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Here’s How Beauty Empowers Latine Cosplayers To Express Themselves to the Fullest

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Cosplay has surged from its relative niche fan participation to becoming a more widely adopted cultural phenomenon. Most may focus on cosplay’s dress-up factor, but makeup is second to none in detailing a cosplayer’s full ensemble to emulate their characters. Conventions, competitions, and photoshoots have provided a larger stage for creative presentation that considers elements of accuracy, craftsmanship, personalization, and audience impact. That means cosplayers get to pay special attention toward aspects of beauty and expression to create an impeccable full look.

“When I’m getting ready to put my look together, my process is makeup, hair, then outfit–if my makeup doesn’t look great, then I might as well not go at that point!” Sadies Martinez, otherwise known by their cosplayer name Mochi, jokes. Mochi lives in Colorado and has been in the cosplay game for eight years. The 22-year-old has amassed makeup tips and tricks along the way to perfect looks inspired by their favorite characters: Chel from The Road to El Dorado, Catra from She-Ra, and Stevonnie from Steven Universe. The cosplayer shares that Ulta Beauty is their one-stop shop to find new palettes and makeup brushes. “I feel like I can walk into an Ulta [Beauty] store and check everything off of my list…I know I’ll find something regardless of what I need,” Mochi says.

First up in Mochi’s cosplay make-up routine are the eyes; “I start with my eyes because I find them [to be] the hardest part to achieve the variation of shapes for different characters. Some characters might have an innocent look, while others might be more sly or mischievous. I sort of just play around to see which techniques work for me to capture a character’s persona,” Mochi says. A couple of Mochi’s recent items came from a recommendation for Treslúce Beauty Forever Brillante Metallic Liquid Eyeshadow and Line It Up Edge Corrector. “The shadow is fun to use because the color is vibrant on my skin and the red [undertone] in my face doesn’t wash it out.” Mochi tells Remezcla. “The [Line It Up Edge Corrector] helps clean up my e.l.f. Cosmetics Expert Liquid Liner–like when you’re struggling to form your eye shape, need a touch-up, or costume change. Overall, it’s a great thing to keep in your purse.”

Cin’ Von Quinzel has been cosplaying for ten years in New York City. “Initially, I wasn’t a big makeup person, but I wrote a post on social media asking people for feedback for anything they think I can improve on in my photoshoots. They commented that they love my costumes but asked if I can add more makeup to the look,” says Quinzel. Now, she likes to explore how makeup can work to compliment or enhance her cosplay. By focusing more on the makeup details Qunizel found that it helps her get into character and round out her costume, “I’ll zoom into a character’s eyes to see if the artist put a specific color or method of eyeliner there to then try to imitate how it looks as close as I possibly can. While I’m still not a huge makeup artist, I like to do my best to represent my favorite characters,” mentions Quinzel.

Quinzel usually begins her application process with the NYX Marshmallow Smoothing Face Primer before applying foundation, “Unless it’s a very dark and heavy eye makeup look, I start with my foundation and beauty blender and just go at it, tapping away,” she tells Remezcla, as she motions her technique. “It blends and distributes the foundation better, and as a plus, it comes with a cute carrying case,” says Quinzel. Mochi adds that the beauty blender is easy to rewash and reuse when doing heavier cosplay looks. Ulta Beauty’s beautyblender All Stars Bestseller set, is a handy trio-pack which includes; The beautyblender Original Makeup Sponge, blender cleanser Solid Sponge Cleaner, and the Blender Defender carrying case.

Courtesy of Cin’ Von Quinzel’s Instagram.
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Both Quinzel and Mochi note how they reference their characters through compiled visuals to sculpt their desired makeup effect. While they strive to do a portrayal as close as possible to the source, they also like to personalize the characters and create their touch of unique renderings. “I cosplayed Sonic the Hedgehog, [whose character] doesn’t have eye makeup. [However,] he has a pop of red in his shoes, so I decided to do a mostly red look on my eyes with a hint of gold glitter. I loved how it turned out, and it was a way to get creative and make it my version of what the costume can be,” Quinzel dishes.

Mochi also discusses their unique modifications: “Chel from The Road to El Dorado has bone-straight hair, but I enjoy adding waves and curls to my cosplay because it customizes it and makes it more comfortable for me. Adding those pieces of individuality has given me the confidence to cosplay more characters and has made conventions more fun to see other people’s takes and variations.” Mochi uses Sexy Hair’s Big Sexy Hair Get Layered Flash Dry Thickening Hairspray when finalizing their prep, for a strong voluminous hold to maintain a fluffier hairstyle throughout the day.

Courtesy of Mochi’s Instagram.
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Customization has carved out a path to not only expand the representation of the characters but also to provide more inclusivity for people of color, diverse genders, and body types within cosplay. As an Afro-Puerto Rican plus-size alternative model, body positivity within cosplay is crucial for Quinzel. “When I first got into cosplay, there were about two plus-sized cosplayers that I could name. I realized that often there weren’t any costumes in my size, so I had to learn how to sew and make armor builds to fit me. Now it’s improved, and there’s a whole body positivity movement that started about seven years ago. It’s allowed us more opportunities to speak about our experiences and to let others know– no matter what you look like or sound like, your nationality, sexual or gender orientation, you are welcome here,” she affirms.

Mochi describes their experience as an Afro-Latinx and indigenous cosplayer navigating the mostly affluent white cosplay community in Colorado. “There were hardly any people of color at the conventions when I was first going. I always felt like the token minority that was only recruited to finish their character set or to play that one minority from a film or show,” they say. “Once anime and cosplay became more socially acceptable, it opened up a lot of possibilities for me to connect with people from diverse backgrounds, skin tones, and identities. I found I could creatively express myself as any character I want versus the limitations of what I was being assigned to play.”

This stresses the importance of cosplay creators such as Mochi and Cin’ Von Quinzel who champion inclusivity and diversity through their own beauty expressions. Serving as an example and guide for others to unapologetically break barriers and craft themselves into whoever they want to be. Both emphasize that this community is open to everyone who is interested in exploring and experimenting with any characters they’d like to cosplay and invite those who are curious to give it a try.

Here are some of their tips to help you get started with expressing your own cosplay beauty:

1. “Ninety percent of the success I’ve had with makeup comes from using blush as contour. It’s probably one of the most powerful tools you can use to shape your face to how you want it to look in and outside of cosplay,” suggests Mochi.

2. “Doing a bold thick liner with a line in the inner corner helps accentuate the eye and portray a more animated look,” Mochi mentions.

3. “I like to personalize my hair and wigs by adding in pieces from my culture, such as ribbon braids and twists to customize different cosplay styles,” says Mochi. “I prep my extensions with curlers to sit overnight, then add my got2b’s Glued Blasting Freeze Spray so it has time to sit and hold shape. The following day, I gently brush to soften the hair and braid in strands of colorful ribbons for braided looks,” Mochi details.

4. “I’d say experiment and go for the pop of color. Whether that’s a dark color for villains or brighter color for heroes, it’ll help you tie everything together to represent you and your character,” suggests Quinzel.

5. “Find a primer or concealer that you won’t have to worry about touching up once it’s on, especially when already in a costume. There’s a lot going on when you’re moving around at conventions or photoshoots, so having a makeup system for prolonged wear really helps. I like using e.l.f. Cosmetics Hydrating Camo Concealer because it’s moisturizing, doesn’t crack and stays on all day” Qunizel shares.

6. “White eyeliner is super helpful for cosplay to make your eyes look bigger and make them pop. The Color Icon Multistick by Wet N Wild in white is my favorite to use to achieve a character’s wide eye effect,” notes Quinzel.

We say, run and grab the products that suit you from Ulta Beauty and test them out with your new-found cosplay beauty knowledge to debut your look at the next convention near you.

Belleza Remix is a Remezcla platform presented by Ulta Beauty that celebrates Latine beauty through the diverse cultures, countries and rituals that make us all unique. Mochi’s and Cin’ Von Quinzel’s stories are just one of many perspectives of Latine beauty. Shop their Beauty Picks below.