Applying clay to actors faces

After reading this interview with the special effects genius behind Lucio Fulci's Zombie, I've learned that he applied clay directly to the actors and sculpted it there. What I was wondering is, what type of clay would be best suited for this? 

Here's the segment of the interview:
"And is it true you did not have many people to play the zombies, despite the fact the film looks as if it is swarming with them?
Giannetto De Rossi: Yes, that is very true! And the thing is, if you have to create ten zombies per day, you need to get ten actors and you need to take individual, specific moulds of their faces and then you create prosthetics with the material of your choice. But they weren’t going to give me ten people for the whole period because this was just a low-budget production. Instead, they would just pick who they could get for that day of filming out in the Caribbean. So, I had this idea of using red clay and created the make-up effects on the spot. I would get a gentleman, sit him in front of me and deform everything, his nose, ears, his whole face. Poor things… these extras would go around like this all day and then in the evening they would need to take a 45-minute shower to get it all off again!"


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    I don't know of any clay that I would suggest for this since most are not intended for use on skin.  In this case, they were working with what they had access to, which was very limited.   Their solutions were fantastic and creative, but makeup effects have become more established and accessible since then, and a wider array of materials are more readily available and affordable.  If you really want to do a sculpt or buildup directly on an actor there are other options.  Mortician's wax (aka nose and scar wax), gelatin, silicone sculpting materials like 3rd degree, or even latex and cotton build-ups.

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    edited February 2021
    Thanks for the advice. I have a jar of scars wax but didn't learn how to use it yet. I guess the clay on face thing is just an Italian thing because I only found this : 



    Edit: After unearthing my Zombi 2 DVD and digging through the special features I've discovered

    Post edited by Ghoulie on
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