Best Face Forward 2017 FINAL CHALLENGE: Court of the Dead

Posted on 08 March 2018

bff2017 final round

Hello Contestants and Spectators, and welcome to the final challenge of Arda's Best Face Forward 2017! It's been quite a long journey and we appreciate all of you who have been following us along the way. 

We have a special round for this finale, and are pleased to announce that we have partnered with Sideshow Collectibles' independent brand, Court of the Dead, to bring you a unique and stimulating body painting challenge. 

Contestants, this is a half body paint challenge inspired by characters from Court of the Dead. Please refer to the character profiles on the Court of the Dead website HERE. Please confirm with us by email:, which character you will have decided on. We strongly suggest you pick a character that is dynamic in textures. 

This final round will proceed a little differently from our other previous challenges.

We ask the contestants to pick their products from the following list:

  • 2 Kryolan HD Skinliners
  • 2 Mehron Paradise Paints AQ 1.4oz
  • 3 EBA Performance Makeup Vibe colors - any size
  • 5 Morphe Eyeshadows
  • 1 LA Splash liquid lipstick from any collection
  • 3 Miscellaneous products from the makeup shop - all Paasche products are excluded

The list for each contestant's products as well as character choice needs to be submitted via email by noon CMT on Monday, March 12, 2018. Please make sure that the products are in stock on our website prior to sending your list. This will give each contestant a few days to finalize a design and decide which products they will need to complete the challenge. Submitting your list late WILL result in a 5% penalty off your final score. 

As soon as we have everyone's lists, product will be packaged up and sent to each contestant as soon as possible. Once each contestant has confirmed the arrival of their package via email, they will be given an allotted time period (approximately twenty-one days) and a specific deadline with which to complete their challenge. From then on, the contest will proceed as usual. 

Contestants, this challenge is designed to have you combine all the skills that you have utilized in the past challenges. We are not only going to be looking at your technique and skill level, but your artistry and how well the characters are represented on the body as well. As stated previously, this will be a half body makeup challenge, but the back is not required unless it is shown in your final photo. You may use yourself or a model for the challenge, and it is not required, but we highly encourage some type of hair styling or wig, contact lenses, light costuming, or props for a more complete concept. You may have assistance with the photography, hair, wardrobe, and modeling, but not with the makeup application. 

You will only be allowed to use the makeup products that have been sent to you to complete your look  with the exception of makeup tools (i.e. sponges, Q-tips, spatulas, brushes, airbrush, etc.), prosthetic pieces, adhesives (spirit gum, Pros-aide, silicone adhesive), mixing mediums such as gloss, gel, or spray, and your base (foundation, powder, concealer). Please email us if there is any specific product you may have a question about. 

Please provide in some form of media, such as pictures or video, as well as brief, written descriptions, on how you used each product to complete your look. We will require one photo of the products sent (all together is fine) as well as in-progress photos and/or video demonstrating where the products were used in addition to your final photo submissions. A mood board and/or reference material is welcomed, but not required, and will not affect your score.

For the final photos, do take several angles of your finished look. This includes photos of the entire makeup, a close-up headshot of the makeup, and close-up shots of any detail work that you will have done. We will require a minimum of 5 final photos this time. Please do not add filters to your photos or alter your photos with photo editing software. We are looking for clean, clear shots of your makeup and anything affecting that will count as a penalization for your presentation score. Be aware of your background (plain is best) and the time of day your photos are being shot. This also includes progress pictures of your work. If the photo is too grainy, we cannot see how the makeup is applied, and therefore cannot give you full points when judging. Shooting at night can affect the clarity of your photos unless you have the proper lighting equipment. Please keep in mind failure to submit all the information requested will also affect your final score.

These are the categories we will be judging you on for a total of 45 points possible:

- Presentation (10 points)

- Character/Accuracy (10 points)

- Use of Product/Efficiency of Materials (10 points)

- Cleanliness/Technique (10 points)

- Artistry (BONUS 5 points)

Here is a breakdown of each category:


In this category, we will be judging you on how your overall makeup is presented and documented. This is where the quality of your pictures, video, and descriptions comes into play. How well can we see your makeup? Are the products overshadowed by the costume, wig, etc? Or are the products the main focus of your look? Are there any good, detailed shots of the final look? Or are your photos grainy and blurry? Is there any skin showing that isn't intentional? Do you have clear in-progress photos and/or video detailing your application process? Did you submit clear and concise descriptions of the steps you took to create your look? Or are we left confused by the process? Remember, it is better to have more information than to skip a step and assume that the judges can figure out what you did. 


For this category, we will be looking at your final photos for the overall look that was achieved. We want to see how your chosen Court of the Dead character was rendered as well as how accurate your character was. Your makeup does not have to be a literal interpretation of the character, but what we are looking for is key elements that are incorporated and representative of a particular character. For example, if your character is Kier from the Spirit Faction, consider your color palette of choice. Why is she a more blue-ish tone rather than red? What elements are signature to her look that are necessary to incorporate into the makeup? i.e. the breastplate, her facial tattoos, the red on her arms, etc. We want to view your finished look and be able to tell who the character is without context. We highly encourage you to read up a little bit about your character and the Court of the Dead universe if you are not already familiar with it. A lot of the information can be found on the Court of the Dead website.

Use of Product/Efficiency of Materials

Here, we will be judging you on how well you utilized the products that were sent. How and where did you use each product to illuminate a particular effect? Are the products overshadowed by the costume, wig, etc? Or are the products the main focus of your look? Remember, this is a body painting challenge, and while for Court of the Dead we can definitely see the attraction to certain costuming elements, we need to see the torso of the body and what you painted. Please do not cover up your work! Please remember to document your process as well through in-progress photos and/or video. Again, we are looking for clear and concise descriptions of the steps you took to create your character. We need to see how and where you used each product that you were sent. 


For this category, we will be looking at how well you applied your makeup. Are the products blended where they need to be? Is there any fallout visible? Are there any jagged and uneven lines that are not intentional? Is the application smooth and even? If you are utilizing prosthetics and/or a bald cap, can we see your blending edges? How are your transitions between product and finishes? How well did you utilize your understanding of light and shadow to bring about the desired effect? Maybe to simulate clothing? We want to see a variety of techniques used such a spattering, gradients, clean line work, etc.


BONUS POINTS! Every artist has their own particular style, and we want to see how you incorporated your personal style into these characters. Take your strong points and bring your A-game. Is your style organic? Cartoony? Some of you might really like drag makeup. Either way, give the character you create a little bit of your own personal flair. Keep in mind, it still has to be accurate to the character and make sense. If you have any concerns regarding this, please feel free to email us.

The scoring will be conducted by three Arda judges. Scores will be added up and divided by three to give each contestant an average score for each category. Contestants can obtain a private critique if requested. 

The grand prize for 1st place will include a $100 gift certificate to our website as well as a large package of makeup essentials and goodies provided by us and our sponsors, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, Court of the Dead/Sideshow Collectibles, Crown Brush, EBA Performance Makeup, and Samhain Contact Lenses. The total package will total up to a minimum of $500 in value!

The contestant who takes 2nd place will receive a $75 gift certificate to our website as well as makeup package with a total value of $150!

The contestant who takes 3rd place will receive a $75 gift certificate to our website!

In addition, we will also be conducting an audience poll for spectators to vote for their favorite look from the challenge, and the winner of the poll will receive a $20 gift certificate to our website. Prize items are not redeemable for cash, and no portion of the prize package can be substituted for cash or additional credit. 

Late entry policy: Entries submitted within 12 hours after the deadline can be accepted as a late entry. Late entries will not be qualified to enter the audience poll and will receive a 15% point deduction from their total score. This will likely result in the lowest score, but the contestant can still receive their $75 gift certificate. Entries submitted past the 12-hour late entry period will be disqualified and will not receive any of the aforementioned prizes. 

UPDATE: Contestants, your deadline will be announced as soon as we get notification that you have all received your packages. >>> Your deadline is April 9th, 2018 at noon CST. 

Good luck! This is the final stretch, and you have all deserved your place to compete in the final three! We are waiting with baited breath to see your submissions. :)

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