Stage Make Up Guidelines
When performing on stage it is important to wear proper stage make-up. This is different than “street make-up” and might look and feel strange to you if you have not applied it before.
Factors such as distance and lighting effect the way a performer’s face looks on stage. When performing live it is important that the audience can see facial features and expressions. This is where proper application of stage make-up plays a key role.
The size of the theater and the harshness of the lighting can vary in performance venues. Because of this, there are also variations on how stage make-up is applied. As a general rule, the basics stay the same. The following is a guideline for stage make-up.
What to do:
1. First, start with a clean face. If you have dark circles under your eyes, or blemishes, use a concealer to hide them. This can be a stick, cream, brush or even a thick pencil. It should be lighter than your skin color.
2. Then apply a cream, liquid or “old fashioned pancake” foundation to your entire face, blending into the hairline, down the neck and back to the ears. This is to make sure you don’t look like you are wearing a mask. You can apply foundation with a sponge, brush or your fingers. The purpose of foundation is to even out the complexion. Choose a color as close to your skin color as possible. For stage make-up choose a thick, matte formula with heavy coverage. Avoid products that say “sheer,” “lightweight” and “natural.” (These are more appropriate for everyday make-up.)
3. Next, you will “set” the foundation with a powder, applied with a brush. Usually this is a “loose” powder.
4. To even out the eyelids, apply concealer or eye shadow base to the eyelids. This will make the eyeshade color more true. You can also set this with powder.
5. Apply a base eye shadow color over the entire lid, using an applicator or a brush. This should be a light, neutral color (close to the color of your skin.) Add a complementary color of a darker shade of eye shadow in the dark brown family to the crease of the eyelid for contour. This can be done with an applicator or a crease brush.
6. Next you will apply black eyeliner to the top lid. This can be a pencil, marker or liquid. Be sure to choose one that won’t smudge or run with sweat! Start at the inner corner and create an even, thin line outward. (You may need to pull the eyelid out, flat to make it easier to make a straight line. If putting eyeliner on the bottom, again start at the inside and draw a thin, straight line outward. The line should be close to the lashes, although in very big theaters where the audience is very far away, the bottom line is often placed under to open the eye from a far distance.
7. Apply black false eye lashes AFTER all other eye make -up is applied. Apply a thin line of eye lash glue to the false eye lash (not your eye lid!) Gently press the false eyelash onto your lid, as close to your lash line as possible. Press down the false eye lash with a wet Q Tip (this way glue doesn’t stick to it or your fingers.) Believe it or not, lashes actually get easier to put on after you have worn them a few times. It’s always better to NOT open a new pair for a show. Set them by applying black mascara to your lashes and the false lashes with nice, even strokes to blend them.
8. Apply blush to add definition and color to your face. To do this, look in the mirror, smile and apply the blush with a blush brush from the apple of your cheek, upward and outward, into the hairline. The color needs to be darker than you would wear for street make up. Bronzer won’t work at all.
9. Most of us need to fill in our eyebrows with an eyebrow pencil, powder or gel. Choose a color that matches the color of your eyebrows, but that is not too dark. This also adds clarity and detail to your facial features.
10. Red lipstick is used for the stage. No matter you skin color, there is a perfect shade of red lipstick for you. To bring out the mouth, start with a red lip liner. Line the mouth and then fill it in. Then, apply the red lipstick over the liner. You may want to blot it with a tissue and then re-apply another thin coat to ensure that it will stay on. Lipstick for the stage has to be matte. Do not wear gloss, glitter or frosted lipstick on stage. (This looks odd from the house and can cause lipstick to run and get on your teeth!)
It is VERY important that you have your own make-up! Do not share with other people. This is very unhygienic! (And your stage make-up needs to be selected based on our coloring and skin type.) Also, don’t borrow your mother’s street make-up. It is highly unlikely that what mom wears everyday will be the correct products to be used on stage.
You should have separate stage make –up and street make-up. They are very different and have different purposes. Keep you stage make-up in a separate bag or case.
Good stage make-up can be expensive so choose wisely. You can find all of these products for less money but keep in mind that pricier products are usually better quality products that will work better and last longer. Consider this an investment. If you wish to spend less on some items and more on others at first, consider investing in the perfect shade of red lipstick with a matching red lip liner. (Try Mac’s “Russian Red.”)
To remove stage makeup, you can use make-up remover, oil or even Johnson and Johnson Baby shampoo. (probably the best.) After removing your make-up, wash you face thoroughly with a good facial wash.