Tutorial: How to Make Fake Burn Scars With Liquid Latex

How to create realistic scars for cosplay

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

Liquid latex is the most versatile method for creating scars, cuts, and any kind of special effects makeup. You can use it to create large burn scars, like for Zuko or Todoroki, but you can also use it for realistic zombie makeup or any number of other effects on your skin.

However, liquid latex is also the most inconvenient product to use. You need to be very careful using the product around your eyes. Avoid the eyelid and at least half an inch around the vicinity of your eye to prevent any accidents. You can use makeup to cover these areas after the latex is applied.

If you don’t prep the skin, liquid latex will stick to your hairs making it painful to remove. Some people will shave the skin in the area where the liquid latex will be applied. I find it’s just as effective to add a thin layer of vaseline (petroleum jelly) to the skin. If you will be adding liquid latex around your eyebrow, use a glue stick to seal the hairs on your brow.

You’ll also need to use separate disposable sponges to apply the liquid latex. It starts to dry fairly quickly, and will completely ruin any brushes that you use with the product.

Some people also have latex allergies and don’t realize it. This can be a pretty severe allergy, so always do a test on a small area of your arm before applying a large amount of latex to your skin or anywhere near your face. Wait at least thirty minutes after the latex dries on your skin to ensure you don’t start developing a rash.

How to make a large scar with liquid latex

To make a burn scar with liquid latex you’ll need a bottle of the latex, a tissue, cream makeup (in the red to brown spectrum), and translucent setting powder. You can also use powdered makeup to layer on top of the cream, but the powdered colors won’t adhere well to the latex prosthetic.

  1. Apply a thin layer of vaseline to the skin. This will make it a lot less painful to peel the latex off after you’re finished wearing it. Other options are to use a thick moisturizer or shave the area where the latex will be applied. Avoid using too much, because that can prevent the liquid latex from adhering to your skin at all.
  2. Rip up a tissue into small pieces. This will be used to give texture to the surface of your scar. 
  3. Apply a layer of liquid latex. Liquid latex can be layered on top of itself for a more textured effect. Spread this first, thin layer over the entire area of your desired scar so that you can build off of it. Make sure you’re using disposable sponges so that you don’t ruin your regular makeup brushes.
  4. Using more latex, paste pieces of tissue over the first layer of latex. Use the pieces of tissue you tore up and layer them one-by-one onto the scar shape. Paste them down with more liquid latex, and make sure there is some overlap from the pieces. Continue doing this until you’ve created a large, textured scar shape that you’re happy with. 
  5. Let the latex dry before applying makeup. Liquid latex will dry relatively quickly into a rubbery material. However, if you used many layers, it might take half an hour or so before it’s ready to move on to the next step.
  6. Add cream makeup. Powder makeup does not adhere well to the latex layer, so you want to use a cream formula. If you’re going for a burn scar, use a variety of burnt red, brown, and purple colors to create the desired effect.
  7. Blend the edges with foundation. Make sure to blend the edges of the latex prosthetic using foundation, so it seamlessly transitions into your skin.
  8. Use a translucent setting powder. Once your scar looks as desired, set it with translucent powder. This takes away any shine, and it will ensure the makeup stays in place.
Create burn scars using liquid latex step-by-step
Creating a burn scar using liquid latex.

To remove the liquid latex scar, simply peel it off your skin. If you’ve taken steps to protect the skin underneath, this is a simple process. If you haven’t the latex will still peel off without a problem. However, it will be like peeling a large bandaid off, and you will probably be left with a red, irritated mark on your skin that can take a few hours to fade away.

Emily Joice

My name is Emily, and I have been cosplaying since my very first convention in 2008. Over the years, I've experimented with all different kinds of cosplay costumes, especially loving the process of creating props and styling wigs. I also delved into cosplay photography, and love exploring how to optimize costumes so they look excellent in photos. Most of the photos you find on this site were taken by me over my years at anime conventions.

Recent Posts