“Dear Diary, I’m not a believer. People are born, they grow old and then they die. That’s the world we live in. There’s no magic, no mysticism, no immortality. There is nothing that defies rational thought.”
I think for cosplayers it’s especially important to have long-lasting makeup since, unlike theatre artists who only need it to last for an entire performance, we need it to last from early morning through an entire day (and sometimes late into the night!) during conventions.
1. Exfoliate your face before the convention
Exfoliating will make you start with a “clean slate” to apply makeup. Foundation will adhere better to smooth, fresh new skin than old or dead skin which may be lingering at the surface if you haven’t exfoliated in a while.
Sensitive skin option: If you have extremely sensitive skin and find it difficult or impossible to exfoliate, try using a microdermabrasion exfoliant (like St. Yves’s) or gently wash your entire face with a wet terrycloth face towel using repetitive circular motions.
2. Always start with a freshly washed face
Before applying any makeup it’s best to start with a freshly washed face to remove oil and dirt from the face.
Sensitive skin option: Use a soapless face wash or a milk cleanser (like Bioderma‘s) which are really gentle to the skin. Soapless cleansers can be a bit drying, so make sure you compensate with a richer moisturizer (see #3) or use a cleansing milk if you have dry skin.
To keep your skin hydrated and soft throughout the day, apply a moisturizer on your clean face before applying makeup. It’s best to use a day-time moisturizer (which are lighter than night-time) and will not leave a greasy residue on your face. Wait several minutes until the moisturizer is completely absorbed into your skin before applying anything else to your face.
Unless you are using oil-based foundation, use an oil-free moisturizer.
4. Use a foundation primer
Foundation primers (such as Smashbox‘s and NYX‘s) help create an even better canvas to apply foundation as well as creating a barrier between your skin’s natural oils and the foundation, making it last longer.
Some primers have secondary goals like anti-aging, mattifying, pore reducing, etc. but I found that the original formulas always seem to work best for me.
It’s important to always use the same base for a primer and foundation. For example, if your foundation is water-based, so too should be your primer. Oil and water don’t mix, so if you use both in different products they will work against each other instead of together.
5. Don’t use powder foundation (as your main foundation)
If you normally use a powder form foundation, consider investing in a cream or liquid foundation for conventions. If you have oily to normal skin use a cream foundation (like MAC’s) and if your skin is dry to very dry go with a liquid foundation (like Tarte’s)
6. Use powder foundation (as a setting powder)
Another way to make your flawless face last longer is to use a covering setting powder. As I may have mentioned in other posts, I use a powder foundation as a setting powder for maximum coverage, but setting powder with light coverage can also do the trick. The point is not only to set the liquid or cream foundation underneath but to give yourself a safety net if it fails. Apply an extra layer of powder over the oiliest areas of your face (such as the nose).
7. Use a setting spray
Setting your final makeup with a setting spay (such as Urban Decay‘s) will give your foundation a couple extra hours without touch-ups and help your blush and eyeshadow stay vibrant throughout the day. It will also help your foundation stay in place, even on the oiliest part of your face, where it might usually slide off.
Sensitive skin option: For dry and very dry skin, these alcohol based spray can be a bit drying if used regularly. You can find hydrating makeup setting sprays, however most are still alcohol based, such as Urban decay’s hydrating version of their regular spray. These sprays might not keep you as matte as the regular version after as many hours. In that case more touch-ups might be needed but it’ll still keep the foundation from sliding off your face.
8. Use a mattifying powder
As a final touch to your long-lasting foundation routine, apply a mattifying micropowder (such as Make Up For Ever‘s). It will help you stay matte and help keep your foundation in place. The powder can be reapplied throughout the day, during bathroom breaks (see #10).
Sensitive skin option: If your skin is very dry, these powders can be a bit drying (it is sort of like applying talc to your face). If the powder creates an uncomfortable, tight, itchy feeling, it’s best to apply it only to the oily areas of your face (like the T-zone) and avoid dry skin. If your skin is only a bit dry and the powder does not create an uncomfortable feeling, it can be applied to the whole face for a convention. In a few hours your natural skin oil will have re-hydrated your face.
9. Don’t touch your face
Once your makeup is done, don’t touch your face unless absolutely necessary! If you must touch your face, do it delicately and with clean, dry hands. Water and dirt can breakup your makeup and shorten its lasting power. If you must wipe water off your face (rain for example), gently pat the wet area dry with a clean and dry tissue or face towel.
Keep an eye on your foundation throughout the day. Bathroom breaks are a good opportunity to do a quick makeup check in the mirror and to fix any arising problem. Bring blotting paper and/or mattifying powder, as well as your setting/foundation powder with you to the con. If any area of your face starts to look oily, fix it immediately with blotting paper or mattifying powder. It’s possible that after doing this a few times (especially if you have oily skin) your foundation may be less opaque or might start sliding off. If that’s the case, powder the area with your setting/foundation powder after removing the oil with a blotting paper (or cheap-o toilet paper if you’re in a pinch).
Always use the blotting paper with a patting motion (never wiping) and once you’ve used a part of the paper it can’t be used again (pat once then move to a different part of the blotting paper).
That’s it! If you follow my tips and use makeup appropriate to your skin type you’ll be able to enjoy a full day at the con with your foundation looking perfect! (Granted you’re not stuck in a heatwave and it’s not raining on your face non-stop! :P)
Katerine McNamara is your new Clary Fray. She turns 20 on November the 22 and is best known for her role as Myra Santelli in the Dinsey Channel original film Girl vs Monster In 2015 you can see her in action in the upcoming sequal of the The Maze Runner “The scorch trials” and in the third season of ABC-family’s The Fosters.