Make up for theater

A basic guide to begin with

Imagine that the stage makeup procedure is a game and it only has two rules: imagination and the ideal basic supplies to begin with. It doesn’t matter which brand you use as long as you let your imagination work and decide the right colors and the right products. The basic supplies you need to have are:

  • Facial cleanser
  • Toner
  • Moisturizer
  • Cream foundation (or powder)
  • Blush
  • Eyeliner
  • Eye shadow
  • Powder or spray (in order to set the makeup)
  • Mascara
  • False eyelashes 
  • Sponge (to apply the foundation)
  • Brush (to apply the blush or to set the makeup)

Preparation of the face

  • First of all, clean and exfoliate your face.
  • Then, apply some moisturizer to protect the skin before working upon the makeup.

This procedure will protect both the face and neck, while the makeup will stay put longer.

  • Use also a neutral balm -without color- on the lips.
  • According to the quality of the skin (if it is dry or oily you can use a skin toner or a primer along with the moisturizer.

Let the cream-toner stay for half an hour.

Application of the foundation

  • Choose the ideal foundation color for your skin tone, that is one to two shades darker than your face, if you want to look natural on stage. If you want to look paler, make sure to choose cold tones.
  • Prefer cream foundation to powder, since it looks more natural and lasts longer. For better results, use a sponge to apply the cream across your face, neck, jawline and hairline. It is important to blend the cream evenly. To do so, dab the sponge to the foundation and then to your face in a slight way, avoiding to rub it.

In order to decide how much foundation you need to apply, you should take into consideration both the character you play and the size of the theater. If the audience is large, you may have to use more product and vice versa.

Application of the blush

  • First of all, you should choose the ideal brush to apply the blush to your face.
  • Then you should choose the ideal color. It is recommended that you use pink or red tones for women, girls and young boys and terra cotta for men.

The blush is applied to the cheeks, and specifically to the apples, starting from the point next to your nose and going upwards to the ear. You may find it useful to smile wildly throughout the process.

Application of the eye shadow

  • First of all, choose the ideal color of eye shadow. It is recommended that you use natural tones or maybe brighter colors for young girls. When you choose the color you will use –let’s say brown-, pick up three different tones of that color, one light, one medium and one dark.
  • Apply the lighter brown to the area below the brow, the medium brown to the eyelid and the darker one to the line of your crease.

Apply some white color to your tear duct to light the area.

Application of the eyeliner

  • Firstly, choose the ideal color of the eyeliner you want to use. The color depends on the character you play, as well as the result you want to accomplish. Darker tones are recommended for dramatic characters, otherwise choose brighter tones. If you want to make your eyes look bigger, you may use a white color. It is best for men to apply brown eyeliner. For women, both brown and black eyeliner work just fine.

For the application of the eyeliner, put the brush to the tear duct and move it across the line of your lashes, making sure the brush is attached to your lashes if you want your gaze to look more open.

Applying lip liner and lipstick
Before applying the lipstick, you better start with the lip liner. 
Men should prefer natural  lipstick shades,
Women can use the whole palette It depends on
      -time period,
      -and the atmosphere of the play.
It is better  the lipstick match the eyeliner and lip liner.

Setting the make up

After you have applied the foundation, the blush, the eye shadow and the eyeliner, you want to make sure that your makeup is steady and it won’t start running when you sweat on stage. In order to do so, you have to use powder or spray made up exactly for this purpose. If you use powder, apply it with a large round head brush, making sure it doesn’t have any excess powder on it. You may remove it either by blowing on it or by sweeping it on a towel. Apply the powder to the whole area of your face, including the neck, mouth, eyes and nose

Application of the mascara

After you have set up the makeup, it is time to put on some mascara.

  • Firstly, choose the ideal color. It is recommended that you use the same color as the eyeliner, if you have applied any.

Although it is not necessary, for better application, lift your eyelid and then apply the mascara to your lashes. Put the brush at the base of your lashes and move it upwards to cover the whole extent of the lash. Make sure the lashes are separated and not stuck together.


Take a step behind and having in mind what you wanted to accomplish with your makeup, review the result. Ask yourself if the makeup serves its purpose according to the character you play, the period he/she lives in, as well as the distance from the audience and the size of the theater. If you are happy with your work, you are done! Now you may wash your hands!

How to remove the stage makeup

 It may be boring and you may think it is not necessary to remove the makeup right after you step out of stage, but believe me, it is! You should put the same effort as you did applying the makeup to remove it. The recommended steps are:

  • Use makeup wipes to gently remove most of the makeup.
  • Use some coconut oil, massaging your face with a cotton pad.
  • Use a cleanser, focusing on the curves of your face, such as your nose, jawline and ears.
  • Use a special cleanser suitable for your skin issues, like dehydration.
  • Rinse your face with water.
  • Dry your face with a towel.
  • Add a moisturizer.

Tips to make you look  pro:

  • Always use stage makeup which is steadier and it won’t run when you sweat on stage because of the lights.
  • Always take into consideration the size of the theater and how large the audience is. For larger venues, choose a darker tone of foundation and contour the lines of your face to make them look sharper and easier to be seen even from the back of the venue.
  • Always have in mind the age of the character you play. If it is a young one, apply some pink or red blush to the cheekbones. If it is an older one, contour the sockets of the eyes and the jaw.
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