With our local con less than three months away, I’ve been on a “cosplay preparation” kick. That means costume making, weight losing, skin caring, and wig styling. That last one has always given me the most trouble in the past, and I’ve usually enlisted help…but this year I’ve decided to try and style all of my wigs on my own. Challenge accepted.
With three wigs (successfully) completed, and one more in the making, I feel like I have learned a few things:
Have at least one practice wig
Preferably one you’re willing to cut/curl/straighten/dye/etc. If you’re unsure of a new technique, it’s always, always, always best to try it on a practice wig first. That way if you mess up, hey, at least you know what not to do on the real wig.
Consult the internet
Don’t know how to cut bangs? Unsure of how to use a permanent marker to add color to your wig? Is a lace-front wig giving you troubles? Need to know how to make spikes? The answer is the internet. Likely chances are someone out there has made a tutorial or a video similar to what you’re looking for. Seriously. There are thousands of cosplay tutorials online. If you don’t know where to start, this website has some great links: http://cosplaytutorial.com/list.php.
Look twice, cut once
The hair on your wig will not grow back if you cut off too much. What I’ve been doing is taking a little bit off at a time while the wig is still on the styling mannequin, and trying it on after each section is cut before going back and making it shorter. Personally, I try to avoid cutting the wig while it’s on my head. A mannequin head is more likely to stay still while you’re cutting it, while if you use your own head, you may move around and cause an uneven cut.
Invest in the right tools
Kitchen scissors work, but legit scissors made specifically for cutting hair are so much better. You can pick them up at any beauty supply store or online. Other than that, I’ve discovered that razors—I use the kind that’s built into a comb—are great for giving hair that “choppy” look. Thinning shears are a must. Wigs are typically thicker than real hair, so running a thinning shears from the scalp of the wig to the ends helps get rid of some of that bulk, which will in turn look more natural. Other things I have used for styling my wigs have been curlers, a hairdryer, a flat iron (LOW HEAT ONLY!), combs, and brushes.
Know your products
Some products are better than others when it comes to styling and setting your wig. I’m a fan of “Got2b” products. They hold really well, but I will caution that they do make the wigs very hard to the touch. Great for creating spikes, but not so much for creating a “softer” look. I would avoid products that work with the oils of your hair to create style, and products that are typically used on a damp head of hair…such as shine serums. Since wigs are synthetic (most of the time), the most they’ll do is make your wig look greasy, not shiny.
I always recommend setting the wig with some sort of hairspray after it’s styled. Otherwise the wig will get all staticky. In my experience, aerosol sprays have tended to work better than non-aerosol ones. Non-aerosol just made the wig sticky, and took a lot longer to set. It’s a good idea to set it with a few coats of spray too, making sure the whole wig is covered.
Do not cut straight across! (Perpendicular, I believe it’s called)
Doing this will result in bluntly cut strands that don’t look very realistic. They don’t fall nicely, and look all around amateurish. What I’ve been doing is holding the scissors somewhat diagonally as I cut, keeping the edges from getting too blunt.
And I think that about sums up my discoveries. I’m sure these are the basics, and things people probably already know…if if you didn’t, maybe you found this a little helpful. I’ll post something about contact lenses too in the future.
Someone asked that this be rebloggable so HURR YOU GO
Some patterns are really dumb in telling you to finish the body of an outfit, then finish the sleeve, then attach a circle to a circle. It’s possible to do, and once in a while it’s necessary, don’t get me wrong, but unless you have a lot of experience it’s sometimes very aggravating trying to evenly distribute the sleeve around the “hole” cut out for it and match up the seams under the armpit!
(Please note…some patterns, especially to achieve tailored looks, require you to do it the traditional way. Don’t use this method for fashion school assignments or super-complex garments as it will probably screw up the way it ends up fitting in the end. This is mostly for the use of cosplayers to make their job a little easier.)
EDIT:// thevvioletprince, a fashion student, says she’s been taught this method in school so HAVE FUN, NEVER MIND
EDIT DEUX:// If you are doing a traditional garment of some kind, for instance, something that has a multi-piece sleeve or that requires gathers, you may need to do it the “old-fashioned way”!
ANYWAY SO THIS IS WHAT I DO.
PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE SOURCE OR REPOST, THANK YOU
Let me tell you a story. Once at a party, I had all the little girls sitting around me and I was asking them about their favorite parts of all the princess movies. The birthday girl was sitting next to me, and tells me, “Princess, your skin is the same color as mine.” I smile and agree, and try to move the game along, but she interrupts and says, “Your skin is brown and you’re a princess. It’s the same color as mine, but you’re a princess.”
“Well, if my skin is brown and your skin is brown, and I’m a princess, then you must be a princess too.” I tell her. And then I spent the next 10 minutes assuring all the black girls at the party that yes, they have lovely skin and yes, they can be princesses with me.
This happens at most of the parties I go to. I have had my arm stroked, my hair patted, my skin color commented on more times than I can remember. I am not simply hired out to entertain a bunch of cute little girls dressed in poofy skirts who want to play with a big girl in a poofier skirt. I am hired out because I am an affirmation. For these little black girls (and boys! I’ve dazzled a few of them too) Princess Tiana is proof that for once, they can be special BECAUSE of the color of their skin, not IN SPITE OF.
Adding some of her pictures for emphasis.
We’ve featured pictures of this lovely Tiana before, but I wanted to add this post to the blog as well :)
That’s just magical and awesome! :)
I’m sure kids seeing cosplayers get similar inspiration. That there are princesses and warriors and everything inbetween of all different ages and races out there, and that one day they can be one too.
first rule of cosplay is to have fun and be urself
does that mean I’m cosplaying an OC?