Theatrical and full body makeup Tips

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How can I look "brighter" on stage?

Brighten your eyes

You can brighten your eyes by putting a white dot on the inside of your eye by the tear duct. Experiment until it looks right. In a smaller theatre, the dot needs to be blended more, but still a white area on the inside of your eyes brightens your face.

What is the difference between oil and water-based makeup?

Oil-Based vs. Water-Based

When planning a make-up design you can use grease, or oil-based products, or you can choose water-based. Grease-based has a longer staying power and can create dramatic stage designs, but is not compatible with water and must be "set" with powder. Water-based make-up is usually applied with a sponge or brush and water, and can be removed with soap and water.

How do I learn how to apply theatre makeup?

Take a Class

Check out your local college or university and see if they offer a class in theatrical make-up if this is your interest. You may also sometimes take a make-up class at modeling agencies.

How important is a toner?


After a theatrical performance, get the make-up off with cold cream or some oily remover. Then get the residue of the remover off with a facial cleanser. Use a toner too, because theatre make up gets imbedded in pores and wrecks your skin. Finish with moisturizer.

When doing characters, how can I make somebody look old?

If You Want to Look Ill

If your character is old or ill, use red eyeliner, especially on the lower lid. Add a little gray to your cheeks instead of blush, and put vertical slash marks on your lips with a brown pencil.

What colors work well on different skin tones?

Colors for Skin Tones

Neon colors generally look fantastic on dark skin. Light lavenders look washed-out on pale skin, so you'll need to outline in a darker purple. Sometimes black doesn't show as an outline on dark skin, so outline in a lighter color, like yellow or white.

What´s the difference between oil-based and water-based makeup?

Water or Oil- based Cosmetics

Oil-based cosmetics are mixed with oil and go on usually heavier, with a matte finish. Most theatre makeup is oil-based. You must powder the make-up to set it, and use a cleanser that takes off oil-based makeup. The final result looks good, but can be mask-like, and the feel of it on skin is heavy. Water-based make-up often is in a cake form, and you use a sponge dipped in water to create a light base which you apply to the skin. The look is sheerer and feels lighter.

What does "setting the makeup" mean?

Setting the Make-up

Setting the make-up is necessary for stage work, because the actors will be under hot lights for a length of time, and the make-up needs to stay in place. Most theatre make-up is oil- or grease-based, so it never really dries on the skin and must be set with powder. Baby powder works well.

I´ve made a mistake when applying makeup. Can I fix it easily?

Quick Fixes

If you've made a minor mistake applying theatrical make-up, fix it with a baby wipe.

How do I remove theatre makeup?

Cheap Make-up Remover

There are many creams and special removers, Albolene cream, and Aquacream, but the cheapest, most available, and highly effective remover for theatre make-up is baby oil.

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Patricia Walters-Fischer