Sunday, July 24, 2005


How to Disguise Yourself

I am often asked Questions, such as;


"Ian I would like to disguise myself for a couple of days. Can you suggest a way to go about it?"


Well, when I was young I used to mess about with a friend and create horrible wounds on our faces and bodies. We were not very sophisticated and used water paints. The effect on neighbours was initially very good. However it was short lived. They soon recognised our pranks.

In answer to the above question may I add an anecdote.

Some time ago I was teaching at a middle school in a large village just outside my home town. I began learning Neuro Linguistic Programming techniques that spring. Each weekend for 10 weeks I received some training. At times it was very intense, challenging and life changing. One session I felt that my whole being had made a significant shift. So much so that I felt my mind and body were somehow out of tune for a few days.

The strange thing was other people noticed.

Just over the road from the school was a traditional bakers. It sold wonderful pastries, bread and cakes. One of my favourites was the Cornish pasty. Often on a Monday I would buy one for my lunch. This June day I set off for the usual indulgence. The lady behind the counter said as she served me "Oh you have shaved off your moustache." "Yes," I replied, "I shaved it off before Christmas."

Why had it taken her 6 months to notice?

You know when people see someone they know they don't actually see them. They see the image that they have inside their heads. Only when something really is different do they see what is in front of them.

You know that feeling of looking at a friend and feeling something is not quite right, but you don't know what. Maybe they have changed their hair style yet it fails to fully register.

Disguise can make use of these facts. A person has a preconceived image of another and works to that. If you present yourself in front of them looking significantly different in one main way they will see the new image with out the old.

My advise was to seek out a local make up expert. Someone at a local amateur theatre company could help. Also look on Amazon or Barnes and Noble under stage makeup or disguise. Public libraries are also invaluable when doing research. Also try or similar companies for prosthetics, false noses etc., made out of latex. You could even construct your own. Wigs are also a good place to start from.

Some useful books:

Stage Makeup Step-By-Step by Rose Marie Swinfield at $23.99

Disguise Techniques by Edmund A. MacInaught at $18.00

But please don't expect me to help as my expertise is not in this area.
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