Dance Makeup Tips and Trick

dance makeupWhen you think stage, the words, “Lights! Camera! Action!” come to mind. The theater, big lashes, sequins, sparkle and feathers. All of that course, can’t be done without having some serious stage makeup. Perhaps you’ve been to a show before where you’ve been able to hear and see all of the movements, kicklines and fan kicks but when it came to seeing the expression….you simply couldn’t. Hence, the binoculars in the back row.

Whether you’re going to see a play, musical, or dance performance having the proper stage makeup is just as important as having the proper costume, set, props and overall performance. It’s the cherry on top. What use is an award winning performance when your audience couldn’t connect with you, because they couldn’t see the expression behind your eyes?! Thankfully, makeup helps.

The other factor that’s important to consider is that the light, because light and sweat causes makeup to melt right off. No one wants that. If you’re a dancer, having a proper base for your dance makeup is going to save you from having that streaky-melting, look by the end of the performance. We’ve gotten together some of our favorite brands and tips for you, so that you can shine from tip to toe in during your next performance.

What to Buy

Not all makeup brands are made for stage. When you’re building up your makeup bag, you’ll want to stay with bright, bold colors that will last long during long performances when you don’t have time to touch up. Stores like M.A.C. Cosmetics actually has a discount card for industry people as well if you have proof of employment. When you’re performing consistently, you’d be surprised how much mascara you actually go through in a month! Below are some the basics and our favorite Brands to get you started.

Essentials for your Makeup Bag:

  • PETER THOMAS ROTH- Oilless Oil™ 100 percent Purified Squalane- a good moisturizer will keep your from looking shiny and oily on stage. Lights reflect off oil, no good!
  • Face and Body Foundation- MAC Cosmetics
  • Set Powder- MAC Cosmetics: Essential Tip: A collection of jet-milled, loose powders that effectively stabilize and fix makeup
  • Sculpting Powder Pro Pallete- MAC Cosmetics- part of being able to see your face from stage is adding sculpting and definition to your natural bone structure. By bringing out the contours of your face you can see your cheeks, nose and jawline more prominently.
  • Blot Powder Loose- MAC Cosmetics
  • MAC Haute & Naughty Lash
  • Clinique Advanced Concealer
  • NYC New York Color Liquid Eyeliner
  • Nars Blush in Deep Throat
  • MAC Lip Pencil in either Cherry or Brick
  • MAC Lipstick in MAC Red
  • Cosmetically Sealed Sealed with a Kiss- Clear sealer on top of lips
  • A great set of brushes. All brushes do different things, from blending to definition, a full set from MAC, NARS, Sonia Kashuk, Sigma or Laura Mercier are your best options
  • Shadows to explore from MAC Cosmetics: Deep Navy Blue Eyeshadow, Charcoal Brown, Handwritten, Bamboo, Typographic, Filament, Print, Smut
  • Creme Colour Base- MAC Cosmetics- this s multi-purpose from cheekbones to lips. It’s a must have!
  • LASHES! You cannot forget lashes. When you’re on stage you want your eyes to be seen, lashes bring out the shape and expression in your face. Some of the best brands are: Sephora False Lashes, MAC Cosmetics, Andrea Redi-Lash, Ardell Wispies in Black

Tips and Tricks

  • Now that you’ve got the makeup bag covered, or all of the basics to get you up on stage and loooking good, you’ll want to have a few tools under your belt to help. Applying makeup for stage can be tricky. Almost always, you’ll want to wear more than your day-to-day regime, so don’t be afraid if you feel like you look a little “over the top,” Liza Minnelli wasn’t afraid when she put on those big lashes for Cabaret! Try these tips while you’re getting ready:
  • Apply white, shimmery shadow to the brown bone and insides of your eyes, then add a brown or gold shadow and liner to your lower lash line. It’ll make your eyes look bigger!
  • Apply a highlighter like Laura Mercier’s Secret Brightening Powder to the bridge of my nose and my cheekbones for definition
  • Drink a lot of water! For glowing, bright skin you’ll want to stay hydrated.
  • Use a finishing product all over your face after it’s applied, try All Nighter by Urban Decay
  • Apply powder blush to the apples of your cheeks
  • Always carry Q-tips. They’re the best way to fix last minute smudges and creases without messing up your whole face.
  • Use an eyelash curler. If you heat your lash curler with a blow dryer for 3-5 seconds it works more effectively, like a curling iron
  • Use Scotch-Tape as a guide for The “cat-eye” look
  • Brush your brows up, to create more height and definition on your brow bone
  • When applying concealer apply with the brush downward, if you brush up it will cause your “peach fuzz” to stick straight up
  • Try tinted moisturizer. Instead of going to a tanning salon, protect your skin and get an extra glow and shimmer with tinted moisturizer
  • Use frosted powder on the center of your bottom and top lip to make your lips look extra bold

Look at the Icons

There are some amazing stage performers and celebrities who have made huge statements with their on-stage look. When you’re getting ready, having an inspiration board or look you’re trying to emulate helps guide the color combinations, hairstyle and costume. Take a look at some of these iconic stage-looks for your next show:

  • Liza Minnelli
  • Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl
  • Edie Sedgewick
  • Jennifer Lopez’ bronze glow
  • Audrey Hepburn’s eyebrows
  • Marilyn Monroe’s cat-eye and red lip combination
  • The Great Gatsby for the 1920’s smoky eye look


Now that you have all the tips, tricks and performance makeup ready, it’s showtime. Remember keep your hair out of your face, your smile intact and don’t forget to check for lipstick on your teeth before hitting the stage. Do you have any tricks that you use when you’re wearing stage makeup? Share in the comments below!