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CosXPo Craftalong Chronicles: Make-Up Edition

We’ve been hosting regular craftalong's throughout the year to keep in touch with our CosXPo community (we honestly miss you a lot!). And our most recent craftalong was such a hit we’re sharing some tips and tricks we learned from the make-up artists who joined us.


Tyrande @rathalely (She/her) | Jester @ashblossomcosplay (She/her) Photography @shillphotography | Peggy Carter @hazelthewriter (She/her)


Packing your cosplay convention make-up bag for success

We've all been there, waking up at the crack of dawn (maybe after a few beverages the night before) and realising you've left something at home. Our crafters gave us their top tips for packing a cosplay convention make-up bag.

Rathalely recommends packing brush cleanser or a bar of soap, no one wants that second day brush chaos, clean as you go! She also suggests making a list of what you use in practise runs.

Hazel says she stashes "6 glue sticks in different make up bags" so she's always prepared for masking brows. For cosplays you know you'll do time and time again, Hazel recommends making a specific make-up bag for each character.

Fee/Ashblossom's must have is a towel to avoid hefty clean up fines from your hotel- yikes who's been there?


Rathalely's Make-up Top Tips

Rathalely is a professional SFX make-up artist & Media make-up lecturer

  • For best results contouring with body paint "pat on in small movements". Sweeping motions will cause a muddy look.

  • When it comes to which brushes to use for different techniques she says "you’ll find what’s best for you".

  • If you're contouring over a white base, use very light-grey toned brown or very light-grey.


Skin care, skin care, skin care!

Skin care came up a lot during our cosplay make-up craftalong, from the basics, wearing sun cream, and removing it all at the end of the day.

Rathalely encourages us to "make sure you’re always wearing suncream", Fee makes a great point that this means "even under body paint". We’ve all seen those ‘oops look at my tan lines’ photos post sunny con. Look after that skin of yours folks. And sun cream every day means even in the winter too.

Hazel recommends thinking about your skin care before an upcoming convention. With that combination of excessive make-up/body paint and the con diet of pot noodles and coffee we all know and love, your skin’s going to suffer. Making sure your skin is clean and hydrated before a busy event weekend will make a big difference.

And when it comes to taking it all off at the end of the day, Rathalely says to use an oil based product for removing products that like to linger. Make sure to leave it on for a minute before rubbing in to let it eat away at that make-up.

Number one tip for removing prosthetics from SFX make-up queen Rathalely: "Don’t just rip it off".


Fee's Make-up Top Tips

Ash Blossom Cosplay the 'body paint bitch'.

Photo by @randomguywithadslr

  • Fee's top tip for make-up mistakes? "Hide it in freckles".

  • "I’m going to give an honourable mention to my stippling sponge", says Fee as she shows us how to get that natural freckle look.

  • She recommends We Love Colours for body socks, a variety of colours and even a colour match tool.


Appreciation vs Appropriation

During our chat appropriation was brought up, which Rathalely re-enforced was "really important to talk about".

Speaking on her Kyoshi warrior (Avatar: The Last Airbender) look, Hazel mentioned it was originally inspired by Geisha. She says to anyone considering cosplaying a character that may be a different race from you to "make sure you’re putting a lot of respect into it". She encourages cosplayers to compliment their own features instead of trying to look like a different ethnicity. Cosplay is about creativity after all.


Hazel's Make-up Top Tips

Stage manager by day, cosplayer by night.

Photo by @trudymitchellphotography

  • "Bodypaint I love", Hazel recommends Body Colour Cosmetics.

  • When creating bold eye looks, do one part at a time on each eye to help with symmetry.

  • Hazel suggests having a spray bottle on hand at all times. A good one to pack too!


Our Make-up Artists Biggest Pain Points

Of course with any cosplay skill it's not all pretty colours and sparkly final looks. We asked our make-up artists what their biggest paint points were.

  • Nose contour was a collective pain. Even as a professional Media and SFX make-up artist, Rathalely says some days it just doesn't go right.

  • ‘The hardest thing is patience’ Fee says while she waits for a layer of bodypaint to dry. Hazel nods along while fanning her face with a Kyoshi warrior fan.

  • Watering eyes was another make-up pain point everyone agreed on. No amount of setting powder can fight against a damned watery eye!


A huge thanks to @rathalely @ashblossomcosplay and @hazelthewriter for joining our CosXPo Craftalong.

Follow us on social media for the next Craftalong date, and in the mean-time join our active Discord community.

Learn more about cosplay body paint and make-up at CosXPo 2023, buy your tickets today!

AND check which workshops and panels we’ve already announced here.

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