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Stage Makeup....and things to consider


Anjuli_Bai
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On another thread the subject of makeup for the stage was mentioned - and I thought it might be an interesting subject for a thread.  (I don't recall that we've already had one).

 

Give yourself one hour to do this correctly = without hurry.  Since dressing rooms are often crowded (as are access to a sink) come early.  It's a really good way to channel any fluttery nerves and get into the "zone."

 

Some things to consider: 

 

The character role (if any) you will be dancing, the type of  dance (dramatic Swan Queen or joyous Sleeping Beauty), the lighting (white/blue for swans in Swan Lake, Snow Scene in Nutcracker or bright white/reds/etc., for Waltz of the Flowers, etc.).  The same makeup looks different under different stage lighting.  Also you need to consider the distance you will be from your audience - the further away the heavier and more accented the makeup.

 

Part of stage makeup is how the hair is arranged.  You should be given explicit directions.  If the hair is in a bun - is it placed high on the head, directly on the back of the head or lower toward the nape of the neck?  Hairpins should match the hair except when they need to match a hair ornament - i.e. - you will need white pins for a Swan Lake feathered hair ornament. 

 

It is also important to know where the hair parts - center? - or no visible parting?  If the hair ornament is secured with a band that crosses over a center part, you will need to take a flesh colored pencil and draw in the "part" so it looks continuous - and thus the band will "disappear."

 

You will need:  a collapsible stand up magnifying mirror (the kind that fits into a make up bag,  two smallish towels (one for "before" and one for "after,") lots of facial tissues, a gentle soap, a good exfolliant (defoliant), a gentle astringent, vaseline,  cake make up base in two gradients of color, packed powder matching the base colors,  powdered rouge in three gradients of color, lipstick in two gradients of color, eye liner, eye liner applicator (both pencil and brush), mascara, two large soft brushes (one for makeup base, one for cheeks), eye shadow, smaller brush for eye shadow, makeup remover, really good moisturizer. 

 

Since this posting is already lengthy.....I'll continue ....if there is interest......in a subsequent post.....let me know......

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Thank-you for starting this thread Anjuli, it is very helpful! I'll be competing in a competition for the first time in October, and was just wondering if you know how heavy the makeup should be for a theatre that only holds about 500 people?

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Thank-you for starting this thread Anjuli, it is very helpful! I'll be competing in a competition for the first time in October, and was just wondering if you know how heavy the makeup should be for a theatre that only holds about 500 people?

 

It depends how closely those 500 people are sitting to the stage and what the lighting will be.  For instance some theaters have an orchestra pit and some do not.  That would alter the distance between stage and audience.

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I would be very interested to hear more about this, Anjuli.

 

I have a couple of questions about skin colour and foundation. How dark should you make your skin, or does this depend on how far away the audience are to the stage? If your skin is not very, very pale, and you've been told you have 'good skin', do you still need to have a darker foundation? If so, how much darker (or orange?) should you be to your normal skin tone to look 'normal' on stage?

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I would be very interested to hear more about this, Anjuli.
 
I have a couple of questions about skin colour and foundation. How dark should you make your skin, or does this depend on how far away the audience are to the stage? If your skin is not very, very pale, and you've been told you have 'good skin', do you still need to have a darker foundation? If so, how much darker (or orange?) should you be to your normal skin tone to look 'normal' on stage?

 

 

I always used my own skin tone as the base - the "central" color, then using a lighter color to highlight the "good" areas such as top of cheek bones, and the darker tone toward the edges of the face.

 

It's like painting an apple.  An apple is red - but a painter knows that the apple is red only in one spot - the rest of the apple is a gradient of red.  White clouds are not white but many shades of white.

 

I also avoided the blue spectrum of red and kept to the orange spectrum - favoring coral colors.

 

And - a lot of it depends upon the stage lighting and the character.  A swan in Swan Lake doesn't want a bright face - but not gaunt either.  So, I would use a paler version of red to orange spectrum and a lighter touch.

 

It's not just the tone but the depth of the tone.  If you were painting a gold vase you would paint it on in several layers.  When I painted a gold urn (it's on my FB page of my paintings which is open to the public) I used four layers of color beginning with red - that gave the final gold depth.

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First - let me say that this is my personal method - others will have a different routine.

 

Second - in the "You will need" section in the first post I forgot to add:  lip liner brush, eye brow pencil and disposable cosmetic pads.   (Since I can't edit that post - I have to put it here. )

 

I always did my hair first as that took a bit of wrestling (very long thick hair).

 

Wash face thoroughly with gentle soap, pat dry.  Apply the exfoliant.  It should be almost like a fine cereal - don't scrub - pat it on.  Let dry.  Then wash off thoroughly but don't scrub.  With a tissue dab on astringent - which will thoroughly dry the face and close the pores.  You want a dry, clean, smooth canvas upon which to paint.

 

The general rule is:  apply with a pad, blend with a brush, allow to dry before proceeding to the next part of the face.

 

Never re-use a makeup pad - always go for a clean new one.

 

Use good quality fresh makeup.  Old makeup changes color and tends to clomp as it dries.

 

Apply the mascara on the eyelashes with the roller brush that usually comes with it.  I did this before putting any other makeup on my face in case the mascara on the lashes smeared onto the skin below or above the eyes.  That way I could just clean it off the skin without worrying about re-applying makeup base.  The mascara was applied with a upward sweep motion.  Some people who have very straight eyelashes like to curl them first - but mine have a natural curve so I never needed to do that. 

 

Let mascara thoroughly dry.  Now you don't have to worry about any smearing or smudges on the skin around the eyes as you work on the face.  I never wore false eyelashes so I have no information to share about that.

 

Apply the cake base makeup with a pad.  Work from the center line of the face outward.    So, apply the lighter shade above the eyebrows, between the highpoint of the cheekbone and the eyes and down the center of the nose. 

 

As you work outward - with a clean pad start using the darker gradient of color.  Emphasize your strong points, de-emphasize the lesser.   Always work outward.  Direction is important (as when you work on a canvas.) 

 

Take the base past the chin-jaw line and into the neck.  Use one of the big soft brushes and with a very light touch, blend,  blend,  blend the two gradients of color so there are no obvious lines or intersections of color differences.  Make sure the base goes past the chin-jaw line and blends into the neck - you don't want to see a line where it ends.

 

Apply the rouge with the lightest color at the height of the cheekbone in a sweeping motion outward and upward toward the (but not to) the ears.  Do the same with the second and third gradient of color.  Using the second of the large soft brushes, blend, blend, blend the three gradients so there are no obvious divisions or  lines between them and no obvious divisions or lines between the rouge and the makeup base.

 

With your eye brow pencil (use a really good quality one which will not change color with perspiration) draw in the eyebrows, sweeping them outward with a gentle curve upward.  Make sure the space between the left and right side is adequate.  If the brows are too close that will make your face look smaller.  You can - if it looks good on you and your natural brow is not too dark or thick, use the top of your natural brow as the bottom of the brow you are creating. 

 

Apply eye shadow with the lighter shade at the front, the darker shade deeper into the eye socket.  I never used any kind of pinkish shade or that pink dot at the inner corner of the eye.  I think it makes the eye look sick - like it has an infection.  I used a pale bluish eye shadow - NOT a heavy dark shade that makes the lid look like a garage door opening and closing.

 

Using the small precise eyeliner brush paint the liner at the base of the lashes of your upper eyelid.  Then change to an eyeliner pencil as you come off the lid and continue on the skin of the face to elongate the eye.  Same with the bottom -  under the lashes with the brush and then the pencil on the face.  The space between the two lines - one from the top and one from the bottom should gradually narrow - the bottom one coming up - but never meet.

 

Some people like to outline the lips in a dark color - I never liked that.  I stick to coral reds as a blue stage light will make a blue based red lipstick look brown/black.  Outline the lips fully with a lip brush, well into the corners, but not on the skin.  Apply the lighter color toward the center where the lips are fullest.  A bit of powder will set the color.

 

Using a clean pad, VERY lightly dab on the caked powder.  This will "set" all the makeup and take off any shine.  It must be done  lightly and carefully.  Depending upon your costume and the character of the dance you are doing bare shoulders, chest and back should be powdered too - very lightly. 

 

Put some vaseline on your teeth so that when you smile during dancing your lips won't stick to your teeth as they dry out with your breath.

 

When all is done - thoroughly but gently remove all makeup, pat dry with your second (clean) towel and apply a really good moisturizer.

 

Don't be afraid to experiment.

 

I'm sure I've forgotten something!

 

Hope this is of use to someone.

 

 

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Another thing to remember, especially if you are male, is to take your make-up off before driving home (especially if it is 'character' make-up). Otherwise you will get some very odd looks at the petrol station!

 

This happened to ex-dh, he was caked in the stuff and only realised when he got home and looked in the mirror :D

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Anjuli, would you moisturise before you started laying on the base?

 

No -I want a clean dry smooth surface.

 

 

 

Another thing to remember, especially if you are male, is to take your make-up off before driving home (especially if it is 'character' make-up). Otherwise you will get some very odd looks at the petrol station!

 

This happened to ex-dh, he was caked in the stuff and only realised when he got home and looked in the mirror :D

 

 

Once I had no time to remove the makeup before hurrying home.  On the way i stopped in to the food store for some milk and bread and in the checkout line a mother made it very obvious to her teen daughter that I was one of "those" women who had gone astray.

 

Shame I didn't have on any red net tights and red high heeled shoes - I could have displayed them, too.

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I always used my own skin tone as the base - the "central" color, then using a lighter color to highlight the "good" areas such as top of cheek bones, and the darker tone toward the edges of the face.

 

It's like painting an apple.  An apple is red - but a painter knows that the apple is red only in one spot - the rest of the apple is a gradient of red.  White clouds are not white but many shades of white.

 

I also avoided the blue spectrum of red and kept to the orange spectrum - favoring coral colors.

 

And - a lot of it depends upon the stage lighting and the character.  A swan in Swan Lake doesn't want a bright face - but not gaunt either.  So, I would use a paler version of red to orange spectrum and a lighter touch.

 

It's not just the tone but the depth of the tone.  If you were painting a gold vase you would paint it on in several layers.  When I painted a gold urn (it's on my FB page of my paintings which is open to the public) I used four layers of color beginning with red - that gave the final gold depth.

 

Anjuli, thank you for your advice and tips on this thread. I was wondering if you would change your make-up in any way if the weather/theatre was very hot? If not, how would you have dealt with the possibility of make-up running due to sweat? I once had to do some performances in hot weather and I worried that I would end up with panda eyes on stage, even though I was using waterproof mascara. Fortunately, this didn't happen. But I had to keep some tissues by the wings to dab off sweat. So I would be interested to know how the professionals would deal with this potential problem. Thank you in advance.

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Anjuli, thank you for your advice and tips on this thread. I was wondering if you would change your make-up in any way if the weather/theatre was very hot? If not, how would you have dealt with the possibility of make-up running due to sweat? I once had to do some performances in hot weather and I worried that I would end up with panda eyes on stage, even though I was using waterproof mascara. Fortunately, this didn't happen. But I had to keep some tissues by the wings to dab off sweat. So I would be interested to know how the professionals would deal with this potential problem. Thank you in advance.

 

Most of the heat is going to come from inside - perspiration.  That is why the use of an exfoliant and then an astringent to close the pours.  A tissue or pad in the wings to dab off any moisture is always a good idea.  As far as I know that is how it is dealt with.  

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