Why “Face Off” Is The Best Reality Competition You’re Not Watching

Now in its fourth season, SyFy’s Face Off pits movie make-up artists against one another. And it’s still the most entertaining reality competition on TV.

1. The concept is completely unique.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

Do you know how hard it is to find a fresh reality competition concept nowadays? Face Off is the only show like it on TV, providing insight into an industry that’s always been behind-the-scenes. For horror, sci-fi, and fantasy geeks, the show was long overdue.

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2. The contestants are delightful oddballs.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

Have you ever met a make-up artist? They’re a little wacky! Not all of them, of course, but who wants to watch a reality show filled with socially well-adjusted individuals? Face Off is a good mix of eccentric personalities who are a little off without being Real Housewives damaged.

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3. Host McKenzie Westmore is more than just a pretty face.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

McKenzie Westmore is the SyFy Channel’s Padma Lakshmi: tall, gorgeous, and very knowledgeable about the subject at hand. McKenzie also has fun rapport with Face Off’s Tim Gunn, Michael Westmore, who happens to be her dad. Did I mention she starred on Passions?

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4. It values make-up over CGI.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

Ugh, remember when George Lucas turned Yoda from a charming puppet to a CGI abomination? Look, I get that there are exciting new innovations in the field of special effects, but there’s something wonderful about traditional make-up that is too often lost in favor of glossy (and fake-looking) CGI monstrosities. Face Off promotes the old school style.

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5. Sometimes the work is hilariously bad.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

When you pair up two artists with conflicting visions — or two contestants that hate each other — you get a horrifying mishmash that would get laughed off an actual movie set. As is always the case on shows like this, schadenfreude is part of the thrill.

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6. And sometimes it’s really cool.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

Like, seriously creepy and effective. These are professionals, after all, and more often than not, their visions produce something that’s at least fun to look at. Every once in a while, it crosses the threshold into nightmare fodder.

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7. And sometimes it’s a little of both.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

I think this image speaks for itself.

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8. The models go through some serious shit.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

Pay attention, sadists! No other reality competition puts its models through the ringer the way that Face Off does. I hope these people are well compensated for their hours in the make-up chair, complete with heavy prosthetics and giant color contacts. I wince just thinking about it.

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9. You actually learn something.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

Top Chef is fun and all, but I’ve never walked away from it with a better understanding of cooking. Face Off walks you through the steps every week, so you at least feel like you know how to do make-up and prosthetics. (You don’t, but it’s fun to pretend.)

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10. This is the face that will haunt you if you don’t watch.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

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