Lines on Lines

Words about Dance

Guest post by a lovely friend:

As I navigate the blogging world, and slowly try to dip my toes into it, I realize that during busy times, when I’ve got big projects going on, it’s sometimes a brilliant option to ask my many beautiful and talented friends if they’d like to take up a little corner of my blog with their own insight. I’ve been working on my own project called, Document Cuba, a multi-dicipline artistic collaboration between a choreographer, a dancer (me!), and a photographer. For more on that, click here. While I’m busy with that, I’ve handed the reigns over to a dear friend! We go way back to the days of ballet summer camp! For Lines on Lines’ first ever guest-blog post, and as a former professional ballet dancer, Cristal Segura knows exactly what she’s talking about. So, without further ado, I’ll let her take it away:

As a student I lived to be in the theatre and to perform, but one of my favorite rituals was putting on stage make-up. When I became a professional ballerina and had multiple shows every weekend for a 42-week season my makeup habits evolved. I now know so much about makeup products and how to apply them well, but it was a learning process. I learned from other girls in the company, looking at photos, and I spent countless hours learning from YouTube tutorials. I want to share with you some tips on what colors are best to buy for the stage, and what you actually need. I’ll also share some things I wish I would have known sooner. In general not only do you want to apply makeup that flatters your face shape but makeup that signifies that it is “you.” I now know ALL the tricks when it comes to applying makeup for both the theatre and everyday use.  I’m sure at some point you were given very rigid guidelines of how to put on your stage makeup and had strict rules on colors. Am I wrong? I know I did. There are ways for you to incorporate colors you like without looking like a scary clown from Halloween. It takes some trial and error and practice.

PRODUCTS- This is a very basic list of what I personally like to use. First thing is first: you need a foundation. In the past I’ve been told to use the “pancake foundation” that you need to wet but I prefer whatever foundation I use daily (for my skin’s sake), just a much heavier wear of it. Next is concealer in a shade or two lighter than the color of the foundation you are using. This is used to cancel out any discoloration and to also highlight certain areas of the face. I also recommend using a waterproof concealer just to uphold any sweat while you dance, my personal favorite is the Mac pro-long wear concealer. This concealer is very long lasting and you don’t need much to cover what needs to be covered. Next is optional but I like to use an additional foundation a shade or two darker than my base to contour my cheek bones, jaw line, forehead and nose. The stage lights can be so bright that it really eliminates any shaded definition that your face has naturally. Eye shadow(s) is next in 4 shades. Now some of the color options can vary but in general you will need a highlight shade (lightest), a base color (light), a shading color (medium) and a contrast color (darkest). Next would be black eyeliner in either cream or liquid in addition to a black pencil just to line and thicken the appearance of your upper lash line. A great mascara and thick false lashes are a must, I’ve always loved the super dramatic thick false lashes but this is really a personal preference.  You will need a blush color that will brighten the overall complexion of your face, a bright pink is really the best for the stage. If you do have a darker skin complexion however, you might want to try a warm peach color. Finally I always choose a wine colored lip liner and a deep red lipstick.

COLOR OPTIONS- Its ALWAYS a safe route to take on the traditional colors of stage make up: the matte browns, bright red lips, and so on and so forth. But I personally like to play with eye shadow colors or mixing blush tones to have some fun with it. Something to keep it interesting and personal to each role I perform. Now when I say eye shadow colors they are still UNDERSTATED and APPROPRIATE for the stage. Alternative colors to brown for eye shadow that I love are deep steel grey, olive greens, cranberry shades, even a subtle deep matte purple. These colors should be used as a contrast just on a very small portion of your outer eyelid corner or dragged lightly on the crease of the lid, NOT covering an entire lid. I really do recommend studying YouTube videos to understand placement of eye shadow based on EYE SHAPE. Especially if you are interested in using colors other than the traditional browns for the eyes. Something else to address is shimmer vs. no shimmer. I think shimmery (NOT GLITTER) eye shadows are fine as long as you mix them with matte colors. This is always my rule, whether I am on stage or not. For rouge, bright pinks are generally best when choosing a blush color for all skin tones. As I said before the harsh stage lights really consume most rouge colors, so brighter is better in this case. As far as red lipsticks, I really love mixing MAC colors, my favourite two are RUBY WOO, a matte bright red, and DIVA, which is a borderline brownish deep red that compliments my skin tone. Combining these two create the perfect red lip for on and off stage.


  1. The biggest tip I can give ANYONE about makeup is to study and understand the shape of your face. There are so many variations out there and it takes a lot of understanding when it comes to applying makeup of all types. The more you know about your face shape the better you will apply your makeup.
  1. Eyeliner is meant to enhance the shape of your eye; I’ve seen a lot of crazy ideas of how to do your eyeliner when it comes to the stage. Understand that even placing your lower eyeliner simply underneath your lower lash line creates a larger appearance. You DO NOT need to place it crazy low with a wing to make your eyes look larger. Trust me on this one.
  1. Learn to apply your false lashes well! You can have a beautiful face with perfect makeup but if your eyelashes are applied in a sloppy fashion it completely ruins the look.
  1. Apply your lip liner and lipstick once and then very carefully, with a clean brush take your concealer to keep the color from bleeding around your face. It keeps it clean and from looking messy.
  1. Filling in your eyebrows is SO important! Find either a brow gel or you can even use an eye shadow to fill in any sparse areas. Your eyebrows really do serve as a frame for your face and if your eyebrows disappear on stage we lose your entire face. Fill in your brows and secure the placement with a clear brow gel or clear mascara, either works perfectly.
  1. Buy brushes!!! You can spend a fortune on real hair brushes or a few bucks on faux hair brushes. Even a brush that is made of synthetic fibers will give you a much cleaner application. I strongly advise buying a few brushes.

I hope this gives some direction on how to pick out products and colors when it comes to stage makeup. Stage makeup can be fun and you learn a lot about makeup for the stage to carry on as a non- performer. The entire point of makeup is to enhance what is naturally there. Keep it fresh and clean! Some of my all time favorite stage make-up looks are subtle and light, which is surprising! The ritual of putting on stage makeup is special and can help you prepare and transform for your performance. The more confident you are in your appearance the better you will perform.

Makeup is wonderful, merde!


Like what you see here from Cristal? For more, check out her fun lifestyle blog:


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This entry was posted on September 14, 2015 by .
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