Tutorial: Creating Realistic Cosplay Scars with Rigid Collodion

How to create realistic scars for cosplay

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Cosplay enthusiasts often strive for authenticity in their costumes, and creating realistic scars can add a compelling layer of detail to a character’s appearance. Scars can tell a story of past battles, adventures, or encounters, making them an intriguing feature in cosplay. One effective method for crafting these details is by using a product called rigid collodion. Rigid collodion is a clear liquid that, when applied to your skin, shrinks as it dries, pulling the skin taut to simulate the look of an indented scar.

The application of rigid collodion is simple, making it a popular choice among cosplayers. You paint the liquid onto the area where you want the scar to appear, and within minutes, as the collodion dries, it creates a puckered effect that mimics the texture of scarred skin. For a more dramatic look, you can layer the product, allowing each layer to dry before adding the next. This technique helps you control the depth and severity of the scar, from a faint scratch to a deep gash.

In general, rigid collodion is a safe product to use. You can feel comfortable creating cuts and scars on your arms, chest, face, or wherever. However, for safety, you do want to avoid putting rigid collodion directly over your eyelids.

How to use rigid collodion to create cuts and scars

All you need to get started is some rigid collodion, some red-colored makeup, and a translucent setting powder. You can use cream, powder, pencil, or whatever kind of makeup you have available. Brighter red colors are good to use for fresh cuts and scars. Slightly older scars will be a more red-purple color, and very old scars will have a pink or white appearance. So, choose the colors you use based on the type of scar you are trying to create.

  1. Using makeup, put a line on where you want your scar to go. Use a brighter red for fresher cuts and scars, purple for older scars, and pink or white for matured scars.
  2. Layer rigid collodion over the line. Usually, it comes with a brush like nail polish. Simply wipe a thin layer of the liquid over the line you created.
  3. Let it dry. After it dries, you can add another layer of color makeup if you want a fresher wound look.
  4. Add more rigid collodion to the area where you want the scar to be deeper. The more layers of rigid collodion you add, the deeper the indent will look. For a small scar, I will usually add three layers, but you can continue to make the scar deeper or more intricate.
  5. Use a setting powder over top to remove the shininess. The rigid collodion will leave a shiny look on the surface of your skin. Using matte translucent powder should reduce this to make it look a lot more like skin.
  6. Use foundation for a slightly more healed look. If you want the scar to look a little older, you can also use your regular foundation to cover it and blend it into your face. It will still have the indented look but will appear more healed.
step-by-step rigid collodion scar
Creating a scar with rigid collodion.

To remove the scar from your face, all you have to do is peel it off. There is no special remover product that you need to purchase. There isn’t even a significant amount of that ripping off a bandaid feeling, so removing the rigid collodion is pretty pain-free. If you added a lot of makeup to the area, you may want to also wipe it off with makeup remover.

Emily Joice

My name is Emily, and I have been cosplaying since my very first convention in 2008. Over the years, I've experimented with all different kinds of cosplay costumes, especially loving the process of creating props and styling wigs. I also delved into cosplay photography, and love exploring how to optimize costumes so they look excellent in photos. Most of the photos you find on this site were taken by me over my years at anime conventions.

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