How to use Facelift Tapes

Facelift tapes have been around for 50 years (or maybe more). The famous and gorgeous Marlene Dietrich is rumored to have invented the first version of them. They are used today by Lady Gaga, Cher and countless others. You can use them to look younger or to shape your face in interesting ways. I do both.

There are commercially available versions of home-brew facelift tapes. These are typically elastic "bungee" cords which connect to small adhesive tapes that you attach to strategic locations on your face. You then pull the cords back, and hook them together to "tighten" and shape your face. The cords have multiple points of connection to allow for changing tension and different sized faces. I've tried two versions as well as rolling my own. Here are some comments on each method.

Secret Lift

As you can see in the photo, the Secret Lift tapes comes with three bungees and 40 tapes. The cords come in two shades, light and dark, to better blend in with your hair.

The neck band is placed behind the neck, to tighten the skin in the front of your neck. The other tapes can be placed by the temples, to lift the eyes. Or they can be placed at each ear to minimize laugh lines. The hook shown on one bungee hooks onto the knots on the other one, allowing you to choose the appropriate tension.

This method of fastening may sound insecure, but I have used them many times, in very active situations, and have never had the hook slip off of the knot.

Secret Lift also sells packages with just the tapes. Packages of 40 are $16.95, while packages of 120 can currently be purchased for $29.95.

Mark Traynor's Face and Neck Lift

As you can see in the photo, Mark Traynor's version is similar to Secret Lift. The method of fastening is a bit more secure, as the straight end must fit through the hole in the second bungee, similar to the way the bungee attaches to the tapes.

As with Secret Lift, you can get these tapes in different colors. Unlike Secret Lift, you can also get various packages, with extra face bungees. There are fewer tapes with the Traynor Package: 12 here, compared to 40 with Secret lift.

Traynor also sells tapes alone: a package of 12 is $6.00

Secret Lift and Mark Traynor Compared

Both of these products work as advertised. I've used both extensively. The design of the Traynor bungees is superior, and they also seem to have a stronger elastic, which allows you to get more tension. It's possible that the rounded shape of the Secret Lift tapes makes them less visible than the rectangular shape of the Traynor tapes. However, these tapes are always covered with makeup, and usually hide behind a wig, so I'm not sure how important that is. The adhesive on both tapes seems comparable in strength.

Summing Up: In terms of cost, there is no contest. Secret Lift is cheaper. However, the most common configuration of facelift tapes is to use 4 bungees on the face, and one on the neck. To get this from Secret Lift you would have to purchase two complete packages for around $32. Mark Traynor sells this precise configuration for around the same cost, although you still have fewer tapes from Traynor. The tapes are interchangeable between the two companies, so if you prefer the Traynor Bungees and the Secret Lift tapes, you can use that combination with no problems. That is what I used to do, since I prefer the Traynor bungees. These days I make my own tapes (more on that in a moment). If you are starting out for the first time, it is easier to use the provided tapes. Amazon has Secret Lift tapes for very good prices at the moment:

Amazon used to carry Mark Traynor also, but I can't find them any longer. If you prefer the Traynor solution, it is generally cheapest to order directly from Mark Traynor but Alcone has them in their stores and online. You can also find them at wig shops for some reason I have never understood.

How To Use

No matter which product you decide to use, the method is the same:

  • Decide where to attach the tapes. You may find it helpful to place your fingers at various points, and pull with your fingers to see how it would look with tapes there.
  • Thoroughly clean the areas where the tapes will be placed. I use 99% isopropyl alcohol. This is crucial. The slightest oil or dirt will cause the tapes to fail, inevitably at the most embarrassing moment possible.
  • Except for the neck tapes, I prefer to place the tapes without the bungees attached. I then do my makeup, and attach the bungees at the end. Remove the backing from the tape and place it smoothly on the cleaned area of skin. Rub the tape several times with your finger to attach it better. By several, I mean between 50-100. Continue with the rest of the tapes.
  • When you are ready, attach the bungees, and pull them tight, fastening them behind your head. Congratulations, you are now Snatched for the Gods

Improving the Adhesion of the Tapes

You can make the tapes more secure by taking a couple of extra steps. If you tend to sweat, this will weaken the attachment of the tapes. Alcone sells an inexpensive product, "Stop the Sweat", which can be applied to your face to keep it from sweating. Sweat is the enemy of makeup always, and if you are going to be in a hot zone, or have heavy perspiration, use this all over your face to preserve your makeup.

You can use a stronger adhesive. The strongest adhesive, and the one I use, is a silicon based adhesive called Telesis 8. You can use this with or without what they call "Modifier". I have done it both ways. To apply the tapes without the modifier:

  • Clean the skin.
  • Using a q-tip or brush, apply a small amount of Telesis 8 to the skin or the tape. I find it easiest to apply it to the skin. The next step is counter intuitive, but you must wait for the adhesive to dry almost completely. Once it has dried, you can place it directly on the skin, where it will attach itself very strongly

To apply the tapes with the modifier:

  • Clean the skin.
  • Using a q-tip or brush, apply a small amount of Telesis 8 to the tape. Allow it to dry. When you are ready, apply the modifier directly to the skin, then attach the tape. This usually provides the strongest bond.

This adhesive is used by special effects artists to attach prosthetics to actors for movies and stage, so it is very strong. With either method, the tapes will still pull off if too much tension is applied.

The drawback to the silicon based adhesives is price. They are very expensive. However a single bottle will last you well over a year, if you take care of it. There is a cheaper adhesive called pros-aide that is also used. It is also not as strong and I have never used it.

You can buy Telesis 8 and Telesis 8 Modifier from Amazon for way too much money:

Alcone carries Telesis products for much less money.

Rolling Your Own

There's a long tradition of rolling your own facelift tapes. These are not cheap and using 6 or more a session can make those costs really add up. And while you might not be able to make your own eyeshadow as well as Mac or Sugarpill, you can do your own facelift tapes.

I am currently using 3M's Transpore Surgical Tape. I am looking around for other alternatives and if I find something I like better, I will update this article. You can get Transpore from Amazon for a very reasonable $6.35 with free Prime shipping. It is 3 inches by 10 yards. If you cut your tapes one inch wide, you will get 120 tapes for $6.35, a much better deal than any other option I've found.

Assuming you are going to use 4 face bungees and one neck bungee, you will need 6 tapes. Pull out a length of Transpore tape about 6 inches long and cut it. Before you cut it into tapes, fold the tape lengthwise so there is about 1/4 inch or a bit more of folded tape across one side of the tape. Do your best not to get any air pockets or wrinkles in it. This will act as a tab for you to handle the tape. Then cut the tape crosswise into one-inch wide strips.

Take a sharp, thin object (I use a wooden barbecue skewer), and push it through the folded section of tape to make a hole for the bungees to go through. It will be easier to get the bungees through the holes if you push the skewer through starting on the non-sticky side. Then proceed as above to attach the tapes. Please note that I have never used these without the silicon adhesive, so I do not have any idea if they will work with their native adhesive.

That's it. I hope this helps you snatch your face and make a better impression in all your transformations. If you have comments, send the nice ones to me. To do that, you can