while laying down, you can avoid  all creasing. 

    5. After removing the gel pads and/or tape, wait until the lighter color (and any crease) has dissipated (likely 5 minutes) before applying any oils or sealers. However, you do not need to wait to apply moisturizers and can use them immediately. 

    And here are my before and after for crows feet on one eye...

    This will last approximately 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the heat and humidity (longer if you use a moisturizer and sealer after) But it drops 10 to 20 years off the eyes in high def photos so for my cosplay hobby, it is magic. With this and the Dermaflage for scars and the Stan Winston toolbox of effects, age is far less a factor for my next cosplay build choice, older and younger.
  • Darrell GreenDarrell Green ✭✭✭
    edited June 18
    Also wanted to do some backstory on these results compared to other methods. I have tried a wide range of moisturizers and anti wrinkle agents to some success but all were not as drastic as this. In the case of Dermaflage, if applied professionally, it is flawless but is difficult to self apply (Cosplay) and cannot have effects or makeup applied over it without diligent chemical matching and technique. If it were done by a pro while I just sat in the chair.... sure, it would be amazing. But this method is cheap, self applied and can be available anytime I have tape or gel pads at hand before a shoot or before any photos, even with family. As for deep wrinkles or scarring, Dermaflage wins, hands down, even if self applied. Here is the same time frame as the crows feet above but on my forehead wrinkles:

    I was relaxed as possible for this but there is always the possibility some of the wrinkling is due to facial muscles at time of photo.

    I can still locate them in the second photo but they no longer cast their own shadows. Again, I have about 30 minutes to 3 hours to get my posing and photos done at this point.
  • Oh, and the "I'm a noob" warning. I am NOT a pro nor a medical specialist of any kind. If you have any allergies or have sensitive skin, this could cause a reaction so do your own testing and research. Sealing your skin with gel pads or tape can trap germs in with the moisture so please have the area clean prior to applying or you have just created a great growth environment. Gross but the point was to increase the moisture content and it does.
  • Great results!  Have you tried any skin-tightening creams or products like Plexaderm?

  • Only the common toners. Great overall results on the neck for sure. I will add the plexaderm to the trial list. Thank you
  • OK, I am adding diet to the plan only because of a crazy factor from body building pros called cut week. I had heard of this from competitors and have heard related hearsay from many women who personally testify to "carbs make me puffy".

     After a lifetime of hearing "if I eat that candybar, I will gain 2 pounds" and not understanding they were telling the truth, I finally heard a keto dieter explain it.

    The body stores a quantity of carbs as Glycogen. Please excuse if the spelling is off. This is not fat. It is a fast release energy stored as sugars in special cells that require an amount of extra water to maintain the energy in liquid form and quickly deployable.

    It is stored in the liver as a concentrate but also throughout the body. It is perfectly normal but causes 1 ounce of candy bar to require several ounces of water in the storage which is why all those stories about gaining more than the candybar weighed were true.

    Weightlifters knew about this and one week prior to a competition would diet in a special way to use up these extra glycogen stores which releases all the water used in that type of storage. They call this "Cut Week". This gets rid of the puffiness until further carbs are eaten and the glycogen is replenished. This is why builders look so defined in competition even when they might not be so every day.

    So for a short time, I can drop several years off my age by doing this special diet. As it turns out, it is today known as Keto or low carb (only 10 percent or less carbs comparitively) and usually has the greatest affect within the first week of such a diet dropping many more pounds than the amount of actual calories burned.

    And here is the funny part. We have all known about this our whole lives but never really knew why. When someone diets and drops a lot of weight quickly, someone else will always say "Well you look great and I hope you keep it up BUT it is probably just water weight." And they are right but why would anyone assume you were dehydrated just because you are dieting? Because there are far too many diet fads and some include purposed dehydration which masks this glycogen loss side affect. This glycogen/keto water loss happens even if you stay hydrated. It is a completely different reason why it really was mostly water weight in that first week.

    But my intent is to use it for my benefit. I can lose the puffiness, temporarily, by dropping the carbs a week prior to photos. 

    Keto groups call this trick "Keto Face". Look it up. It has thousands of examples of before and after photos from all over the world. 

    So, again, I am not a doctor so I am describing this process only in the aspect that it makes people look years younger during the time carbs are limited in this way. Always consult your physician before drastically changing your diet and be fully aware of all the tips and tricks that Body builders and Keto folks use to not feel blah in week one of cutweek/keto. You feel ill if you don't do it right, so read up before trying. 

    My personal experience is that it takes about 4 to 7 days to lose all that glycogen weight and puffiness. Now ignoring the full keto program and only paying attention to the facial benefits... I can also attest that even a little bit of cheating and eating carbs brings the bloat back within a day, so plan your photo shoot a week out and don't cheat if you intend to add this anti-aging trick to the total package. I have a feeling this is likely a Hollywood trick as well and my apologies if I have already covered this before but couldn't find it in the thread above.
  • I just got back to the forums pretty late tonight and excited to see the tips. Thank you. I can likely use all of these. The primary pose is, conveniently, the subject looking up as he climbs a hill toward camera. 
  • Recent trials with hair detangler have shown it creates a volume and body like healthy, younger hair. I use a cheesy cheap dollar tree version with an octopus on the bottle. Likely meant for kids. It seems to add bouancy and shimmer to my hair making it look much healthier. This effect was only after the detangler and no level of conditioner would do this on its own. Hair dyes damage hair quickly and conditioners are a must to bounce back from this damage. The detangler seems to bring the heaviness of a good conditioner back to bouncy, bright natural looking hair.
  • The hair and beard dyes that seem to have the largest effects on aging are very dark brown to almost black on tanned skin. Dying the hair without tanning the skin seems to always look fake. Also, dying hair leaves it dull and damaged. Using a full recovery oil mask will bring it back to full body and removes the chemical matte dullness. The detangler adds a very realistic volume and stops clumping/matting down/frizzle. The only lighter style that seems to do this is with a professional toner added, which covers the hair rather than dying it.
Sign In or Register to comment.