NOTE: This is a guest post by Kai! Follow her work at Choukai on Facebook and u.wild on Instagram!
Before I get ready for a shoot, the day before I make sure to obviously bathe.. and shave… lol
I do an intense facial routine so my skin can look it’s best along with makeup for photoshoots; no one wants pimples, dry/oily skin, blemishes, etc on a photoshoot.. yikes!
So I start off by washing my face, then using a scrub to remove the dead skin. I also use a product that opens the pores so I can get a deep cleanse to remove all the dirt in my face. I wear a clay mask afterwards since my pores are now open, so it can pull out all those nasty blackheads. And if there are still blackheads, I use a nose strip. That usually does the trick since blackheads on the nose are tough ;;
I then do a 3-step cleanse: Toner, Serum & Cream. These products help my skin have an even/smooth/healthy complexion, repair damaged skin & moisturize it since I have very dry skin; I don’t want the makeup crack my skin during a shoot at all. If you have oily skin, I suggest using products that help with that; you don’t want your makeup melting off. Sometimes I replace Serum with a facemask if my skin needs serious repairing (if I look tired/dead, dark circles, lots of acne). You’ll want to use lemon facemask if your face looks dead. Cucumber, seaweed or aloe mask for dry skin or rice. Shea Butter or avocado mask for oily skin!!
NOW on the day of the shoot, before I set out… I wash my face yet again and do the 3-step cleanse that I mentioned (Toner, serum & cream). It’s very important to use a primer, as it gives a nice smooth base for the makeup so the application looks even/pretty. It also somewhat protects the skin from breaking out from makeup. Depending on what primer you get, there are some that also repair the skin which is blessed!
After my skin is prepped, I do my makeup! I like to use makeup that I know will last all-day like waterproof makeup. I always bring all my makeup with me just in case I need to do touch ups during/before the shoot. (Especially lipstick.. you got to reapply that shit 100 times). When I’m done my makeup, I use a setting spray so it stays in place and I usually spray it a few times on my face throughout the day because you never know.
As a cosplayer, the most important skills you should have when it comes to makeup is contouring. Contouring your features (eyes, nose, jaw) like the character you’re cosplaying is a huge must for me; I like to look as accurate as I can to the character. I recommend colour contact lenses, drawing eyebrows like your character & fake lashes if needed (bottom & top). These little things make the cosplay stand out!!! Even blush if your character has blush!! And lip color!!!
Back to contouring – I use a pallet that has browns which I use to sharpen areas I want to enhance and reshape. (E.g. making my nose slim/long, making my jaw sharp). I also use a highlight to make those areas pop even more; highlight is a very shimmery powder! I use highlight on the bridge of my nose and above the contour on my cheeks! Other areas too but those are the most important to me.
Concealing is also an important skill to have. Have a pimple? Conceal it. Have dark circles? CONCEAL IT. IT IS MAGIC LOL. I also use it to erase my eyebrows and draw new ones that look like my character. I use concealer to reshape my lips (make them slim/long) and contour the sides of my mouth to make my mouth appear longer for certain characters. Mostly this works for male cosplays!!
Eyebrows are a key to your cosplay and they aren’t the easiest thing for everyone since some people have thicker brows and can’t just draw new ones on like that. So I suggest using a glue stick over your brows first (it will make the surface of your eyebrows flat an easy to draw on), let it dry then use an orange concealer since orange cancels out brown and apply a good amount on, then use normal concealer that matches your skin tone and let that dry too! Draw on your brows according to the colour of your character’s hair and there you go! Drawing brows ain’t easy, so I suggest watching tutorials on life hacks to drawing your brows!
Another small thing I notice.. it’s important to curl your lashes, use mascara & eyeliner before putting on your lashes! It makes your real lashes blend with the fake ones. If you don’t do the first part and just put lashes on., you can see the awkward space between your real and fake lashes. And when you see it in your photos, it’s just so annoying OTL
Eyeliner is also very tricky. You want your eyes to stand out the most.. literally the most important thing for me since Anime eyes are so big and detailed. I recommend liquid liner or waterproof gel liner so it doesn’t come off. MAC eyeliner is the best; that shit will never come off LOLOL. Once again.. study your character’s eyes and practice and watch makeup tutorials; practice makes perfect!!! WATCHING MAKEUP TUTORIALS IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS ISTG!!!
Brushes are very important for applying your makeup, so I recommend using those! They really make your makeup look much cleaner, so study your brushes and learn what each brush is used for! You don’t need expensive makeup brushes either; as long as you know what you’re doing it will come out nice!!!
I get all my products at Sephora, NYC, Mac & The Faceshop. Products I recommend are waterproof makeup, Mac’s eyeliner, foundation that’s meant for photoshoots (photo finish, matte), cleansing products at The Faceshop, a contour/eyeshadow pallet of your choice, Anastasia’s concealer (holy this stuff covers) & Urban Decay’s setting spray. If you are on a budget for makeup/lashes/brushes, NYX has shit for cheap and their stuff is really good!!!!
And when you remove your makeup make sure you use makeup wipes and then wash your face so your skin is nice and clean!!! 🙂
Besides makeup, I practice my character’s poses in the mirror so when I do go do my shoot…With all my makeup done, your photos will really come to life! A trick I do for shoot is suck my stomach/neck in so my jawline looks sharper & open my eyes wide (not too wide LOL) so the photographer can capture that big doll eyed Anime look!
I recommend bringing a wide tooth brush just in case your wig tangles. Because nothing is worse than getting your photos back and your wig looks like a rat’s nest.=
OH AND ONE MORE NOTE… TRANSLUCENT POWDER.. VERY IMPORTANT TO SET YOUR MAKEUP IN PLACE. Especially for concealer.
And this has been a guide with Kai! Hope this helps ;w;