An Intruduction to Makeup – From a Cosplay Perspective

An Intruduction to Makeup – From a Cosplay Perspective

Makeup for Cosplay

I find that when cosplaying, the faces and looks of anime characters we try to achieve is not exactly the stuff that gets covered in your average makeup tutorial since those are more targeted for “normal” occasions and looks. So I thought it would be a neat Idea to cover the subject from a cosplay perspective.

This article is aimed at those cosplayers of you who are unsure about makeup, have no experience with it, or wonder if they should use it anyway.

Now you might be asking yourself ‘Does makeup really make that much of a difference?’ well read on and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

What can makeup do to make your cosplay stand out more and look even better?

Apart from making your skin look smooth, you can actually play surgeon and change your entire face shape with the power of makeup. Just like in Skyrim when you get to spend an hour on editing the face of your hero, you can do that in real life! How cool is that?! 😀

A lot of us cosplay because we try to look exactly like that character we love so much, so we go through a lot of effort to replicate his or her outfit. We then spend hours to find the right wig and do our very best to get all the details right to do that character justice!

But why stop there? You and your face are part of this costume. Apart from their clothing, hair and their weapons, the face is one of the most significant characteristics that define a character. Why slip just into their outfit when you can slip into their skin? …but not literally please!!! Also, most of the time in the photos and videos that will be taken of your cosplay, apart from the costume of course, your face will most likely be the main focus of the picture. Use your makeup to make your costume look even better! Why not put the same effort and love into your makeup as in the rest of your costume.

(I put some example photosof me without vs with makeup below the article)

But, I have no clue about makeup, I don`t know where to start, I’m not talented and the entire idea is intimidating and most of all expensive? I hear you say… Well worry not!

You can turn foam into metal armour, turn fabrics into works of art and make anything out of anything! Don`t let makeup intimidate you now. Everything can be learned – not even talent required 😉 Just motivation and an iron will.

Makeup is not free of course, but when you`re starting your journey into the world of makeup, cheap drugstore makeup is just fine. You`ll want to figure out with what kind of foundation (cream, liquid …) or eyeliner (gel, liquid…) for example you are comfortable with before you go out and spend tons of money on expensive brands.

Also simple done right looks way better than a very complex eyeliner design that`s gone all wrong and eyeshadow that isn`t blended properly. Even a simple look you can pick up on without much training can look stunning when done right!

What products should I get, how do I know what to buy?

The key word here is cheap. If you are like me and cosplay is already expensive enough on its own, you probably won`t have the money to buy all the high end products at once. It`s a better Idea to start with cheap stuff and then slowly replace and add the better but most likely more expensive products.

To have a good base to start from and already have enough to start doing your different cosplay looks get these:

  • Foundation – There are different kind of foundations like, cream, liquid or minerals but for now I would recommend you get liquid foundation.
  • Eyeliner – Just like foundation eyeliner comes in different forms and shapes, there is gel eyeliner and liquid eyeliner. They also have different tips like a brush, a pen or a tiny stick. Just get whatever you think you`re most comfortable with. You also need pencil eyeliner in black and white.
  • Mascara – For beginning and practice almost any one will do. If you are unsure check out some reviews of drugstore ones and find one you like.
  • Cheap blusher pallet – In case you need makeup for a very male character or any other character that does not need blusher what so ever you obviously won`t need this right now. Otherwise get a cheap one with preferably a few different shades if possible.
  • Bronzer – For beginning and practice almost any one will do. If you are unsure check out some reviews of drugstore ones and find one you like.
  • Brushes – Try to find a cheap set of brushes. You can later replace them one by one with really good ones.

Something like this for example:

  • Eyeshadows – Get a cheap pallet with lots of colours. They won`t be the best quality or super pigmented, but it will do the job and you have something to practice and play around with. You can always layer it and build up colour slowly.

This is the one I own:

But I even found a cheaper one here (I have no Idea how good it is though):

  • Setting powder/Se­tting Spray – This is not absolutely necessary for day one, but helps your makeup to stay on longer. I use Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder by MAC and I love it!

With those products you will be able to do everything for your basic cosplay makeup no matter the character! (Characters that require special effect makeup are obviously excluded) Have fun applying foundation, changing your eye shape and do different eyeshadow looks.

If you`re planning on doing something very specific look up a tutorial online. You might not find a tutorial for exactly that characters makeup but maybe a tutorial that creates a similar look like what you`re aiming for. See what products and techniques are used in the tutorial and ad those to your shopping list.

In my next article I’ll write a tutorial and record a video with some basic but very effective methods on how to easily use those tools for an even closer portrayal of different eye and face shapes. It will show you how to change your eye shape, how to apply foundation and how to quickly and easily give dimension to your face.

For example this is me without makeup:


And here are a few pictures of me with with different makeup: