ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Making it up as you go

Updated on May 14, 2014
Party Girl profile image

Hi, I am Adele, and I have run a large fancy dress shop in Essex, England since 1998. Happy to pass on my knowledge to help others.

Whilst a good number of costumes are off-the-peg and ready to wear for your event, there are those that require a little extra preparation time devoted to make-up and the like. With generic costumes such as Clowns or Geishas you may have chosen the outfit precisely because it allows you to ‘sling on the slap’ (although it is quite possible to be a clown with minimal make-up). With others you might find that convention dictates a particular look – thanks to Elizabeth Taylor, the strong eye make-up look seems an essential part of a Cleopatra costume. The principles of conventional day-to-day make-up routines with their delicate blendings and shadings may not be much use if something more stylised, dramatic or downright unconventional is required to complement your costume.

At Props n Frocks, having worked in the costuming field for many years, we’re happy to give you advice on the right products to buy and, in some cases, even show you how to get the best results from them. Chances are, though, that you might not hiring/buying immediately before the event, so that when it comes to showtime minus a few hours, you’ll hit the Internet for advice such as you find here, and/or something like YouTube for some visual demonstration.

On your video search engine, putting ‘<Character> make-up ’in the search box is the obvious way to get a range of useful results. The first thing you’ll notice it that there are those who use cosmetic make-up to create their designs, and those who use the face-paint and make-up products such as we, or other costume shops, sell. Both approaches have their benefits: Using cosmetics, you can save money by making use of what you might already have and only have to buy in a few specialist items and/or colours, whereas with face-paint make-up you can often buy purpose-built character kits which should give you all you need to do the job in one box.

The nature of the make-up materials involved can also be different, although admittedly there is a substantial cross-over between the two camps, especially with cosmetic companies bringing out wider ranges of extraordinary colours. There is also increased enthusiasm to experiment with unusual make-up colour combinations for everyday wear as well as special occasions.

On a broad view, whether it is more expensive to use face-paint than cosmetics is a matter of debate: For one thing, the volume of ‘colour-material’ per pound in face-paint may be greater, and, with face-paint , you are not paying so much for a brand-name and pretty packaging. That said, there are a good number of quite acceptable cheaper cosmetic brands on the market, and also a number of ‘leading brand’ theatrical make-up manufacturers charge high prices for specialist products.

The one thing you do get with branded products of either type is the security of knowing they are safe to use (and will also come off!). We have heard of cases where people have tried to save costs and create their own face-paint cosmetics with undesirable results: For example, whilst it is true that any foodstuff is safe, using food colouring for a Hulk/She-Hulk impression won’t necessarily harm you, but you might look green for longer than you intended.

Finally, if the make-up is key to your costume, it is a good idea to have a practice before the main event, if you can. Also, if you’re working from a video tutorial, don’t be too daunted by what you see: Some experts may work with multiple palettes of colours and a different brush for every task and colour, but, if you plan in advance, you can improvise alternatives and probably get just as good a result. Who knows, you may even be able to create a video tutorial for others.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)