Cosplay Prismu Power, Make up!

Dupe example

So show of hands, who here watched Sailor Moon Crystal this weekend? *raises hand, lifts CosplayCat’s paw*

I will punish you!

 © Toei Animation

Who here squee’d? *keeps hand up.* Can we talk about how pretty the animation is? OMIGOSH SO PRETTY. And it’s unbelievable how much more likeable Usagi is than Serena was in the original dub. *twitchtwitch*

But! The wonderful transformation sequence got me all wistful like “Gosh darn, I wish perfect makeup was as easy as lifting my hand up in the air and shouting a catch phrase.” (note: there may have been more swearing).

Sadly, as I (and my co-workers who sit within earshot) have learned, It’s not that simple. Also, none of them are familiar with Sailor Moon. ;_;

So for us non-magical girls (and boys!) how do we learn to ‘Make up!’?

**Spoiler** The internets.

There’s really two parts to this question:

1) Why bother with Make up?

2) How to learn to Make up!



1) Why Bother?

“But Calamity I have great skin! Naturally long dark lashes and flush lips!”

Well eff you too, with your natural good looks/luck.

So Sexy

Make up make you pretty! Right guys? PS don’t forget foundation. Like I did.

But, no matter how much natural beauty Mother nature beat into you, photos and stage lights will wash you out. Also, sometimes you’re cosplaying someone with a skin colour that’s different than yours (DO NOT DO BLACKFACE.) like red, blue, grey or green. (REPEAT. DO NOT DO BLACK FACE. I DON’T CARE IF IT’S NOT CULTURALLY SENSITIVE WHERE YOU ARE.)

If you’re planning to enter the masquerade, wear stage makeup.


Nope, shush.

The stage lights are bright, and if you’re at any kind of reasonably sized con, there will be a number of people who are sitting a ways back that a) forgot their glasses (like me) or be are too far back to make out your squinty little eyes and pale lips.

Goat Face

 You can see the contouring here on my nose and cheeks, all done in blue because watergoat.

I know they aren’t really squinty or pale, but under those hot lights, they will be. Those things will wash you out, and the paler you are, the worse it’ll be. When in doubt, ask a friend who’s a bit more experienced with it. The more practice you get, the  more you’ll be able to tell if you used too little or too much.

 Stage Makeup Cheat sheet

  • Primer
  • Foundation
  • Eyeliner
  • Eyebrows
  • Blush
  • liner and lipstick
  • false eyelashes (if applicable)

If you’re planning to get photos, you’ll need photo/film makeup.

“Even if-”

Even if.

Photos are kind of a blessing and a curse for cosplayers. On the one hand we get to see how awesome our costume looks. On the other, the Digitial photos can zoom in and show us that zit that we were sure we’d gotten rid of, or the stray eyebrow hair that will not fortheloveofgod lay flat.

“But that’s what photosho-”

Yes. Maybe. BUT. It’ll make the photographer’s life a whole lot easier to make you look awesome if you take a couple steps to help them out. Photo make up is a lot less… Blunt as stage makeup. I think it’s more fun, too. You can do little details that in a portrait, can really pop. But on the other hand, that ‘slightly smudged’ wing liner? Totes gonna show up.


An example of softer makeup that suits the character and is photo-friendly. If this was to go on stage, that scar would be much darker and wider so it would show up.

 Photo Makeup Cheat sheet

  • Primer
  • cover up
  • Foundation
  • some contouring
  • Eyeliner + mascara
  • Eyebrows
  • some powder to set
  • lipstick and/or gloss
  • false eyelashes

2) How can I learn?

If you’re not used to wearing makeup day to day, or if you’re not used to doing makeup for photo and stage, 

Find tutorials

My three favourite sites for learning new makeup techniques and for looks inspiration are:

Makeup Geek


Not only do they have Beginner to Advanced tutorials, they also have an idea gallery that lets you search based on key words, colour and popularity. Once you’re familiar with the basics, you can go off the looks gallery and find inspiriation for your costumes!

I’ve used these for Weiss, Goat, and Psyduck, and plan to continue using them for future cosplays.

Makeup Geek also has it’s own line of makeup, though I haven’ tried it yet.


Temptalia's dupe list

I don’t use temptalia for tutorials as much, but they do have some. Mostly, I use it to look up dupes (cheaper duplications) of certain products that I refuse to pay full price on. 95% of the time, the dupe isn’t exactly the same, but usually it’s close enough to be worth the savings.

Dupe example

Colours are similar enough that $14 is worth saving.


Seriously, search “[character/style] Makeup tutorial”. Bam.


Like any other part of cosplay, you’re not going to get better at something unless you PRACTICE. Do makeup tests before the con to make sure you know what you need to bring, and if a look you had in mind will work for your face shape. Sometimes, sadly, it doesn’t.

Like for me, cut creases are just ‘sigh, no’. Or I end up looking sickly. or something.

The more you Makeup! the easier and faster you’ll be when you have to get ready at a con.

Hope this helped, as always.

xox Calamity