Geek Girl Tutorials

How to: Do “Old Person” Make Up

Featuring the Geek Girl as the Second Doctor!

I love playing around with make up. It’s a left over from when I was a Theatre Major in college. And I also love making my cosplay as accurate as possible. So buckle up, gentle readers, I’m gonna show you some stage makeup!


All my dirty sponges…
  • Time! This usually takes me an hour to and hour and a half, depending on how fussy I want to be and how good my space and lighting are.
  • Whatever you need to tie your hair back. I’ve got my hair in prep for my wig. (See previous tutorial)
  • Whatever part of your costume goes over your head. Put it on now if you haven’t before, because you don’t want to finish your make up and then have to work it through the costume.
  • The Make Up! I use a Ben Nye Student Make Up Kit. This one is the fairest, but they come in multiple shades. All you really need is a base, a highlight, and a shadow, so you could use a contour kit from the grocery store. I haven’t used those, so I can’t guarantee that you’ll get the same quality as with theatre make up. You also might want your regular foundation to use as a base. The Ben Nye may have multiple colors, but I’ve never found one that fit me really well.
Slightly demented smile for the camera…


Beginning highlights
  1. Put on your foundation, however you need in order to make a blank canvas.
  2. Starting with the highlight, make sweeping strokes over your eyebrows, along your hairline, straight down your nose, and over your cheek bones. I usually concentrate on one section at a time.

3. Now take your brush, included in the kit, or a flat brush and dip it in the shadow.

4. Wrinkle your forehead to reveal all those beautiful wrinkles. You want to follow those. You don’t want to paint lines on your head, then lift your eyebrows and have different lines appear!

Shadows and Highlights

5. Carefully trace out the wrinkles with the shadow, aiming the brush downward and sweeping up. You are creating the shadow of the wrinkle.

6. Clean your brush, and follow all of those wrinkles with the highlight, this time with the brush upward and sweeping down. Use the highlight to fill in all the gaps between the forehead wrinkles especially, because they are so close together.

7. Blend. Blend. Blend. Darken the shadow if needed, add more highlight if needed.

And that’s mostly it.

Basic guidelines

Follow all of the wrinkles of your face. Squinch up your eyes to see the crinkles. Frown hard for those frown lines.

For your jaw, cheeks and neck, you won’t need the brush, you can use your sponges, unless your character is ancient.

Get up under your eyebrow and really exaggerate the puff of your eyelid. I created an extra fold in my jawline where I will probably develop jowls in the coming decades.

Go less or more as needed for your character.

Use the imperfections in your face to your advantage. I had a zit on the corner of my mouth that I turned into a wart.

Final tip: Keep your make up with you. Unless you get a finishing spray or a really good pressed powder, it will probably come off sometime during the day.

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