When a baby appears in a movie/tv show, do they put makeup on it?
September 30, 2010 11:37 PM   Subscribe

When a baby appears in a movie/tv show, do they put makeup on it?

My girlfriend has gotten me in to Six Feet Under and I am hooked.

So we are in season 2 and Nate's illegitimate baby with Lili Taylor has just showed up. I see it and think "ya know, that is a good lookin' baby."
This got me wondering if makeup artists have to do any work on babbys when they appear on camera in tv shows and films.

I would guess not, considering unknown allergies and such, but I've also AD'd a number of shoots and I know what can end up on film when you just shoot skin.

So. Any ideas?
posted by Senor Cardgage to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When I was a teenager I regularly babysat for a family who's youngest was in a few diaper commercials. I very clearly remember the mother mentioning the diaper people used makeup on the baby's face and body.
posted by Syllables at 1:16 AM on October 1, 2010

I have heard that when a birthing scene in film or TV shows a newborn covered in goo, the goo is very often strawberry jam and cream cheese. But even if that's just an urban legend, they're smearing something on them, so I'd guess babies are fair game for makeup in general.
posted by holterbarbour at 2:22 AM on October 1, 2010

I have to disagree with parmanparman. Newborn humans aren't particularly attractive and they don't start looking like the Gerber baby until they're about 3-4 months old. Babies often have baby acne, peeling skin, and cradle cap. So yeah, makeup would be warranted.
posted by cooker girl at 3:42 AM on October 1, 2010

I don't watch Six Feet Under, so I can't be sure about this kid, but in general:

- babies used in film and TV are older than the age they are supposed to be, up until around age 2 where the difference flattens out. A six-month-old can work more minutes/day and looks better.
- they audition babies for agreeableness and cuteness. From what I understand, the Olsen twins' original qualification was that they didn't cry when picked up by Full House cast members. And they looked good.
- humans look terrible on film without makeup.

So I'd say that the kid was probably wearing some makeup, was picked because s/he was cute and not fussy (quiet/happy babies look good) and was at a perfect chubby-but-sleepy age (if you meant "baby" literally; there really are very few instances of brand-new infants being used.)
posted by SMPA at 4:11 AM on October 1, 2010

Labor laws forbid using makeup on infants, thus the reason for cream cheese and jam.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:42 AM on October 1, 2010

Premature twins are popular actors because preemies are smaller than their age and twins can be swapped out, so you can have 8-week-old twins the size of full-term singleton newborns ... with their heads all normal-looking now and their skin somewhat cleared up.

But yeah, lots of times you watch a movie, see a "newborn," and you go, "Dude, that baby is nine months old."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:17 AM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]

I cannot find the article, but I read ~2 years ago an article by a UK father that got his kid involved in baby modeling. 2 salient things:

- they glued the babies' diapers to the floor
- they did put makeup on the baby's face

Here's a thing on airbrushing baby models.
posted by k8t at 8:05 AM on October 1, 2010

Fun fact: When medical shows like ER have a newborn baby scene, they schmear the baby with a mixture of strawberry jelly and cream cheese.
posted by spec80 at 9:12 AM on October 1, 2010

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