Cosplay on a Budget: Makeup Starter Kit

Hokay peeps! Now that you kinda know what the heckie you’re doing with this makeup biz it’s time to put together a high quality starter kit on the cheap. I know choosing makeup can be kind of overwhelming and trying to figure out what’s worth your money can getcha feelin’ like this:

meguca is suffering.jpg

but hopefully this guide will give you a good starting place! I’ll be including “splurge” items as well if you have some extra $$$ that you’re willing to burn on a high end product, but I’ll try to keep individual items on the cheap list under $20 USD.

Before we jump into the first category of brushes, I’ll preface this by saying you need:

blending sponges of some description (beauty blenders are nice but let’s be real here, they’re just a fancy sponge and you can get a pack of 20 for like $2 at Target)
a face/powder/blush brush
a foundation brush 
eye shading brush (look for something compact with densely packed bristles)
eye shadow blending brush (fluffier)
an eye liner/pencil brush
& a lip brush

to start. Having more eye shadow brushes is useful because you don’t have to wash them between uses at a con. If you’re into cream makeups then you’ll want a stippling brush or an additional foundation brush as well. Now onto the brands!

Cheap brushes:
Eco Tools (look for gift sets, also usually has BOGO 50% off deals)
Wet n’ Wild
Real Techniques (frequently on BOGO 50% off at Ulta)
Ulta’s house brand

Cheap face primers:
Elf Mineral Primer $6
Nyx Angel Veil Skin Perfecting Primer (dupe for Hourglass’ Mineral Veil!) $16
Nyx Pore Filler $14

Expensive face primers:
Too Faced Primed and Poreless Pure Primer $30
Becca Backlight Priming Filter $40
Too Faced Hangover Rx Replenishing Face Primer $32

Cheap eyeshadow primers:
Elf Eye Primer and Liner Sealer $3
Nyx Glitter Primer $6

Expensive eye shadow primers:
Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion $20
Too Faced Shadow Insurance Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer $20

Cheap foundations:
Elf Flawless Finish Foundation $6
Nyx Stay Matte But Not Flat (powder, but can be used wet or dry) $10

Expensive foundations:
Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup $40
Too Faced Born This Way $39
Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Water Foundation $39

Cheap concealer:
Elf HD Lifting Concealer $3
Nyx Hi-Definition Photo Concealer Wands $5

Expensive concealer:
Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer $28
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Waterproof Concealer $25

Cheap blushes:
Elf Palettes are $6, singles are $3
Nyx HD Blush $7
Makeup Geek $10 for a pan; $15 for a compact
Wet n’ Wild $3
Makeup Revolution $5-15

Expensive blushes:
Too Faced Love Flush Blush $26
Urban Decay Afterglow 8 Hour Powder Blush $26
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush $28
NARS Blush $30

Cheap highlighters:
Elf Shimmering Facial Whip $1
Elf Baked Blush in Pinktastic $3
Nyx Illuminator $9
Wet n’ Wild Mega Glow Highlighting Powder $4
Makeup Revolution $5-15

Expensive highlighters:
Too Faced Candlelight Glow $30
Urban Decay 8 Hour Afterglow Powder Highlighter $30
Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kits $40
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed $38

Cheap contouring/bronzing products:
Nyx Wonder Stick $12
Elf Bronzers Blush/Bronzer Duos are $4, Palettes are $6
Wet n’ Wild Mega Glow Contouring Palette $5
Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer $15

Expensive contouring/bronzing products:
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer $30
Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit $40

Cheap lipsticks:
Nyx (Round Case $4; Matte $6; Liquid Suede $7; Soft Matte Lip Cream $6)
Elf ($1-$8)
Colourpop ($5-$7)

Expensive lipsticks:
Too Faced La Creme $22
Urban Decay Vice $17
Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick $21

Cheap eyeliner:
ColourPop Creme Gel Liner $5
Elf Waterproof Eye Liner Pen $2

Expensive eyeliner:
Kat Von D Tattoo Liner $19 (SWEAR BY THIS)
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil $20

Cheap brow products:
Nyx’s Microbrow Pencil $10 is a perfect dupe for ABH’s Brow Wiz, save your $$

Cheap mascara: 
Nyx’s Doll Eye Mascara $10
Elf Volumizing and Defining Mascara $2

Expensive mascara: 
Tarte Lights Camera Splashes $21
Urban Decay Perversion Mascara $22
Too Faced Better than Sex $12 (travel size is cheaper per ounce than full size at $23!)

Cheap setting spray:
Elf Makeup Mist and Set $4
Nyx Setting Spray in Dewy Finish or Matte Finish $8

Expensive setting spray
Urban Decay All-Nighter Makeup Setting Spray $30

Last but not least, there’s eye shadow palettes, which is where I sink most of my money. What I recommend is getting a neutrals palette and supplementing it with other pops of color in single shades or building custom palettes for specific characters. With colorful palettes, I’ll buy them if I can use them for multiple characters or if there are really unique shades that aren’t permanent for the particular brand.

Cheap eye shadow palettes:
Make your own with Make Up Geek $6 for regular shades, $10 for foiled
Elf ($1-$20) – I recommend any of the Prism Shadow Sets, and their Naked dupes
Nyx ($6-$20) – I recommend the prismatic singles, the Go-To palettes, the Avant Pop! palettes, and the Ultimate palettes
Makeup Revolution ($7-$15) – Lots of Too Faced palette dupes as well as UD Naked; more selection in the UK/on their site.

Expensive eye shadow palettes:
Urban Decay Nakeds $54; Singles are $19 for regular, $21 for moondust, and 4-pan palettes are $10, the Spectrum Palette would be a PERFECT splurge for a colorful palette; it’s $39 at Sephora right now
Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palettes $49, and these would be tied with Tarte for a splurge on a neutrals palette. 9-pan palettes like PB&J or Natural Eyes are $36
Buxom Make your own 6-pan for $40 with free case @ Ulta; or get pre-made ones for the same price
Anastasia Beverly Hills Make your own 4-pan for $40 with free case @ Ulta; palettes are usually great too! (I am loving Modern Renaissance!)
Tarte now has single shadows and while I personally have yet to try them, they’re getting A’s on Temptalia’s site so I’d say they’re pretty good! Their eye shadow palettes usually have a blush and sometimes highlighter in them, and are mostly neutrals. Sales can get them down to around $25 but they retail as high as $45.

Please keep in mind these are just my personal recommendations so what works for me may not work for you if you have a different skin color/tone/type than me. I hope you all find this helpful and look forward to seeing you create some amazing looks on the cheap!


Makeup for Cosplay: BASE FACE!

Hello peeps! Today we’re gonna continue a series on how to do your makeup for cosplay. First you’re gonna start out with your regular skincare routine and wait for your moisturizer to dry. I recommend putting your cosplay on before you start with makeup so you don’t get any on it while pulling stuff over your head. You can protect your costume while applying makeup by putting a tissue or dry washcloth down your shirt-front (think lobster dinner).

First you’re going to want to apply primer all over your face. Primer helps to even out the texture of your skin and provides a nice base for your makeup to stick to. Primers are usually split into water based and silicone based. If you have oily/combo skin, silicone is usually your best bet as water-based formulas will tend to melt. If you have dry skin, water based primers are great because they give you an extra layer of hydration.

My reccs:
Nyx’s Angel Veil (similar to Hourglass’ Mineral Veil at a fraction of the cost, good for all skin types) or Pore Filler
Too Faced’s Primed and Poreless

Next up is concealer! In order to hide discoloration on your face, you go to the color opposite it on the color wheel to camouflage it. So wherever you have redness and acne, you use a green color correcting concealer. To hide purple under-eye circles, you use an orange-y salmon color. To brighten up yellow/sallowness, use lilac. Concealers are usually creams or liquids. You want to use a stippling/blotting motion to apply these and don’t blend them out! Their purpose is to stay in the place where you need them. After they’re patted down to your liking, apply skin-colored concealer on over them so your face doesn’t look like a kindergarten kiddo just went to town on it. Same dealio with application; blot, don’t blend! Some people like to use setting powder to set their concealer under their eyes to help prevent it from creasing. Take a small brush, dip into setting powder, tap off the excess and blot gently on over the concealer. For using skin-colored concealer on your under-eye area, follow the “Itachi” (like from Naruto) lines on your face, don’t just do a little half circle.

Photo from fatgirloffashion on blogspot!

My reccs:
Elf’s HD Lifting Concealer
Nyx’s Color Correcting Concealer Wands

After that, you’ll apply foundation. Regardless of your skin type I think liquid is best to use as a base for cosplay. Take a foundation brush, squirt a little bit of foundation on it, and apply all over your face using downward strokes. (Upward ones will cause baby hairs on your face to stick up, not kawaii). Then, you can use a makeup wedge/beauty blender to blend it out and get rid of the brush strokes. Sponges soak up more product and you’ll get more bang for your buck using a brush first. At this point, you can use setting powder all over your face, and then use a powder foundation on top if you have oily skin or tend to sweat a lot in cosplay. If you have dry skin, you can probably skip this step.

My reccs:
Elf foundation
Nyx’s Stay Matte But Not Flat Powder (can be used wet or dry!)
Urban Decay Naked Skin
Too Faced’s Born This Way

Final step is contouring! I know this is a way over-hyped Kardashian trend, BUT it does help you to look better in photos, especially on stage. There are a bunch of different ways to manipulate the appearance of your face shape using contouring (youtube it!), but the following is just basic/”natural”; but basically, anything you want to seem smaller or higher up/more defined you use contouring on, and anything you want to appear more prominent or draw attention to you highlight.

I prefer powder but the same deal applies for liquid/cream formulas. Apply brown/taupe product along your jawline, at your temples, and your hairline (if it’s showing under your wig). Next, you’ll contour your cheek-bones; the easiest way to find where to draw this diagonal line is to make a fishy face, and follow the hollow part of your cheeks starting from the temple and stopping two inches away from your lips. You can also contour your nose to look larger or smaller, draw two parallel lines down the bridge; the closer they are, the smaller your nose will appear. Now BLEND DAT BIZ. Next, you’ll do highlighter! Apply to your forehead if it’s showing, down the bridge of your nose, under your eyes (extend back towards your hairline), cupid’s bow (the “v” part over your top lip), the center of your chin, and in between the contour lines on your jaw & cheekbones. BLEND! Finally, blush! Concentrate the application to the apples of your cheeks (smile, the part where a grandma wants to pinch is the apple) and extend back towards the hairline. BLEND! Setting powder on all that, and your base face is done! HUZZAH! Depending on the order you do your makeup, you’ll want to use a setting spray after you’re done with everything as well to keep all that stuff locked for as long as possible.

Handy dandy diagram from

My reccs:
Nyx’s Wonder Stick
Too Faced’s Candlelight Glow Duo in Rosy Glow
Nyx’s Illuminator
Too Faced’s Chocolate Soleil
Too Faced’s Love Flush Blush
Elf Blush
Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray
Nyx Matte Finish Setting Spray

I hope you find this helpful and stay tuned for more tips!