Stage Makeup for the New Thespian




Introduction: Stage Makeup for the New Thespian

About: Hello all! I'm Michelle, a recent electrical engineering graduate working in the automation industry. All those electronics at work mean I sew things a lot at home.

Hi all! And welcome to this tutorial!

So, the plan here is to teach you how to do simple, neutral stage makeup. My goal isn't to teach you how to get ready for your Broadway debut, but it's simply a primer for your kid's dance recital or a high school or middle school drama production.

In this tutorial I didn't use any 'stage makeup' because no one wants to go out and buy it for a one night show. Everything I used here is something you can pick up at your local drug store.

Ready? Let's get started.

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Step 1: Start Fresh!

So, first off you need to start with a clean, exfoliated, toned, and moisturized face. You have absolutely no obligation to use what's pictured up there, it's just what I like to use. Here's the breakdown:

  • face wash
  • exfoliant
  • toner
  • moisturizer

Those first two can be together, and you might not need to exfoliate every time you wash your face, but you do need to start with a clean face. Exfoliating is important because although the audience may not be able to see that dry spot where your makeup is collecting, they'll stick out really blatantly if anyone is taking production stills. I know plenty of people, and admittedly I've been one of them in the past, who show up to the theater and just throw their stage makeup on over what they've been wearing all day. The simplest reason this is a bad idea is that it will just be a hassle, because nothing will go on quite how you want it and it'll end up taking more time than just washing your face in the first place.

Also please please wash off your makeup at the end of the night. As entertaining as it was to see some of our male cast members come into school the next day still wearing their eyeliner, it's really no good for your skin.

Another thing is to make sure you wash your hands before applying any makeup! You'll be using your fingers as well as brushes and you don't want to be spreading bacteria all over your face.

Step 2: Makeup You'll Need

Again, this is what I used but do not under any circumstances feel obligated to use these brands:

  • Any full coverage liquid or cream foundation, a shade or two darker than your skin tone
  • A Skin Primer
  • Eyelid Primer
  • Eye shadow
  • Blush
  • Eyebrow filler (can also be eye shadow that matches your eyebrows)
  • Liquid Eyeliner (ideally waterproof)
  • Mascara (ideally waterproof)
  • Transparent Powder
  • Lipstick

And not pictured, you probably should have some lip balm as well.

Step 3: Prime Everything!

To get started, put some of that face primer all over your face. I suggest squeezing it out of the bottle and onto the back of your hand to let it warm up a little and make it easier to spread. Since you're not worried about streaking, go ahead and use your fingers for this.

Next, eye shadow primer. Just smooth it over your eyelids all the way up to the brow. Fingers work great for this too.

Then, lip balm. Just because.

All this primer is important because lights are hot, costumes are sometimes heavy, and there's probably a lot of movement involved. Chances are you're going to be sweating a bit, and without the proper base your foundation will melt off and your eye shadow will crease.

Nobody wants that.

Step 4: Fill in Those Eyebrows

After you've successfully primed your face the first thing you should do is fill in your eyebrows. Eyebrows are an often overlooked feature that can really make a difference in bringing out your facial structure.

There are two ways to go about this. One, an eyebrow kit like the one I used; Two, eye shadow that matches the color of your eyebrows. With either method, I like to use a small angled brush to fill in my eyebrows.

With the eyebrow kit first fill in your eyebrows with the included gel, and then the powder. Going a little darker than you would for day to day is okay. Remember! The audience isn't going to be right on top of you.

With the correct shade of eye shadow, first take some eye shadow primer and smooth over your eyebrows, and then go back and fill them in with eye shadow.

Step 5: Eye Shadow and Eye Liner

We're going to stick to pretty simple eye shadow and liner. You're really only going to need a medium brown and a slightly darker brown for what we're doing here. I suggest matte colors, and shimmer and glitter can be distracting on stage. (Unless it's part of character design! If you're a faerie, then by all means, have at it!) Use the lighter brown over your entire eyelid and then the darker brown in the crease. Blend well!

For eyeliner, simply line your top and bottom lash line with black liner. I suggest waterproof, as you don't really want it running into your eyes when you're running around under hot lights and sweating. Use a fairly thick line, but not so much that it's comical.

Step 6: Foundation, Blush, Lipstick...

Start off with your foundation. I suggest a very slightly damp makeup sponge, and BLEND BLEND BLEND. The makeup you're using can be any full coverage liquid or cream foundation, one to two shades darker than your skin tone. Why? Remember those stage lights are bright! They will wash you out on stage, and if you wear foundation that matches your skin, you'll look terribly pale on stage. Because it's darker than your skin, you need to make sure to do a good job blending it in to your hairline, down your neck, and over your ears. If you're careless it will look like you're wearing a mask.

For your blush use something a bit brighter than you'd wear every day. I like cream, but powder is fine too. Layer it on a little heavier than you would day to day too. It has to stand out.

Then use a nice, bright lipstick. In retrospect I would suggest something that matches better to your blush than I used here.

Step 7: Set Everything, Add Mascara

Using a big fluffy brush and translucent powder, set your makeup. First, load up the brush and pat the powder onto your face all over, then brush off the excess. Make sure to set your lipstick as well.

Throw another layer of lipstick over top, because it's likely yours went all matte and faded from the powder. If you feel like your blush is faded, feel free to touch that up too.

Curl your eyelashes, add waterproof mascara to avoid smearing.

Step 8: Hit the Stage!

That's it! Get your costume on and get ready for curtain.

Any questions, please ask! I'm happy to answer them to the best of my ability.

If you liked this tutorial, maybe take a moment and vote for me in the Hair and Makeup Contest? That would be cool of you.

Until next time!

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    2 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Congratulations on being a finalist in the Hair and make-up
    contest!Best of luck to you!