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Caring for Latex Lekku 
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Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 3:26 am
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Location: Central California
Unread post Caring for Latex Lekku
The first thing to remember is that latex is a natural plant product, so it reacts to the environment in the same way that plants do. It can dry out if left in a hot area for too long. (Think of a rubber band that has been left in the sun... they tend to crackle and break quite easily.) Latex has carotene, the same chemical that turns carrots orange. When a headpiece is exposed to sunlight, even light coming in a window, the latex will darken until it is eventually dark orange. Once it cures, latex will hold its shape very well. If it is placed under pressure (such as its own weight) on a flat, hard surface for too long, however, it will flatten out over time and take on the new shape, such as the flat surface of a shelf.

So, how do we proect the latex?

First, paint it. A coat of paint will protect the latex from sunlight, and from oxidation.

Second, support the shape. The lekku are rounded, and they need to have a soft, rounded surface to rest on when they're in storage. I keep my lekku in a box that has a layer of loose pillow stuffing (polyfill) on the bottom. I've shaped the stuffing to match the shape of the lekku, and I just lay the headpiece on that. It has kept my headpieces in their proper shape for years now with no problems. I also put some pillow stuffing inside the head area, to keep the forehead part from folding over. If gravity makes it collapse, it can create a permanent crease across the top of the head. A handful of pillow stuffing keeps that from becoming a problem!

And thirdly, store the lekku in a cool place. It might be convenient to store them in the garage or shed... but if it gets hot out there, you're shortening the lifespan of the latex.


Traveling with Lekku

When I'm heading for a convention, I put my headpiece in a large pillowcase, and then I put it in the luggage that will hold my clothing. I always put the lekku up at the top, near the handle, so the headpiece won't get squished under the weight of everything else. I tuck folded clothes all around the headpiece, and it's good to go. I always put my soft costume pieces and my street clothes in one bag, and the hard supplies such as my boots, compressor, fan, etc in another bag so I won't have to worry about them shifting and smooshing the headpiece or wrinkling up my clothes.

Honestly, latex is some pretty tough stuff. You can't tear it unless you find a thin or weak spot, which is pretty rare. You can squish it flat, and it will rebound with no problem. It resists scratches and punctures, and will even stretch a bit when needed.


Stuffing. The one thing I've found that wears down the most is the pillow stuffing inside of my headpieces. I always cram them really, really full of stuffing... but as with any pillow, over time the pillow stuffing can compress and settle, leaving the lekku looking a bit less round than they used to be. When this happens, I just pull away a section of the soft foam at the top of the lekku, and I push in some more stuffing. I use heavier, more sturdy stuffing material at the very top of the lekku, and lighter stuff in the middle.



Pam :-)

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Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:06 am
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Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 2:52 pm
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Location: Brentwood, NY USA (Long Island)
Unread post Re: Caring for Latex Lekku
I keep mine on a long-necked wig headform that I picked up at a local wig shop (a site called tranniegear sells them for US$11 if your local wig stores don't have them) for about ten bucks and drape it with a large swatch of fabric to keep it free of cat hair. My costume storage space happens to be the exercise room with the AC and no direct exposure, so I'm lucky there.

I've stuffed other prosthetics/appliances with synthetic pillow stuffing and have been told that the stuffing wears down due to eventual accumulation of moisture. It was a pain in the butt to do, but I can tell you that blowing dry the stuffing in other appliances (on low) for a while seemed to fluff it right back up without me having to remove, replace, or add to the stuffing. I guess taking the stuffing out completely and running it in the dryer IN A LINGERIE BAG rather than loose would be easier and faster. Or, like Pam said, just stuff a bit more in there as needed. It's not like it really weighs much.

Travel, pretty much what she said though when I was using water-based makeup, which can rub off on clothing, I wrapped a contractor bag around the lekku, too, and lightly taped it shut so that all my clothes stayed unblemished.

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Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:56 am
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Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:52 pm
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Location: Brooklyn, NY
Unread post Re: Caring for Latex Lekku
Pam thanks for the tip on the heat! I have mine resting on pillows in my sewing room, but it's quite warm in there because of the summer. I'm taking them and moving them to my AC'd bedroom once I get home!

I travel with mine the same way you described, I also tell TSA to label that bag fragile and not to stack anything on top of it.


Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:23 pm
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Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 6:31 am
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Location: florida
Unread post Re: Caring for Latex Lekku
I also have my on a wig headform. It stored in my living room on a makeshift stand.


Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:08 am
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Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:42 pm
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Location: Savannah, Georgia
Unread post Re: Caring for Latex Lekku
ooooh, thanks for the tip!
ZOMG this site is SO HELPFUL!


Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:28 pm
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Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 6:31 am
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Location: florida
Unread post Re: Caring for Latex Lekku
I have a friend who just bought a latex mask & he was told not to store it on styrofoam because it ruins the latex. Anyone else ever heard this? I've kept my lekku on a styrofoam wig headform for at least a year & I dont see any problems.


Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:21 pm
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Unread post Re: Caring for Latex Lekku
Styrofoam can stick in a staticky way to the latex, but I've never had issues storing my appliances on foam headforms either.

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Sat Jul 24, 2010 4:58 pm
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Unread post Re: Caring for Latex Lekku
Make-up problems aside; how do the Lekku fair if they get rained on?


Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:53 am
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Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 3:26 am
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Location: Central California
Unread post Re: Caring for Latex Lekku
The latex itself doesn't get damaged by water. No worries there! (As for makeup, the paint covering it can be damaged, depending on what kind of paint you used. When I painted my lekku with water based body paints and then wore them in the snow, the lekku ended up with spots each place a snowflake melted. I hadn't sealed the paint, though, so that might have helped. When I paint the lekku with alcohol based inks or with acrylic paint mixed with liquid latex, the paint doesn't get damaged by water at all.)

Pam :-)

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Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:45 pm
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Unread post Re: Caring for Latex Lekku
good to know; I live in FL and and we are prone to daily rain showers. I should invest in one of those big, clear, wrap around umbrellas lol

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Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:04 pm
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