Conventions can last all day, and you don’t want your makeup to slip even once during that time. That’s why many cosplayers will layer their makeup, using different foundations to fulfill different purposes.
Thicker formulas, including creams, will hide your blemishes, which is what you want for your cosplay. Just remember that they might not be as breathable and can aggravate oily skin.
For consistency, I tend to go middle-of-the-line, because things that are too watery blend out more sheer, or they don't sit well on my skin. Foundations that are too thick tend to be too cakey for me, so I like that consistency that’s right in the middle.
Conventions can stretch on for hours—and if you're sweating or if you have oily skin, then chances are, your makeup’s going to start sliding off in the middle of it. For this reason, many cosplayers carry around powder foundation to fix up their face throughout the day.
Powder foundation is compact, not as messy as liquid, and will absorb the grease off your face—that's why they’re especially suited for oily skin. Just remember that you can’t set cream products on top of powder products.
I really like sandwiching products. So, when I start putting on makeup, I’ll put on a primer, which will set up a base. Then after that, I’ll put down a cream foundation, then concealer, and then set that with powder. That’s what will make your makeup last the longest—it’s kind of like a lamination process.
Sometimes, if I use cream products—like cream blushes or highlighters—I’ll put that on and then I’ll set my face with powder. The rule of thumb is that you don’t put cream products on top of powder products. Or else, it tends to ball up and break apart. In any case, that sandwiching effect is really important in my book.
How much you should focus on hydration when you purchase a foundation depends on your skin type and the weather at the convention where you plan to debut your cosplay. Dry skin needs hydration, but so may other skin types—especially if the weather calls for it. For example, if you are scheduled for an outdoor photoshoot in the winter, when the air is stripped of moisture, then you will need a hydrating foundation.
There used to be a rule of thumb where liquid foundation was good for dry skin and powder was good for oily—but there are now different formulas that adapt to your skin type. Haku mentioned J.Cat Beauty’s Aquasurance as an example. It's a powder foundation that’s been infused with water, making it suitable even for the dry days of winter.
So when looking for a moisturizing foundation, keep an eye out for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, often touted as a must-have for people with dry skin. Other than that, you can also look for popular plant and seed oils, such as almond, rose hip, maracuja, and jojoba.
Because I feel like skin can be kind of temperamental—so depending on how you treat it and depending on the weather that you’re in, you really have to know how your skin is doing in order to choose the kind of foundation that you want to wear for that day. I have slightly normal skin, and it fluctuates. Sometimes, I’ll need something that’s more moisturizing, or I’ll need something that’s more drying.
Before purchasing a foundation, you'll want to test it to see if it matches your color. Thanks to the sun and the forces of nature, your skin doesn't look like just one shade, so think about where you want to swatch. The neck is generally a good place. You want the color of your face to match the color of your neck, as it's a body part that isn’t overly exposed to the dyeing effects of the sun.
If you have dry to normal skin, choose the shade that’s the closest to your natural color. If you have oily skin, you might want to go a shade lighter. This is because foundation will mix with the oils on your skin and undergo a process called oxidation—which, among other things, deepens its color and makes you look an odd shade of orange.
It’s better to choose a foundation that matches your skin and not your character’s. As Haku pointed out, foundation doesn’t last all day. And if your skin does, by any chance, peek through, you want to make sure you still look as natural as possible.
If you’re shopping online, you should look at the undertones a brand has, and then look at the shade range. To find your undertone, a lot of people say that if your veins are more green, then you have warm undertones; if your veins are more blue, then you have cool undertones. Neutral is in between. But choosing which to go with is also a preference, depending on how you edit your photos afterwards.
I feel like if the photographer knows what they’re doing, a dewy foundation shouldn’t be a problem. But SPF just gives you flashback—during night shoots especially because of the flash. If I know I’m going to do a shoot at night, then I won’t wear foundation with SPF.
But also, most foundations don’t have SPF. It’s usually the BB creams and the CC creams that act like foundation—but also have other skincare properties in them—that include SPF. One of my favorite skin products is this one BB cream that has SPF in it. So if I’m going to do a night shoot, then I won’t wear that one, specifically.
Here are 10 foundations especially suited for cosplay, including a few favorites from our expert, Haku’s, arsenal. Take a look!
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna
MAKE UP FOR EVER
Yves Saint Laurent
Petal Skin Fluid Foundation
Aquasurance Compact Foundation
Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
ColorStay Liquid Makeup for Combination/Oily Skin
ColorStay Whipped Crème Makeup
Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup
Luminous Finish Foundation Concentrate
Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation
Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup
Touche Éclat Le Teint Radiance Awakening Foundation
Leaves Your Skin Natural, Radiant, and Soft as Petals–Even Without a Setting Powder
Moisturizing Powder That Doesn’t Look Powdery or Cakey
Comes in 40 Natural Shades That Stay on Oily Skin All Day Long
Medium to Full Coverage, Long-Wearing Product for Oily Skin
Good, Opaque Foundation that Lasts Over 8 Hours, Even on Oily Skin
Full Coverage Foundation That Locks in for the Entire Day
Dewy Finish, Silky Feel, and Good Medium Coverage for Dry to Combo Skin
Made to Look Good in Photos With 40 Shades, Leaving You with Flawless, Radiant Skin
Lightweight, Velvety Foundation You Can Build Up to Full Coverage
Radiant to the Eye and Satin-Like to the Touch–Beautiful Finish for Dry Skin
|Skin type||Not provided||All||Normal, combination, oily||Combination, oily||All||All||Not provided||All||All||All|
|Volume||1.01 oz.||0.31 oz.||1.08 oz.||1 oz.||0.8 oz.||1 oz.||1 oz.||1.01 oz.||1 oz.||1 oz.|
|Skin type||Not provided|
|Skin type||Normal, combination, oily|
|Skin type||Combination, oily|
|Skin type||Not provided|
Cosplayers are craftsmen, makeup artists, and actors all in one. They bring to life the most amazing characters. We interviewed two other talented women on different aspects of cosplay. Give them a visit below!
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
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