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Unread 12-27-2011, 10:46 PM   #1
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Change skin color to cosplay a character?

Hi! One of the next cosplays I really wanna do is Storm from X-men, I was always a fan of her in the comics! The only problem is that I am about as white as printer paper! I have been playing with the idea of using face paints and make up to make my skin color darker, and I thought the challenge of making it look realistic would be fun. The only problem is that my friend brought up the fact that others might perceive me as being racist or be offended. What do you think? Is it in bad taste for a White person to cosplay a Black character like this? I just want to do a realistic costume of Storm, but it wouldn't look right with my natural skin color.
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Unread 12-27-2011, 10:51 PM   #2
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Personally, I don't have a problem with it because I know that no harm or offense is meant. Then again, I'm a pasty-white marshmallow of a girl, so that's just me xD I think you'd have to be very, very careful with going between natural skin colors (for instance, no one's going to call you a racist for painting yourself blue or orange....would they? o.o). I've seen a couple people do it and look amazing, but those instances are few and far between.

I say do whatever you feel comfortable with doing. Cosplay Storm, definitely, but if you think you're going to get more rude comments or looks for darkening your skin by using paint (or whatever), then don't do it. Just spare yourself the headache.
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Unread 12-27-2011, 10:55 PM   #3
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It'd only really be considered "bad taste" if you do a job with the makeup that'll make it look like essentially blackface. That said, drastically changing your skin tone like that, and also trying to make it look natural (unlike weirder colours like blue or green, where it's obvious anyway that you have paint on or such) is quite difficult and very hard to not get it to look like such. I'd just try going a few shades darker as opposed to WAY different. Some bronzer and foundation two or three shades darker, to pretty much just give you a bit of a tan instead of black. And don't forget makeup on the exposed spots of your neck if you do that; a LOT of cosplayers get their face all tanned up and COMPLETELY neglect to put anything on their throat and neck to actually make it look natural...
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Unread 12-27-2011, 11:02 PM   #4
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If it's all done in good taste, then there's no reason to get called racist. As long as you contour to make it look more natural.
I think that bodypainting is a good idea, IMHO. There's always people saying they're afraid to Cosplay because they aren't the right skintone. Never reallY understood why nobody chose to opt for bodypaint and contouring, but that's just me. Maybe it's been tried and didn't work or is too expensive.

So whatever you do, good luck!

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Unread 12-27-2011, 11:02 PM   #5
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Personally, I don't think skin color would matter TOO much when it comes to cosplaying because I see black (or even tanner or darker skinned) people cosplaying as white skinned or other skin colors that are obviously not theirs most of the time. So I don't see why it would be a problem if a white person cosplayed as a black person without having to color their skins. : ) If they don't color their skins, then why should you care too? I know, for accuracy, sure, but think of the offense you may create because seriously, painting your skin 'darker' will definitely offend some people, even IF there are some people who do not care about it (I am assuming most cosplayers would not take it to offense). It's better safe than sorry in my opinion.

It can become a serious case because due to some of my experiences, some crazy white people at my college pretty much got suspended for painting their skins 'black' for Halloween and were dressed up as 'African' men (pretty much without real clothes). It's definitely one of the more serious offense I think anyone could make (from my experiences anyways).

Like I stated before, better to stay safer than to be sorry, right? :3
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Unread 12-27-2011, 11:06 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. I have found some tutorials for skin color changes, and I am willing to practice. I did not want to make the change too dramatic either, otherwise it wont look right on me. Bronzer is a good option!
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Unread 12-27-2011, 11:16 PM   #7
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The only time I think it's better to change your skin colour is when it is a character with unusual skin, like if you were gunna do Beast Boy from Teen Titans or something. Otherwise, I don't think it really matters! However if you do want to darken your skin, I suggest checking out the makeup subforum. There is a few threads in there that has a lot of good suggestions for body paint and such :3
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Unread 12-28-2011, 05:33 AM   #8
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Tanning your skin a bit darker using a lotion or something should be fine. But be careful not to look orange.
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Unread 12-28-2011, 06:09 AM   #9
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I wouldn't see anything racist in this. I've seen a girl cosplaying Fran from FF12 (http://images.wikia.com/finalfantasy...n-concept.jpg), she used a brownish aqua color (the one used in body painting), much diluited with water, and she looked perfect. Make a try (:
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Unread 06-12-2013, 07:27 PM   #10
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I like this thread, very informative. Idk if this question has been answered in this or not...but what's the best cream/sealer/anything that can do this to create Grey skin for a Dark Elf cosplay from ElderScrolls? Sorry if this was answered already! ^^'
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Unread 06-12-2013, 07:33 PM   #11
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Also, on the subject of your storm costume, have you thought of a fake tan? I know that schools who offer Esthetics (most of them at least) have tanning solutions that get put on with a glove cloth and its very believable, you may have to get it done several times to get the colour your looking for. But I am a very very pale girl and have had them (in Esthetics myself so...) and I've gone from pale to beach ready (aka looked like I had been to the beach a lot) and it wont wash off easily...its an over time solution and it does fade so you need to be careful and it can be slightly costly...but if it means that much too you then I'd say go that route rather than a self tanner from the store. It wont look orange, trust me, I've had green soap turn me green and I simply looked tanned and not even a hint of orange Hope this helps!
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Unread 06-12-2013, 08:45 PM   #12
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So long as you're not doing a sloppy job and making it look like a blackface job rather than changing the skin tone, I don't see it being much of a problem. (Seeing as how if you do a good job, no one should really know, anyway!)

If you want to do it, I'd say go for it! Though, unless you have good experience with contouring, you may want to stick with going tan rather than dark-skinned. Darker skin has different tones than lighter beyond just "going darker."
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Unread 06-14-2013, 08:29 AM   #13
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Here's the makeup technique I advised on another thread for someone who also wants to cosplay someone with darker skin:

Originally Posted by KarisaLightYear View Post
I don't think cake makeup is necessary at all, unless you just prefer it (and it might be cheaper than what I'm about to suggest). In order to create the natural look, contouring and highlighting is necessary. Here's a how-to using my favorite technique: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHn3iKgB4Qo. This is just to give you an idea; you don't need all those products though.
C&H will also let you 'resculpt' your face into any character you want. Wanna see the transforming power of C&H in action? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsqahGYl21w

I looked up a few photos of Wrathion so I could get an idea of his color scheme. I'm going to use these foundation colors as examples, although you could just find similar shades and use the same technique. Because his skin is so dark, you can skip contouring. No, this isn't racial, it's just because when you highlight, you create an automatic contour because you're already 'lifting' up the features. And it's also just to save you money.

The first step is to moisturize and prime, but the priming is only essential if you're going out like this, unless you want to do it just to feel complete.

If you truly want to contour, then take a shade darker than your foundation, and apply it on the areas that are 'shadowed' by the turban Wrathion wears, in the hollows of your cheeks, along the jaw, underneath the tip of the nose, and on the sides of your nose. Plus maybe a little in the laugh lines to add character.

Next, get a concealer, any concealer really, since they'll all be dramatically lighter than the foundation. You can use your middle/ring finger for this. Highlight under the eyes and along the cheekbones, but in order to create the shadow Wrathion has, avoid going directly underneath your eyes. My suggestion is just to smile while applying it and avoid the area where your cheek meets the eye. Or just avoid the 'dark circle' area.

Take your highlight color and contour your nose. I suggest using your own eyes as a guideline; Wrathion's nose bridge starts at his eye level. Put more color on the tip of your nose, but leave a line in between the bridge in the tip.

After, just dab a little on your cupid's bow.

For his skin shade I would use Revlon Colorstay Liquid Foundation in Mahogany. Dab a little foundation on the sides of your forehead, cheeks, right above the nose highlight (to avoid covering it up too much), and chin. Take a flat top brush (E.L.F. Studio Powder Brush, $3) and stipple (don't rub!!) the foundation all over your face evenly. I recommend starting off with tiny amounts of foundation, and building it up so you won't make a mistake.

And that's how you create natural-looking darker skin with makeup!

Good luck!
So basically just use your contouring and highlighting skills, and that's it! You can make any skin color look natural just by adding dimension to your face.

Good luck!
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Unread 02-13-2014, 08:11 AM   #14
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Unread 02-13-2014, 09:19 AM   #15
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I'm personally very fair that no one makes a foundation that is my skin tone for so i have to add whit to the lightest of shades. >_< But when I wear all white I look like a have more colour then I do.

This character is very deep but I'm able to pull her off without darken my skin tone to much. I went a slight shade darker but not much (used less white in my foundation lol).

The problem with going darker on fair skin is the the foundation starts to look orange as there is no base colour to your skin.

Love to cosplayer but the camera never lies and pick up the orange more.

Also i found that you really have to understand the skin tone your trying to create. The deep the tone the more colour zones on face has. people of african descent has about 3 tones in their face the centre tend to be warmer orange the peripheral and more neutral to blue base skin, Arab are much more neutral brown, to olive and tend to have more darker areas where the sun hit the skin.

This is all before you highlight and contour.

This is one of the few olive tone foundations out there that can be full coverage.

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