To start, let me just say that this process is not strictly only for Naruto! 😄
I’ll discuss general concepts that can be adjusted to suit a variety of different characters, and show you some of my cosplay makeup supplies!
This is going to be a long photo-filled post, so brace yourself, get some refreshments, and let’s begin!
Someday also want to do this in video form, but when I did my survey there were still a lot of people who prefer to follow a photo blog — so this is for you guys! 😊
Pull up a reference image of the character you will be cosplaying. You can keep it on your phone or computer somewhere beside you to serve as a guide while you do your makeup. Of course you don’t have to follow it too literally, especially for characters who are rendered in a very flat art style. But it still helps to remind yourself about their key features.
And now, let’s see what I have to work with…
Here’s my bare face. On normal days, as long as I have moisturizer and sunscreen, I’m ready to go out.
I think my skin has been pretty decent lately, but as you might be able to tell here, my bare skin doesn’t always photograph as nicely as I’d prefer. The unevenness of my complexion seems to be more prominent through a camera. And I don’t really look much like Naruto like this. But hey, that’s part of why makeup is transformative and fun! 😀
Step 0: Skin Care
I would like to encourage you to take care of your skin regularly! If your skin is in good condition, you won’t need to do as much base makeup and all this will just be generally easier.
I have a beginner-friendly skin care post if you’d like some tips on how to treat your skin!
Step 1: Primer
Makeup primers are products that are meant to help prep the skin for makeup. There are lots of different kinds. Some are meant to moisturize the skin, some prevent the skin from getting oily, and others are meant to let makeup adhere better so it stays on longer.
If you find that foundations oxidize on you — the color matches perfectly when first applied, but then turns darker or more orange after a while — your skin might be acidic and using a makeup primer under your foundation might help prevent the oxidation from happening.
Some are for the entire face, and some are meant for targeted areas like eyes. I have combination normal-oily skin so I tend to go for face primers that will give my face a matte finish. I had ran out of mine at the time, so I can’t show you right now. Oops.
Not everyone needs makeup primer, especially if you’re among those who don’t have specific concerns like makeup wearing off too early, foundations oxidizing, or if you don’t get extremely oily.
You can simply use your regular skincare to prep before makeup. 🙂
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
Clinique, Rustan’s Dept. Store / ₱880.00
This moisturizer is a bit pricey compared to other things I’ll be mentioning here, but it’s something that’s part of my daily skin care. This just works well for me, but you can of course use whatever brand you like! (You can read my skin care post to find out more about this, and a cheaper alternative.)
Bioré UV Perfect Face Milk
SM Dept. Store, Watsons / ₱380.00
I believe in wearing sunscreen everyday, so this has to be part of the makeup process for me too. I prefer using a separate sunscreen rather than depending on the SPF in foundations, because those don’t really help. (I read somewhere that you need to use 7x the normal amount of foundation for it to actually work as well as a proper sunscreen. That’s way too much, haha!)
On my skin tone this does not leave a white cast, but it doesn’t matter much as it’ll be covered with foundation later anyway. Another nice thing about this sunscreen is that it leaves a matte finish to the skin and in my experience, helps to control the oil on my skin. Because of those properties, this sunscreen acts as a makeup primer for me.
Shu Uemura Stage Performer Eye Primer
Shu Uemura stores / it was a gift
Eye-specific primers help eyeshadows stick better and look more vibrant once applied. If you have problems with eyeliner smudging, an eye primer might help you out as well! My eyelids have a tendency to get oily, and this helps to control it.
This product isn’t thick or tacky like some primers are, so sometimes I put some on my nose as well since that area gets oily too. It’s a common problem for me to have foundation wearing off on my nose. 💧
Cheaper option: Proof 10 Eye Primer from Etude House (₱298.00) is also really good! It has really kept my eye stuff in place and I would have shown it if mine hadn’t ran out. I’ve repurchased that several times already.
Step 2: Foundation
Foundation evens out the complexion, and sometimes also offers some skin conditioning properties. For the purpose of cosplay makeup, I prefer liquid foundations because of the coverage they can offer, and they way it blends into the skin. In comparison, some powder foundations mostly sit on top of the skin and can create an unpleasant texture if you layer it on for more coverage.
I have oily-combination skin, and here are a couple of foundations that I use for cosplay.
Revlon Colorstay for Combination/Oily Skin – Sand Beige
SM Dept. Store / ₱825.00
L’oreal Infallible 24H Fresh – Vanilla
SM Dept. Store / ₱700.00
These two perform pretty similarly on me. Buildable medium coverage. Infallible has a slightly better color match on my skin. Colorstay is slightly longer-wearing and has better oil control. Both contain fragrance, something I’m not fond of — but the Colorstay has a stronger, more perfumey smell that sometimes gives me a slight headache but other times seems to disappear quickly. (I’d say I rate them both an 8.5/10 and I continue to use them but I would like to find a perfect 10!)
These foundation recommendations aren’t high end or anything, but I really want to keep this guide as friendly and accessible to people who are just starting out. I’m trying to to keep other things to below ₱500 as much as possible, but there will be exceptions.
Some notes for people who are new to shopping for foundations!
There are makeup products that you can easily use cheaper options for, but something I would highly recommend you invest on is foundation. This is a thing that goes all over your face and under the rest of your makeup, so if you gets something that easily melts off, all of your efforts will slide off your face along with it.
Another factor that makes some foundations cost more than others is that they use ingredients that are less harmful to your skin. Cheaper products could irritate your skin and give you allergies and acne, which could end up costing more to take care of.
Foundations from established brands also tend to have better shade ranges to accommodate different skintones. Sometimes people buy BB creams because they are slightly more affordable, but they usually only come in 2 shades — light and lighter. 😂 And BB creams normally contain SPF, and if you wear that to a con or shoot where you’re going to be photographed, flash photography and certain lights will give your skin that mask-like white cast. Yikes.
I usually squeeze out a bit of foundation on the back of my hand, then dot it around my face to distribute it. I put more concentrated dots in areas that need more coverage, then make them more spread out around the perimeter of my face. I put a few dots on my neck as well.
Real Techniques Expert Face Brush
ordered through KALM Cosmetics / ₱600.00
I enjoy applying base makeup with a brush, but it’s really up to you and sometimes it depends on the kind of foundation you have. Another thing with finding a foundation brush you get along with — sometimes it can make your foundation perform better. You get better coverage, waste less product, and get a more even finish.
The dense, short bristles on this brush help me buff in the foundation to get an amount of coverage that I prefer. I don’t go too crazy and still want my skin to look like skin, heheh.
Step 3: Concealer
For anything else that foundation can’t cover, you can use concealer to target those areas. Common things people use concealer for are: dark undereye circles, blemishes, and post-acne scars.
Witch’s Pouch Selfie Perfect Concealer – #21
Althea Philippines / ₱220.00
This is my favorite out of the three. I use it around my eyes. It gives a matte finish and doesn’t crease. It seems to prevent my oily eyelids from being a problem so it also works for me as an eye primer.
If you are unable to order online, these two are are other concealers I use that are more widely available:
L.A. Girl Pro Conceal – Pure Beige
SM Dept. Store / ₱299.00
I got this in a darker shade, meant to be used on covering up blemishes or post-acne scars. It has a slight orange undertone on me, but that helps with concealing dark marks. Very creamy, really good coverage.
NYX HD Concealer – CW 01
NYX Stores, SM Dept. Store / ₱360.00
Something I got for doing matte highlighting. This is a very light shade. Something I appreciate about this is that it doesn’t darken/oxidize at all on my skin which has a tendency to make some base products turn into an orange or grey shade. I’m not sure if my skin is acidic but it doesn’t happen with all things.
For this step I’m just going to be brightening my eye area with the Witch’s Pouch concealer. It will help even out the color with the rest of my face that already has foundation on. (I use the NYX concealer for this too sometimes, but the WP one matches my skintone better)
Other people use foundation for this step but that doesn’t work on my powerfully oily eyelids.
I blend it out with a concealer brush, spreading it outward first then patting it down to fix any brush strokes.
You can use your fingers for this step too but sometimes I just feel like I don’t want to get concealer gunk on my fingers, or get finger germs near my eyeballs. This brush also gives me more coverage and I don’t get the problem of concealer sticking to my fingers rather than to my eye area.
Comparison of no base makeup vs. with foundation and concealer
As I’ve mentioned before, when my bare face is photographed, it’s more obvious that some areas are darker than others. My neck is also slightly lighter than my face. With base makeup I try to match everything to the lighter shades on my face, as well as with my neck. It looks a bit flat right now but it’s meant to serve as a blank canvas to contrast against everything else that will follow. 😄
Step 4: Eyebrow Coloring
The process I will share won’t require you to do anything drastic like bleaching your eyebrows or shaving them off! I groom my eyebrows to look cleaner and be more versatile for cosplay, but just a bare minimum because I prefer to keep them as natural as possible.
Some people wear their wig after they’re done doing the makeup, but I prefer to wear it as soon as I can. For one thing, it will help with the next step, which is brows! I have naturally dark hair, which you can probably tell by my eyebrows.
No matter how crazy the color of my wig is, I want to create the illusion that it could be my real hair. Kinda just blend my features so that everything altogether looks more natural. Keep going to see how much of a difference coloring your eyebrows can make!
Heroine Make Pencil Eyebrow – 02 Medium Brown
Bought overseas because Heroine Make is no longer available here 😔
Alternative: Etude House and The Face Shop have great quality affordable eyebrow pencils!
Looking at reference images of Naruto, you’ll notice that his eyebrows usually point downwards towards the center. This is something that’s telling of his personality so I wanted to incorporate it into my makeup interpretation.
While I respect those who can fully commit to shaving off their entire eyebrows for maximum versatility, I just can’t get myself to do that. 💦 I prefer to make use of the natural hairs for the texture, and just work around the natural shape.
Here’s how it’s looking so far. I’ve taken the liberty to add some curves in places that give the impression that I’m always smirking. Just thought it would be fun. Haha!
Etude House Color My Brows Eyebrow Mascara
Etude House, SM Dept. Store / ₱378.00
Now, to actually lighten the hairs and give them a little more thickness!
I simply use the spoolie wand to coat my eyebrow hairs with the colored mascara. First I go against the direction of hair growth, and then follow it.
Now my eyebrows have an ochre tone to them, and also look fuller. The wig looks less disjointed now.
Some of you might wonder why I didn’t match my eyebrows exactly to the wig color. Light-colored wigs are tricky. I personally prefer to make eyebrows one or two shades darker when it comes to light wigs.
With some bad Photoshop, let’s see what I’d look like if I made my eyebrows yellow-blond.
Yikes. I don’t know, you guys. Maybe it works for some people but I don’t think I’m one of them. 😂 I look like I’ve got an evil plan. If you squint, it’s like I have no eyebrows. Imagine that at a convention, when most people will start by viewing you from a distance…
And hey, eyen Naruto’s anime eyebrows are a shade darker.
Now that my brows are done, I can put on my Konoha headband and arrange my wig around it. I wanted to wear it as soon as I could so that they would frame my face properly. Seeing how my face will be framed by the wig for the final look helps me sort out how to do my eyeliner and everything else.
Something that I find distracting at this stage is that my lips have a pinkish color. That’s just the natural pigmentation of my lips, but against everything else, doesn’t it look like I’m wearing pink lipstick? It just seems out of place. So as strange as it sounds, I need to put on some lip makeup to look like I’m not wearing makeup. 😂
Step 5: Lip Color
Unless the character that’s being cosplayed has some sort of trademark lip color, I like to use these to neutralize the natural red or pink tones in my lips.
Nyx Soft Matte Lip Cream – London and Cairo
NYX stores, SM Dept. Store / ₱390.00
The nice thing about these lip creams is that they dry to a semi-matte finish. Not too matte that it looks dry and crackly, but not glossy that makes it really apparent that I’m wearing some sort of lipstick. (Also, it smells like buttercream frosting.)
I wear these on top of some clear lip balm, because I always have some sort of lip balm on. If your lips are not particularly dry, you may not need the balm. I find these very comfortable to wear. Definitely more comfortable than any concealer.
Once they dry and set, they are pretty long-wearing! They don’t easily rub off or transfer, unless you eat some oily food, hahah. I like that I don’t need to worry about my lip color wearing off when I’m at an event.
They’re pretty easy to apply with the sponge tip applicator. Taking my skin tone into consideration, I mix the colors London and Cairo.
Here’s the result of mixing those two colors. I like how I get something that’s around the same range as my skin tone, but with the color a little more saturated so it looks more natural. I prefer this as opposed to matching my lips perfectly with the rest of my face.
Here’s another bad Photoshop simulation of what it looks like if I go too light on my lip color. It kinda looks like I’m either feeling ill, or that I have no lips. 😂
Step 6: Eye Makeup
Eyes are very distinguishing features for a lot of characters, so I find it a lot of fun to play around with this part.
Catrice Waterproof Liquid Liner
SM Dept. Store / below ₱500.00
Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner – Brown
SM Dept. Store, Landmark / ₱700.00
Here are two eyeliners I’ve been enjoying for cosplay. These last well on my oily eyelids, especially with the help of some eye primer.
This time I’ll be using the brown liner to sketch out how I want the outer edge of my eyeliner to look. I start by marking how far I want the liner wing to go.
And then I connect that mark with my lash line to make an outline of the final shape I want. I do this with the brown liner because I can get really fine lines with the pen-type applicator, and it’s easy to clean off with a cotton bud if I make a mistake.
I use the black liner to put a thin line across my whole top lashline. And then I fill in the brown outline with black. The brush applicator is a little more tricky to work with compared to the pen, and the formula is more wet and intense, so if I make a mistake with this it would be more difficult to clean up.
Once it dries, you get a really stark and crisp line so I really enjoy this liner. If I’m happy with how it looks, I just repeat the process on my other eye.
In the past, I would consider my makeup done at this point. If you want to keep it simple, you can stop here too.
But sometimes, I think about some photos that have been taken of me at events and like…
Suddenly I realized how very flat I can look in some conditions
I felt more like this. Hahaha!!
So that just made me think that I could use to experiment with my makeup style more and put more effort into it. Apart from avoiding looking like a floating mask in certain conditions, it led to me experimenting more with contouring and learning to manipulate my features to look different according to the character.
BYS Matte Bronzing Powder
SM Dept. Store / ₱325.00
Using an angled brush, I use the matte bronzer as eyeshadow to make a line to connect my eyeliner with the lower lashline.
It helps to give a better illusion of bigger eyes, as opposed to just looking like I have a thick black line on top of my eyes. It’s also my realistic interpretation of the black outlines on the bottom of Naruto’s eyes.
It’s looking a little heavy at the bottom of my eyes right now, so I’ll add shading to the top part too, using matte eyeshadows.
Innisfree Mineral Single Shadow – Matt 08
not available in PH / it was a gift
The Face Shop Single Eyeshadow – BR02
The Face Shop / ~₱200.00
I’m using these two matte eyeshadows to create some contouring around my eyes. If you observe your natural face, the shadows are of different tones so I felt that by using more than one shade, I can achieve a more natural look. Using only one brown tone all around might look muddy or dirty. 💧
Innisfree Matt 08 has a darker, more red undertone, so I use it with a fluffy brush on the outer corner of my eye to make a shadow to extend my eyes upward like Naruto’s.
TFS BR02 is lighter with a yellow undertone, so I use a smaller crease brush to make another shadow from the inner corner, and then blend it into the Innisfree shadow that was previously applied.
Here’s how it looks.
The effect is more visible when I’m not looking directly into the camera.
Maybelline Colorshow Eye Liner – 04 Shiny Beige
SM Dept. Store, Watsons / ₱128.00
Now that I’ve done contouring, I like to offset it with some highlight for contrast.
I use this beige eyeliner with a metallic sheen to highlight on top of my black eyeliner.
It makes that area contrast better against the brown eyeshadow shading.
I also put some around the inner corner of my eyes to look literally brighter-eyed, hahah. I think this helps give a more energetic look, which I feel is appropriate for Naruto. 🙂
Here’s the before and after comparison for eye makeup. It’s looking a little heavy on the eye area right now, but I’ll be balancing that with everything else in the following steps!
Step 7: Bronzer/Blush
Essence Silky Touch Blush
SM Dept. Store / ₱225.00
This is something like a bronzer with some shimmer on it. I’m going to use it to add something like a “sun-kissed” effect on my face to get more color in there. To me it makes sense anyway because Naruto seems like someone who must spend a lot of time outdoors, training and doing missions. Doing this step lets me incorporate more of his character to the makeup look.
To figure out where to place the bronzer, I think about the places where I’d get sunburnt, and the first place that comes to mind is across the top of my nose.
I also blend some around the outer edges of my nose to add more shading and dimension.
Suddenly, a more defined nose.
I blend some across my cheeks as well, and a little bit along the jawline.
Here is my more lively complexion thanks to the bronzer.
Notice that I avoided using things with a pink tone to it for this character look.
Let me show you what it would look like if I used a pink blush instead of a warm-toned bronzer.
Oh dear. What a difference, eh?
Step 8: Contouring
Here’s the thing that so many of you were interested in!
I think this part isn’t actually all too necessary for Naruto; and it’s not something I usually do when I cosplay him. But I’ll do it here for the demo!
BYS Contour Stick
SM Dept. Store / ₱350.00
Here is a cream contour stick that makes it easy to map out where you want your contour to be, especially if you’re just starting out.
When contouring, we are essentially creating shadows on our face to make certain areas look more sunken in. I think the color of this is great. Notice how it is a pretty good match for the shadows on my skin, like the shadowed part of my neck and the sides of my nostrils. Like a cool-toned brown with a greyish undertone. It contrasts against the warmer tones of the bronzer.
If you’re wondering how I determined the placement of the contour areas on my face, I basically looked at where shadows were drawn on the reference image.
1) where the brows meet the nose bridge,
2) around the tip of the nose,
3) under the lower lip,
4) around the jawline,
and then I just added the one on the cheek for the sake of the demo, in preparation for the highlighter stage.
I used this sculpting brush to blend it out. The dense bristles allow me to really buff out the cream contour, and the crisp edges of it give me better control to make clean lines when I need to.
I use short strokes to blend them out.
BYS Matte Bronzing Powder
SM Dept. Store / ₱325.00
Because I want this contour to last through a convention or a photo shoot, I set it with powder. Normally I wouldn’t advise certain bronzers to be used for contour, but this BYS one (the same one I showed earlier and used as eyeshadow) isn’t too orange-toned so I find that this works just to set the cream contour into place. I use an angled blush brush to apply it, and I don’t use too much.
I just dust it over areas where I applied the cream contour to lock it in place, since I know my skin has a tendency to get oily.
Now with shading and colors all over my face, the eye makeup doesn’t look as heavy as it seemed before!
Step 9: Character Markings
And now for Naruto’s characteristic whisker markings on his cheeks! When I do things like this (such as Kenshin’s scar and Itachi’s face marks) people often remark on how realistic they look. The secret to making them look more natural is very simple:
✨ Use brown eyeliner instead of black. ✨
Now, I understand they are drawn as black lines in the anime. However, a lot of things are outlined in black in anime. Even their hair and their teeth. But we don’t necessarily have to do that, do we?
I like to think about how to interpret character face markings in more realistic terms. I think of Naruto’s face marks as darker pigmentation on his skin, somewhat like scars. So I’m going to use two kinds of brown-toned pencil liners.
Etude House Soft Touch Auto Lipliner – #01
Etude House / ₱98.00
I start by sketching out the placement of the whisker marks by using this lip pencil. It is quite soft and creamy so it would be easy to wipe off if I make any mistakes. The color also provides a nice undertone so that the final look would have more dimension.
Love Switch Eyeliner
Not available in PH / it was a gift
I used this medium brown eyeliner with a reddish undertone to draw over the lip liner marks. I purposely make the application a little uneven so that it would look more natural.
Step 10: Highlighter
Like the contour stage, this isn’t something I would usually do for Naruto. But just to show you what the effect is if you’re curious, I’ll be putting some on!
So highlighters are like, the anti-contour. If contour gives the illusion of skin receding or being more sunken than it actually is, highlighter does the opposite and makes the area stand out more like it’s fuller.
Canmake Highlighter – Baby Beige
SM Dept. Store, Landmark / ₱395.00
This is a nice subtle but noticeable highlight. Although it almost looks like white eyeshadow in the pan, it won’t leave a white mark on your skin. You can only really see the effect when light hits it.
I sweep it over this area of my cheek, somewhere above where I applied bronzer.
Here is a comparison showing me before and after using highlighter. It makes my cheekbone appear more prominent.
🍥 Yay! 🍥
Don’t worry too much if you got a little heavy-handed with makeup application for cosplay (compared to how you might wear makeup on a daily basis). Remember that if you’re wearing it to a convention, it helps to look a little more intense as most people will be viewing you from a moderate distance. Another factor is how your makeup might wear off through the day. Sometimes the effect of makeup also gets washed out in photos, especially phone selfies.
One more comparison, just to show how much it helps to add some definition!
And here are some photos of this style of makeup in action during my past Naruto shoots!
Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment!
Let me know if you have any questions or need some clarifications, or even just to tell me which part was most helpful to you! I always want to be better at sharing content with you, and hearing from you guys really helps!
Also feel free to share the link to this post if you have friends who may need help getting started with cosplay makeup! I hope you try this and have fun!