Here are 5 methods that will help you become great at fake crying. Whether you need this skill for acting class or for whatever reason, the ability to fake cry can be a valuable tool for you. Here’s how to fake cry using a variety of different techniques.
Strategy 1: Imagaine Something Sad
Close your eyes and imagine a sad event. This method is used by many actors who are able identify so strongly with the sad situation they are portraying that they cry with tears that seem to flow from true emotions. You can emulate this technique by simply thinking of something very sad, so sad that it makes tears spring to your eyes. It’s different for every person, but here are a few examples:
- Losing a loved one
- A tragic event that happened
- The death of your pet
- Listen to sad music
Block out other thoughts and focus. In order for this to work, you have to really focus on the sad thought and temporarily convince yourself that it’s true. Think of the inevitability of this event occurring; if it hasn’t yet, it will. All good things come to an end, and life is as sad as it is happy. Focus, focus, until you feel tears begin to flood your eyelids.
Composing your face with the sad expression it takes on when you naturally cry will cause you to feel sadder.
Droop your head down a bit. This will give you the appearance of being sad, but since your face is obscured, you’ll have a bit of time to get the tears going without your face being so closely scrutinized. You don’t want people to see your face go from blank to bawling in an instant – they’ll be suspicious.
Pause for a few moments to let the tears collect. Don’t open your eyes yet; wait until you’ve got a good collection of tears under your closed lids. A slight dribble of water could be mistaken for sweat instead of tears. Continue dwelling on the sad thought.
Release the flood. You’ll know the method worked when you feel your throat constrict and have the urge to let the tears flow. Open your eyes so that they stream down your cheeks. Remember to keep the expression on your face downcast and sad. Try to hold onto the thought for as long as you need to, until you’re finished crying. Don’t get too carried away, though – the point is to fake cry, not get completely overcome with emotion! Stay in control.
Strategy 2: Eat a Hot Pepper
Get a thai pepper, habanero pepper or jalapeno pepper. If you’re extremely sensitive to peppers, a seedless jalapeno might be strong enough to cause your eyes to start watering.
Use gloves when you handle hot peppers. It’s well known that touching a hot pepper and then touching your eye will cause irritation and tearing. This means you could skip the next step and simply touch the inside of a pepper and put your finger in your eye, but the pain probably isn’t worth it.
If you don’t have fresh peppers on hand, habanero or another hot sauce might do the trick.
Chopping a white onion is another good substitute for hot peppers. Just make sure it’s white, since this type of onion emits the chemicals that cause people to cry.
Eat the pepper right before you’re ready to cry. Remember that a little goes a long way, especially when it comes to habaneros. Eat just a little chunk of the pepper, letting it roll over your tongue and against the roof of your mouth before swallowing. If you don’t feel your face turning hot, eat some more.
As always, furrow your brow and frown to make your fake crying act seem believable. In this case you should keep your mouth closed so the person for whom you’re performing doesn’t see the pepper chunks inside.
Try not to make your chewing motions obvious. If necessary, you may need to chew the pepper before you face the person watching you “cry.”
Discreetly eat more pepper to continue the act. If your face stops producing sweat and tears before you’re ready for the scene to end, find a way to eat another chunk of pepper. You might cover your mouth with a handkerchief while you bring the piece to your mouth, or excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and eat it there before returning with fresh tears.
Strategy 3: Use Menthol
Get some metholated chapstick or chest rub. This petroleum jelly-textured substance is sold at drugstores, and is commonly used by people with colds to help open the sinuses and nostrils.
Put some rub on a clean tissue. You can put some of the rub on a tissue well before you plan to fake cry. Place it in a plastic baggie and put it in your pocket or purse so that it’s accessible when the moment arrives.
Rub a dab under each eye. When it’s time to cry, pretend that you are overcome with emotion, then use the tissue to apply just a little of the mentholated rub under the bottom lash line of each eye. Its proximity to your eyeballs will cause your eyes to begin producing tears. Be very careful not to get any of the rub inside your eyes, as this will cause pain and a burning sensation.
Keep the tissue near your eyes until they begin producing tears. It may take 30 seconds or so. In the meantime, make crying noises.
The mentholated rub has the added benefit of looking shiny on your skin, so even if you don’t produce a lot of tears, your eyes will look wet.
Strategy 4: Use Onions
You’ve probably cut up an onion and experienced the burning and tearing you get from the vapors. When you cut an onion, you break cells, releasing their contents. Amino acid sulfoxides form sulfenic acids. Enzymes that were kept separate now are free to mix with the sulfenic acids to produce propanethiol S-oxide, a volatile sulfur compound that wafts upward toward your eyes. This gas reacts with the water in your tears to form sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid burns, stimulating your eyes to release more tears to wash the irritant away.
Cooking the onion inactivates the enzyme, so while the smell of cooked onions may be strong, it doesn’t burn your eyes.
Cutting onions to help you fake cry is an old trick, but it gets the job done time after time.
Strategy 5: Use Eye Drops
Squirt eye drops in your eyes. Pull the skin below your eye down with one finger, and use your other hand to squirt some drops into your bottom lid. This method produces tears that look quite real, but getting the timing right is tricky, since you have to bring the bottle to your eye right before you want the tears to flow. It’s a great method to use if you’re fake crying for a photoshoot, but it’s not very effective if you’re trying to fool someone in person.
Affect the right expression. Since you don’t have to work hard for the tears using this method, you’ll need to make an extra effort to look like you’re crying. Be sure that your eyes, forehead, and mouth look like they do when you cry.
If appropriate, try “crying” tears of joy instead of tears of sadness when you use the eye drops method. This way you won’t have to work as hard to look sad; you may find it easier to look ecstatically happy.
If you can find an excuse to turn away for a minute, put the drops in your eyes when the person for whom you’re performing can’t see your face. You’ll have to be quite sly to pull this off.