So you fancy wearing latex do you? Well firstly, why do you hate yourself so much? I jest of course, but it’s a nightmare at times. Latex takes on whatever the temperature of the world around you is. If the convention is cold expect to be pretty damn chilly and if it’s a hot day prepare to sweat like a raccoon that’s just been asked by the Winter Soldier if he’s seen his arm.
If you’re like me, enamoured with the shine and aesthetics of latex then here’s a little basic guide to how to wear and care for your new latex purchase.
Putting Your Latex On
Putting latex on your body isn’t as straightforward as any other fabric. As it is tight and can snag the skin when putting it on you will need the correct materials to make the process easier. Here are a few suggestions for what to use
- Baby Powder: Lots of people use baby powder to put on their latex as it removes moisture from your skin and allows the latex to glide on much easier. Personally I hate it as I get sweaty under latex and there’s nothing like a sweat and talc paste to dampen your day. You can buy specially made latex dressing powders which I’m yet to try but worth a go if you prefer using powder based products!
- Water: I know a few people that put their latex on in a cool shower. Again this helps the latex glide on and also assists if the process of getting on your tight cat suit etc, causes you to perspire a lot. However, water is drying and I find it can make the risk of tearing your latex worse (more on that later)
- Silicone Based Lubricants: Lots of latex shine companies also make dressing aids specially formulated for latex. It’s not the same as the shiners and lots contain moisturisers that keep your skin feeling pleasant. I personally use Vivishine’s Dressing Aid as I find my skin is much happier after a day of latex wear. Glossi, Skin Two, Pjur and many others also make great dressing aids.
Once you’ve lubed or powdered yourself up it’s time to get yourself in there. This is the time that the risk of tearing or denting your clothing is highest. My best advice for avoiding this is to take it slow, go bit by bit and use your whole hand (giggity). I place one hand inside the latex, one outside and move the latex up in a massaging motion.
Keep your nails well out of the way, do not pinch your latex with just your finger tips and remove anything that might snag like watches or jewellery.
Shining your Latex
So you’ve got your latex on and your feeling like a sexy rubber superhero but oh no! Your latex is dull. Not to worry! Latex comes powdered to protect it so you just need to apply a product to get that sweet shine. There are a few options for this.
- Latex Shine Liquids: Lots of companies make various silicone based shiners for latex. The effect and quality of these can vary. In general, as these are liquid, you pour/spray these on to your latex and rub them in to achieve the required shine. I find it best to wait for a layer to dry and then do another to get that lovely glass like finish
- Silicone Spray: These are an aerosol spray so I strongly advise using in a well-ventilated area or outside. I found applying this most effective when the clothing isn’t on me yet. I spray one side, wait for it to dry and turn over to do the other. I then repeat this for as many times as I feel necessary for the shine to build up. The benefit of using a silicone spray like this is that it lasts so much longer and the shine can be really intense. DO NOT use any silicone spray that is not skin safe. I cannot stress enough how dangerous it is to use a car spray for example. It won’t harm your latex but you are more important than your latex
- Shine Wipes: These are my absolute favourite tip for conventions! Vivishine (they don’t sponsor me I swear but I wish they did) make pocket wipes infused with latex shine that are amazing for sticking your bag and shining on the go. They work an absolute treat and one last ages.
- Silicone Lube: Any silicone based lubricant can shine up your latex. If you haven’t been able to order a specific product or you’ve run out then take a trip to your local chemist, drug store or adult store and grab yourself some lube. Make sure it’s silicone though! Anything water based will get sticky and go matte super quickly.
NEVER USE OIL BASED LUBRICANTS. You will damage your precious latex baby.
Washing Your Latex
Always wash your latex after you’ve worn it. It will get sweaty and washing it after every use will remove unwanted odours and help your latex last longer.
Simply fill a bath or sink with lukewarm water and add either a mild soap or washing powder. I personally use a small amount of washing up liquid as it also removes the excess oils from sweat build up. You can put some latex through a very gentle wash cycle in the washing machine if placed in a pillow case but as I’ve never tried it I can’t recommend it, unless your latex is really badly dirty I guess.
Do not scrub your latex as this can damage it. Merely swishing it about with your whole hand for a few minutes will be sufficient.
Put your latex item on a hanger/over a clothes dryer and let drip dry somewhere away from direct sunlight. You can also pat it down with a soft cloth/towel.
Storing Your Latex
I store my latex in two ways. For my larger items, that I am concerned will crease, I place them on a plastic hanger, cover with a garment bag and hang in my wardrobe.
Smaller items I cover in a thin layer of baby powder and wrap up in grease proof paper. I then carefully fold them and place them in a cupboard. For ease of identification I sometimes put them in cardboard folders or pillow cases with what they are written on them.
Direct sunlight is very bad for latex. The sun’s rays will cause the material to quickly deteriorate and turn white. You can cover the whiteness with a latex shiner if an accident happens but it’s not ideal.
Heat is also really bad so make sure your storage place is away from heat sources. No cupboards next to radiators for example.
Latex can also stain really easily, especially if it’s white. Keep your latex away from anything that colour could leach off of and especially away from metal.
That’s basically all you need to know! So go out, commission yourself some sexy latex cosplay goodness and feel like a sexy latex goddess or god.