Charlemagne on 3 years ago
I'm copying and pasting this from my Facebook page. :)
This is a topic I see pop up a lot in the cosplay groups and boards I frequent, and often lurk in. There are a lot of questions about makeup used in cosplay, outside of the usual street makeup you might wear every day.
I'm talking, questions regarding full body color changes, to emulating tattoos, and things like that, and I see a lot of frustrating and troubling responses and tips from people who mean well, but honestly don't know otherwise.
I was trained in theatrical makeup, and I have used it for a few costumes of my own over the years outside of stage productions. I'm by no means an expert, but I have professional knowledge in what you should or should not use, and what makeups are good for what.
First off, the basics:
NEVER PUT ACRYLIC PAINT ON YOUR SKIN. It keeps your skin from breathing, it's meant for craft applications, NOT skin applications. Nontoxic only means not toxic if you accidentally ingest or get in an eye or something. It's not meant for prolonged use.
DON'T USE SNAZAROO. Some cheap versions of items work well! Snazaroo is not one of them.
For cosplay, like the stage, you want something that's easy to use, long wearing, and will be good for active use. For this, theatrical makeup is your best bet. It's the most cost effective and you get a variety of options to choose from, to find what suits you best.
My friend Jacque, a professional face and body painter, said it best, so I'm going to use her words here:
"Generally there are four kinds of face/body paint used my professionals. This is not to say that there aren't more! Lordy, there are more, but these are the bigguns...
Wax based makeups (Wolf, TAG, Diamond FX) offer full coverage and bold colors, but can crack over time, especially if applied heavily.
Glycerin based Makeups (Mehron Paradise, Global, Kryvaline, Kryolan) are generally a softer, more flexible finish, but they can fade over time is not seal properly, and can take a bit to work up to opaque.
Alcohol based makeup (Endura, ProAiir) are generally reserved for airbrushing, but there are some palette available on the market. They are expensive, but they are also the ultimate in waterproof. As with all body paint, friction is the enemy, but it will take a lot longer with alcohol based paints.
Grease paints or heavy theatrical makeup (Kryolan, Ben Nye) is great for standing up to stage lights and long wear, but the very composition can cause rashes and reaction or even breakouts in some people. It's best worn for a few hours, then swiftly removed. Again, it can stand up to sweat, but friction is the enemy."
One of my personal favorite makeups to use is a lovely water based semi moist cake makeup made by Mehron called "Paradise Makeup AQ". It's water activated, and creamy when mixed with water or makeup fluid. It is lightweight, and the colors are rich and lovely. Apply it with a smooth nylon brush, let it dry. Set it with setting powder and Final Seal, and you will be good until you wash off in the shower that evening. It's at good cost for cosplayers, and can be purchased at the Mehron site:
I'm a huge supporter of trying different brands and types of makeup from those listed above to find what works best for your skin and what you best like the feel of. The best part is, these items are easily obtainable from local theatrical supply stores if you are near a larger city, or online!
I can't stress enough the importance of using a product meant for the application you are doing. Acrylic is for crafts. You are not a craft. Use makeup meant for skin.
I can definitely help you with some of your concerns. Check out this tutorial video on how to add water- based paint all over your body and seal it.
Personally, I think the best thing to do is to seal your skin with some final seal before painting and let it dry. This is going to create a barrier between the natural oils of your skin and sweat, and the paint. Apply the paint in a ciruclar motion using a kabuki brush, this is going to cover everything really fast and evenly. Once it dries, put another layer of final seal on top. This is going to create another barrier. This should really help with cracking and running in those problematic areas, but of course since it is water-based paint it will not be 100% water proof. Try FAB makeup- since it is not beeswax based like Wolfe FX makeup, it dries better. FAB paint, kabuki brushes, and final seal can be found at fxcosplay.com :D hope this helps!
Sweat Barrier work really well. They do however work differently on different people, but most will find some sort or barrier protection. My staff and for our clients we use Mehron Sweat Barrier and Kryolan Fixing Spray. I suggest you do use a sweat barrier under and depending on the body paint products and technique you use, over the body paint as a sealant.
There are both sweat moisture barriers with antiperperent and sealors or fixers for makeup. Very simular but different, many use one as the other. As we often do. Most all the top FX manufacturers have a good product ( Mehron, Kryolan, Graftobian, Ben Nye, PPI ). There is one other option and that is to use not a barrier or a sealor, but pure antiperspirant under the makeup (Micheal Davy).
An option too is to use exactly what they used Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy and that is ProAiir. Designed as an airbrush makeup it can be applied by spong or brush. We use it this way with our blending brushes. We also use Wolfe face paint with this brush and know many cosplays use their light green for Glamora.
Just ask if you need help on applications or how to, and there is a lot posted here past threads.
And PS - love Sock Dreams!