The Art of Ageing: Ageing Makeup Techniques for Film and Theater

Ageing makeup is an essential skill in the world of film and theatre. It allows actors to convincingly portray older characters, adding depth and authenticity to their performances. In this blog post, we will explore some of the key techniques used in ageing makeup and how they contribute to the overall storytelling.

1. Wrinkles and Fine Lines

One of the most effective ways to create the appearance of ageing is by adding wrinkles and fine lines to the actor’s face. This can be achieved using specialised makeup products, such as crepe hair and liquid latex, which allow for the creation of realistic texture and depth. By strategically placing these lines around the eyes, forehead, and mouth, the actor can instantly appear older and more weathered.

2. Age Spots and Discoloration

Another important aspect of ageing makeup is the inclusion of age spots and discolouration. These imperfections are common signs of ageing and can be simulated using various techniques, such as stippling, sponging, and colour correction. By carefully layering different shades and tones, makeup artists can create realistic blemishes and uneven skin tones, further enhancing the illusion of age.

3. Sagging Skin and Prosthetics

To achieve a more dramatic ageing effect, makeup artists often utilise prosthetics and techniques that simulate sagging skin. This involves the use of specialised materials, such as silicone and gelatin, to create realistic folds and drooping areas on the face. By strategically applying and blending these prosthetics, makeup artists can transform a youthful actor into an elderly character with sagging cheeks, jowls, and necks.

4. Hair and Wig Styling

In addition to facial makeup, hair and wig styling play a crucial role in ageing transformations. As we age, hair tends to become thinner, greyer, and more brittle. By using various techniques, such as thinning shears, hair colouring, and styling products, hairstylists can create realistic and age-appropriate hairstyles for the character. This attention to detail enhances the overall believability of the ageing process.


Ageing makeup is a vital skill for makeup artists and an essential element in the world of film and theatre. By employing techniques such as wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin, and hair styling, artists can effectively transform actors into older characters, enhancing the storytelling experience. The art of ageing makeup brings depth, authenticity, and a touch of wisdom to the stage and screen.

Remember, ageing makeup is not just about making someone look older. It is about capturing the essence of time and life experiences, enriching the character’s portrayal and connecting with the audience on a deeper level.

So, the next time you watch a film or attend a theatre production, take a moment to appreciate the artistry and skill behind the ageing makeup. It is truly an art form that brings characters to life and immerses us in their stories.

Written by Niall O’Riordan FX

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