This used to be a general blog but now it's entirely a 'stuff I actually made' blog. Mostly crap mashups and cosplay progress. Have fun.
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Hello, screaming grey teens!!
The cosplay community is pretty good at sharing info about troll paint, but it seems only as long as it’s Ben Nye - or occasionally, Snazaroo. I prefer using water-based body paints because of my skin type, so after much frustration I decided to start messing around with paints myself.
In this post, I’m going to be reviewing Snazaroo Light Grey, Grimas Light Grey, and Kryolan Aquacolor 32B. It’s going to be a pretty in-depth review and I’m going to test its resistance to various kinds of abuse. I hope some other Homestucks find this useful. ♥
SNAZAROO LIGHT GREY
(On the left - the one on the right is Dark Grey, put here for reference)
Availability: Easy. It’s stocked basically everywhere.
Cost: Low. Mine was purchased from tinkerbell-uk @eBay for the hardly princely sum of £1.99 + £1.50 P&P (their Light Grey paint is out of stock now, though). I’ve got no complaints with the service.
Package design: I hate Bradley Hand. I hate it so much.
Questionable font choice aside, I really like Snaz’s packaging. You can see the clear plastic on mine looks splintered at the edge, but I think that’s a flaw in the plastic making, not the package itself, since it’s still watertight. One REALLY GREAT thing about Snazaroo is that you can use the lid as a water pot - brilliant for touching up Snazaroo in the con loos. The actual cake is in a softer pallet inside the hard plastic case, but that doesn’t matter. It’s slightly curved so doesn’t stack particularly well, but YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT THAT, YOU ONLY WANT TO BE GREY.
Mixing/use notes: Like with most water-based paints, the best way of activating it is to use a wet foundation brush (or sponge, if you prefer that - personally I find sponges make Snazz splotchy) on the surface of the cake. It takes water quite hungrily.
It’s best to use a fairly mean amount of water with Snazaroo, since runny Snaz sits unpleasantly in the creases of your skin and is generally a pain to put on anyway. I suspect this is because it is so water soluble it WASHES ITSELF AWAY.
Anyway! There’s really nothing too remarkable about using Snazaroo.
Smell: It has a distinctive smell, but it’s not strong or unpleasant. It’s sweetish and sort of waxy.
Drying time: I didn’t time it, but I notice it took quite a while to dry - another reason why you want to use a minimal amount of water.
Staining: None whatsoever.
Staying power with no fixative: Not very good. It’s not THE WORST (that would be costume shop tube creme paints, shudder) but - okay, here are a couple of contrasting anecdotes regarding this stuff. I wore a terrible Vriska cosplay to an equally terrible Christmas party last year (still won the costume contest though \o/), and it began to drizzle as I was walking there. I was very worried, but my paint stayed on like a trooper, except for my philtrum, which was instantly washed clean and remained pink for the whole evening despite attempts to fix it. Snazaroo is RIDICULOUSLY water soluble (this is why I hate sponging it on - you’re squeezing water back onto it, which makes it wash off) and it comes off if you smudge it AT ALL when it’s even slightly wet.
A note: I have anecdata for neat Snaz thanks to the fact that I used it in my cosplay noob phase, but I’m not going to give you any data about the staying power of the other two with no fixative because YOU SHOULDN’T BE WEARING IT WITHOUT FIXATIVE ANYWAY, YOU SMEARY GREY ASSHOLE. If you are going to whine and complain about it, please don’t touch the door with your hands on the way out; I don’t want to have to clean grey off the handle.
So where were we?
GRIMAS LIGHT GREY
Availability: OK. From what I hear this is very easy to get hold of in Europe. I don’t know the availability for any of you Ameridudes.
Cost: Within Europe, low. I got mine from Team Pixie for £5.30 for 25ml, but the 15ml version (more than you need) is £3.53. Team Pixie’s service was excellent and they have a wonderful website, too.
Package design: Most stock images show it as being a deep pot, but instead it’s a shallow container similar to the Snazaroo one - only slimmer and better looking. You can also use the lid to hold water, since it’s flatter and even has little grooves on the side in which you can rest your brush - however, it only holds a really tiny amount and it’ll spill if you move it anywhere.
Mixing/use notes: This stuff mixes a bit weirdly. Put a wet brush on it and it at first resists the water in a worrying oily manner. But keep mixing and SUDDENLY WEED DREAMS (poof), it turns into a rather luxurious creamy paint. Majjyks! This stuff feels so nice to put on, seriously, and out of the ones I tested the colour is the most immediately, rewardingly dense. I recommend using a very wet brush (not dripping), since you need to blend quite vigorously to get a good colour.
Smell: No smell whatsoever.
Drying time: Very short. I painted my hand first with Grimas in the demo images coming up, and it was already dry by the time I’d done my layer of Snaz.
Kryolan Aquacolor 32B
Is it Aquacolor or Aquacolour?
Availability: Good. From what I hear, this is available worldwide.
Cost: Dear. This is why I only got the 4ml size - a refill size. You’ll be glad to know it’d be more than enough to make you a troll, though the small container makes it slightly hard work. I also bought this from Team Pixie.
Package design: Again, I got the refill size. I kept it in the blister pack, which snaps open and closed nicely, to protect it (as I don’t have an expensive case). It’s a bit flimsy, but works fine.
Mixing/use notes: Unlike Grimas, this has rather a creamy texture right from the get-go, but isn’t quite as satisfying as Grimas to put on. It does have a feeling of quality about it, though. In terms of the water amount, use a medium amount. It’s really easy to use and doesn’t seem to hold brush strokes either.
The only thing to remember is that it seems a lot more translucent dry than wet. You’ll get a great looking paint job, then it’ll dry and you’ll realise you’re still human-coloured but with a slightly mouldy tone to you. Hooray.
Smell: Unfortunately someone thought it would be a good idea to perfume this stuff. I’d say it smelled like a rancid old lady, but most don’t smell as bad as this. I got Kryolan because I thought it would be good enough quality to mix with Ben Nye Liquiset for added staying power, but the combination of the chemical smell of the Liquiset and the rotting-perfumery smell of the Kryolan gave me an instant throbbing headache and put me off my food for a while. (Note, however, that I have an unusually sensitive sense of smell and most people don’t seem to mind it.) Some people online suggest that opening the cake and leaving it for a week with the lid off lets the smell fade. I haven’t tried this.
Drying time: Lengthy. I did notice, however, that it reponds very well to setting powder - I spilled a little on it by mistake, and it immediately darkened in the area I spilled it on. I held it above my heater, I blasted it with a hairdryer, and it still took ages, so bum.
Staining: Very, VERY slight.
(From left to right - ONE stroke of Grimas, ONE stroke of Snazaroo, ONE stroke of Kryolan.)
Now I’m just some fantroll that you used to knowwwww.
On the top is Grimas, in the centre is Snazaroo, on the bottom is Kryolan. (The partition lines are Mehron Monster Grey, a creme paint that I don’t like.) Each has three coats applied.
There IS a small amount of paint rub-off, but that was because I was a dick and rubbed my hand by accident before applying Final Seal and taking this photo - rest assured I got all three partitions totally covered. Almost.
(One small thing worth observing is that Snaz smeared right off my nails just by rubbing it with my thumb - Grimas and Kryolan didn’t.)
Monitors are monitors and this image had to be blasted from reality through my phonecatcher and into this terrible website and onto YOUR monitor so effectively I have no idea what colours you are seeing, so I will try to describe them from reality -
Snazaroo is a light grey with something of a blue tinge. Check out devioustofu’s post comparing Light Grey Snazaroo to the Ben Nye ‘Troll Gray’ fanmixture over here, if you are familiar with the colour of Troll Gray.
Grimas is a shade lighter than Snazaroo, but also with less of a blue tone. Other than that, they aren’t wildly different in colour.
The Kryolan, however, is. It’s got a silty colour to it, and has a green/brown cast to it rather than blue. I really like the colour, and it might be good for people cosplaying Captors and Leijons in particular, and possibly even Nitrams and Maryams. Snazaroo might be a good option for Serkets and Zahhaks. Grimas is neutral in tone but paler than most common paints, so it might fit dead characters like Aradia or characters you might headcanon to be a little pasty - maybe a Gamzee with his makeup off.
Of course, this tone advice is fairly moot if you’re going to be using coloured eyeshadows to tint your troll in their haemospectral way (which you should be doing) - and the tone differences are subtle (okay, Snaz is a bit blue for me, but the difference between Grimas and Kryolan is basically down to preference). You could use the yellowish Kryolan as Aranea, for example; its yellow tones might make her blue dress pop harder.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT is that they are all within acceptable bounds for trolls - only start fussing about tone if you are going to be in a cosplay group.
Please note that I dusted my hand with e.l.f. HD powder to help smooth over the wrinkliness and set anything not yet dry, then sprayed myself with Ben Nye Final Seal, which accounts for the slight, barely noticeable shininess.
AND YOU SHOULD BE USING FINAL SEAL BECAUSE IT’S AMAZING AND IT WILL SAVE YOU. I got mine from Treasure House of Makeup for £6.18, which seems a little extortionate BUT BELIEVE ME IT IS WORTH IT. EVERY HOMESTUCK COSPLAYER SHOULD HAVE BEEN GIVEN A FREE COUPON TO USE ONE AT BIRTH, USE IT USE IT USE IT USE IT USE IT USE IT USE IT
Also the HD powder is £6 from e.l.f. and its only flaw is that amateurish trollpaint experiments are hard to get off the packaging.
Here are some closeups so you can see the paint’s quality on the folds of my hand. Remember hand skin is wrinklier than facial skin.
The Snazz was okay, but very cracky at the knuckles. The Grimas was less so, but still quite a lot.
I was, however, VERY impressed by the Kryolan, and how much it SMOOTHED my skin rather than exaggerated the crinkles. However, this may have been because I applied HD powder to the Kryolan every layer (thanks to its awful drying time). I will experiment further.
I decided to simulate various kinds of common convention abuse to determine the true quality of the makeups.
The rubbing test
I rubbed my hand very aggressively with my other hand for about a minute. These are the results.
(I bumped the saturation up a little so you could see the faded patches better.)
NOT BAD, ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. And this was from ONE squirt of Final Seal. THIS IS WHY YOU NEED TO USE IT.
The Grimas survived the assault surprisingly well, with Kryolan being the next most durable. The Snazz got faded faster than a gangster rapper waving his arse at a rival armed with a sixteenth-century cannon.
This is what my other hand looked like. Hee hee.
The blending test
This is to see how well the makeup holds and resists makeup added on top. Generally, when doing trollpaint, things like contouring will be applied along with your grey, but for things like the femtrolls’ lipstick and eyeliner, you’ll be applying that on top. Will it take off all the grey underneath and turn into a goopy murky mess? Only one way of finding out.
I used a mixture of Ben Nye Liquiset and some cheap matte cerulean eyeshadow that I got with the intention of using it for Mindfang in the future. (Liquiset was from Treasure House of Makeup; I got the 4fl.oz. size for £11.22. Eyeshadow was from kissandmakeup12311 @eBay for £1.99 - I do recommend it for Serkets.)
The Kryolan got a little bit blendy - you can see grey smears in there - but mostly they all held extremely well. Continuing on!
The deluge test
I ran my hand under the tap on full blast for a minute, with no scrubbing.
You can see the shitty Mehron paint melted straight out of the partitions despite being sealed like everything else, but these held SURPRISINGLY WELL. I was disappointed by how badly the Grimas performed here, but the Kryolan was absolutely AMAZING.
Here’s a closeup of the Scorpio symbol on the Kryolan. You can see that it flaked away, rather than the outside paint, possibly because Kryolan melded somewhat with the Liquiset.
They all washed off with soap and water, no hassle. I’m no showing you that step, it’s boring.
Personally, I liked the Grimas the best, the Kryolan second best and the Snazaroo least, but I admit the Kryolan had several edges over the Grimas. However, the Grimas has the advantage of not smelling terrible, which is the main reason for my ultimate preference for it.
Does anyone have any further questions? And does anyone want me to review any other brands of water-based trollpaint? SEND ME REQUESTS, I AM ALWAYS WATCHING.