Alright, I said I’d do a tutorial, and here it is.
Just to preface: this is for FAKE BRUISES, and all images of me are just makeup. Please never intentionally bruise yourself, for a costume or any reason! If you really need to seem bruised, you can use any kind of pigment (colored eyeshadow works great, as do the things things I’ve mentioned below, just nothing toxic or permanent).
This is also a VERY simple, down and dirty tutorial. You can do a heck of a lot more, but I made this because people asked me for the basics, and here they are.
Honestly, bruises are pretty easy to do, you mostly just have to be mindful of what you’re doing. If you have any questions, definitely ask, ‘coz I’ve never written a tutorial before. Also, it should be obvious, but Trigger Warning: bruises.
Before you start doing anything, you’re gonna need two things:
A willing participant
(oh my gosh i am so sorry for this dumb face alsdfkjdslj)
Make up, or whatever you’re using to make the bruises (I’ve used everything from pastels to watercolors to regular make up. What you use isn’t actually that important- More expensive make up like Ben Nye is just better quality. It goes on smoother, stays longer, and sits better. But if you just wanna play around, you can use almost anything.)
My make up, uh, “Kit” is pretty simple. The cream make up I use is Cinema Secrets, but any kind of cream make up is good to use. Cinema Secrets was just the cheapest/highest quality I could get at the time, and this tower of make up has lasted me years.
Ideally for bruises, you want a red, purple, yellow and black. You can easily use other colors (Brown is good to have for aged bruises, as is Green), but that’s the general range you want. I almost always have a reference picture on hand, and it’s a really good idea to look at lots of pictures of bruises, because there’s lots of different colours that can occur!
Before you start, you want to think about what kind of bruise you’re making. A fresh bruise can look very different then an old one, and location does matter!
When a bruise is fresh, it’s going to be very dark and reddish- That’s the blood vessels releasing blood under the skin. The most damaged parts will quickly turn purplish (That’s the blood oxidizing; like a scab) while the surrounding tissue remains red as blood flows there to fix the injury. Gradually this will fade to a yellow or greenish, then a light brown, and finally disappear. The thinner the skin, the easier and darker it bruises! That’s why black eyes look so bad.
Anyways, enough rambling. Let’s make some bruises! I’m starting with a fresh black eye.
You want to lay down colors starting with the lightest and gradually going darker. Since this is fresh, there’s going to be a lot of red. I checked a couple reference photos to see where the colors would start and end. The eye is very easy to bruise in lots of different ways, I just happened to concentrate on the inside corner of my eye this time.
You can use make up brushes if you want, but I, aha, don’t have any. I probably need some- I generally just use my fingers. You want to blend this pretty well at the edges. There shouldn’t be a sudden transition to any color.
Let’s get some purple in here!
Unfortunately the light washed out a lot of the color in the pictures- Anyways. This is showing how I put the color on. I dab a light layer where it’s darkest and lightly blend it in the direction of the bruise.
Starting to look good!
Unfortunately the light in my bathroom made the black and purple not come out nearly as dark as it should, but this is what I ended up with.
As you can see, the softest parts of the eye are what get the darkest. You don’t want to use a lot of black, but it can be helpful if you really want it to be a striking bruise. Also be careful when you’re blending colors. It’s really easy to get obsessed with the blending and not realize you’re rubbing off the make up and making it lighter.
Keep in mind, this is for a fresh bruise. You use the same techniques, but different colors for an older bruise.
First a very, very light layer of brown (Hard to see in the picture, but does make a difference)
Finish off with a little red or purple in the centre.
And there you go! Again, make sure to blend well, unless you want the bruise to look much more traumatic.
Like I said, pretty easy! A lot of fun too. Definitely check out references when you can, but quite frankly, people give a lot of leeway for bruising.
Two things you can do to increase realism: First, rely on the natural shape of your face on placement of bruises. For the older bruise, I used the little bump where my cheekbone ends, which gave the impression of swelling with the right shading.
Second, some places just don’t bruise, some places (like I mention above) bruise very dark. Just keep this in mind, like you would how old the bruise is. The hard parts, with bone close to the skin will be the easiest to bruise. It’s easier to bruise your hip then your stomach.
I’d love to see what you guys can do! I also did a Tavros bruise test, but I’ll put that in a separate post. Like I said, if anyone has any questions, go ahead and ask.