Tip 1 - Wigs!
Always try and get the best looking wig for your character! If you've gone to all that effort with your costume it's honestly in your best interest to get a wig that looks good to complete the look. You don't need to break the bank if you don't want to, and don't worry if you aren't the best stylist out there! Just make sure that it's the same colour as your character and vaguely resembles their hair style and it will instantly look so much better than using your own hair if it looks nothing like the character you're trying to portray. Make the effort and you won't regret it!
Tip 2 - Putting on a wig!
Ok! So one of the best things to make wearing a wig easier is to wear a wig cap underneath the wig - this helps to hold all of your hair in neatly underneath the wig and will also help to hold the wig on more securely. You can either buy a premade wig cap or go for the slightly cheaper option of cutting the legs off a pair of tights, and sewing straight across to produce your own cap, I've done this a couple of times so I know it works perfectly well. Putting on a wig is easy really, just lean forward and hold the front of the wig to your forehead, then pull the rest of it over the back of your head. If the wig has a set of elasticated clips at the back do those up once you've got the wing on comfortably, or get a friend to help, and they will also insure that the wig stays in place.
Tip 3 - Wig Washing and Care!
I've washed a couple of my wigs before and all I used was warm water and a small amount of hair conditioner. This makes the fibres of the wig feel a little smoother and makes them more manageable. You should also brush out the wig carefully and make sure that it's clean and dry before storing it. If possible highly styled or spiked wigs are best stored on a polystyrene head, which will help maintain the wigs style.
Tip 4 - First Appearance!
Make the best first impression in your costume with this one easy step! IRON IT! This is honestly the cheapest, easiest (yes men even you can do it) and best way to best present that costume you've spent so much time making, or that you spent so much money on eBay for. Turning up in a wrinkly outfit gives people a bad impression, and is a very fast way of spoiling a really great costume. So the night before your event or photo shoot, quickly pass a hot iron over your costume to get rid of all those nasty wrinkles! Just be careful about how hot you have the iron and what type of fabric you're ironing for example don't iron pleather and PVC type materials as the heat will melt them if unsure always check the fabric type before ironing.
Tip 5 - Binding!
One for all you Female to Male crossplayers out there! The simplest way to look more like your male counterpart is to get rid of your most obvious female assets, we all know what I'm talking about, breasts! The most effective way to do this is to wear a chest binding or compression/binding top. A basic chest binding is essentially a long stretchy length of fabric (wide bandages are the ideal, and are what I currently use) wrapped tightly around ones chest. Another really simple way of binding (which is great for people with smaller chests) is to simply wear a sports bra, you could also try wearing a smaller sports bra then you might normally get, or by wearing two sports bras. A compression top or binding top does the same thing but is worn as a piece of clothing under your costume and are often the best and most comfortable option. If you are cosplaying as a male character I would recommend considering wearing a chest binding as it will make your costume that much better as it is a little odd to see your favourite male character wondering passed sporting a female bust! However it is totally up to you, if you don't feel comfortable wearing a binding, don't worry! The most important thing is that you enjoy wearing your costume and being comfortable is a large part of that. Another, less restricting way of appearing to have a more male build is with the fit of your clothing. Chose slightly larger tops and clothes that don't hug your female curves, you could also try wearing male fit trousers.
ATTENTION!! Always make sure that your binding is comfortable before going out. If you're in pain or having trouble breathing, remove your binding straight away and take a break. Never bind too tight!
IMPORTANT NOTE: Don't use Ace/Crepe/Compression/Elastic wrap bandage! These are a type of ridged bandage that are usually used on sprained muscles and are designed to reduce swelling by reducing the blood flow to the area by creating pressure. Essentially they become tighter when stretched with is really bad news for your breathing if worn around the chest. So really, seriously don't use them, there are plenty of alternatives.
Tip 6 - Makeup!
Let's talk makeup! Don't worry; this is one for all genders, so keep reading! If your cosplaying a male character do you really think it's totaly appropriate for him to be decked out in full eye make up, lipstick and the works? No, me neither! So ditch the bright red lippy and go for something far more neutral and natural looking. In fact putting foundation on female lips will make them appear thinner and make you look just that bit more masculine! Sticking with foundation for the minute, yes men foundation will work for you too! It's perfect for covering up those annoying spots and blemishes that have appeared the day before your convention debut, or photo shoot. For more feminine males, and cute girl cosplay, false eyelashes are great for enhancing the eyes, but honestly should be avoided for most male cosplay. An easy tip about deciding upon the makeup style for your character is to first think about the characters personality, then how this would translate into a certain makeup style. For instance, take Naruto; he's a young teenage boy, so he would have very natural looking makeup; foundation on the face and lips, perhaps a natural coloured eye makeup, and of course not forgetting his iconic whisker marks, which could be done in ether eyeliner or face paint. It's really up to the tastes of the individual cosplayer when it comes down to stuff like this, and honestly I could go on and on about this subject, but it would take up way too much space here! I may at some point consider doing a proper guide to cosplay make up (but then that could also be said of the other tips subjects, but there you go), but don't stay up waiting for it.