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The Ultimate BJD Makeup Guidance

Many BJD players would like to put beautiful makeup on their baby dolls. Here I will share some experience with fellows who are interested in BJD makeup.

Let’s start by choosing a doll’s head to practice makeup.

Silicone heads should have been your first choice, but they are rather rare and expensive on the market. So resin heads are more popular for practice.

I don’t suggest practicing makeup on your own doll. Even though the resin is corrosion-resistant, removing makeup frequently may damage the dolls. So think twice before you do.

Actually, you can just buy a doll head for practice use so as to protect your own doll from being damaged.

Practice heads recommended:

A legal copy of the practice head costs about 100 yuan in the market. Most of these heads are of good quality and are sold due to inappropriate sizes. With a suitable body, you can match them together and get a new doll.

There are some producers of practice heads like DFA, WM Studio, etc.

You can also try some legal copies of dolls’ heads in the second-hand market. Yet, please don’t buy it if the head severely yellows. Otherwise, white spots may occur after the makeup is removed.

Besides, some pirate copies of practice heads have appeared in the market. If you buy them, those unscrupulous dealers are encouraged. So do choose the practice head with great caution. You can ask other players for advice before you buy it.

Practice heads, not that recommended:

Some heads made of PVC, ABS, or other textures are not recommended for makeup beginners. Despite the cheap price, they are easily stained, corroded, or even damaged. Thus, they are not a good choice.

Neither the defective heads nor the fake ones are suitable for practice. Though in the name of BJD makeup practice heads, their quality isn’t nearly as good as resin.

Moreover, 3D-printed heads are too rough for you to practice makeup.

In brief, please use the legal copies of heads instead of the pirated, knock-off ones to practice BJD makeup. The former can be resold while the latter will be boycotted by BJD players.

Then we move to the next problem— how to choose makeup tools

You can refer to some useful makeup tools we shared. In most cases, the more expensive the makeup tools are, the better their quality is. But if you are on a tight budget, you may try cheap ones. And degassing and protecting yourself shall be guaranteed.


Makeup artists often use MR. HOBBY No. B514, anti-UV No. B523, new blue No. 530, varnish (only for airbrush use), water-based deglosser, etc. BJD makeup professionals prefer MR. HOBBY No. B514 and No. B523.

The latter can resist yellowing because it is of anti-UV function. Please note that No. 523 cannot stop yellowing but can only delay it.

No. B530 can work very well on the problem that some special skin turns white. However, it makes the face too smooth to put on pigments. So No. B530 usually serves as a base.

Using varnish is much more complex and costly because it should be used in conjunction with an airbrush and a pump. And you have to mix it by yourself.

If the varnish is applied, do not use MR. HOBBY blue-labeled color thinner to remove the makeup, or it will cause makeup permeation. So it is not recommended for beginners.

I don’t recommend a water-based deglosser either, because it cannot adhere well and it makes the surface too smooth to be stained. Besides, I don’t suggest using a deglosser with an airbrush for the reason that it is hard to apply the deglosser evenly.

A bottle of deglosser can be applied to at least 10 heads in general, subject to personal deglossing usage. If you just want to degloss one head, you can use No. 850 with proper techniques.


MR. HOBBY blue-labeled color thinner from No. T101 to No. T104 (the numbers indicate different volumes) is the most popular. It smells strong and easily volatilizes as well as can be harsh on hands.

You should wear are a mask and keep the space well-ventilated when applying it. Do not use it in a confined space. It can be used with an ultrasonic cleaning machine (the usage will be introduced later).

MR. HOBBY No. T114 paint remover, a tiny glass bottle with pink and yellow colors, is less popular. It is less volatile and smells light. It can be applied to remove a small area of makeup remains.


Can serve as a makeup remover for dolls without diluent tolerance and corrosion resistance. It can remove varnish, too. 95% alcohol is commonly used. You may clean and disinfect the doll’s head with 75% alcohol.

Some rare resin may be corroded if soaked in alcohol for a long time. Although alcohol is a little bit difficult to remove the makeup on the resin, it is more volatile and less toxic. What’s more, it is available in every pharmacy, even small ones.


There is a saying that oil-based deglosser should be used with water-based gloss and water-based deglosser with oil-based gloss. It is wrong because water-based deglosser is not recommended and the diluent in the oil paint can dissolve the water paint.

GAIA gloss No. 007 is highly recommended. If you apply it thinly, it will look semi-matte. And it will be glossy with two coats. The lid is well sealed and the gloss doesn’t get stretchy. It is also easy for you to paint and can be well coated on the surface. But this gloss is hard to get at present.

The oil-based gloss of MR. HOBBY is most common in use. It is a little bit thick. You can blend some diluent when applying it. The lid is not that well-sealed, so the gloss may get dry. And since it is too thick, it will get stretchy.

Water-based gloss can work very well according to some players. I don’t agree because it is quite difficult to handle. You will fail if you add too much diluent to it.

Almost all gloss made in China is nail polish. You can use it for practice, but don’t use it when doing the BJD makeup business.

How to choose makeup pigments


Pastel is applied in painting, transiting and deepening colors in large areas like blush, eye shadow, lip, eyebrow, etc…

The common pastel brands I recommend are MUNGYO, SCHMINCKE, REMBRANDT, SIMBA LION, and SENNELIER, etc. They differ from each other in color rendering and softness. There is a little difference in colors as well. I suggest you have a full understanding of these brands before putting them into use.

It is not true that the softer and higher color-rendering the pastel is, the better it is. As for some pastel with low color rendering, it appears so light no matter how you paint. Oppositely, the face may look brightly colored and even dirty if the color rendering is too high.

Therefore, only the right combination can achieve the best effect. A set of pastels with 24 colors is enough for beginners. You can add some colors or buy other brands if needed.

In general, a set of pastels can last for a long time. Thus, you can buy an expensive one if you intend to be a good BJD makeup artist. What I am using is the soft pastel short support with 24 colors of SIMBA LION and 40 assorted half-stick soft pastels of SENNELIER.


There is a wide variety of pigments for drawing lines, which is a major difference between makeup artists except for styles. You can check some reviews before making a choice.

What beginners heard most are oil paint, water-soluble colored pencils, and solid watercolor. They have their own characteristics.

Oil paint:

Oil paint owns high color rendering. It turns dry in a short time, so the paint is difficult to be revised. Besides, its diluent is a little bit toxic. The airbrush is easily damaged because you have to wash it with an organic solvent. Oil paint is not recommended for long-term use. And you don’t need it either without an airbrush.

Water-soluble color lead: Different brands have their own merits and drawbacks. Some color leads are too hard to do the color rendering. Some are so soft that particles appear. Buy expensive ones if possible.

It is quite convenient to revise the paint with water-soluble color lead, so they are suitable for makeup practice. You can mix the colors and get any color you like. Palette after use can be cleaned with water.

And if the pigments are dry, you can add some water and use them again. The drawback is that it is easy to be removed, so I suggest you apply a coat of deglosser before painting colors.

No oily color lead. And don’t use pencils either because they are so hard and may scratch the dolls.

Other than all kinds of color lead, other pigments should be used in conjunction with facial pencils.

Acrylic paint: It is colorful and can well cover the surface. And if you apply it for several coats, you can get a stereoscopic effect. It is a good choice for painting teeth and tattoos.

Whereas, beginners are likely to apply it too much. In this case, you have to dilute it with acrylic diluent and water. And if you need to revise the paint, you have to remove it with alcohol which will remove the deglosser too. Acrylic paint is difficult for beginners to handle.

Solid watercolor: you can refer to other water-soluble pigments for instructions to use the solid watercolor. But please be noted that the solid watercolor cannot be well removed by diluent. You have to clean it again with water.

Other water-soluble pigments have similar instructions. And any pigments will cause makeup permeation because of deglossing and heads’ texture, which is the reason why you need a practice head.

Makeup tools:

Last time we introduced you to a kit of tools named APHRODITE. If your budget is tight, you can use human makeup tools with dense fur. Any texture is okay.

You can buy some lip brushes, eyeliner brushes, eyeshadow brushes, etc. Use small eyeshadow brushes to paint eyeshadow, lipstick, and shimmering powder. Use medium ones for blush and large ones to clean dust.

A dust ball can also help clean dust and extra powder without secondary pollution.

Dressing room requirements and self-protection issues

Apart from makeup techniques and tools, I also want to talk about the requirements for dressing rooms and self-protection issues you always ignore.

Most makeup guidances seldom mention how to decorate the dressing room for doll makeup. But we should attach great importance to this issue because most wet paint is toxic.

The requirements for your dressing room:

At least a window for ventilation should be guaranteed. You may install a fan more, but don’t let the fan face neighbors’ windows.

Find somewhere bright. The light over you will keep your doll makeup from being ruined by skew rays.

And don’t put doll’s cosmetics and makeup tools in bedrooms or dormitories.

Tools for self-protection:

It is necessary for you to wear a respirator when applying deglosser, paint, or removing makeup, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Ordinary masks are useless.

I suggest you buy a 3M respirator with filter cartridge No. 6200 at a price of around a hundred yuan. And please keep in mind that filter cartridges should be changed regularly.

Do wear PE gloves when you apply paint and remove makeup for dolls. Rubber gloves are not recommended because they will be corroded by the diluent. Change your PE gloves once they are broken, otherwise, these organic solvents will hurt your skin.

It will be great if you have a well-ventilated room and a painting box (you can make it by yourself).

How to remove makeup safely

In order to protect dolls from being damaged by the diluent, you can use an ultrasonic cleaning machine to remove doll makeup. But it is not recommended for old dolls and dolls which have been repaired with clay. The cleaning machine for spectacles is okay and it will cost you around $30.

Here are the instructions: To start with, you should remove the doll’s eyelashes. Put its head in a small Ziploc bag and add some diluent to it. Then place the bag (doll face down) in the ultrasonic cleaning machine with 60% volume of water.

It usually takes you 5 minutes to clean a doll head. And you can use a brush to clean the lip and other dirty parts in the process.

After the machine finishes cleaning, take out the doll head from the bag. Wash it again in clean water to remove the diluent. Any remains can be removed by alcohol or paint remover. Lastly, dry the head.

By the way, you can also use the ultrasonic cleaning machine to wash airbrushes. If you don’t have a cleaning machine, you can soak several cosmetic puffs in the diluent. Apply them to the doll’s face and wrap the head with plastic film. After several minutes, clean them with diluent. Or you can try the safe methods I introduced before.

Limit the time. Being soaked in the remover for a long time will damage the doll.

BJD Makeup FAQ

Many beginners may confront some difficult problems in BJD makeup. And you have no idea how to deal with them. Don’t worry. Here I share some experiences with you. Hope they can help.

Broken lines or droplets appear when applying water-based pigments.

Broken lines or droplets appear mostly because there are some tiny particles on the surface or you put too much water in the pigments. In this case, you can apply some powder to the skin where you will draw lines. The powder color should be the same as or close to the skins. With powder absorbing moisture, lines will be smooth. Another way is to clean the particles on the surface with cosmetic puffs.

The lines look wide and not natural.

Don’t rush to revise them if the lines are not natural. You should rethink whether you apply the right painting techniques or not.

Before painting, you can practice a little on the palette or napkins, which will remove extra water. Then draw lines on the doll’s head in a quick manner.

Don’t draw a line repeatedly. You can draw a thin line to locate and draw once more. Then you will get natural lines.

As for pigment thickness and line drawing techniques, practice makes perfect. And lines will look layered with more than two colors.

The makeup is ruined by gloss.

Please check gloss thickness before applying it. If it’s too thick, add some diluent or thinner. When applying gloss, daub it quickly. Don’t paint repeatedly.

If it looks not shiny, apply gloss once more after the first coat is dry. Moreover, don’t use gloss to glue eyelashes.

The makeup looks dirty.

Dirty makeup may be caused by wrong makeup techniques, unclean brushes, repeated painting, and revising. So you can clean extra deglosser particles before makeup.

Apply light-colored powder to the surface and spray deglosser. Then use pastel with high color rendering to deepen the colors on the parts. Clean it with water if it’s dirty.

You don’t have to spray deglosser again if the makeup is revised only once or twice. Caution: You don’t need to set the makeup on practice heads. Clean the surface, spray a coat of deglosser and you can keep painting.

The makeup looks unnatural.

If the makeup looks unnatural, check whether the bronzer is applied properly, which is quite important and easy to be ignored. With the right bronzer, the makeup will look natural and vivid.

There are some common colors for bronzers like salmon, khaki, light gray, and so on. Just like we humans use bronzer.

Apply the bronzer to large areas of brow ridges, eye sockets, eye corners, nostrils, the front part of ears, and lower jawbone as well as small areas of the parts under the eyes, philtrum, and the shadow under the lip.

The makeup looks pretty in parts but ugly as a whole.

You can get your own makeup style by matching colors properly, practicing more, and improving your aesthetics. I suggest beginners try some simple makeup.

After you find your own style, you can try to use rare colors and techniques to get a unique makeup. Oppositely, if beginners start with complex makeup and use a lot of ornaments to decorate the doll, it looks like a mess in real even though its photos look okay.

How to put on makeup for doll heads that have been reshaped with clay?

If only some small areas like the upper eyelids and the mouth have been repaired with clay, you can apply powder to cover these parts, spray some deglosser and put on makeup. Apply powder once more if needed.

If the doll heads are not well sanded, makeup will crease and cannot be put on. In this case, you’d better ask the owner for approval to send it again. Beginners should practice makeup on practice heads.

If large areas are repaired with a distinctive color difference, then you have to blend pigments and use an airbrush to apply them to the repaired parts before putting on makeup. The blended pigments have to be applied for several coats.

If particles appear, sand them down and apply pigments once more. The surface coated by pigments touches different resins. Broken lines happen. Powder looks not color rendering and is uneven. In this case, I suggest you choose a makeup artist who is skilled at airbrushing use.

In conclusion, to be a good BJD makeup artist, you have to know different makeup techniques, tools, and pigments. Do pay attention to self-protection. And the most important thing is to keep practicing as the skill comes with practice. Please feel free if you have anything to add. Hope this essay is useful to you.

When can you start doing the doll makeup business and putting on makeup for others’ dolls?

When free makeup comes to you, don’t get too excited about that. You should know free makeup means you send your doll to help others practice makeup.

As a doll makeup artist, you should be responsible to the doll owner. Don’t start a doll makeup business until you can apply pastels evenly. Practice more and you will make good progress for sure.

Many beginners can get simple makeup after practicing for three months to six months. Don’t get frustrated when being belittled by others.

Besides, the price is another big problem. You should price this service based on your present makeup skills. Or ask others for advice.

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