Basic Cosplay Tips: How to UP YOUR GAME (without going totally broke)

[Please take heed: the linked content is not under my control and some of it is slut shamey and body shamey and iirc there may be a few binarist/transphobic comments in the makeup tutorial? So tread lightly and remember to take these with a grain of salt. Amassing knowledge is the point, even if you don’t use it all.]

  • Iron your costume! If you’re sewing, iron your fabric before you work with it (and don’t forget to pre-wash it, either).
  • If you’re at a con, bring safety pins with you. Bring them with you everywhere. You never know when you might need one. Bring a  compact mirror, too.
  • Do you need a certain shade of lipstick that’s IMPOSSIBLE to find? Don’t waste a shit ton of money. Mix some eyeshadow or eyeliner or other face-safe pigment into a glob of vaseline until it’s an even consistency. You can store the lipstick in a contacts case! (video tutorial)
  • Practice posing! Learn the basic mistakes people make in posing for pictures and figure out what looks best for you. This guide is super helpful, as is this video, and these links: [1] [2] [3] [this one has the video in it i think]
  • Even if your character wears literally no makeup, you probably should! Even if it’s just a little bit of foundation and some eyeliner, it’ll keep you from looking strung out and greasy in pictures. I learned a ton from this tutorial set. This post is also really helpful.
  • Wigs are your friends.
  • No really, they are. By using your real hair you run a risk of doing actual damage to your body or, like a friend of mine, going back to your agricultural college after a con weekend with fuchsia hair. Wigs can be expensive, but so can hair-care, and you only have to buy and style a wig once (if cared for properly). I buy most of my wigs off of ebay and 95% of my wig experiences have been perfectly fine! On average my wigs have cost me about $15 per, even the extremely long ones! Unless you need a lacefront or something with incredible body (and there are ways around that, too!) there’s no reason to break the bank on a wig. 
  • (If you DO need a REALLY GOOD WIG for whatever reasons, Arda, MatchWigs, Amphigory, and Cosworx all have good recommendations.)
  • But whatever wig you buy, don’t leave it unstyled. This guide is pretty helpful, but the things I suggest investing in are: 
    - a blowdryer
    - a wig head 
    - got2b glued hair spray (ESSENTIAL!!!)
    - scissors (really any old scissors will do. it’s how you use them that’s important!)
    - a comb (or an assortment of combs) (these can be bought at the dollar store)
    - plastic curlers
  • An unstyled wig is obvious and often too long and looks bad. Even if your makeup and clothes are pristine, a bad wig or bad hair can make your cosplay blow hard.
  • A wig from Party City is also a bad idea. It’ll cost you about as much as a wig from ebay and it will immediately and eternally look like butt. There are some tricks you can use to battle this but I’m not sure how effective they are. 
  • If you’re going to wear a wig (or a bald cap), get a wig cap and learn how to use it
  • (I will be filming a wig styling tutorial very soon to show you how to tackle wigcraft and wigzardry if you’re wary of screwing up.)
  • Choose a costume you can feel confident wearing! If you’re constantly worried about how much of your butt is hanging out of your microshorts, or if you can’t see where you’re going, it’s going to be way less fun (and possibly dangerous).

I’ve accumulated my supplies over a long period of time! Makeup and wigs and fabric and basically everything about cosplay is expensive, and even the little things add up. Learn where your Goodwills and thrift shops are and shop wisely! If you’re going to buy a wig off of ebay, keep in mind that you’ll need to order it about a month in advance to make sure it gets to you on time. 

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