Turn me light purple!
October 4, 2010 11:03 AM   Subscribe

Turn me lavender. What's the best way to make my whole entire upper body light purple for a day or two?

I think I am going to be Disney's Ursula for halloween. For my costume, I need to turn my upper body (including arms, palms, ears, whole face, chest, and back) a light lavender color. I have no idea how to do this, and I am hoping some makeup or theater geeks here can help me. If it matters, I have white skin.

1) Be able to apply it, and have it stay on me, and NOT get on friends couches or furniture or walls during drunken halloween party revelry.
2) Look nice and smooth and good on my skin. I don't have an airbrush to apply it.
3) I'm thinking it should be water resistant at least.
4) Not cost a million bucks. I am willing to shell out some cash for this though, just hopefully not much more than $25, but if I have to, I will.
5)Hopefully come off with a good soap scrub, but if I have to buy a good special remover thats fine too.

Really, the most important things are that it look nice and not ruin my friends stuff.

Thanks so much!
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Beet juice? It may last longer than a few days, but you can scrub it out with salt.
posted by scblackman at 11:07 AM on October 4, 2010

I would do a purple bodysuit and gloves and then just make up your face. There is virtually nothing that is cheap AND won't rub off everywhere AND will come off easily later. Anything that won't rub off of your palms while you're wearing it also won't come out of your ears when you really need it to.
posted by hermitosis at 11:18 AM on October 4, 2010

A friend used latex last year, and it looked good for about an hour. Then it started peeling at the skin folds and creases (elbows, armpits, wrists) and looked pretty bad. I'm not sure if that's typical of latex or if it was just improperly applied, but it's something to keep in mind.
posted by barnone at 11:25 AM on October 4, 2010

Maybe a purple zentai costume.
posted by barnone at 11:26 AM on October 4, 2010

I've heard a lot of (cosplaying) people recommend Mehron and Kryolan Aquacolor for pretty non-smeary stuff. I don't know that I'd sit on a white leather sofa or anything, but they're both theatrical makeup companies, so they're probably some of the better options out there.
posted by specialagentwebb at 11:27 AM on October 4, 2010

Also, here's a review of PAX body paint, and in general, if you have a question about costuming or makeup, someone on the Cosplay.com forums has probably already asked and answered it.
posted by specialagentwebb at 11:31 AM on October 4, 2010

I saw Wicked the other day; Elphaba had a bodysuit with green hands and face done in makeup. You could probably also get some gloves for the hands.
posted by Madamina at 11:41 AM on October 4, 2010

Grape Kool-Aid (the kind you add sugar to later). Do a test spot first to get the proper dilution. The hands of a middle school friend of mine who used to dye her hair every week with Kool-Aid can attest to its abilities.

Also, you will taste delicious.
posted by phunniemee at 11:50 AM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Queens University (Kingston, Ontario) engineering students do this to their frosh every year. Google might give you an idea of what they use.
posted by fso at 12:06 PM on October 4, 2010

Purple hilighters taken apart and drained, mix 1 to 1 with water.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:08 PM on October 4, 2010

Following fso's tip, it looks like the engineering students use gentian violet. There are pictures of them doing a full-body dip in a kiddie pool here. Wikipedia seems to indicate that it can be removed with a solution of bleach and water, though you'd definitely want to test that first.
posted by MsMolly at 12:22 PM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you can get your hands on Kryolan theatrical makeup, definitely go that route (or whatever equivalent water-based cream makeup you can find.) If you apply it thinly, then powder it, it will generally stay on until you wash it off with soap and water. Just apply the cream with a damp sponge. It's water-based, so it's pretty easy to handle. Scroll down to see two nice shades of lavender.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 12:36 PM on October 4, 2010

Oh yeah, Gentian violet is the purple to the nth degree: It will keep your gums purple for days. Pharmacies sell it to combat yeast overgrowths/thrush. But I think I'd ask them if it's going to do you unwanted harm before I put it *everywhere.* It is very purple, but it is also a topical medicine.
posted by Ys at 12:48 PM on October 4, 2010

That Queens University link is the coolest university tradition I think I've ever seen. Wow! If I were doing this, that's definitely the route I would go...that color is outstanding.
posted by griffey at 12:51 PM on October 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've used Ben Nye stuff before with good success. I was going for an extremely pale, dead look myself so the lavender I used was pretty light. You'd want something darker, I'd imagine. (I couldn't find a really good link that showed the colors well, sorry...)

For your hands, I really really recommend gloves of some kind. Stuff WILL get on your hands at a party, you'll be touching everything, and eventually some of the stuff will end up coming off.

You also may want to look into a light purple skintight shirt, which would drastically cut down on the amount of prep time.

Other suggestions:

For your face, apply DOWNWARD. Going upward will make the tiny hairs on your face stand out.
Blend the foundation into your hairline some, or you'll look like you have a really crappy mask on.
Stippling (dabbing the sponge) will help remove any streak lines.
Oh yeah, use a 'sea sponge' looking applicator, not one of those super-dense sponges. You'll end up with more in the dense sponge than you will on your face.
Make sure the foundation goes a couple inches under your clothes, so when you move your bare skin doesn't show on accident. EVERY INCH OF VISIBLE SKIN should be covered. This means your ears, the back of your neck, etc. You might need someone's help for some of these bits.
Get a darker purple color for eyeliner/shadow, cheek color, and possibly lipstick. I'd try to avoid shimmery shades and stick with matte.
posted by Heretical at 1:00 PM on October 4, 2010

When I was a mermaid for halloween, I just used acrylic paint on my upper body. Thinned it out a bit with water and I mixed silver and teal paints, and it stayed on until I scrubbed it off. You may want to apply several thin coats instead of one thick one depending on how purple you want to be. It didn't rub off on anything after it dried, either.

So, yeah, just those little flip top things from any craft store worked great. You will probably need help painting your back though.
posted by theRussian at 1:13 PM on October 4, 2010

Ask around your cosplay and or theater communities for someone who can air brush you.

This girl is airbrushed
as is this girl.

It's pretty damn superior. The guy who did this also did makeup for a local production of CATS (community theater, so he's non-professional, don't panic) and that makeup stayed on through the entire show - with singing, dancing, and hot furry costumes.
posted by Medieval Maven at 1:28 PM on October 4, 2010

Based on my brother's experience, gentian violet lasts quite a while, days to a week or so. It stains your skin and won't scrub off until you shed the top layer of skin. Unless you want to be purple for a few days, it might be wiser to pick another method.

If you do use crystal violet, find some way of completely drying off before wearing clothing or going near anything you care about. The purple colour will stain just about any fabric pretty permanently.
posted by bonehead at 2:17 PM on October 4, 2010

I can't believe how prepared I am to answer this question - I was a Queen's engineer, and have been purple three times. We usually got a kiddie pool and dumped in a film canister of gentian violet. You'll look awesome, really dark purple. It does rub off a little though (no one can sleep in their bed the week they're purple). And everyone paints their nails because the dye is permanent there!

To depurple we would take a shower with a box of Tide and scrub. Everyone would look sickly grey for a few days while it washed off, so maybe not the best option for you.

We purpled to scare the frosh, we also gelatined and spray painted our hair...
posted by piper4 at 3:28 PM on October 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

although theRussian had a presumably okay experience with acrylic paint, you probably don't want to do that...I asked a face painting question a few years ago and was warned not to use acrylic
posted by radioamy at 3:43 PM on October 4, 2010

The aforementioned Queen's students use Gentian Violet. It is safe for human application, but it does not come off for days, and when it comes off, it's pretty uneven for a day or two.

I never found an engineering student who managed to find another way to get it off. So unless you want to be purple for many days, I wouldn't recommend it for Hallowe'en.
posted by scrute at 5:13 PM on October 4, 2010

Plus, you will get purple on everything you touch for the first hour or two after application. The residences at Queen's have had to enforce strict rules on its application.
posted by scrute at 5:14 PM on October 4, 2010

As a Queen's University grad (mentioned above - the engineers die themselves purple for frosh week), i am pretty sure i remember those crazy dorks using purple medical dye. I am pretty sure you won't look normal right away.

I also think that 'don't rub off' and 'washes off right away' might be incompatible goals.
posted by Kololo at 8:53 PM on October 4, 2010

Play around with food dye until you get the correct ratio, then make about 2 cups of it (extra just in case). Paint on with a paint brush or sponge - you'll have to see what's right for your look.

Spray with something like this Barrier Spray (company: Mehron) sealer fixative to keep it on. (I haven't tested this last step yet, so I don't know how well it combines with the food dye).

I don't know if there's a way to do this more smoothly, but I'm going to be dying my entire body a dark-ish blue next month for a Ren Faire, and I'm fairly willing to bet this will work. By the way, for my look which is fairly dark, I'm going to have to do about 2 to 3 coats. It will take a while, and is very drippy and can stain counter tops if you're not careful, but I think it's the best "cheapest" way I've found.
posted by DisreputableDog at 10:36 PM on October 4, 2010

Btw, you take off the food dye with toothpaste. Soap works okay, but toothpaste gets it off in a frothy mess of blue. So...buy it at discount?
posted by DisreputableDog at 10:52 PM on October 4, 2010

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