I got so much response on the basic stage eye post, that I want to continue on that theme! Stage makeup is not just about your eyes. Here are some tips that, no matter what role you are doing, can help you look your best.

Photo by Gwyneth Muller.
Photo by Gwyneth Muller.

Β 1. Use a matte foundation. The LAST thing you want to look onstage is shiny. That means, no shimmer and glitter! From the audience it doesn’t look like pretty shimmer- it looks like sweat. You want to use a matte foundation with a lot of coverage and a translucent powder to set it. As I learned from former New York City Ballet makeup artist Michael Avedon, I go as far as using a thick cream makeup, then a pancake formula over that which prevents ANY shine, and then heavy powder. I will show you these products in a later video. You might not need to go to these extremes, but you really want to have a nice matte face.

2. There are so many options as far as eye shadows go and you will see in future videos that I use so many different colors and shades. However, that takes practice because you could end up looking washed out or goth if you use the wrong colors. As I showed you in the Basic Stage Eye, a good rule of thumb is to stick with neutrals- brown, ivory, cream, chocolate brown, those types of colors. They will look good under ANY lighting and will flatter any skin tones. Also, use a black liner. Make a nice thick line on your top lashline and make sure it extends slightly upwards at the ends. If your line points downwards you will look sad from the audience. So a SLIGHT lift at the ends brightens your eyes up. Make sure you use plenty of mascara and fake lashes if you can.

Kaite Morgan as Aurora in Sleeping Beauty March 2010 Mobile Ballet

3. As far a blush goes, think 80s! For the stage, blush should contour your face under your cheekbones. Blend the color from your hairline. DO NOT use blush on the apples of your cheeks. While in real life this looks pretty, it will make you look red-faced onstage. Blush should be used to contour your bones. That’s it!

Kaite Morgan as Aurora in Sleeping Beauty March 2010 Mobile Ballet

4. A red lip is always safe. Don’t go too dark or purple because that makes your lips look small from the audience and if you use too light of a pink, you will look washed out. A nice bright red works really well for most situations. However, if you are dancing something with “blue” lighting- like Snow from the Nutcracker or Swans in Swan Lake, use a more orange-based red. This is because blue lights turn regular red purple. So keep in mind your lighting as to what color you should use.

These are just the very basics. I am working on some videos. Still trying to figure out exactly how I want to do them, but they are coming soon!

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2 thoughts on “Stage Makeup Basics

  1. Fascinating! It all makes so much sense once you say it, all sounds like things I would have figured out if I thought about it. I love that bit about the lipstick, because I absolutely ABHOR orange lipsticks, they look wretched on me and I don’t understand their appeal (to anyone but Deborah Kerr that is) but it’s so interesting to hear that they’re actually very useful under cool lighting!
    Haha I was actually writing a character a month ago who’s a parody of my shade-snobbery, someone much too opinionated and preoccupied about the colour and undertones of makeup/accessories/costumes, and when I read that part, I pictured a new scene for her, with some irate lighting designer trying to explain to this diva that she HAS to wear the orange lipstick and coral blush in the evening scene or she’ll look like an evil Disney queen. That could be a lot of fun to write πŸ™‚
    Thanks for the fun bit of inspiration! I’d be really interested in seeing your videos too, big fan of tutorials. If you’re still unsure about how you want to approach it, maybe check out how Michelle Phan and Lisa Eldridge do theirs for ideas– totally different styles, so it could give you a sense of what yours is.

    1. Thank you for your comment! I am definitely working on some videos. And not just ones on makeup! I appreciate the tip! And I agree about the orange lipstick- I would NEVER wear one just in general, only in the case of the cool lighting. It is very interesting! And trust me, I have seen a lot of Swan Queens in Swan Lake look like they have purple mouths! So it really does depend on the lighting!

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