Theatrical Makeup

By on January 7, 2012

Eyes Makeup Tips 15 Theatrical Makeup

Theatrical makeup was first used in theatres to define the facial features of actors who stood in bright stage lighting. The stage lighting caused these features to be washed out, but the use of stage make-up served to enhance facial features. As the use of stage makeup progressed over time it was used to completely alter the appearance of an actor, or to create defining characteristics, such as scars or deformities. Regardless of its use today, however, stage or theatrical makeup is a marvelous tool in the hands of a creative individual.


  • Theatrical makeup foundations can be purchased from a wide variety of sources. Foundations come in matte finishes, cakes and crèmes. Professional stage makeup suppliers will also offer eye and lip colors, concealers, cleaners, brushes, sponge applicators and a multitude of character makeup. Character make-up comes in crèmes, such as the clown white foundation, as well as in liquid paints, powders, caked crayons and a variety of shades for defining touches. Specialty makeup, to include flavored stage blood, can be purchased in small to large plastic bottles, or you can buy liquid latex for the creation of scars and/or wounds. Just remember how you apply any of these products is the key to the effectiveness of theatrical makeup.


  • Theatrical makeup designers put their makeup designs on paper prior to makeup application. This is important, especially if you are planning a very creative character design, such as the application of makeup for an animal. With the design on paper you can refer to it as you go through the process of applying the stage makeup.


  • A makeup sponge is the most effective means of applying stage makeup foundation. These sponges are thick and can be cleaned easily with soap and water for reuse. Foundation applications are at the core of your design, and therefore, you must take special care to ensure the foundation is applied evenly and that it covers the entire face, without streaks or evident lines. After the foundation is applied, the lips, eyes, cheeks and specific character features can be developed with stage makeup and brushes. No stage makeup application is complete without the use of theatrical powder. The powder is normally loose and applied with a large powder puff. This final step is often ignored, but it should not be. Powder will set the makeup and your design, while at the same time allowing it to last on the wearer.


  • Liquid latex has a pungent odor, and it takes some time to discover all of the makeup techniques that it can be useful for. Nevertheless, it should be a standard part of your makeup kit, especially if you want to create realistic scars or facial characteristics for holidays or performances. Liquid latex flows rapidly, so protect any clothing. Liquid latex can be applied with a makeup sponge and in layers, if necessary. During the application and drying process, you can create gaps in the latex with the makeup sponge. Once the latex is dry, foundation, coloring and powder is then applied over it to make the character feature vivid. If you are making a wound, pour a small amount of stage blood in the gap of the latex to make the wound look very fresh.


  • Most stage makeup can be removed with soap and water. However, one of the quickest and most effective methods of stage makeup removal is the use of baby wipes. Before you use the wipes, check the label to ensure they don’t contain any chemicals to which you are allergic.