Introduction: Before and After: Boy to Girl Drag Queen Transformation
Curious as to how the lovely ladies of RuPaul's Drag Race work their magic? Learn how to transform yourself into a completely different person with these makeup techniques. Drag is an amazing art form that mixes heightened femininity with dramatic costumes, hair, and makeup. A lot of the techniques utilized throughout this tutorial can be applied to a girl's every day or night out makeup.
Follow along with my youtube video for an in depth tutorial on this makeup application.
Step 1: Deal With Your Eyebrows
Either conceal and re-draw on your brows like I did, or fill them in for a softer more natural appearance. This should be done prior to starting your eye makeup.
Step 2: Cut Your Crease and Apply Eyeshadows
Most drag queens prefer to use a cut crease in their eye makeup. A cut crease allows you to alter the shape of your eyes to contribute to the illusion of larger strongly defined eyes.
Start off by lightly drawing in the general shape of the cut crease using a dark eyeshadow on a brush. Feel free to draw in your crease higher above your natural eye crease for a dramatic effect. Once you're happy with the general shape of you can redefine the cut crease with more eyeshadow. Then blend out the eyeshadow, being mindful not to blend below the line of your new crease. Use a transition shadow, usually a mid-tone brown or bronze depending on your color palette, to create a soft fade into your brow-bone highlight.
Apply any desired eyeshadows to your eyelid. The images above show a shimmery white shade in the inner corner blending into a light pink that blends into a dark pink. A gradiation of light to dark from the inner to outer corner of the eyelid helps create beautiful dimension that will contribute to a dramatic eyeshadow design.
Step 3: Apply Liquid And/or Gel Eyeliner and Lashes
Creating a sharp elongated wing helps feminize the face by generating strong diagonal lines. Diagonal lines help lift the face to create a slimmer more feminine aesthetic. It might help to outline the general shape of the winged eyeliner with a gel product and brush and then follow up with a liquid eyeliner to snatch the shape together. Use the product left on your gel eyeliner brush to further sharpen your cut crease that you drew on in Step 2.
If you want more dimension and ornamentation in your eyeshadow design, use your liner to create a second wing that extends out of your lower lash-line. Then blend the wing out using a eyeshadow on a pencil brush.
If you want to create the illusion of larger eyes then use apply a white eyeliner to your lower waterline, then extend your lower waterline into your inner corner. Use your liquid eyeliner to create an inverted triangle shape at your inner corner (see the images above for reference). This trick will make the yes look larger from a distance and works incredibly well underneath stage lights.
Curl your eyelashes, then apply mascara and false eyelashes.
Step 4: Conceal 5 O'Clock Shadow
In order to avoid having your 5 o'clock show through your makeup you'll need to do some intense color correction beneath your foundation. This step is crucial, if skip this and go right into applying your foundation you will be able to see your facial hair coming through your makeup.
You'll need to use color theory to cancel out the blue undertones of 5 o'clock shadow. Orange is a complementary color to blue so applying that in the area where you grow facial hair will cancel out the blue tones. You can use any orange creme product such as Fx products or even simple orange lipstick. Apply the product to the entire area and blend in using a cosmetic sponge. Set the entire area with some loose powder to lock in the color.
Step 5: Apply Foundations (Cream Highlight, Mid-tone, and Contour)
Apply your foundation starting with your lightest highlight shade which should be 2-3 shades lighter than your skin tone. Apply your highlight foundation to the highest planes on your face to bring them forward: your cheeks, center of your forehead, bridge of your nose, upper lip, and chin. You can also clean up the edge of your winged eyeliner using your highlight shade on a detail brush. Blend the highlights in with a cosmetic sponge or beauty blender. *For a blended, airbrushed finish blend out your creams between every step.
Once your highlights are blended out move onto your mid-tone foundation. Your mid-tone foundation should either match your skin or be just a shade darker. Apply the mid-tone everywhere else that you didn't apply your highlight then blend.
Finally move onto the contour shades. For drag your contour should usually be fairly heavy and defined, however a lighter, softer contour may work with certain face shapes. Apply the contour carefully with a brush to the lower planes of your face that you want to make recede: the hallows of your cheekbones, temples, sides of your nose, and jawline.
Step 6: Cooking With Powder
Cooking is a technique used to drag makeup to clean up contours and intensify highlights. The process works by applying thick amounts of white or translucent powder with a powder puff to the same highlight areas and letting the powder sit on the face for 10 minutes or longer. During this time the powder absorbs and darker pigments from the blended contours and also intensifies highlights by depositing lighter pigments of powder. Once the powder is brushed away a diffused, luminous highlight is revealed.
Use a light amount of a different slightly darker or yellow-toned powder on a brush to set the contours. Do not cook your contours, simply use the powder to set the foundation in the contour areas.
Step 7: Powder Contour, Blush, and Highlighter
Move on to deepening your contours using a contour powder. A contour shouldn't ever be confused with a bronzer. The key difference is that a contour powder is matte and cool-toned whereas a bronzer is warm toned and may or may not contain shimmer. Find a contour powder that is a few shades darker than your skin and apply it using a brush of your choice to the same areas that you applied your cream contour. It's best to use a small flat brush to apply powder contours to the nose. If desired, you can take a slightly darker contour powder and apply this to the very outer perimeter of your other contours in order to create a diffused, strong contour.
Apply your blush as desired. It's typically best to concentrate the blush on top of your cheekbones and then blend it out onto the apples of your cheeks. However, depending on the look, you can apply a heavier amount of blush to the apples of the cheeks.
Follow up your blush with a shimmery highlight powder. This should be applied to the same highlight areas.
Step 8: Lips, Lips, Lips...
The final step is pretty self explanatory to most makeup users. Apply lipliner as usual, however most drag queens prefer to overdraw their lips. Start of my outlining the shape of your lips with a lipliner and then fill in the entire area with lipstick. In order to create more depth and dimension use a darker lipliner in the outer corners of the lips. For an ombre effect blend a white cream product into the center of the lips.
Step 9: Costume... Wig... Pose..
Now that you're done with your makeup it's time to throw on the wig and costume...
Serve some looks and then have fu