Face off is a reality show where makeup artists compete to design and apply makeup and prostheses. It is hosted by [=McKenzie=] Westmore, and the judges and guest judges are accomplished leaders in the industry. Every week they complete challenges and the judges eliminate a contestant until only one is left. The prizes change from season to season, but they usually involve a cash prize and a supply of makeup.
Every week they face a spotlight challenge, after which a contestant is eliminated. Sometimes there is a foundation challenge at the beginning of the episode where the winner will gain something to help in the spotlight challenge. The challenges are usually the sort of thing you would find in a science fiction or horror movie, but they will occasionally be given something more mundane, like aging someone or designing a tattoo.
The first season premiered in January 2011, the second season ran again the same time in 2012, and the third season premiered in August of 2012. Season 4 began in January 2013. Season 5 will start in August 2013.
!!Face Off provides examples of:
* AllStarCast: The series judges - Glenn, Ve, and Patrick (Neville for Season 3). You've more than likely seen at least one of the movies each one was involved in. Season 4 also (re-)introduces Michael Westmore as the contestant's pro-mentor. And of course, you have the various guest judges who are all well known movie and/or TV figures.
* AudienceParticipation: The audience ultimately decided who won the third season, AmericanIdol style.
* BaitAndSwitch: Judge Glenn Hetrick is fond of these. It's not uncommon for him to say something along the lines of "I don't like this.... I love it!"
* [[BlackGuyDiesFirst Black Guy Gets Eliminated First]]: Troy, the only African-American in Season Four, was eliminated in the first episode.
* CameBackStrong: Nicole from the Third Season returned to the show after being eliminated, and the judges noted the fight that came from her after returning, awarding her with two consecutive wins.
** [[spoiler: Not only that, but she ended up being the season winner.]]
* ContinuityNod: The RealityTVShowMansion usually incorporates pictures of some work from the previous season into the decorations.
** Additionally, Season 1's winner, [[spoiler: Connor]], was a guest judge for the first challenge of Season 2, while Season 2's winner [[spoiler: Rayce]] gave the contestants some pointers during Season 3's "Supermobile" challenge.
** Both are visible in the season 3 finale among audience members. In the season 3 finale, one contestent notes that even after the show, a number of contestents and judges have remained close including living together, working on the same projects, and so forth.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Originally the illustrations of each phase of design were done almost completely digitally, there were clips of each person winning or being sent home rather than narration by Mackenzie, and more focus was placed on the home drama and struggles in the lab than now.
* EveryoneMeetsEveryone: Usually how the seasons start.
* EliminatedFromTheRace / VotedOffTheIsland: Those on the "bottom looks" as chosen by the judges are most likely to be eliminated. There is usually at least one artist eliminated each episode.
* EliminationStatement: So far, the only contestants who haven't given an EliminationStatement are the runners-up for the finals, and Joe from Season Three.
* GilliganCut: From Season One's Villain Challenge:
-->'''Marcell''': I forgot to release my mold...[[hottip:*: SFX makeup lingo for "lubricate," i.e. the mold was basically sealed shut.]]
-->'''Connor''' ''[to the ConfessionCam]'': [[FlatWhat What?!]]
* HeartInTheWrongPlace: A costume of a re-imagined, horror-themed Tin Woodsman featured a bare chest with a gaping hole where the character's heart is missing. Naturally, it's very high on the left side.
* HeyItsThatGuy: A contestant might say this as soon as a guest-judge is introduced. Subverted at times for most audience members since SFX artists aren't typically as well known as something like a producer or director.
* NinjaPirateZombieRobot: Some of the challenges invoke this trope, with themes like "ZombieApocalypse In Wonderland" or "Alien Werewolves".
* OvershadowedByAwesome: Poor Derek, standing next to [[spoiler: Laura and Nicole.]]
** NextTimeOn: Averted.
* PutOnABus: All of the eliminated contestants...
** TheBusCameBack: ...who return at the end of the season to help the finalists with their enormous final challenge.
** [[spoiler: Season 3 offered the opportunity for an eliminated contestant to return.]]
** The web spin-off ''Face Off: Redemption'' allowed fourth-season contestant [[spoiler: Eric Z.]] to win a spot on Season Five.
* RealityTVShowMansion: Where the artists live during the competition.
* RecurringExtra: The same models are used over and over and are seen in close-up for the "morphing" shots, although they seldom say anything and their names are almost never mentioned.
* RuleFifty: Season Three gives us ''Literature/AlicesAdventuresInWonderland'' [[XMeetsY meets]] ''Resident Evil''... with the ''Film/ResidentEvil'' film franchise's producer/director, Paul W.S. Anderson, as a ''guest judge'' for that challenge, no less!
* [[spoiler: ScrewThisImOuttaHere: At the end of Season Three's first challenge, Joe unexpectedly left the set and was disqualified. Fortunately, that meant nobody else was eliminated. Oddly enough, Joe [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse was never mentioned again, not even by the remaining contestants]]. (Possibly his walkout meant that the show lost its rights to do so.)]]
* SerialEscalation: The finales of each season demonstrate this:
-->'''Season 1:''' A diorama-style exhibition for a party with several big-name makeup artists in attendance.
-->'''Season 2:''' The models perform choreographed dance routine to a live audience.
-->'''Season 3:''' Not only is the audience live, ''but so is the finale itself''.
-->'''Season 4:''' [[spoiler:'''''[[CirqueDuSoleil Cirque. Du. Soleil.]] In water.''''']]
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness: As the season 3 finale revealed through cut footage, Neville and particularly Glenn are fond of this.
* ShockingElimination: Sometimes the artists remaining are depressed by the elimination of one of their friends, or sometimes even their siblings.
* ThisIsACompetition: Very, very often. Those who take it too far usually suffer for it.
** Connor from Season 1 proved to be an exception. He actually said "This is a competition) early in the finale, displaying the exact attitude of the trope, [[spoiler: and won]].
** Joe in Season 3 had this or some other issue. [[spoiler: The lack of information coming from the fact that he ''stormed off the set'' on the second episode for being in the bottom looks. He was subsequently disqualified and not invited back.]]
* TransformationSequence: Each foundation-challenge costume is shown in close-up to we viewers, as the model undergoes a CGI morph from human to whatever-it-is.