LET’S FACE IT, guys, make-up plays a big part in completing a cosplay. Costume, wig, and make-up are what I consider the “physical” parts of cosplay, and if they look well put-together, it can give you the push to really dig into the “roleplay” part of cosplay better. I’ve decided to write today about five cosplay make-up steps that help “up” cosplay make-up into something more. These are simple things that really make a noticeable difference.
1. Match eyebrows to your wig color.
I think it looks like a real mismatch when your wig color is leagues different from your eyebrow color. Matching your eyebrow color to your wig color really makes you look more put-together, instead of just a version of yourself who just put on a wig. This is especially true for anime characters where their art specifically shows that their eyebrows are the same color as their wig.
Red hair = dark red-brown eyebrows
But I think it’s best to do it with a “realistic” touch instead of going the exact same-shade as your wig. In real life, eyebrow color tends to be darker than your hair color–so do that and color your eyebrows darker than your wig. Blondes tend to have brown eyebrows instead of yellow/blonde, and you can add a dash of browns or khaki to green, pink, or whatever your wig color is to make it look natural.
Coloring eyebrows can be done in many ways--if your brows are sparse, pigmented eyeshadow or colored eyeliners will do the trick. If you mean to conceal them, you can conceal them with a gluestick or spirit gum, and then some concealer. After it’s done, top it with some eyebrow sealer to seal the color in place.
Of course there are exceptions–characters with light hair but still drawn with dark eyebrows, like Jack Frost!
2. Use Spirit of Gum.
I previously mentioned Spirit of Gum, and I think it’s an investment if you mean to up your cosplay make-up. It’s pricey–usually a tiny bottle costs P299 each at Cinema Secrets–but its usefulness and the effect it has on your cosplay more than makes up for it. You can use it to conceal eyebrows are previously stated, or put on prosthetics like elven ears. However my best use for them is for keeping your wig, especially the “sideburns” in place.
If the strands of my wig are flying all over the face and not sticking close to my skin like real hair or perfect hair in the movies/games/anime does, it sort of looks like something I just plopped onto myself.
My brother, Joey, as Jack Frost. Spirit of Gum was used to stick the “sideburns” of the wig to his face. Normally, without Spirit of Gum, that part will be awkwardly raised, not sticking to his skin.
If the wig is clinging to my face–especially the sideburns–it looks more “natural” and helps give the illusion that the wig IS your hair.
Simply brush some spirit gum onto your skin, let it dry for a bit, and then pat it to activate the tackiness. Press the wig strands onto it and it’ll stay in place.
3. Put on false eyelashes.
Of course this depends on the character, you’d probably not want to do it for male bishounens, but if you’re going for the “moe” types–or even sultry, sexy vixens–I suggest you look into getting false eyelashes.
There are many kinds, and they have different effects. There are some that are more natural, perfect for characters that have a more natural and simple vibe. Doll-type ones are perfect for (you guessed) doll-like characters or even for lolita coords. I like the thick, voluminous sideswept ones for “sultrier” characters.
A good way to put on falsies is by curling your lashes first, then curling your falsies, putting it on, then curling them again together, and then finally sealing them with mascara. This helps ensure the falsies look “natural”.
Eyelid tape, falsies, and contact lenses do wonders for small asian eyes!
4. Seal your make-up.
I also suggest investing on a make-up sealer. There are a lot to chose from in the market, from cheaper ones to pricier ones. Since most conventions in the Philippines are done in malls where there aren’t any real dressing rooms, I prefer to put on the basic make-up at home, and then seal it, and then just retouch it when I get to the event. It helps save time! It also prevents your make-up from “melting”, and some sealers have mattifying properties to keep the shine away from your face. There are sealers for the eyebrows, for lipcolor, and for the face in general.
Makeup Fixer from Holika Holika, the one I’m currently using. Price is P375.
Sealing can also just mean using finishing powders or even ordinary “baby powder” to set your make-up or body paint in place!
5. Consider a “gradient” lip color.
The “gradient” lip color is a trend now, made popular by the Koreans and Japanese, mostly using lip tints. Blanking the lips using concealer is popular in cosplay make-up since anime characters are draw with no lip color at all, but I’m among a minority that thinks this makes me look pale or lifeless. And I like to think of my cosplay as bringing the characters to real life, and not making myself look 2D!
So instead of blanking my lips or applying full color onto it, I may instead make a “gradient”. First, I put concealer/foundation over the lips, neutralizing the color. And then I put on a light color/stain over the lips–not all the way, I leave some nude with just the concealer. And then on the middle part of the lips, I put on a darker color/stain/lipliner and then I blend the colors for a natural look. Having a darker color in the middle makes you look like you just ate a cherry popsicle, which is cute! I prefer doing this for most characters now instead of a completely nude lipcolor. This tutorial from Rinnie Riot (click for link) can help get you started. :3
It doesn’t apply to all–male characters may be best with nude colors and sexy characters best with full-on lipcolor–so I’m just suggesting that there’s something in the middle too, as I barely see cosplayers use this technique.
That’s five simple steps I can think of to improve your cosplay make-up. Hope I helped and that some of you learned something new. Thanks for reading!