There’s no doubt about it, cosplay costumes has grown up from being about fun dressing up at home, and turned into a pop cultural phenomenon basked in by millions of con-goers every year. It’s evolved into an opportunity for people to not just become their favorite science fiction or comic book characters, but to also show off their costume and cosmetic artistry.
Whether you’re getting ready for your first cosplay event, or you’re about to head out to your 100th Con it always seems like there is something more to know. If you want to take your cosmetic effects to the next level to look on point for your next cosplay event, you might want to give a go to one or more of the following tips.
Skin Prep Is Essential
Clean, healthy, and properly prepared skin takes cosmetics better. It also reduces some of the discomfort people experience when they need to wear heavy halloween makeup for hours at a time. If you’ve ever heard someone in full cosmetics complaining about how they just want to scratch their face or rub their nose, chances are good that they didn’t prep their skin all the way first.
Of course, prepping your skin is about more than just washing and drying your face. It takes three different phases to truly get ready for elevated cosmetic special effects.
Cleanse your skin by removing dirt, oil, and any other impurities. This will give you smoother makeup application and clean pores that are less likely to feel uncomfortable when makeup is applied.
Moisturize with a pH-neutral moisturizer to hydrate your skin, and keep it healthy
Step Three: Prime your skin with a high-quality mattifying face primer. This will provide you with a crisp blank canvas to work with.
Using Concealer & Foundation
A lot of superhero, sci-fi, anime, and video game characters have flawless skin, that is pretty much impossible to replicate in cosplay cosmetics without the use of high-quality concealer and foundation.
It’s important to use concealer and foundations that closely matches your natural skin tone. It’s worth it to take the time to test out various shades before buying. The best test location is to apply on your jawline, in natural daylight.
There are also a few different mediums to consider.
Liquid Foundation can be applied for full coverage or to just make light layers over minor skin deviations. It also has the net bonus of helping to hydrate your skin a little.
Powder Foundation is easy to apply and lets you adjust the degree of coverage. It also helps with absorbing away excess oil for a matte finish
If you have oily skin, then a powder foundation can also help minimize shine. It’s also less likely to clog up your pores. If you have dry skin, then a hydrating liquid foundation might be the better choice.
How To Handle Highlighting & Contouring Like A Pro
Highlighting and contouring help to accentuate key cosmetic facial features, while also drawing focus away from others. If the character you’re portraying happens to have a super-slim nose, a sharply defined jawline, or chiseled cheekbones, highlighting and contouring makeup products enhance the features.
Highlighting can also be a good method for adding supernatural luminosity to your skin. It’s especially useful for fantasy or magical cosplays designed.
Just like with foundation, there are different options to consider in highlighting and contouring makeup,
Creamy Formulas are easy to apply, and you can often find powders that are highly effective at carving out specific facial features. This helps you create a more dramatic finish.
Shading cosmetics can be added to highlighting formulas to let you mix and match until you have the exact look you are going for. Palettes of cosmetic powders are usually best, for this. Ideally, you want to look for a dedicated palette each for contouring and highlighting, for the most versatility.
Of course, contouring and highlighting techniques are only as good as your blending technique. Brushes work well for this, but most pros turn to a beauty sponge. They make it easier to achieve the ultimate blend, with the easier application.
Accenting The Eyes
The eyes aren’t just the windows to the soul. They are portals that help elevate your cosplay effects. If you look at most sci-fi, superhero, and anime characters, you’ll see that most have some degree of elevated eye effects. There is room for a lot of variation here, so it might require adding two or more things to your cosmetic arsenal to ensure you can replicate just about any eye effect.
Brightening Powder For Under-Eye Highlights
A lot of superheroes and tons of anime characters have a wide-eyed look that is hard to replicate without some type of brightening powder under the eyes. Accomplishing this starts with developing a good base with foundation and concealer. Then you can use brightening powder to perk up the eye area.
Eyeliner To Draw Them Into The Eyes
Many popular superhero and sci-fi characters have some type of iconic scene where they make eye contact with the baddie and hold their gaze. This visual effect is emboldened by various types of eyeliner.
Liquid eyeliner tends to provide a more dramatic effect and is also longer-lasting. However, liquid liner is tougher to apply and requires a very steadier hand!
An eyeliner pencil is generally easier to handle and can still provide a sharp definition. It can also provide you with that smoky effect – useful if you’re dressing up as an antagonist and want to mimic those angry eyes.
False Eyelashes For Stunning Lashes Every Time
These days false eyelashes are everywhere in the world of women’s fashion. So, they’re easier than ever to get your hands on in a stunning array of fans, styles, and lengths. Ideally, you want one that is made from natural human hair, with a flexible lash band for superior fit and comfort.
Volumizing mascara then takes these false lashes to the next level, and can even be used to accent color or add sheen. It will immediately give your eyelashes a more noticeable fluting. It also helps make your eyes look wider and more awake.
Eye shadow has evolved beyond the smoky eye effect to help embolden eyeliner and eyelashes. Sometimes, even if the character you’ve chosen doesn’t normally wear obvious eye makeup, an eyeshadow can still add a real-world accent that maybe doesn’t show up on the screen or the page.
It also helps to have a multitude of eyeshadow palettes to experiment with for cosplay makeup. This should include a wide selection of vibrant hues to complement other effects. It can also help develop outrageous makeup designs
Not everyone is born with powerful prominent eyebrows, but a lot of anime, sci-fi, and superhero characters do! Here again, the eyebrows are quite an undervalued part of cosplay makeup, but they can really make such a difference to your final cosplay cosmetic effects.
One challenge to beware of is if the character you’re portraying has eyebrows of a lighter color than your own. In a time like this, the “Glue Stick Method” can help. Or you might want to try using a white eyeliner pencil instead. All you need to do is cover your brows with the pencil, before topping it with an eyeshadow shade that matches your character’s brow color.
Mastering Memorable Lips
A lot of popular cosplay characters have otherworldly lips or just the sort of lips that human genetics rarely provide on their own. Sometimes lip colors are subtle and sometimes they’re bold. Though even if it looks as though your character goes au-natural with their lips, a nude lipstick will still really give your natural lips more visual pop!
Once you’ve found the lip color you want, you should perform a quick exfoliation to remove any roughness from the surface of your lips. Then, you might want to consider adding a matte formula, rather than a glossy liquid lipstick.
Many times, a waterproof lip liner can also be helpful when it comes to keeping everything in place, as well as for simply adding a bit of extra definition.
Using Body & Face Paint
A lot of popular cosplay characters have exotic skin colors. Especially if they are aliens from another world, or they live in some sort of exotic environment. If you need to recreate a facial feature or completely color all areas of exposed skin, quality body paints are an absolute priority.
This could come in the form of liquid formulas or powdered formulas. However, liquids tend to be somewhat easier to apply. Especially if you have a limited amount of time to do it in. Just note that they do need sufficient time to dry!