Home » Clowning Tutorial » How do I start clowning? Clown makeup, part 3

How do I start clowning? Clown makeup, part 3

Clowning Tutorial – clown makeup essentials – clown noses for your clown face

Welcome back!  So far, we’ve talked a little bit about some of the  underlying concepts of clown makeup in Part 1, and the basics of applying clown makeup in Part 2. Now we’re going to address some of the other remaining “pieces.”

Probably the first facial feature that people associate with a clown face is the red nose. Bear in mind that you don’t need to be enslaved by that expectation. There are many  Whiteface clowns that have just a red “dot” of make-up on their nose. Many more clowns wear no red nose at all. Likewise,  Tramp and Hobo clowns don’t necessarily need one. Examples include Red Skelton’s  Freddy the Freeloader, or  Captain Kangaroo’s Downtown Clown). In fact, there are  Auguste clowns who avoid it also. Cooky from WGN-TV’s Bozo the Clown  TV show comes to mind.

Having said all of that, if you want  to wear a red nose, if it fits your character, go right ahead! There are plenty of clown noses available – see a list of clown noses. I’ll include a list of other reputable merchants at the end of this article.

Clown makeup – where to pick your nose – some suggestions

A new character for Ellen - Goofy Grape, a new auguste that worked her way to the surface. Note the professional clown make up, designed by Jim Howle

A new character for Ellen – Goofy Grape, a new auguste that worked her way to the surface.

Please note that there are noses in virtually all shapes and sizes. And the noses on this page are all from one manufacturer. ProNose (by Leon “Buttons” McBryde) is one of the foremost, but there are many others. For example, my wife & and had our noses handmade by Jim Howle at  Clown Camp 1998, and they have a special feature that I like over the ProNose models. Rather than covering the nostrils, Jim’€™s noses sit on top of your natural nose. They never get in the way of breathing, which I like for when I inflate balloon animals by mouth. As always, your mileage may vary. 🙂

In addition to the nose, you’€™ll need some type of glue to hold it on (unless it’s held in place by a string). I  strongly recommend that you do not use epoxy for your clown nose. It holds well, but can lead to tearing of the skin when removing it.  Which can lead to scarring. I recommend either  Buttons’ nose glue (I use it & recommend it myself),  Jim Howle‘s, or any other reputable supplier.

Clown makeup choices

In the same way, there are many excellent manufacturers of clown makeup. You’ll find that clown makeup comes in white, “flesh”, red, blue, green, etc. in a variety of shades. These include (but are in no way limited to)  Kryolan, Mehron, ProNose, Ben Nye, Jim Howle, etc. I strongly recommend that you establish a relationship with your local dealer if you’€™re fortunate enough to have one near. If not, through a mail-order or Internet dealer that will take the time to answer your questions. Let them know you, know your needs and supply what you need.

Next time, we’ll follow up with some final notes on clown make-up, and get ready to move on to costuming. See you then!


Computer nerd by day, professional clown on evenings and weekends (Raynbow), who combines the two by maintaining a bunch of websites dedicated to the history and performances of clowning, such as Free Clown Skits, and comedy such as Best Clean Funny Jokes.

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