How to Do Ballet Stage Makeup

Stage makeup allows your features to show on stage, preventing your face from looking washed out. Don't have any idea where to start? Don't worry, check out this step by step guide.


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    If you are a guy, shave at least 60 minutes before applying makeup, preferably in the morning for an evening show. If you are a woman, get your hair out of your face. You can choose whether to do your hair before or after--would you rather try to do your makeup without messing up your hair, or your hair without messing up your makeup? It's a matter of preference.
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    Wash your face to be sure the makeup will go on smoothly and evenly. Remove excess dirt and oil, and apply a moisturizer suited to your skin type.
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    Skin. Begin by applying a skin primer, which is often overlooked but very important. It helps keep makeup in place so it doesn't smudge during the performance. Apply concealer to any dark circles, blemishes, and other flaws, and blend lightly. Dot foundation on the forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin. Blend it outward toward the edge of the face, making sure to blend onto jawline and neck. If you are a woman, also put some on the décolleté area, since tutus tend to have low bodices. Reapply concealer anywhere it faded during application of foundation, then use a large buffing brush to apply a coat of powder over the entire face and, for girls, the décolleté area. Finally, set concealer by dabbing powder onto the spots it was applied with a small brush.
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    Highlighting/Shading. Clean the foundation brush, then highlight the following areas:
    • Center of forehead
    • Center of nose
    • Chin
    • Inner corners of eyes
    • Crescent shape above cheekbones
    • If you are a woman, also highlight the sides of the neck and the décolleté area where the collarbone is raised.
    • Clean the same brush and apply shading to the following:
    • The sides of the nose
    • The temples
    • The hairline
    • The jawline
    • Under the cheekbones
    • Sides of neck
    • Hollows of collarbone
    • Finally, use your buffing brush to apply blush. Start in the center of the cheek and streak upwards, toward the temple, building coverage until color is visible, but not overpowering.
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    Eyes. Use the angled brow brush to work tinted wax onto brows in short, hair-like strokes that follow the eyebrow's natural shape. Then apply an eyeshadow primer from the lid all the way to the brow bone. Follow by applying a medium shade onto the eyelid, then apply a shadow one to two shades darker to the inner and middle crease of the eye. Apply the darkest shadow to the outer crease, creating a smoky corner. Apply a highlighting shade under the brow bone and to the inner corners of the eyes. Finally, apply a cream eyeliner to the top and bottom lids.
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    Eyelashes (women only). Apply a thin strip of eyelash adhesive to the band of your false eyelashes and press gently onto eyes, as close to natural line as possible. Press against closed eyes for at least 20 seconds. If needed, trim the lashes at the band, not the lashes. Then use an eyelash curler, starting at the root of the lashes. Squeeze and hold for 15 seconds, then repeat, working toward the ends. Finish with a coat of black mascara.
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    Lips. Begin by exfoliating the lips with a washcloth rubbed in a circular motion. Start with a clear lip balm. If you are a man, apply a lip color close to your natural shade. For women, line the outside of the lips, color in with the same liner, and use your brush to apply lipstick over it. Press down with a tissue placed between the lips to blot away excess.
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    Finish. Hold finishing spray bottle six to eight inches away from you, close your eyes, and spritz the area two to four times. Remember to give your makeup a test run a few days before the show, to make sure you like it and see if you need to buy anything extra. And, of course, check with your director beforehand about what they want as well. Be beautiful and dance!

Things You'll Need

  • Moisturizer for your skin type
  • Foundation primer
  • Concealer
  • Foundation
  • Foundation/concealer brush
  • Finishing powder
  • Buffing brush
  • Highlighter
  • Contouring cream or powder
  • Blush
  • Angled brow brush
  • Tinted eyebrow wax
  • Eye shadow primer
  • Eye shadow palette
  • Eye shadow brush
  • Eye shadow blending/creasing brush
  • Brush cleaner
  • Cream eyeliner
  • Angled eyeliner brush
  • False lashes (women only)
  • False eyelash adhesive (women only)
  • Eyelash curler (women only)
  • Black mascara (women only)
  • Washcloth
  • Lip balm
  • Lip liner (women only)
  • Lip brush (women only)
  • Lip color (women only)
  • Tissues
  • Finishing spray

Article Info

Categories: Merge | Theatrical Makeup