Elf Yourself!

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There is no shortage of parties during the holiday season. Whether it’s at work, with your friends, or a family get-together, everybody loves an excuse to have a good time and celebrate the season. And while you may not think of dressing up in costume at a Christmas party, it’s a fantastic opportunity to cut loose and create a party persona. If your party already has a Santa, and you don’t feel like being a reindeer, don’t fret – there’s another option: elf yourself.

No Christmas is complete without Santa’s little helpers; they make sure toy production is up to speed at the North Pole, and you’ll make sure the party is never dull. You don’t have to spend a fortune to assemble a decent elf costume, and you can do as little or as much as you like. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Elf Hat with Bells

Hat

An elf hat can be the tree-topper of sorts to an elaborate ensemble, or you can simply add it to your jeans and t-shirt. Consider one with bells – who doesn’t love a good jingle?

Leggings

That’s right – tights aren’t just for the girls. Anybody can wear a pair of leggings, and they are extremely effective in improving your overall elf-ness. Consider a red or green pair, or buy some white ones and go nuts decorating them with candy cane pieces and pom poms.

Shoes

This is perhaps the most crucial element in elf attire. Pointy shoes will get you into elf territory faster than anything else. They can be green, red, jingly, quiet, felt, leather – whatever you want. Just make sure you’ve got a pair to complete the look. If you can’t find a good pair, opt for some fun socks or slippers; if you only wear them during each holiday season, you can enjoy them for a lifetime.

Everything Else

Once the essentials are covered, you can decide how much time you want to put into it. Are you going all the way with a full costume? Go for it! A simple Christmas sweater? Perfect. Whatever you decide, just try to color coordinate it with your accessories and you’re all set.

Now that you have your costume put together, you can brush up on trivia, gather your favorite recipes, and put up the mistletoe – you’re ready to party in style. Warm up your vocal chords on the way to the event, because as Buddy the Elf says, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” Oh, and don’t forget to RSVP.

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American Horror Story’s Twisty the Clown: A Lesson in Mixing Masks and Makeup

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You may have noticed, over my time writing for this blog, that I have a bit of a crush on makeup. I admire the artistry of blending, contouring, shading- which might be why I tend to be so darn picky about masks. Well, rubber masks. I love the daylights out of a myriad of super hero masks. And I clearly have an intense passion for masquerade masks, especially the ones that you can personalize. But something about rubber masks just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s the fact that you can’t breathe or eat or drink in most of them. Maybe it’s the fact that it makes someone completely unrecognizable. Or maybe it really is that it’s just too easy. To be honest, I never thought that I’d have much use for rubber masks. But American Horror Story’s recent season premier gave me some inspiration where I didn’t expect it. Twisty the Clown.

Twisty the Clown

This guy.

I am terrified of Twisty. His silence, his movements. His penchant for stabbing people to death. Those teeth. I’ve never been very frightened of clowns aside from Tim Curry’s Pennywise. But Twisty takes the panic-inducing cake.

Did I mention the movements?

After the episode (and after I had checked my entire house for murderous clowns) I got to thinking about how darn effective the makeup design is for Twisty. I’ve seen some inspired clown makeup designs and there are some excellent clown masks out there, but Twisty’s design combines the two to terrifying effect. (Here’s a tutorial for my favorite scary clown tutorial I’ve found so far.) What’s most brilliant about Twisty’s makeup effects is that it combines the classic elements of clown makeup with the surreal horror that only props or masks can truly accomplish. They took part of a mask and attached it to actor John Carroll Lynch’s face. And the effect is breathtakingly messed up. So what can we learn from this? While AHS created a beautiful piece of prop magic for Twisty’s teeth, not everyone has access to a professional prop maker who can hand-craft a jaw or a beak or a nose. Instead, we can cannibalize a rubber mask and incorporate bits and pieces into our makeup. Stealing parts of a mask and stitching it into a makeup design is now at the top of my list of new techniques to try. I’m anxious to give it a shot and see what I can come up with for one of my many Halloween parties this year. More than anything I want one person, just one, to ask me “What happened to the rest of your mask?”  Now that would put a smile on my face.

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Tribute to My Favorite YouTuber: dope2111

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Today, I’m going to share with you my favorite videos to cruise through on YouTube. Let me introduce you to user dope2111.

She likes to go by the names “Human Chameleon” and “Mystique”- very fitting epithets for such a talented makeup artist!

I enjoy her videos because she has extraordinary technique, a vivid imagination, and a knack for guiding viewers through her process. I think you’ll be really impressed with the transformations she goes through by using contouring, shading, and some serious creativity.

Without further ado, please enjoy my top 6 favorite dope2111 videos!

6) Beyoncé

Stick around for the Jay-Z cameo at the end.

5) Nicki Minaj

Check out her acting at the end! So perfect!

4) Emily from Corpse Bride

The creativity behind getting this quintessential Tim Burton look is exceptional.

3) Jennifer Lawrence

I’m blown away by the huge difference between her actual face and the end result. It’s really extraordinary!

2) Mystique

Her nick-namesake! The use of latex to get the scales is just right- and she makes it look so easy!

1) Pocahontas

This is spot on. When she put on the iconic necklace, I gasped.

So those are my favorites- which are yours? Go check out her awesome library of videos and find out!

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The Marvelous Magic of Makeup in the Movies– Infographic by Temptu

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I thought I’d share with you this awesome infographic I just stumbled upon in the wilds of the internet. They talk about the artists’ processes for each famous movie look- fascinating stuff!

 

TEMPTU - Airbrush Makeup Tips for Halloween

Memorable Makeup from the Movies Infographic Provided by TEMPTU

 

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Makeup Effects in the Age of CGI

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I remember seeing Jurassic Park in theaters. The thrill of seeing dinosaurs on the screen was visceral and inspiring. Watching a 16 foot T-Rex muscle its way through cabled fencing and tear apart a car like a hawk eating a mouse- all credit goes to those talented artists whose special effects gave the movie a sense of realism that captivated and terrified an entire generation. Even today, the effects that made the T-Rex and raptors so terrifying are still impressive.

Pictured: The birth of nightmares and high standards for visual effects.

So what happened between then and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace?

Look at Jar Jar Binks. Look at the way the Gungans walk. The cartoonish features, the not-quite-right lighting, the boneless movements. Most of us were shocked to see our beloved Star Wars movies reduced to these distractingly bad graphics.

How could Hollywood have let this happen? (We’re looking squarely at you, George Lucas.)

Well, here’s the dominant theory. When Jurassic Park came out in 1993, CGI (computer generated imagery) was still a relatively new discipline. The computing power and expertise needed to create CG elements were just developing and therefore pretty darn expensive. Therefore, when CGI was a young industry, it was used sparingly in conjunction with the then-standard staples of animatronics, props, and costume makeup.

Nowadays, the technology for CGI (and a wealth of animators who use it) is everywhere and therefore much cheaper to employ. In fact, high quality traditional effects are expensive by comparison. If you want proof, you can see the rampant use of lower-quality CGI in television across the board, particularly in children’s shows.

In addition to better texture and lighting in graphics, we’ve also seen tremendous work in motion capture. Andy Serkis is a revolutionary figure in cinema. His performance as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy cemented him as a singular performance artist. People like Serkis are stretching the boundaries of what actors can do without the use of makeup, which is nothing short of amazing.

But CGI still struggles to make the grade when it comes to realism. There’s no doubt that it will eventually be able to create flawlessly realistic characters and creatures, but it’s presently painfully obvious that we aren’t there yet when graphics are placed next to props and people.

One of these things is not like the others

It’s the opinion of many of us movie lovers that Jurassic Park aptly demonstrated the key to this dilemma. It seems to be that the marriage of models, puppets, and makeup with the ever-progressing artistry of CGI is what renders the best movie magic.

For a modern-day example, check out one of my favorite shows, The Walking Dead. The combination of practical effects and prudent CGI make for terrifyingly decayed zombies that pass the test of believability.

Hopefully Hollywood will catch on and resurrect this harmonious combination. Hopefully George Lucas will take this idea to heart for Episode 7.

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Video Game Inspired Cosplays

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Playing video games is undeniably fun and is a great way to pass some time if you just want to sit back and chill. It’s easy to get lost in plot lines and fall in love with the characters. That being said, it’s one thing to sit down and play your favorite video game but it’s another thing entirely to cosplay your favorite character from it. Cosplaying your favorite video game or character is one more way to immerse yourself in the culture.

You have fun playing a character behind the controllers so it only makes sense that you would have fun playing them in real life. It also gives you a chance to play characters that you would otherwise be unable to because the option is unavailable. Most games only give you the option to be the protagonist but there’s no reason you can’t try cosplaying the antagonist of your favorite game.

If you want to try cosplaying, you can pull from any one of your favorite video games but here are a few that I have been inspired by:

Assassins Creed- Get a little medieval and cosplay your favorite character from Assassins Creed. Perhaps the most popular character to cosplay is Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, but there is a variety that you can choose from.

army man

Mario- You can’t have a video game inspired cosplay list without having Mario on there. First of all, there are a ton of characters to choose from. I myself prefer a good Yoshi cosplay, but it’s really up to you. If you want to work a bit outside the box, here is a great example of some Mario Brothers gender bending.

mario

Street fighter- Even though it was originally developed as an arcade game, Street fighter lends itself to some outstanding cosplays. Ryu appeals to your young martial arts loving self. Tattered white karate gi and a red headband, known as a hachimaki. You can also dress up as Byron Mann who stared as Ryu in the 1994 film version of Street Fighter.

SONY DSC

Or you could always try something like this which I think is extremely impressive.

Earthbound-Earthbound has some fun characters to cosplay that are fairly easy for beginners. However, if you want a challenge you could also cosplay Giygas. It may take a bit of creativity but I assure you it can be done.  Or you can pansy out and play Ness. Although these guys do make it look pretty good.

ness&paulacosplay

Time and Eternity- Toki and Towa – the perfect cosplay for those of you who claim to have split personalities. You can either go as a duo or mesh the two into one.  I’ve never actually seen anyone that has attempted to cosplay one of the two but I would love to see what people would come up with!

 

What are some of your favorite video game characters that you might like to try cosplaying?

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The Upstanding Halloween Makeup

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As we all know the key to a perfect costume is the accessories and makeup that accompany your vision. In order to have the full impact of any given costume there needs to also be makeup that seems realistic to the character you are trying to portray. So here are some of the top costume makeup ideas to really spruce up your next costume!

 Fairy Barbie Makeup

Her amazing video will surely make your night sparkle!

Vampire Do

Blood sucking fun

Easy Deer Makeup

Faunderful!

Zombie Makeup

 

Imagination is key, and often times it takes until midway through the video to grasp the full complexity and character that is being done. Regardless of if you are going for zombie makeup or the fairy Barbie- the short amount of time it takes to do the makeup will maximize your costume efforts, and make you look that much better!

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Looking Dirty in Hollywood

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Simply not bathing or combing your hair for an entire week isn’t the most efficient way to get the dirty look- especially not in Hollywood. Yet this look must be accomplished somehow and, contrary to popular belief, the best way to look like you haven’t showered in a month is to paste on copious amounts of makeup and hair product!

This “dirty” look can be seen in popular television shows, notably The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. In each of these shows, the characterization would not be nearly as believable or interesting if it were not for the fantastic makeup.

 The Walking Dead:

Sure, there are pretty cool videos and makeup tutorials to replicate the zombies on The Walking Dead- but the living characters love the makeup just as much!

“I get very upset if anyone’s dirtier or bloodier than I am,” says Norman Reedus, who plays fan favorite, Daryl, on the show. “I occasionally try to steal the dirt from [our makeup girl], and take it back to my trailer, and roll around in it.”

TWD_410_GP_0904_0068

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Game of Thrones:

Not only is “dirty makeup” a must, actors need to have dirt under their nails and in their hair, too!

2769_Dirty-Arya-Stark-Game-of-Thrones-season-2

Maisie Williams, who plays the ever-muddy Arya Stark in GoT, explains in a Vine video that forgetting to remove her dirt makeup means she gets mistaken for a homeless person on occasion:

Makeup

Here is a video on how to create the dirty look yourself with at home products.

If you’re interested in the real deal, you can purchase a “grunge” dirty pallet or a jar of the “Clean dirty”. Using your favorite makeup products, follow these simple steps to achieve the grittiest of “dirty” looks:

SkinIllust_palette 1. Put your sponge into this mixture, and blot in the areas that you want.

2. Highlight around these dirty bruises with light brown eye shadows (no glitter)

4. Make the sponge a little wet, and blot the colors together- make sure there are no lines or creases

3. For a 3D look you can rub a little Vaseline and coffee ground onto the skin.

4. Regular plain chap-stick will do the trick for the lips! No color necessary!

slide_208655_809652_free

Hair

For best results with your hair, you ought not wash your hair for one day- so it can actually get a little dirty. The following day, put a little dry shampoo in it to reduce oil.

Braid three portions of your hair and straight iron those little braids. Let the heat cool down, and then take the braids out.

Use hair wax to twist portions of your hair, creating the piecey look. Then spray it with a styling spray.

Run your fingers through your hair and voila, grungy hair day! Here is a video if you’re a visual learner!

Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you accomplish the best Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead costume at the party!

Posted in Halloween Make Up, Make Up, Movie Magic, Television | Leave a comment

Wig Out: 2013′s Greatest Moments in Television Wiggery

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When it comes to the world of film, wigs are absolutely everywhere. Without wigs, it would be virtually impossible for actors to achieve the right look for period dramas, epic fantasies, and other-worldly sci-fi flicks. But how often do these fabulous follicular fakes make it onto the small screen?

All. The. Time.

In the past year of television, there has been a near explosion of hairpieces and wigs — from talk shows like The View to dramas like The Good Wife and Boardwalk Empire. 

Here are my favorite moments in TV wiggery from 2013:

Downton Abbey

Set among the British aristocracy in the 20′s, Downton Abbey requires the actors to sport hairstyles that — while stunningly gorgeous — aren’t exactly what you’d call modern.

Maggie Smith Downton Abbey Wig

L: The Dowager Countess of Grantham (Downton Abbey), R: Dame Maggie Smith

Dame Maggie Smith normally rocks a chic bob, which definitely wouldn’t have been appropriate for the Dowager Countess of Grantham. Thanks to her perfectly coiffed wig, Maggie can pull off the upper-crust look for the show without sacrificing her fashionably-fierce granny appeal.

Rob James-Collier

Rob James-Collier

You might be surprised to learn who else wore a wig this last season. Rob James-Collier (the dastardly Thomas Barrow) found himself in a slight predicament.

“I was in role before we started filming this Downton. They agreed that I could shave my head for it and have a wig for this series. But I think they’d have changed their minds if they found out the price, it was about £3 to £4,000! I don’t know whether I have to pay or they do!”

Game of Thrones

From Daenarys’s intricate silver plaits to Melisandre’s perfectly fiery waves, the amount of detail that goes into the gorgeous wigs of Game of Thrones is mind-boggling.

Cersei & Daenerys

L: Cersei Lannister R:Daenerys Targaryen

For Cersei’s wig alone, the wig maker individually knotted different colored strands of hair onto a lace cap to create a bespoke golden blonde blend.

The show’s wigs are painstakingly maintained — regularly washed, styled, and stored on blocks made in the shape of the actresses’ heads.

Emilia & Lena

Actresses Lena Heady and Emilia Clarke

Furthermore. the actresses love them! Besides giving the dark haired beauties a sense of anonymity, they’ve become attached to their faux tresses.

“I keep asking to go out with the wig at night, but they insist there’s no way. They won’t let me go partying with it on! I would be killed on the spot. It’s silly to say, but when I take the wig off at the end of the day, I’m rather disappointed when I look in the mirror.” — Emilia Clarke (Daenerys)

Much like Downton Abbey, the wigs in Game of Thrones are ridiculously expensive. Since my daughter can’t spend $7000 on a wig for her GoT themed dinner party, she’s planning on grabbing a synthetic wig so she can spend more money on the costume itself.

Now if only someone could tell me where we could find some dragons….

Doctor Who

It’s a bittersweet moment for all Whovians when a Doctor’s time on the show ends. But for 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, his last moments filming the series were not only tearful, they were itchy.

After having shaved off his iconic floppy hair for his role in upcoming movie, How to Catch a Monster, Smith was stuck wearing a wig — lest the Doctor be forced into a regeneration just to explain a sudden buzz cut.

Doctor Who Wigs

Karen Gillian & Matt Smith rocking some awesome wigs.

But Matt was in good company. Former companion Amelia Pond, played by gorgeous red-head Karen Gillian, returned for a scene that left even the hardest-hearted fan in tears.

Gillian was also forced to shave her head for an upcoming movie — Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy — but her wig was extra special. Showrunner Steven Moffat explained,

“That wig is made of her own hair, it’s just detachable now. When they cut her hair they made a wig of her own hair. Doesn’t she look lovely?”

2014 is here and we’re well on our way to a wonderfully wiggy television season. Here’s hoping for a few more shaved heads and Pixie cuts!

 

 

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Halloween Accessories: Accentuate The Positive

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With Halloween just days away, I think it’s imperative that we all forget the mad rush to squeeze in as much holiday craziness as possible and focus on doing the things that are the most fun for you.

If you’re like me, dressing up is a huge part of the fun of Halloween customs. And, when you’re trying to create that perfect look for Halloween, accessories can make or break a costume. For instance, I saw the world’s cutest clown costume for women, but without a swanky pair of black and white thigh-highs, the outfit loses some of its punch. The same is true for make-up, props, shoes or any other sweet little accessory. A complete look for the holiday is one that is pulled together, so as you create your costume, keep that in mind. Afterall, what’s a masquerade costume without a mask?

You know the saying, “Blondes have more fun”? I couldn’t disagree more, not because I’m a blonde and it’s a cliche, but because why limit fun to just one hair color!? Maybe it’s more fun to be have blue hair, or pink, purple or orange!? I am talking about costume wigs, of course. The perfect wig will complete an outfit, almost more than any other, so don’t skip this accessory. The same goes for make-up…is there such a thing as a costume that looks great sans hair and makeup? (Well, other than the questionably oriented gym teacher we all had from high school…you know with the androgynous look, mullet and tennis outfit?)

So, folks, take a cue from Gwenyth Paltrow when she said, “Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.”

Emma Rae Curtis is a costume, dressing-up, makeup and accessories expert. She mainly writes about fun Halloween party, craft, and costume ideas, but she especially loves writing about all things costume and dress-up related.

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