Skincare: 6 Ways Cosplayers Can Get Picture Perfect Skin

Good skincare is critically important, and this is the WORST time of year for skin maintenance due to a bunch of stuff, so I wanted to talk about how to get your skin looking fabulous, especially since I’ve been ill October through December and need to get back into my full skincare routine. If your skin is already fabulous, you may want to skip this post.

I recently saw a cosplay pic that I cannot show you because it’s to do with a secret project that my husband cannot know about yet. Now there’s more chance of hell freezing over than of him actually reading my blog, but just on the off-chance that he accidentally lands here on an internet search, I’m not going to tell you what the costume was. Let’s just imagine it was a Jessica Rabbit costume cosplay.
All you need to know was that, through the side of the amazingly detailed and accurate dress, there was one very miserable looking, red, pimply, washed out leg poking through what should have been a revealing and sexy split.

It got me thinking that perhaps, when people are doing a cosplay, when someone’s taken the time, expense and effort to make a costume of a well-known character FROM SCRATCH, perhaps buying a £5 pot of skin lotion, drinking a glass of water and fixing their skin wouldn’t go amiss.

*OK, I’m sold, how can I sort my skin out so it looks awesome with my costume and hair?*

1. Get some moisturizer. There’s loads of expensive ones out there, but anything’s better than nothing. There’s myths about parabens, BPA and silocones if you want to buy into scaremongering (literally, it costs a fortune to avoid these; don’t waste your time or cash), if not, go for something cheap that smells nice. You are going to moisturize every time you have a shower.

2. Does this costume show your bare legs? Do some leg toning exercises! Cassey Ho has some fabulous leg toning workouts at Blogilates that don’t require any equipment. I have been using her workouts now for over 2 years and they’re a fast way to get into shape for anything where you need to look your best. Exercise tends to make all of you look good for a variety of reasons.

3. Eat well. More fruit, more vegetables (think half the plate), more protein (to make new skin cells), less crap. Look for foods rich in vitamin K such as kale and broccoli, which will get rid of redness under the skin, as well as foods with vitamin E which stimulates glowing, healthy skin (and eat your vitamin E foods such as avocado about 4 hours apart from the vitamin K foods, otherwise they compete for absorption which is why multivitamins containing both E and K are a waste of time).

4. Exfoliate. This removes the dead skin cells so the newer, nicer ones can shine out, and according to Elle MacPherson it’s the best way to stay looking young well into your 50’s.

5. If all else fails, use fake tan (or gradual tanner, AVOID THESE IF IT’S A WHITE COSTUME), foundation for your face, and dance tights. You might want those last two anyway, especially if you’re cosplaying a caucasian character from before the 1990s or anyone from any musical, as they almost all wear Capezio dance tights in the shade ‘light suntan’ or ‘suntan’ (I’ve worked in the ents industry in various jobs, the Capezio tights are industry standard).

6. Make sure you get enough sleep, drink enough water: These two make everyone roll their eyes but it’s true! You may need to do these both long-term if you need to fix chronic dehydration and sleep loss, so an extra pint today will help you in the long run, but it’s not a quick fix, it’s a lifestyle habit. If you have chronic insomnia, do what you can and focus on everything else.

Barring acne or infections (which require treatment from a doctor or dermatologist), if you want movie-star beautiful skin all year round, rather than for a one-off event, do those 6 things all the time. If you want your skin to look shit, do the opposite for many many years then complain a lot about how some people are just blessed with good skin.

If you want to make this a year-round goal, to really get your skin looking fabulous, make some time to sunbathe for a few hours a week during summer (less for your face, as too much sunbathing causes premature ageing), as a bit of sun will stimulate your vitamin D synthesis, melanin production (in the skin) and it rebalances your serotonin/melatonin production, which will all make you look fabulous (actually, the serotonin/melatonin won’t, but bringing this into balance properly will help get you to sleep which WILL make you look your best). That way, you’ll be ready for cosplay, fancy dress, and dressing up, all year round. Just do it safely; we all know the rules of sunbathing right?

Why do I say all this specifically targetted to cosplayers? Well, people seem to understand that a character is the product of their costume, hair and makeup, but the skin tone and transparency is also very important. If your skin’s showing red patches and veins through all over it, and you’re trying to look like, oh, I don’t know, let’s pretend (again) that we’re talking about Jessica Rabbit; let’s say you want to be the sexiest woman in Toon Town (or whatever, I can’t tell you the real costume I was looking at but you get the gist), you need to fix your diet to improve the skin from the inside and start moisturising to help the skin from the outside.
This is true of all cosplays, and it’s what most real leading actors do who have a long career (I know, I’ve worked with many), so why not make it a routine?

It really doesn’t matter what size you are, whether your eyes or ear shape match the character, whether you tracked down the *exact* shade of eyeshadow used in the original film/series/whatevs, what does matter is getting your skin to look like it deserves to wear the costume which you just spent days, months or years making. Everything else can be worked around or fixed with makeup.

If you look at the most successful cosplayers, the ones on the lists of best cosplay, they’re not size 0, they’re not 34GG of the breasts, they generally don’t innately look like the character, but the reason we find them visually pleasing is because they look vital, radiant and larger than life… which is generally something they share with the characters they portray.

It’s not complicated, you don’t need expensive or time consuming rituals to look good, just follow these steps and you too can score a perfect 10 for your cosplay.

Beautiful Saturday: Primer Review

So I got Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer recently.  I have been using Avon’s Anew Primer before, because it was the best primer I’d ever found, and before that I was using Clarins’s primer, which I received as a gift for Christmas 2013 and mistakenly thought it was an eye cream until I read the packaging in more detail.  I thought I’d do a review of them all because I thought they were all so very different.

In order, then:

Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch:

What it looks like in the packet:  It comes in a screw top jar that’s really tiny.  It’s unusual for a primer, because it’s solid.  I found it a bit like putting butter on my face, but it did melt in nicely and provided a reasonable base for my foundation.

What it looks like on my face:  I used L’Oreal True Match and Benefit WOW Oxygen foundations with the Clarins primer.  I did find that they sat on top of it rather than settling in, which I thought was normal for primers at the time because I’d never used one before, but now I know better I don’t think I’m as happy about this.  A finishing powder is a must with this primer.  Also it didn’t fill in the potholes.  You know, the pores you get in summer.  It kinda made them worse because it sat on the higher bits so exaggerated the pores making me look old and haggard.  At 26 that wasn’t really what I wanted from a primer.

What it looks like when you wash it off:  It made no difference to how the make-up wore or came off, it didn’t prolong the wear of the foundation.

clarins primer

Overall rating:  It was my first, and my least favourite primer.  At the time, I didn’t really think it was useful as an addition to my make-up routine since I hadn’t tried any other at that point.

Avon Anew Skin Transforming Primer

What it looks like in the packet: It came in a pump action cylinder.  It’s a thick white creamy substance that has the consistency of frozen soft serve ice cream.  It’s not this one, it’s a different range, and it’s NOT an eyeshadow primer either!

What it looks like on your face: It fills in the surface and smooths out the summer pores nicely, I also found it covered up fine lines quite well and provided a good base for both foundation and eyeshadow.  The foundation sank in slightly but not enough to dry out or form a crust (if you have even slightly dry skin and have ever been fooled into using powder foundation on bare skin, you know what I’m talking about).

What it looks like when you wash it off: I find this primer makes it easier to wash off any make up I wear, leaving far less residue than any other primer, or foundation with no primer.  I also find it isn’t remotely moisturising, so it’s important to use a proper day cream underneath, especially if you’re trying to preserve your youthful vigour for as long as possible before any of the obvious signs set in.  I would certainly say that while it has no “anti-ageing” properties in the scientific mumbo-jumbo kind of way, it certainly creates a good visual and makes you look more flawless.

avon anew

Overall rating: I only bought this for my wedding, because I was an Avon rep at the time, but I’m still using it (long after I quit being a rep) and really love it.  At £9 I thought it was a bit expensive, but I got it at £4.50 and when I think about how much the other two primers cost, I think I got one heck of a bargain.  Avon’s usually VERY hit or miss but this primer is a big hit.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer:

What it looks like in the packet: It’s a squeezy tube.  When I first opened it, there was this very greasy fluid (like, the exact opposite of viscous, it was about as fluid as acetone) that went straight down my hand and reached my elbow before I could wipe it off.  After that first time, it’s always been a see-through colourless gel like silicon, almost like the lubricant we used to use on the milkshake machine at McDonalds.

What it looks like on your face: It goes on like silicon as well, so I would guess that it’s probably made of mostly silicon.  It provides a phenomenal base for foundation and when I used it for a music video this week it made the foundation look totally flawless and that foundation stayed put all day on both days of filming.  It also gave a good finish with the pigmented finishing powder I used (foundation alone tends to make one look pasty when you’re filming with bright lights) and this was the result:

smashbox primer provides a flawless base

smashbox primer provides a flawless base

What it looks like when you wash it off:  It really lets itself down here.  Maybe I’ve been spoilt by the Avon primer, but this one did something to make the foundation into a highly pigmented emulsion and it took over 10 minutes to wash it off with warm water and a sponge.  Cold water just beaded off it.  I guess that this is the flipside of using silicon.  I didn’t use soap because soap is designed to get rid of oil-based things (such as most dirt) rather than silicon.

smashbox primer

Overall rating: I really loved the perfection this one created, it really did a good job at making skin look great on camera, and I would not hesistate to recommend the Smashbox Primer for anyone working in film and photography because underneath foundation and finishing powder it’s the best primer I’ve used for this purpose.  I wish I’d had it for my wedding.

Overall Comparisons:

I don’t think there is any situation where the Clarins one would win.  It just doesn’t do anything very well.  I guess if you want something that’s 100% plant-based, you might want to give it a look, but I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel for a positive because I’m not convinced on the provenance of the ingredients.  See my article “what’s all natural and what are chemicals” for more explanation on this.  I would ALWAYS use the Smashbox primer for moving pictures, and any time I want to make a Youtube video from now on I will use the Smashbox Primer because it is really phenomenal at what it does.  However, for a day-to-day primer if I was to get a job where I needed to wear makeup every day, I would not choose this one.  Instead, I would pick the Avon Anew Primer.  Why?  Because it washes off easily, and when I’m working in a job where I have to wear make-up (professional ice skater, entertainment host, make-up sales rep, receptionist; all on my CV, and all GENERALLY jobs where you will get frowned upon if you don’t wear make-up) , my biggest pet hate is spending up to fifteen minutes trying to get the day’s foundation and mascara off, when I could be in bed getting more sleep.  I’d rather look a bit less HD ready for day to day life and save the Smashbox stuff for filming.