Tips For Applying Theatrical Makeup

By Judy Sullivan

When working on a theatrical production there are a lot of details to take care of. One of the biggest things to consider is the actors. As well as knowing their lines and being in the right position they also need to look right. This is why you need to ensure that they have the right theatrical makeup.

Another good reason is that there is not always a makeup assistant available especially if it is a low budget or amateur production. Therefore it helps to know how to do it for yourself so that you can be confident that you will look right when you get onto the stage. Furthermore things can happen and you may need to do touchups at the last minute.

If you are a director then the major advantage is that you know more about the process. Therefore when you are looking over an actor you will know if they look right or if something needs to be adjusted. It is amazing how little details can make all the difference.

You also need to be sure that men wear makeup too. It is vital to clarify that this is not a vanity issue but an issue of practicality. Stages tend to have very bright lights and the audience need to be able to make out the faces in the lights. When applying on men remember to use natural tones, with lighter tones for younger men and darker tones for older men.

Before you apply anything remember to put moisturiser on first if you have dry skin or a toner if you have oily skin. You should then apply a powder using a plump brush to ensure that anything you apply stays on. If you have excess powder you can remove it by knocking the brush against a paper towel so that you do not apply too much powder by mistake and have more control over where it is applied.

Check carefully in the mirror. As well as ensuring the makeup is applied properly consider what is appropriate for your character. Darker eyeliners and lipsticks often indicate darker characters. However be wary of going over the top. If you are in any doubt ask the director or look for reference photos to work from.

Once you are finished either get someone to blow baby powder at you or put in on your face. This will make it easier to keep it in place. This is especially important if you are involved in more physical productions as this reduces the risk of anything spreading if you sweat during any intense physical activity on stage.

There are various websites that can show you how to apply theatrical makeup. Video tutorials are ideal as this will make it easier to pause and look over how it is done. Look online for examples from professionals to help you develop your skills and prepare you for your next production.

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