I've been wanting to do this post for so long now.
I'm here to share my cosplay tips on keeping and or washing your cosplay costumes. Often us costumers will wear our outfits for hours on end, sometimes outdoors, sometimes multiple times. During times like these we will sweat, catch leaves, dust and or you may come across the dreaded 'Otaku smell' at conventions. Here are the methods I use for my costumes, if you have your own please share them below in the comments!
We'll start from head to toe on tips for your costumes.
Wigs! Some of you do not wear wigs and will not have to worry about this.
Wigs will almost always get tangled during conventions or photoshoots, especially when it's windy. Wigs and wind do not mix! So lets pretend your wig is a little dusty and a little tangled ( a lot tangled you might want a new wig ).
1. Go to Sally's Beauty Supply and buy a wig shampoo, you can buy a conditioner if you want but, that is more for human hair wigs.
2. Follow the directions on the back, usually they'll ask you to fill up a tub or sink. I use a plastic dollar store tub and fill it with cold to room-temperature water. They'll tell you how much shampoo to use in the back.
3. Turn your wig inside out and lay it gently in the mixture.
4. You'll want to GENTLY swish it about in the water and rub the net near the head gently between your fingers as well. This wash can be repeated as many times as you need.
5. Hang your wig in a safe and secure place to dry.
6. Once your wig is dry you'll want to turn it right-side out again and attach it to a styrofoam head and styrofoam head holder, both you can find at Sally's Beauty Supply. If you don't have a head holder, you can hold the styrofoam head holder securely between your legs and pray it doesn't fall over. Ha.
7. You'll want a fine tooth comb, do not use metal. You can use plastic but, I like to use a bamboo comb because wood doesn't create static electricity the way plastic does.
7.5. Optional - If your synthetic wig is heat-resisitant you can turn a flat iron on it's lowest setting and use it along with combing.
8. I got this tip from Anime Corner Store. After you've combed most of it out, you'll want to buy a silicone spray from any hardware store. Try to find one that doesn't have an odor since this will be near your face and you don't want your wig to smell bad. Spray this lightly on the wig and comb out again.
9. If you'd like your wig to have a faint strawberry smell, Motions hair spray oil can be found in the ethnic hair dept. it can help de-tangle a wig. I recommend using it outside or over newspapers. I can't tell you how many times I missed covering a spot on the floor and slipped a little.
10. Let your wig set until it's completely dry, comb again if you wish.
11. Get a newspaper and crumple it into a flat football shape.
12. Place the football shape into the inside part of the cap.
13. Take a loose wig cap and carefully wrap your wig into it the best you can. For longer wigs you'll wrap only the top part and use hair ties to tie the rest of the hair together.
14. Keep your wigs in ziplocks bags, you can label them in containers from my first cosplay tip blog!
Wigs can be expensive so you want to take care of them!
Some of these tips people will follow and for others there are always YouTube tutorials on how you can take care of your face and makeup routines.
1. Brushes, I'm guilty of not doing this as often as it is recommended but, you need throw away your brushes and get new ones when they are dirty. You can clean them but, I just find it easier to go and buy new brushes that are free of any kind of makeup. Depending on how often you wear makeup will determine when you need new ones.
2. Makeup removers can be expensive. I found a cheap one called up and up at Target and it works well without tearing your skin off to remove the makeup. I still find Mary Kay's oil makeup remover the best on the market but, it can be a bit pricey.
3. Makeup remover wipes are amazing and also can be pricey, I like using the Oil of Olay with age-defying affects and am willing to pay the extra few dollars to get it. If you'd like a step down from it the Neutrogena wipes aren't bad. You can't go too cheap with makeup wipes, the cheaper they are the rougher they are. They will tear your skin up and hardly remove the makeup, especially things like gel or pencil liner. You want something that won't hurt your skin. In makeup wipes you'll want to pay the extra price.
4. Of course cotton balls, Q-tips, astringent, a good cleanser and moisturizer are a given.
Never sleep with your makeup on! Also, something I've been guilty of. I know conventions can run long and when you get home all you want to do is crash, but you only have one face, take care of it!
Finally the big concern for many costumers! What to do?
1. Firstly, when I make a costume I always think about how it will be washed. If you're rich you can probably afford some kind of dry cleaning...for the rest of us, I first recommend that all your hems are securely sewn. Otherwise you'll come back with a frayed mess when it comes out of the washer. If you can't wash your costume in the washer here are other alternatives...
2. Hand-washing costumes is another alternative to tossing it in the washer, it's less abrasive on more delicate fabrics.
3. If you have fur or something that isn't dirty enough to throw in the washer or handwash you can buy a spray bottle and fill it half with CHEAP vodka (you don't need the expensive stuff) and half with water. Many theatrical productions will use this cheap alternative to keep clothes clean as they cannot go hauling off thousands of costumes to the cleaner. This method is really good for fur or mascot costumes.
4. Febreeze is your friend. It's best to find one that has an antimicrobial or some kind of germ killer. I say Febreeze because it's safer than Lysol and you won't asphyxiate yourself on fumes. Febreeze comes in tons of scents so if you prefer lilac to a citrus smell, Febreeze is the way to go.
5. For small clean ups Clorox wipes are really good, you can find any cheap knock offs at dollar tree vendor stores and they work just as well without burning a hole in your pocket.
6. For even smaller or more precise clean ups the Clorox bleach pen is the way to go. There are some bleach pens available WITHOUT the bleach in them and they can clean up darker clothes just fine, just make sure to read the fine print if you are looking for one without bleach in it.
7. For leather or shoes I like to use Kiwi leather lotion, it's a little messy so you'll want to do it over some kind of drop cloth but, it can make your leather items shine real purdy.
8. Lastly, garment bags can sometimes be a pain for costumes but, they are really good for keeping everything together. Especially if your costume has multiple parts. You can also use ziplock bags or those vacuum store bags if you are really hurting for space.
Take care of your costumes and they will last you awhile! Again, if you have your own tips please share them in the comments below. All photos belong to their respective owners.
Love x Peace
A twenty-something, fabric hoarding, geek loving, freelance artist who is young at heart and has a sense of adventure.