When I first started doing my own makeup, it was a tragedy. “Just make your eyes really dramatic,” my teachers said. “Make them POP!” I made them “pop” alright—with a bit of black and grey for that envied smoky eye look, followed by green or blue for some color. Then, I’d slab on mascara with a touch of eyeliner (only on the bottom, on the inside). Perfect right? Not so much.
Somehow, I made it through those competition days in denial of how ridiculous I looked. But when I moved on to college dance, I got slapped in the face with reality. Before a dress rehearsal—with my makeup and hair finished, or so I thought—my choreographer told me I had the colors backward: dark shades in the wrong creases and light shades not even close. I went on stage feeling like a complete loser, hoping my face wasn’t completely lost in the lights. Since then, I’ve done my homework. Here are four tips to help you avoid a makeup disaster:
1. Be prepared. I used to store my makeup in a million different places—eye shadow in one box, eyeliner and mascara in a plastic zip-lock bag and lipstick at the bottom of my purse. In order to do anything well, you need to be organized. So do yourself a favor and make sure you have a makeup case with room for all the essentials.
2. Practice makes perfect. Just as dancers rehearse to perfect their craft, so do makeup artists. If you want to get better, you have to practice. When you have time off, take out your makeup kit, experiment and see what works for you. This is a fantastic way to learn what you need and what you’re missing before show day.
3. Go big or go home. I’d always play it safe with my makeup, never wanting to look like a clown. But the point of stage makeup is to be seen from the back row. Adding white to your eyelid and just below your brow before doing anything else will help highlight those areas once you’ve applied the rest of your shadow. And draw your eyeliner out further than the outside edge of your eyes to make them appear larger.
4. YouTube is your friend. There’s so much information right at our fingertips. I’ve watched plenty of “how to” videos and some are far more helpful than others. Here’s one that I absolutely love from Pacific Northwest Ballet:
What are your worst makeup mistakes? Let me know in the comments!