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How to apply stage make-up

Applying stage make-up is an art, and there are different application techniques which are employed. Face make-up for theatrical performance has to be more dramatic compared to film make-up. It allows the audience to see the visual expressions of the actors. Make-up artists use their skills to apply make-up to accentuate the features of the actors without making them appear overdone. Here are some tips on how to apply stage make-up that you will find extremely helpful when making your stage début.


Apply foundation on your face, neck and ears by using a triangular sponge. This helps to create colour. The foundation should always be one shade darker than your skin tone. Start with your forehead, and then move downwards towards the ears and neck. Do not neglect the hairline.


To enhance the bone structure of your face, apply blush. If you are a male actor, opt for light rose blush. On the other hand, if you are a female actor, go for dark pink or dark red. Use a large brush and begin with the cheek bones. Apply the blush from the cheek bones towards the outer edge of the eyes. Keep applying three to five coats of the blush so as to make it dark and more obvious.

Eye shadow and mascara

Use eye shadow to enhance your eyes. This is the most important part of stage face make-up. Start with a white eye shadow highlighter pencil. Cover your entire eyelid until the eyebrow line. This helps to accentuate the brow line, and to make the eyes appear obvious. Use you finger to blend the colour. Apply eye shadow thereafter. Men can use light brown eye shadow, while women should opt just for dark colours that go with their outfits. Apply a dark shade of eye shadow or eye-liner along the edge of the eyelid. Use mascara on the eye lashes. Be liberal with the mascara, as it will help the audience to see your lashes. Refrain from using mascara on the lower eye lashes, as it will end up being smeared due to the heat generated by the stage lights.


Follow the natural line of your lips to apply the lipstick. Men should opt for dark pink shades, while women should go for dark reds. After application, blot the lips with a tissue to prevent the lipstick from getting onto your teeth.

Finishing touch

Get someone to blow some powder onto your face. This prevents smearing due to heat from the stage lights and also aids in the absorption of natural skin oils, so that stage face make-up does not settle into the lines of the face. This completes your stage make-up.

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