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Submitted on
December 25, 2012


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Tutorial: Basic Cosplay Make-up

Journal Entry: Tue Dec 25, 2012, 7:09 AM
Basic Information:
As said before: English is not my native language. I'm sorry for every mistake I made while writing. I'm just showing you what works for me. This is a "you can" tutorial and not "you must". I hope this gives you a basic idea on how I do it and helps you as well. I will not show you any brands of make-up I work with since they are different from country to country. I'm not a dermatologist or a professional make-up artist, so I can't give you tips for "problem skin" cases like acne and so on. Please consult a doctor and let them give you tips for what's best to use before buying something randomly ;)
If you don't know what make-up to use out of the hilarious amount of available products in stores ask a vendor in the store of your choice. They will help you.
This tutorial will be the base for every upcoming make-up related tutorial I will post in the future.

1. Preperations:
First of all I clean my skin and apply vanishing crème. It's always good to do so since wearing a lot of make-up is exhausting for one's skin. The vanishing crème will help to make your skin look more smooth and it's easier to apply the make-up. At least that's my experience.
Sometimes I do a peeling at the evening before a convention or a shooting to remove old skin. You can do it, but it's not a "must" and I do it in the evening because it's irritating the skin. So my skin can relax over night. Not to mention it saves time in the morning. There is already enough work to do with make-up, wigs and getting dressed.
Before applying make-up I put my hair into a bun and use a hair band to get the hair out of my face. It's okay to use a wig cap instead as well especially when you have to add fake lashes and hard make-up later. But honestly speaking I don't like it. Wig caps really hurt after some hours and I like them so stay off my head as long as possible. It depends on your choice if you put your hair away and how you do it.

I always start with putting my contacts in. I won't show you how to do it here and won't wear them during the tutorial. Please always be careful when putting contacts into your eye and let a doc show to you how to do it before wearing them the first time. You can put the contacts into your eyes after doing your make-up if you're good at putting them in. But be careful not to get make-up onto the contacts. This burns as hell and your eyes can get seriously damaged! After putting contacts in I give my eyes a little time to rest of about 10 minutes. I still have problems with putting them in when I worked all night to finish a costume and sometimes it takes me some tries to get them in. Especially when I'm wearing 16,2 mm circles for Madame Red. You should try if you need it or not and at this break into your time schedule if it's needed. Same goes for the process of putting the contacts in itself. Better get up half an hour earlier than having a drama because of getting to the shoot/convention later.
Next step I pluck my eyebrows. I have rather strong and dark eyebrows so I have to do it if I do don't want to look like a Neanderthal. You can do it if you want. Most times it's not necessary to do so if you have bright colored eyebrows but I recommend it if you want to color you eyebrows matching your wig color. I'll add a tutorial for this later as well.

2. Removing eye rings, red spots and so on:
Okay, this is the unmasked true me without any make-up or post processing. It's hard for me to show it, but well~ It can't be helped if I want to show what a little make-up can do.

As you can see I'm not that much of an outstanding beauty and far away from the pictures you might know of me. The area around my eyes is badly supplied with blood what causes big eye rings no matter what I do. To make them disappear I use camouflage. I tried a lot of make-up products from foundations to consealers but nothing worked until I found camouflage. I bought it online in a theater and movie make-up suppliers store. If you intent to buy something like this first try to buy it in a store nearby. Monitor settings can make the colors look different, so you might not get a 100% the color you see. It's better to see the colors directly with your own eyes and if possible on your own skin. If you are allowed to test it put it onto your face and not your hand palm or somewhere else since the skin color differs from face and hands/arms. Here in germany it's also possible to buy make-up for cosplayers at convention booths. Maybe this is the case in your country as well.

I apply the camouflage not only under my eye but on the eyelid as well. For me putting it onto the eyelid does way more magic than covering my eye rings. It makes my eyes look about 100% more refreshed as you can see in the picture.

Furthermore I apply the camouflage on my nasal wings and on every red palm and every red spot I see. If I go for a shooting while cold temperatures I apply a little camouflage to my nose as well to prevent it getting all red due to the cold. It's nothing worse than having to photoshop a nose from red back into your usual skin color. This should work with a common consealer as well.

3. Foundation:
I use liquid foundation but that's just what I can work best with. There are cream mousse, powders and sticks as well. You should go and try for yourself to find out what works best for you.
It's important to buy something that's matching your skin color. Make-up can give your skin a little reddish or orange skin sometimes so be careful. Always try to stay as close to your natural skin color as possible unless you plan characters with a lot darker or brighter skin color. If you use too dark make-up you might run into problems while blending it into your natural skin color. Make sure not to produce hard lines like in the picture below. It clearly shows you're using make-up and that's usually that you don't want.

I always try to blend my make-up at the neck (if I'm not wearing white clothes) and in the area of my ears to prevent make-up lines. For dark make-up I go down until I reach my clothes to prevent my neck and face to look different. To prevent it ruining a costume I use fixing spray from a make-up store. It's rather expensive and most likely only available in online stores, but it's rather helpful.

Since the effect from "applied camouflage only" and "camouflage + foundation" isn't that visible I go to the next step directly without a picture. It's powder. A big friend of cosplayers and photographers. It's not only making look skin less shiny, it's also fixing the make-up as such.
Usually camouflage should be fixed with powder directly after applying but I use camouflage and foundation together before I put powder over it. If I fix the camouflage before applying foundation it looks like I used cement. But it may work for you if you do it the usual way.

For applying powder you can use a brush or a sponge. It depends on your own choice what you use. Everyone is different, so use what works best for you.
Powder can regulate the outcome of color on your skin as well. Just a little, but it works. If you want it brighter or darker and don't have the needed make-up around or no time to completely redo your make-up you can try to lighten it up or darken it a little by using powder, rouge or even eye shadow (if nothing else is available). But if you use eye shadow make sure not to use something with glitter or metallic effects in it. It will most likely make you look a little weird unless you have a costume of starlight express or something like that.

Just to show you before and after again. It's not much I did but it really makes a big difference if you ask me.

Always remember, just using make-up will not gurantee an awesome picture! A lot of pictures, may it be mine or from several other cosplayers, are a combination of make-up, well lighted photography AND post processing. A lot can be done by using refectors, flashs and editing programs like photoshop. There is a lot of unseen magic in pictures. No matter if it's in cosplay or advertisment/entertainment media.

That's all for now. Next tutorial will be "basic boy's make-up". If you think you need this tutorial some when and fear you might lose track of it you can fave it like every other deviation here at dA.
If you have questions feel free to ask in the comments and if you want to read the original german version of this go and visit my blog at Animexx.

Hope you enjoy the holidays :heart:

Add a Comment:
Mitz-chan Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much! I often cosplay male characters, and I always have trouble with the make up, hahaha! I'll use your tutorial next time for sure! Thanks a lot, and you have an amazing cosplay work *_* Love all of it! :squee:
i had the same problem for ages and i still have problem with doing more than just the basics every single time. i totally know how you feel x'D

i hope it works out for you :la:
Mitz-chan Dec 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
YOU have problem with doing the basics??? hahahaha, wish I knew how to do your basic! Your cosplays are fantastic, and your make up is always really good! Maybe someday I'll do something alike :3

Thanks again for the tutorial! :squee:
no i have problems with everything that exceeds basic make-up. takes me way too long x'D i'm usually getting up at 5 or 6 a.m. in the morning and arrive at a convention at 11 or 12 x'D and unfortunately most of the time is needed for make-up and restyling a wig x__x'' so much for my skills...
i wish doing make-up would be as easy as building props. x'D
Mitz-chan Dec 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hahahahahaha, I'm just entering the props world next year! I find everything so hard! I hardly can style a wig properly, will have to learn that also! I also wake up arround 8h, to get to the convention arround 12h... but I think I don't have half the trouble you have! XD Next year I'm aiming at photo shots :) I hardly had some cosplay that I really thought was good, but I don't have proper photo shots, so that's what I'll try to focus next year... and for the pics to turn out decently... I need a proper make up!!! Let's give our best efforts at this, hahahaha... and keep wishing it was easier xDDD
Thank you sooooo much for your tutorials!! Life - or at least cosplayplan - saving tips!! Love you~~~ :heart:
you're welcome. i happy when i can help someone with it :3
Envy4hearts Dec 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
thanks for this tutorialXD
Envy4hearts Dec 26, 2012  Student Digital Artist
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