The Best Fake-Blood Products, According to Hollywood Experts (2024)

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By Katherine Gillespie, a writer at the Strategist covering outdoors and travel gear. She was previously an editor at Paper.

The Best Fake-Blood Products, According to Hollywood Experts (2)

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Whether you’re going for the full Carrie or just adding some gore to your Nathan Fielder costume, fake blood is the easiest way to win Halloween. While red food coloring will work in a pinch, there’s a surprising array of much more realistic theatrical makeup products — from gooey congealing pastes to spray-on splatter — that are worthy of a CSI set. Below, find fake-blood recommendations from experts in the know, including Quentin Tarantino’s go-to blood guy and the makeup artist who helped kill off the cast of Bodies Bodies Bodies. We also got some insider tips on how to remove fake blood from skin and clothing as well as a couple of washable fake-blood brands that’ll help you avoid those stains in the first place.

Best overall fake blood

Many cheaper fake-blood products will remain moist for hours after application. This means they’ll be drippy and realistic looking but also rather messy. Fleet Street’s drying blood, meanwhile, is designed to set in place while retaining a liquid look. It comes highly recommended by Howard Berger, an Academy Award–winning industry veteran whose extensive resume includes Tarantino gorefests Inglourious Basterds and the Kill Bill films as well as AMC’s zombie-ridden The Walking Dead. While he usually prefers to mix his own custom formula on sets, Berger turns to Fleet Street when he knows an actor will be wearing fake blood for an entire shooting day as opposed to one brief scene. “It looks very real,” he says, adding that spraying down your clothing with a little water before application will make the product look “even more organic.”

Best (less expensive) fake blood

For a slightly messier but still plenty realistic effect, Kryolan’s movie blood is HBO approved and similarly comes in both light and dark shades, depending on how fresh you’d like your fake wounds to appear. The actress Chloe Cherry told us this is the brand used on the Euphoria set, and she’s also fond of it for her own Halloween costumes.

Best washable fake bloods

A permanently blood-stained Halloween outfit isn’t the end of the world, but the situation is totally possible to avoid should you desire to. When applying fake blood on the set of The Northman, makeup artist Maralyn Sherman didn’t want to ruin costumes that would need to be reused in future scenes, so she used Maekup’s body blood in the darkest shade to match director Robert Eggers’s gloomy color palette. “It worked well, with no complaints and no staining,” she says. Similarly, Bodies Bodies Bodies makeup artist Sarah Graalman says the special-effects staff went through “gallons” of Joshua Turi’s No Trace Blood, which also washes out of textiles without the need for specialized stain removers.

Best blood for splattering

Graalman’s “all-time favorite” fake blood, though, is this easy-to-apply spray-gel formula from the brand Dark Arts. She used the brightest shade for a crucial gunshot scene in which multiple characters get covered in blood. “I had the actresses stand far away and then sprayed them, and it created a good splatter,” she recalls. “It also comes off quickly.”

Best congealed blood

“If you’re doing fake wounds and things like that, gel blood will always work best because it doesn’t flow,” Graalman says. She cites Mehron as a reliable and affordable theatrical makeup brand that’s perfect for zombie-style Halloween costumes: “The price point is low, but the payoff is high quality.”

Best eye blood

Using eye blood can create a “very impactful” costume effect, Graalman says. After all, if you’ve got blood dripping out of your eyes, “something really horrible has happened.” She uses Kryolan’s eye-blood drops and recommends avoiding lesser-known brands because some red dyes can be toxic. When applying, she suggests using the dropper a few times in quick succession “so the blood will pool a bit and last longer and give you a really cool effect.”

Best mouth blood

Dripping mouth bloods are similarly scary looking, and here Graalman again suggests using caution and checking for nontoxic ingredients. She’s a big fan of Ben Nye’s mouth-safe stage blood, which as a bonus claims a “zesty, minty flavor.”

Best DIY blood for kids

For an easy DIY fake-blood formula that’s also edible, Sherman gave us this old-school recipe passed on to her by fellow Northman makeup artist Kyra Panchenko: “She told me that every Halloween, she mixes homemade blood for her son: karo syrup, red food coloring, and chocolate syrup. It’s a good one for the kids.”

Best ways to remove fake blood

Berger says Era’s liquid detergent is known as the best for laundering fake blood-stained clothing. And for those Lady Macbeth “out damned spot” moments, he suggests the old Hollywood hack of using some Barbasol shaving cream for extra lather on your bloodstained skin. “There’s something in it that just removes everything,” he says. “Rub it on your hands or wherever the stains are.”

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The Best Fake-Blood Products, According to Hollywood Experts
The Best Fake-Blood Products, According to Hollywood Experts (2024)
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