I've lost count of the number of times I've posted some quality cosplay here and some commenter has wailed "oh that's PHOTOSHOP" when, in reality, most of the trickery is taking place thanks to some amazing make-up work.
This shot above is a good example of how that work is done. Alyson Tabbitha, whose incredible cosplay we've featured before, is transformed here, with make-up, contacts and a wig turning her from Alyson Tabbitha into Final Fantasy XIII's Lightning.
Here's the finished product:
And here are a few more examples (both of them also by Alyson) of how quality make-up can turn good cosplay into something great.