Life casts can appear extremely beautiful and fascinating when displayed. But when it comes to the actual creation, taking a mold of the living human body can be a bit complex, especially if you wish to capture the impression of hair.
Any exposed skin surface is bound to have fine hair. When using alginate for mold making, a release agent is usually not needed except in the pubic region. However, when using a skin-safe silicone such as LifeRite(tm), Nivea(tm) cream is often used as a release agent with great success, as petroleum jelly inhibits the setting of many silicone rubbers.
In the pubic region, a special water-based hair release called is applied whether using alginate or silicone, to assure the longer hair does not become entangled in the mold material. Of course, when it comes to casting a face, a much greater proportion of hair is involved, which makes the procedure all the more complex. To prevent the hair on the head from become stuck fast to the molding agent, artists have several alternatives.
A common one is to use a “bald cap” to completely cover the hair. But then one gets no sense of head hair in the final cast. But if you wish to capture head hair, then you can use a water-based hair release on the head hair. Though it will press the hair down, the result will provide a nice suggestion of hair that you would not get using the bald cap approach.
When using alginate, it is a good idea to apply petroleum jelly to the eyebrows to give the eyebrow more depth in the finished casting. If you do not, the casting will look like it is missing eyebrows, as the alginate will press the eyebrow hair against the skin and seemingly make them disappear. When using silicone, substitute Nivea cream for petroleum jelly.
Casting the actual hair using a special water-based hair release, results in an extremely artistic casting. This is especially true if it is a female model has long braided hair. In the case of hair casting, the best visual results come from pulling hair tightly to the head by creating a pony tail. That is because in the mold making process, hair will be compressed. By pulling it the head hair tightly you will actually be able to create a duplicate look as the hair is already somewhat compressed.
Ensure that you apply a liberal amount of water-based hair release in the case of alginate, or Nivea cream when using silicone to other facial hair such as sideburns, mustache, and beard. When using silicone as your mold making choice, add a bit of Nivea cream to eyebrows and eyelashes. You don’t need a release agent on the bald cap whether using alginate or silicone. As with your care with hair, you will also need to take proper precautions for protecting the ears, eyes and especially the nose. You definitely do not want the alginate going into the eyes or the model’s nostrils.
With a little care and the correct hair release you can produce wonderful life-life life casts which includes the look of natural hair and keeps a happy model without the possibility of hair tangles and resulting tears.