Basic Full-Face Makeup Application
by Kevin Roche
With Hallowe'en fast approaching, you may be wondering yet again how to
do full-face makeup that will last through an event. This article is intended to take
you through the steps necessary to apply your makeup and take some of the
mystery out of the process.
The technique described here is the one I use for all of my full-face
makeups; I developed it as part of my transformation into "Debra Taunt" ( my
female impersonation character), so I know it can survive several hours of heat
and perspiration. I first learned it from a book entitled Makeup by Rex (or
something close to that) which was aimed at taking the mystery out of basic
women's daily street makeup. If you come across a copy of this book (it's a
paperback) snap it up; the advice on color is dated, but many of the tips and
techniques for reshaping the contours of a face are very useful.
This article will not spend much time discussing color choice and design; if
you're designing a fantasy makeup, the tips won't apply, and there isn't space to
discuss all the effects different color designs will have on your eye and facial
expression. It will describe the basic steps required to apply the color and keep it
? Well Lighted Mirror (Pick up one of those inexpensive lighted makeup
mirrors with the folding side mirrors if you can; they often have a center
mirror that flips to a "correcting" mirror for glasses wearers)
? Surgical Cotton (comes in a loose roll -- you unroll what you want and can
pinch it off into cotton balls, powder applicators, etc.)
? Brushes -- a couple of decent makeup brushes
? Toilet paper or facial tissues (referred to as "tissue" from now on)
? Cotton Swabs
? Makeup applicators (the little "wand" things)
? Cosmetic sponges
? A fine-misting spray bottle full of clean water
? Eye Makeup remover or Baby oil
? Pre-moistened baby wipes or (much more expensive) makeup removal
pads and /or cold cream
? Some idea what you want the Final result to look like. For fantasy makeup,
make a drawing of what colors go wear once you get it right, and use that
as a map the next time around.
? Your favorite skin cleanser
? Your favorite face moisturizer
? Foundation -- I recommend hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic cake
foundations such as Le Velvet Filme from Physician's formula. They offer
good coverage with less mess than a liquid foundation, and are less likely
to irritate your skin than stage makeup. You can save money by buying
them as refills instead of in a full compact. In general, for non-dimensional
makeup (colors only), you can do anything with street makeup that you
can with stage makeup. If you are working for a fantasy base color like
blue or green, get the stage makeup. If you want a less-drastic unearthly
effect, use a flesh colored base but exotic colors for all your contouring
? Choose the color of your foundation one shade darker than the final
color you want to achieve on your face. The powder applied on top of
your makeup will generally "fade" the color slightly.
? Cover stick appropriate for your skin color
? Eyebrow pencil
? Eyeliner -- Being paranoid about my eyes, I prefer either the "felt-tip" style
liner pens or a liquid eyeliner
? Mascara and/or false eyelashes (remember -- never share your
mascara; it's cheap compared to an eye infection!)
? Eye shadow colors
? Powdered highlight/contour colours (one lighter than your foundation color
for highlights, one darker for contour/blush). If you use all powdered
colors, eye colors can also be used for exotic shaping effects.
? A lip pencil in the color you want your lips to be
? Transparent or lightly colored lip gloss, if you want shiny lips
? Translucent loose powder. This is one item you may want to get at a
theater supplies shop. You do not want pressed powder, but the loose
stuff that you shake out. Translucence is important, because it will let the
colors you apply show through after the final powdering. Choose a shade
that blends well with your skin color (or as close as possible to whatever
color your skin will be when made up, if you are doing exotic things).
OK, ready? here we go. A simple "street" makeup should take 20 to 30
minutes, once you get the hang of it.
One Basic Tip: BLEND! When applying the foundation and most contours,
sharp lines are not what you want. Take the time to blend the edges of
colors you apply. Smooth and even creme makeups by patting them with
the makeup sponge -- don't wipe them on and leave them like streaky
paint. Blend powdered colors with a makeup brush, a cotton ball, a clean
sponge or wand, or (sometimes) your clean finger. If a region is supposed
to look like "paint by numbers", then the edges are ok. To make a contour
look like a sharp edge, blend it, then use a colored makeup pencil to add
the line of the edge (and smudge that line a little, too.)
1. Wash your face and pat it dry.
1a. If you are male, not bearded, and doing full face makeup, shave first and wait
until you stop bleeding.
1b. If you are male and attempting a "female" face, lather and shave twice, then
wait until you stop bleeding. (Shaving twice will leave you with a closer
shave and less razor burn.)
2. Apply Moisturizer, wait 1 minute, then blot off excess with tissue.
If you do not wish to apply a foundation under the rest of your makeup (if you
want to apply eye makeup to your natural skin, for instance), skip steps 4-
8 and proceed directly to 9. Be sure to have applied moisturizer to your
eyelids so the colors will have something to cling to!
3. If you have any obvious cosmetic defects (spots, dark circles, etc.) that you
wish to hide, apply cover stick to it now. Use a clean finger to blend out
the edge of the cover into your natural skin.
4. Apply foundation. With a cake (cream) makeup, this is sort of like applying wax
shoe polish -- only use less! Twist the sponge into the makeup, then pat it
onto your face with a minimum of wiping motions to reduce streaking.
Don't forget your eyelids -- the foundation is what provides adhesion and
"staying power" for your eye colors! If you'll be wearing false eyelashes,
keep the edge of the upper eyelids clean so the lashes have someplace to
stick. Once everything is applied, pat all over with the sponge to even out
5. "Punctuate" the foundation (this, in particular, I owe to Rex's book). Apply
"punctuation marks" to your foundation with your cover stick:
? A period (small dot) on your forehead
? a narrow line down the center of your nose
? commas around the corners of your nose
? apostrophes at the corners of your mouth
? another period in the center of your chin
Blend these marks thoroughly into the foundation. This gives you a
foundation slightly more natural looking than the flat blank effect of the
foundation creme by itself.
6. Gently blot the entire makeup with tissue to lift off excess makeup.
7. THIS IS THE HARDEST STEP. WAIT 3 MINUTES for the foundation to set. If
you absolutely can't keep your hands off your face, try drawing in your
8. "Powder down" your foundation. Shake some of the loose powder onto an
unrolled piece (about 6x6") of surgical cotton. Gently roll the powdered
cotton against your makeup. Repeat until everything is powdered. This
puts powder on everything to which it will stick, without leaving as much
excess behind as a powder puff.
Now take a second, clean piece of the cotton and use the same rolling
motion with the clean piece to pull off the excess powder.
You now have a smoothly textured, stable base onto which to apply color.
Should you wear eyeliner over 60?Remove any excess mascara or clumps with a cotton bud. At around 60, say goodbye to mascara and eyeliner on the bottom lashes it nearly always clumps and collects in the creases under the eyes. This complete eye makeup routine is lovely during the years around 60, but as time passes and we are in our 70s, the complete works may look overdone.
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