This is a cross post from our “Christmas Carol” production blog.  I thought the information was informative enough to post on my main blog as well.  Let me know you have more tips or tricks you would like to share.  Inquiring minds always want to know.

It takes a lot of practice to put on stage make-up so you don’t look like a clown under the bright lights.  It took me time, research, patience, and advice from the pro’s before I felt relatively comfortable.  We were lucky that Brianna Bennett, our resident artist/teacher/costume guru hosted a class one afternoon going over the in’s and out’s of stage make-up.   The following list has tips and tricks for successfully applying make-up to make yourself beautiful on stage.  I do want to emphasize, looking for colors that both complement your own skin tone and don’t make you look washed out in general will be a good start.  If you are a parent, don’t expect that the lipstick you wear and love will look gorgeous on your child on stage if they have different coloring.  I have too many times seen a child come in with lipstick that made me shudder, wishing that their parents had used a more flattering color on their child.  Brighter is not always better when it comes to the stage.

  • Start with a clean dry face.
  • If applying false eyelashes, do so now.
  • Apply moisturizer and allow to dry.
  • Select a foundation that is slightly darker than your normal skin town.  This will help with the washed out look I was talking about.  When you apply, dot it on lightly and blend in – being careful not to leave lines around neck and jaw line.
  • Apply loose powder to face that matches the foundation.
  • Apply blush by first sweeping your brush through the loose powder than through your powdered blush – this will blend the blush in better.
  • Apply eyeliner.  This takes a steady hand and some steel grit.. don’t be afraid of messing up, because then you surely will.  For a creamy pencil, liquid, gel or pen, use the tip of the brush or the point for the finest line – getting right at the base of the lashes.  If you want a heavier look, angle the point.  Extend your line from one corner of the eye to the other.  A creamy pencil can then be smudged to make a shadowy effect if that is what you are going for.  If you only have a powdery pencil or crayon, the starting point isn’t as critical because you will have to smudge this line into your lid and towards the corners.  Smudge gently with either your finger or a cotton swab.  Line the lower lids lightly, realizing the liquid liner often looks too harsh on the lower lid.
  • Make sure you have put foundation on your eyelids and it is dry before moving to the eye shadow.
  • Apply eye shadow – be careful to use a neutral color to start out with and apply over the entire lid.
  • Use a highlighting shadow to brighten your eyes and lift the look of your whole face.  It can be a lighter shade of the base color, or a pale ivory.  Stay away from sparkly shades, unless specifically told to do so by your director.  Blend the highlighter upwards toward the arch of your brow, extending out a bit – but don’t go any further than the outer tip of your brow.
  • Apply mascara.  Twirl, don’t pump the wand to coat it.  Hold the brush horizontally for upper lashes.  Start at the base and wiggle it up to the tips to maximize separation and create a lush look.  Allow the first coat to dry completely before repeating.   Hold the brush vertically for lower lashes and sweep it lightly across them.
  • Apply lip liner and lipstick.  Lip liner is optional, but if you do use it – put it on first.  Make sure your liner isn’t darker than your lipstick, because if the lipstick fades, you will be left with just an outline and that only looks good… well.. I don’t know when that looks good.
  • Some people find that a dusting of powder or a bit of foundation beneath the lipstick can make it stay longer.  However, this can dry out your lips – so keep that in mind afterwards when you take your makeup off and need to moisturize your lips as well.
  • A lip brush gives you the most precision – but remember to blot.  It gets sets the color, and gets rid of the excess… and not on your teeth.

Lastly, I believe that spending some time practicing before the big day is key – especially when it comes to fake eyelashes.  There is definitely a learning curve, and the more you do it the less time and frustration you will experience.

Our performance is this Saturday and Sunday.  A lot has to be done this week to finish up – particularly costumes.  If I get a moment, I will update the blog to keep you all in the loop.

Merry Christmas!