Liquid latex

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Liquid latex is often used for special effects make-up and body painting applications. Liquid latex contains about one-third latex, two-thirds water (plus less than one percent ammonia to keep the latex from spoiling and to control the pH of the solution). Liquid latex is sold in jars ranging from 2 oz. through gallon jugs and the consistency is similar to latex house paint. A four ounce jar can typically cover an average sized body. It is typically applied using a disposable sponge and takes about five to ten minutes to dry depending on how thick it is applied. As it dries it solidifies to a rubbery consistency and in the processes ends up shrinking about three percent.

As the latex dries it becomes very sticky and will stick to itself if accidentally folded over. Most manufacturers offer a slick spray for latex once it is dry to take away the stickiness allowing the movement of the model's limbs. Alternatively, shimmer powders can be dusted over dried liquid latex to create metallic effects. One advantage to the tackiness of liquid latex is that it can act as an adhesive to attach things to the paint, such as zippers.

Unlike most other body and face paints, liquid latex is removed by peeling it off since water does not reactivate it. Peeling the latex from the skin can be painful to some people and does tend to pull body hairs out similar to waxing. Even though latex is non-toxic, some people can have an allergic reaction. The most severe of these happen immediately and are categorised as an immediate hypersensitivity reaction. Cosmetic liquid latex contains approximately 0.3% ammonia to increase shelf-life. Craft and mould making latex can contain more than double this amount and as a result has a much stronger odour. The fumes from the ammonia in liquid latex can irritate the eyes when used as special effect make up on the face. For this reason it is recommended that liquid latex be allowed to vent for several minutes before being applied in this way. Appropriate liquid latex safety guidelines [1] should be followed before the cosmetic use of liquid latex.

Latex is a natural ingredient that comes from rubber trees in the form of a milky liquid. There are thousands of species of plants that produce different types of latex, including the Chicle tree that yields the raw material for producing the rubbery material in chewing gum. Unlike some rubber compounds, rubber tree latex is non-toxic in both its liquid and solid states, and because of this it can be found in many products such as surgical gloves, condoms and body paint. Liquid latex is naturally clear and then dries into a translucent amber color. Manufacturers add pigments to the product to provide opaque paint choices of multiple colors. The color of the paint in the jar may initially look chalky, but as it dries it develops into a rich color (grey becomes black for example). Additional acrylic paints can be mixed with the liquid latex solution for custom colors but may not be suitable for use a cosmetic application.

Liquid latex used for special effect make-up projects like scars and gashes incorporate flesh colored latex that is applied to the skin and then built up using materials such as tissue paper and cotton.


"Liquid latex safety guidelines"