Stage Makeup and Hair

Stage Makeup and Hair

If appearing on stage and speaking public is among the top ten things that scare you, imagine what public speaking on a stage with bad makeup can do for your self esteem. While a makeup artist cannot help with stage fright, he or she can help with the bad makeup; even offer some suggestions for hair.

Applying Stage Makeup like a Professional

You need to know your products and tools. The wrong product and tool can spoil a production. Foundation can make the face look flat and expressionless if not chosen correctly. The wrong lip color can draw attention to the lips and take away from stage presence. You do not want a faceless presence. Opposite of appearing expressionless is appearing overly exaggerated. Using the wrong tools can make lines seem clown-like or even sloppy and smeared. Makeup is unrealistic and fake looking. A balance of visual and reality is needed for success. Keep in mind that those sitting in the back of the auditorium will need to see facial features and expressions just like those sitting up front. I like to use panstick foundation in a shade or two darker than normally used for its coverage and visibility, loose translucent powder to set the makeup, eye shadow with a high pigment, lipstick in a color that complements the skin tone, eyeliner and mascara in black or dark brown, concealer, and highlighter. You may want to have false eye lashes on hand to add emphasis to the eyes. When working with these products, it is best to have the following tools available for application: sponge for foundation, velour powder puff, natural hair shadow brushes, a lip brush, and a mascara wand and curler.

Tips for Application of Stage Makeup

1. I always begin stage makeup fashion with a clean face. Makeup will last longer and application easier if the face is free from dirt and oils. I also recommend a toner to add balance to the skin’s ph.

2. Once the face is clean, now is the time to apply the eyelashes. The lashes will adhere better without moisturizer.

3. Apply moisturizer. Lights and heavy makeup can have a drying effect. Moisturizer will help nourish the skin.

4. Know your lighting, best features, and face shape. This will come in handy when applying concealer and corrector. Apply concealer in a shade lighter to hide dark circles under the eyes. Blend well so the lines are not visible. Apply corrector to correct the face shape. I will apply the corrector just under the cheekbone to give depth to a face. Once again, you must know the face shape and blend well or the lines will appear as streaks on stage.

5. Using a panstick foundation will give good coverage. It is simple to use with a sponge and can be blended easily. If you find the foundation too heavy, dampen the sponge to ease coverage. Apply a generous amount of translucent powder, concentrated under the eyes. This will help clean up loose shadow, as well as set the makeup and avoid shine.

6. Rouge should be applied in a shade that complements your skin tone. It also needs to be seen in the audience so that the face does not appear flat.

7. Apply the eye makeup fashion, keeping in mind that the audience will be seeing at different distances. Lines should be neat and blended. Too much black liner on both top and bottom can sometimes appear harsh. If using a prominent, thick line on the top, go lighter lining the bottom, even try using brown on the bottom and black on the top. Curl the lashes to further open the eyes. Apply mascara one coat at a time, dry and apply a second coat to add thickness and length.

8. Remove any loose powder. Clean up areas that appear sloppy.

9. Apply lip color using a brush for neatness. If using a liner, choose one that matches the lipstick so the lips remain clean and neat. A severe line can add focus where you don’t want the focus. Gloss will add dimension, but be careful not to overload.

Stage Hair

Stage hair needs to complement the makeup fashion and visa-versa. It is best to communicate with a stylist to get a hair style that best fits the stage event. If the stage event is of a particular period of time, it is extremely important to get the hair perfect for that period. The character or situation needs to be realistic whether the situation is ballet, talent, professional, pageant, or performance. Once again, if the hair is too dramatic, or competes with the makeup, it will distract from the stage show. When in doubt, keep the hair simple and away from the face. This will be one less distraction.


Stage fright will come and go. The job of a makeup artist will live on forever. Do your job, and enjoy the show.

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