Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cosmetics and the Con

I want to take a second to talk about make-up.

Now, those of you who wear make-up on a daily basis, don’t shake your heads and run off just yet, because this one’s for you, too. And to those who don’t wear a lot of make-up but plan to slap some on for con, well, this is really for you.

Because I’m, y’know, me, I’ve once again organized this post into a series of simple, crucial questions.

What kind of make-up does my character wear?
If the answer is “none”, then my work here is done. Seriously, if you’re going as, like, an SGA gate team (thanks to Sabine for the example) then dust on some powder and call it a day. If your character is a generally normal person in the “real” world, it’s probably best to just go with your regular look (plus special provisions for con). If, on the other hand, your character wears distinctive or complicated make-up, you’ll want to plan ahead.

Do I need to buy new stuff?
That depends largely on whether you’re a hardcore style nerd, like me, or a slightly more reasonable person. Regardless, there are a few things you definitely want to have.
-Good foundation. You want something with good coverage, because those flurescent lights are unforgiving, and something that’s going to stay on well throughout the day. Remember that you’ll be walking, sweating, and laughing til you cry, and you need a foundation that can keep up.
-Eye lid primer. What this does is: you apply a light coating on your eyelid, and it brightens the color of your eyeshadow and helps your eye make-up last longer. You should be able to find this at your local supermarket/pharmacy, as well as at a general cosmetics store. My roommate uses Maybelline Cooling Eyeshadow and Liner, I use e.l.f. Essentials Eyelid Primer, and I know N.Y.X also makes one. So you’re looking at $5 or less for this, and it’s worth having in your regular bag of tricks, anyway.
-Lipliner and lip brush. I realize this might seem a little obvious, but hear me out. If you apply your lipstick in a three-step process (lip liner. blot. apply lipstick with brush. blot. apply lipstick directly. blot.) it’ll last about five times longer than it would normally. And, for the love of Brian Molko, use chapstick and creme lip liner.

What if I need to do something complicated?
First of all, don’t get in over your head. Unless you or someone you know has professional or theatre make-up experience, it’s probably best to avoid things like full-body paint or prosthetics. If you do have access to those skills, then have it, and you can probably disregard this post entirely. Otherwise, it’s best to work with the skills you have. If you need to do complicated eye make-up and aren’t comfortable with (or have never used) liquid eyeliner, Palladio Eye Inks are felt-tip liner pens that are easy to use and great for precision work. I first used them when I cosplayed Death at SDCC, and it worked great. You should be able to find them at the supermarket, but Sally’s also carries them.
...Just a tiny bit smudged.

Should I practice my make-up before the con?
YES. You should always do at least one dry run of your costume before you leave for the con, including hair and make-up, just to iron out any unexpected kinks.

Should I carry some make-up with me at the con?
Definitely. Even the best make-up is going to wear a little as the day goes on, especially lipstick, so you definitely want to keep some things on hand for emergency touch-ups. Keep a tube of lipstick or lip gloss in your bag, and, if you’re worried about your eyeliner smudging or your foundation getting shiny, you’d be well advised to bring those, too. You don’t want to be toting around your entire make-up bag, though, so use your best judgment. 

Obviously, these are just basic tips to help your con experience run a little more smoothly. Because when you run into Joe Flannigan on the floor and ask for a picture, you don’t want to be worrying about lipstick on your teeth.

As always, if you have any questions, email us at frenemycosplay@gmail.com, and we will happily share our wisdom.


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