How to Drow: Dark Elf Makeup That Lasts

EDIT: Fuckyeahdrow was kind enough to reblog this post for other Drow fans out there. If you’re interested in dark elves, go check them out.

So, I’ve talked about how use alcohol-activated paint in a previous post but I haven’t really touched on the rest of the process to getting a good dark elf look. Of course, the colouration of the skin is difficult for any costume that requires a big deviation from your usual tone. Anyone who’s done a Wicked Witch of the West, Avatar, or Hellboy costume, for example, knows the headache that ensues when trying to get paint to stay on the skin and not wander all over wigs and clothes and everything you touch. If you’re doing a Drow in particular, your makeup coming off on your lovely white wig is a particular concern.

Well, the good news is, there are solutions. I’ve found two that work particularly well. One is a water-based paint makeup job. The other is an alcohol-activated paint job. Both have pros and cons and I’ll go through both of them so sit tight y’all, this is gonna be a long one!

I should also mention, before I get started, that although these tutorials are specifically geared toward dark elf makeup, the techniques described are useful for many other kinds of costumes so feel free to browse through for anything you can use.

To begin, let’s compare the pros and cons of the water-based and alcohol-activated makeups.

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Water-Based Makeup

Pros:

  • Cheap and easy to find.
  • Easy to put on. (Brush or makeup sponge + water.)
  • Easy to take off. (Soap and water.)
  • Lightweight and breathable.

Cons:

  • Easy to take off. (Even when you don’t want it to.)
  • Not a viable solution for colouring hands.
  • Requires a fixing spray or other sealer.

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Alcohol-Activated Paint

Pros:

  • Easy to put on. (99% Isopropyl alcohol + paint)
  • Will not come off. (Except in areas with a LOT of rubbing. ie: palms.)
  • Viable solution for colouring hands.
  • Does not require fixing spray or sealer.

Cons: