Nude Lips for Cosplay/Crossplay

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I’ve gotten a few questions about crossplay makeup (since about 60% of my costumes are male characters), so I thought I’d share one of my go-to products: Flesh-tone lipstick!

My lips are naturally full and red. On a normal day, or in costumes where I don’t conceal it, my mouth looks like it’s trying for something out of a 1940s pinup:

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…which would be great if I were living in the 1940s, but when you’re trying to play a 14-year-old boy from a cel-shaded source, it’s a little less convenient. ^_^

When I first started cosplaying I used to cover my lips with foundation and powder, which worked really well for photos, but dried out my lips and ultimately caused them to crack and peel when I had to repeat the treatment for multiple days at a con. Then fellow crossplayer Karmada introduced me to flesh-tone lipstick – a product designed to cover your lips and keep them from drying out. What a concept!

Choosing A Product

As with any makeup, slight variations in shade or color temperature can make a huge difference in how well a product blends with your skin, so I suggest trying several shades to see what works best with your individual coloring. Stores like Sephora, MAC, bareMinerals, Victoria’s Secret, et al. will generally let you test any color before buying.

For F to M crossplay, choose a matte lipcolor. Many nude colors come in a gloss formula, but shiny lips generally aren’t as desirable for masculine characters, as they make the lips appear more plump and full (a trait associated with a more feminine appearance).

My nude lipstick of choice is Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense, which comes in several matte flesh tones and holds up well for hours of wear. I prefer to have a lipstick tube rather than a pot, for the simple reason that I like to carry it with me for quick touch-ups.

For other color/brand recommendations, check out this post over at Vampy Varnish, which identifies and reviews about a dozen neutral shades.

If your natural coloring is on the darker side, try this list over at Gurl of natural shades that work well with darker skin tones.

Application

(Please forgive my mediocre selfies for this tutorial. My bathroom has terrible lighting, but I didn’t have anyone available to help me with photos, and I wanted to get this posted before I left the country.)

Depending on the opacity and coverage you want, you can apply more or less product. Since most lips have some natural color, you don’t want to blank your mouth out completely with a heavy coat unless you’re going for a specific non-natural look.

Just as with lip liner and lipstick, you can modify the shape of your mouth using neutral lipcolor. Because my lips are full, I generally start with heavier coverage around the contour to make my lips appear narrower. (If you’re using a sheer lipcolor and need more coverage than it provides, you can blend a bit of concealer around the edge.)

Over the center area of the lip, I use a lighter application, and lightly blend it with my finger so a hint of the natural color still shows through.

I then top the lipstick off with a light dusting of face powder to help set it and further mattify the lips.

Voila! Neutral lips. This type of application could be used for a male character or one from an anime/comic art source that doesn’t have much lip definition.

You can also start with this coloration as a base and then add character-specific lip designs on top (for example, characters with painted doll lips or other stylized mouth shapes).

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