Thursday, December 14

The Top 10 Performance Makeup Mistakes And How to Fix Them

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As a former professional dancer in NYC for 10 years, I would see beautiful young girls haphazardly pile loads of makeup on their face for performances.  Time and time again, I witnessed backstage how poor makeup skills can get, well, ugly!  As a makeup artist, I learned how makeup can accentuate the positive and help to create the best possible version of ourselves IF used properly. 

Here are my Top 10 Performance Makeup Mistakes in no particular order.

  1. MISTAKENo EyebrowsWHY? We lose the emotional expression of the face when there are no eyebrows.

FIX IT:  Use a pressed mineral eye shadow powder in a color that matches or is slightly darker than your own hair color with an angled eyeliner makeup brush to fill in the natural shape of the eyebrows.  This will enhance and frame the eyes more naturally than with an eyebrow pencil. 

  1. MISTAKE:  Black pencil eyeliner on the inside of the lower lash line.  WHY?  On stage, it makes the eyes look smaller.  This is a great makeup technique for TV, fashion shows, print ads, and in person but not for stage performances.

FIX IT:  Use a WHITE Highlighter Pencil on the inside lower lash line and on the outside corner of the eyes to brighten the eyes and make them look bigger.

  1. MISTAKE:  Black liner under eye and too far in to the inner corner.  WHY? It gives the eye a very rounded shape (we want a more almond shape) and can sometimes give the appearance of the dancer being “cross-eyed”.

FIX IT:  Use a dark brown eye shadow color with an eyeliner makeup brush as a liner under the eye starting under the pupil and brushing out following the natural curve of the eye.  Do NOT connect the upper lash liner and the lower lash liner.  Leaving these open will give the illusion that the whites of the eyes are very large.

  1. MISTAKE:  Darkest eye shadow contour color that is too high on the crease of the eye (up to the eyebrows) and too far in towards the nose.   WHY?  The eyes look like big emotionless, black holes.  This is also why the “Smokey-eyed look” does NOT work on stage.

FIX IT:  Make sure contour color does not go so high up that it collides with the eyebrows.   Use an eye shadow brush that is small and angled to add darker contour color to crease area focusing on the outer half of the eye and avoid bringing dark color too far in towards the nose. 

  1. MISTAKE:  No foundation worn for stage performances.  WHY?  Makeup that is worn without a foundation looks blotchy when you get sweaty and when doing a touch-up.    

FIX IT:  Foundation creates a clean, matte surface for the makeup to be applied to.  Using a lightweight, mineral oil free/non-comedogenic, water resistant foundation, will keep makeup looking smooth and clean all day long!    

  1. MISTAKEFalse lashes that are too big and/or too thick.  WHY?  When the stage lights come down from the top, big lashes create a shadow under the eyes making them look sleepy, heavy, and closed. 

FIXIT:  Unless lashes are a demi/half lash, they will need to trimmed to fit the eye. (Always trim from the outside edge.)  Look for false lashes that are longer on the outer edge and get shorter as they go towards the inner eye.  Avoid overly “large” lashes and opt for ones that focus on the outer third of the eye. 

  1. MISTAKEIncorrect makeup colors used for stage makeup.  WHY?  Just because we see a look on TV, does not mean that it will work for stage.  When makeup is done for TV, colors can match costumes, be more subtle and more “fashionable” in style.  For stage, our main purpose is to make sure the facial features can be seen and the dancer looks beautiful under intense stage lighting.

FIXIT:  Stick to neutral, earth tones that bring out the natural beauty in the dancers face.  BTW:  there are neutral red and rose-toned lipsticks that look gorgeous.  Brighter isn’t better!  If the audience is distracted from the performance by bright, glaring red lipstick, then it has defeated its purpose.

  1. MISTAKEToo much blush/sharp line for blush.  WHY?  This makes the dancers face look harsh and/or older. 

FIXIT:  Use neutral rose toned or neutral pink/peach toned blush colors.  These colors will work on all skin tones – lightest to darkest.  Start your blush brush at the hair line and sweep in a forward motion and blend upward around the apples of the cheeks. Do not allow blush color to go below the lip line.   

  1. MISTAKEToo much glitterWHY?  When glitter is on the lips, the eyes, the cheeks, the hair, the body, and a costume, it is very distracting to the audience and judges.

FIXIT:  Pick one part of the face that will have glitter.  Try a red glitter lip or a beautiful iridescent white to highlight the cheekbones or eyelids or have glitter in your hair.  But pick ONE part of the body not all for your “glitter-fitti!

  1.  MISTAKENot enough makeup.  WHY?   Because of the intensity of the lights and the distance from the performer to the audience, the facial features lose their dimension.  They “flatten” out without enough makeup on. 

FIXIT:  Again, just because you saw the look on a dancer on TV, does not mean it is appropriate for stage.  Because of the intensity of the stage lighting, a “natural look” NEEDS makeup to look natural on stage.  Your makeup should be dark enough that we see your facial features easily to 8th-10th row of the theatre.    As a former professional dancer in NYC for 10 years, I would see beautiful young girls haphazardly pile loads of makeup on their face for performances.  Time and time again, I witnessed backstage how poor makeup skills can get, well, ugly!  As a makeup artist, I learned how makeup can accentuate the positive and help to create the best possible version of ourselves IF used properly. 

Here are my Top 10 Performance Makeup Mistakes in no particular order.

  1. MISTAKENo EyebrowsWHY? We lose the emotional expression of the face when there are no eyebrows.

FIX IT:  Use a pressed mineral eye shadow powder in a color that matches or is slightly darker than your own hair color with an angled eyeliner makeup brush to fill in the natural shape of the eyebrows.  This will enhance and frame the eyes more naturally than with an eyebrow pencil. 

  1. MISTAKE:  Black pencil eyeliner on the inside of the lower lash line.  WHY?  On stage, it makes the eyes look smaller.  This is a great makeup technique for TV, fashion shows, print ads, and in person but not for stage performances.

FIX IT:  Use a WHITE Highlighter Pencil on the inside lower lash line and on the outside corner of the eyes to brighten the eyes and make them look bigger.

  1. MISTAKE:  Black liner under eye and too far in to the inner corner.  WHY? It gives the eye a very rounded shape (we want a more almond shape) and can sometimes give the appearance of the dancer being “cross-eyed”.

FIX IT:  Use a dark brown eye shadow color with an eyeliner makeup brush as a liner under the eye starting under the pupil and brushing out following the natural curve of the eye.  Do NOT connect the upper lash liner and the lower lash liner.  Leaving these open will give the illusion that the whites of the eyes are very large.

  1. MISTAKE:  Darkest eye shadow contour color that is too high on the crease of the eye (up to the eyebrows) and too far in towards the nose.   WHY?  The eyes look like big emotionless, black holes.  This is also why the “Smokey-eyed look” does NOT work on stage.

FIX IT:  Make sure contour color does not go so high up that it collides with the eyebrows.   Use an eye shadow brush that is small and angled to add darker contour color to crease area focusing on the outer half of the eye and avoid bringing dark color too far in towards the nose. 

  1. MISTAKE:  No foundation worn for stage performances.  WHY?  Makeup that is worn without a foundation looks blotchy when you get sweaty and when doing a touch-up.    

FIX IT:  Foundation creates a clean, matte surface for the makeup to be applied to.  Using a lightweight, mineral oil free/non-comedogenic, water resistant foundation, will keep makeup looking smooth and clean all day long!    

  1. MISTAKEFalse lashes that are too big and/or too thick.  WHY?  When the stage lights come down from the top, big lashes create a shadow under the eyes making them look sleepy, heavy, and closed. 

FIXIT:  Unless lashes are a demi/half lash, they will need to trimmed to fit the eye. (Always trim from the outside edge.)  Look for false lashes that are longer on the outer edge and get shorter as they go towards the inner eye.  Avoid overly “large” lashes and opt for ones that focus on the outer third of the eye. 

  1. MISTAKEIncorrect makeup colors used for stage makeup.  WHY?  Just because we see a look on TV, does not mean that it will work for stage.  When makeup is done for TV, colors can match costumes, be more subtle and more “fashionable” in style.  For stage, our main purpose is to make sure the facial features can be seen and the dancer looks beautiful under intense stage lighting.

FIXIT:  Stick to neutral, earth tones that bring out the natural beauty in the dancers face.  BTW:  there are neutral red and rose-toned lipsticks that look gorgeous.  Brighter isn’t better!  If the audience is distracted from the performance by bright, glaring red lipstick, then it has defeated its purpose.

  1. MISTAKEToo much blush/sharp line for blush.  WHY?  This makes the dancers face look harsh and/or older. 

FIXIT:  Use neutral rose toned or neutral pink/peach toned blush colors.  These colors will work on all skin tones – lightest to darkest.  Start your blush brush at the hair line and sweep in a forward motion and blend upward around the apples of the cheeks. Do not allow blush color to go below the lip line.   

  1. MISTAKEToo much glitterWHY?  When glitter is on the lips, the eyes, the cheeks, the hair, the body, and a costume, it is very distracting to the audience and judges.

FIXIT:  Pick one part of the face that will have glitter.  Try a red glitter lip or a beautiful iridescent white to highlight the cheekbones or eyelids or have glitter in your hair.  But pick ONE part of the body not all for your “glitter-fitti!

  1.  MISTAKENot enough makeup.  WHY?   Because of the intensity of the lights and the distance from the performer to the audience, the facial features lose their dimension.  They “flatten” out without enough makeup on. 

FIXIT:  Again, just because you saw the look on a dancer on TV, does not mean it is appropriate for stage.  Because of the intensity of the stage lighting, a “natural look” NEEDS makeup to look natural on stage.  Your makeup should be dark enough that we see your facial features easily to 8th-10th row of the theatre.    

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