Sunday, October 4, 2015

My Stage Makeup Do's and Don'ts

For those who read this blog and do not know, I'm an actress. I would also say almost 80% of the women I know, whether through my childhood dance studio, my high school choir program, my college sorority sisters, or my current colleagues, all perform on stage in some capacity, whether it be dancing, singing, acting, or all three. As I'm gearing up to start a three week-long run of a show myself, I thought I would share some of my favorite tips for keeping my stage makeup on my face instead of on my costumes, my teeth, or people around me.


  • Do use a foundation primer. This is the most basic step to making sure your foundation and powder last all night long under hot lights and beads of sweat. My current favorite that keeps my makeup on all performance long is Benefit's Porefessional, but even a drugstore primer is better than nothing. Even if you don't think you'll be sweating much during your performance, a primer creates a barrier between your skin and your heavier-than-normal stage makeup so you are less likely to break out. 
  • Do use a beauty blender. This magic little guy will ensure that your base makeup is even and not caked on your face. If you like to use wedge sponges instead, make sure you throw them away after every use, as they do hold bacteria. 
  • Do use a foundation with a light consistency and cover up imperfections such as pimples and hyper pigmentation with concealer. The less wet, cake-y foundation you have packed on your face, the less it will start to slide around. My current favorite is the Borjois 123 Perfecting CC cream, but something like the Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation is great for building coverage and won't break the bank if you're applying it nightly. 
  • Do use powder to set your liquid foundation. It doesn't matter if it's from the drugstore or the MAC counter as long as it matches your skin tone under bright stage lights and sets your base makeup. 
  • Do fill in your eyebrows. It doesn't matter if your brows are blonde or black, thin or thick, sparse or full - everyone needs to define their brows for the stage. Under bright lights and from long distances, the brows (and therefore the eyes themselves) can become undefined and disappear altogether. If you want the audience to be able to read your facial expressions, or even just see your features more clearly, you will fill in your brows. Whether you use a pencil or a powder and an angled brush, make sure your brows match the root color of your hair or the wig you're wearing. 
  • Do contour your cheekbones and jawline, even if it's just a little. Bright stage lights wash out a person's face, so while most people know it's important to use more blush than you normally would walking down the street, I think it's essential to define your cheekbones and jawline. I have a fairly round face, so this step is a must for me. As silly as you will feel, just make a duck face and lightly contour the hollows of your cheeks with a small tapered or fan brush, and then take what's left over and dust it along your jawline. 
  • Do use a cheek highlight. This is one of the best ways I know to bring luminescence to the face and draw the attention of the eye up, thus making your cheekbones look higher and your face more defined. My favorite way to apply powder cheek highlight is with a small stippling brush. 
  • Do use a long wearing lip product. Whether you are doing an on stage kiss or not, the first thing that is likely to start moving around on your face is your lip product. I always suggest using either a stain or the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick. 
  • Do use a setting spray when you're all finished. My favorite will always be the Urban Decay All Nighter. 

  • Don't cake on a ton of heavy liquid foundation. Unless you are inhuman and don't sweat during a performance and don't break out easily, this is the best way to make sure your makeup isn't sliding around on your face all night and/or giving you pimples to deal with in the morning. 
  • Don't line your bottom water line with black eyeliner. For the stage, even more so than in real life, we want to define our features and especially open up the eyes. Putting black on the bottom part of our eyes drags them down, in fact making them look smaller rather than defined or smokey. If you want to line your bottom water line with something, use a white or flesh colored pencil instead. This will make the whites of your eyes look much larger and draw attention to the upper part of your face, which is what we want the audience to be focusing on. 
  • Don't use bronzer all over the face to appear more tan. If you feel like you have to use a bronzer, use a big fluffy brush to dust lightly only on the high points of your face such as your temples and upper cheekbones. Otherwise, just stick to contouring your jawline and hollows of your cheeks. 
  • Don't forget to use concealer under your eyes. If you have a full face of makeup on but nothing under your eyes, even if you don't have dark circles or discoloration, something about your eyes will look out of place. Use just a tiny bit and apply with a beauty blender for an airbrushed look. And make sure to set it with translucent powder, or you'll have raccoon eyes fast. 
  • Don't apply shadows to your naked eyelid. While you should really be using an eyeshadow primer, even just a wash of concealer over the lids to give the shadows something to stick to will make your colors more vibrant and last much longer. 
  • Don't ignore your coloring and features. If you have bright blue eyes, golden shadows will make them really pop, and same goes for brown eyes with forest green. If you have dark hair, stick to pinker shades on both the cheeks and the lips to avoid looking too muddy all over. Want to make your round face look more angular? Amp up the contour and highlight. Look at what is special about your face and bring it out - in other words, put what is already so beautiful about you on display! 
  • Don't forget to wash your face and apply moisturizer before bed! We don't want all that makeup clogging your pores and causing a breakout. 
Oh, and one more thing. DO have fun and DO experiment with what products you love best. The stage is one of the only places where you can wear such bold looks, so don't forget that you're lucky that you get to play dress up and feel like a princess. And let me know what some of your Holy Grail stay-all-night makeup products for the stage are! Whether you are singing, dancing, acting, or just speaking at an event on the big stage, break a leg and have a blast. If you like what you see here on Mint and Mascara, click one of the links below to post it to Facebook, Google+, or Pinterest. I'd appreciate it so much! I'll talk to you all soon! 

xoxo Kaley 

**Costume by Jeffrey Meek

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