Introduction: Modern Medusa
This year, I wanted to keep the facepaint aspect of costuming that I've worked with in the past, but try and go for a scarier approach. What better way, then by scaring the bejeezus out of people with creepy skin effects, and a snake wig that moved independently?
For this costume, I used clothes that I had around the house, including a homemade corset from a couple of years ago, some snakeskin stockings, and an older grecian-ish dress.
So, let's get down to what you'll need:
- A bunch of rubber snakes- I used around 15- the more realistic looking, the better!
- An old wig.
- Some colored hairspray/ spraypaint.
- Fishing line and a strong needle.
- Red eyeliner and lipstick.
- Green, yellow, and bronze facepaint. I prefer the brand Snazaroo, because it's waterbased and will stay on forever, but when you want it to come off, it's really easy to remove!
- An old pair of fishnet stockings. Wash them first- don't be disgusting.
- Liquid latex.
- Fake lashes and mascara (optional).
The rest of the costume:
- Old grecian-ish style dress that I had lying around.
- A corset that I made for myself ages ago.
- Some snakeskin print tights.
And voila! Now I'll show you how I put it all together...
Step 1: Don't Wig Out- It's Just Some Snakes.
So, the wig. Pretty much the one part of this costume that screams: MEDUSA!
I took an old, cheap, black wig from one of my old costumes and basically destroyed it, then made it look good again with some snakes.
Here's how that went down:
1. I took some old colored spraypaint that I had around and formed some snakelike dreads with the hair.
2. I twisted the dreads into an updo and used bobby pins to secure them to the base of the wig.
3. I placed the snakes in a haphazard way, with the snake tails and heads sticking out everywhere.
4. For what I wanted to be the main feature of my wig, I made sure that one snakehead was hanging down at the front of the wig. For that little fellow, I strung some fishing line through his little face. I left the line long enough so that it reached down to my hand when extended. That way, all I had to do was tug on the line, and the little guy moved and freaked some folks out. I made sure to choose a picture, where you can sort of see the fishing line coming down.
Step 2: Snakeskin Time!
I kind of made this up as I went along. The original idea was to put some latex on my face, let it dry a little, and then make an imprint of the fishnet. This failed miserably. So, I tried something else that worked better than I anticipated.
Here we go:
1. Cut up those fishnets into patterns. I knew that I wanted to go for more snakeskin on my face, and less on my neck and arms. I also wanted to highlight the ol' cheekbones and use the snakeskin as shading.
2. Using the liquid latex, put a thin layer of the stuff wherever you'd like to apply the skin. (Tip: throw some foundation on before you apply the latex- it creates a thin layer that makes it easier to take the latex off later!
3. Stipple some more latex on top of the "snakeskin" (fishnet) you've applied. Use a little more around the edges to make it look like the fishnet is blending into your skin.
4. Once the latex has dried, dab liquid foundation all over your face and anywhere you've stuck the snakeskin.
Looking back on this, and wearing it throughout the night, make sure that you apply the snakeskin in places that don't move around too much. The second time I wore the costume out this year, I didn't put as much on my neck because it made the material stretch and start to peel if I turned my head too much. To manage this, I carried around some liquid eyelash glue for quick fixes.
Step 3: Makeup!
I went ahead and started applying the makeup while the latex was still drying. Here was my take on what I think Medusa would use as her beauty regime.
For the eyes:
1. To highlight the eyes, since Medusa's were known to turn men to stone, I really wanted to bring out my baby... greens. To do this, I went with a contrasting color- red. I applied red lip liner on my waterline and along my bottom lashes.
2. Using black eyeliner, go ahead and give a little sweep along the top lid for a cat-eye.
3. I then used a basic green shadow and swept it all over the lid, and on the crease, I used a darker green for a sort of smokey eye. For the highlights, I used a gold shadow on the inner eye, below the eyebrow, and under the bottom lashes.
4. This is when you throw on those falsie eyelashes if you want. If not, it's also not a big deal.
5. Toss on a little mascara on the bottom and top lashes!
1. I figured Medusa would go with a classic red lip, so that's what I did. Red lipliner, long-staying lipstick overtop, and that's it!
For the snakeskin and other body paint:
1. Again, make sure you have a liquid foundation covering your real skin and all of the snakeskin you've applied.
2. Once the foundation has dried, we start with the snake colors. First, I put on a layer of my green facepaint using a sponge. Be sure to really press it into the snakeskinto get it in the grooves.
3. I then went through and put in smaller patches of teal, bronze, and gold facepaint to give some contrast to the skin.
4. Use your finger with a little bit of foundation to blend around the paint you applied to blend everything
4. I didn't want to put the snakeskin all over my body, so I went through and, using some leftover fishnets, I dipped them in the facepaint and created suggestions of where snakeskin might be growing. I did this by dabbing some of the green and bronze, and using the fishnets in a sort of spongepaint technique.
5. Lastly, I took some of the bronze and blended it with some gold eyeshadow down my neck and chest to sort of suggest a snake's underside, for lack of a better descriptive term.
Step 4: The End Product!
That's basically it. I threw on my dress, corset, and tights, and was ready!
Also, I wanted to mention that my friend Rob came over to take some shots of the process. He is wonderful and you can check out more of his work on Facebook under Robert James Litchfield Photography. His photos have the copyright on them and are used with his permission.
Let me know if you have any questions, but I hope you enjoy!