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Now that you have committed to a healthy skin care program including proper cleansing, sound nutrition and adequate water consumption, you can start practicing on that gorgeous stage face. Many of you might be thinking, "I know how to put makeup on!"
If you've never stepped on a stage, there are several changes you will need to make to your application techniques in order to ensure your face "will stay on," won't look washed out and will survive those hot and unforgiving stage lights.
Complete Your Tan Before Staring
Making A Foundation Easier
Before you do anything, make sure your tan is complete. You want to be as dark as you're going to get. This will make your foundation selection process much easier. Generally, it is recommended that you choose a foundation that is about one shade lighter than your body.
If you choose a foundation that matches your tan, your face will disappear on stage and people will see two whites and a set of teeth. Conversely, do not choose a foundation that is too light because your face will look like Casper floating above your body. (I made this mistake!)
Do not use ProTan on your face! Acetone and alcohol will do a number on your skin. If you want, apply a self tanner that is appropriate for faces, although this is not necessary. I will give more specific foundation recommendations.
One Other Point To Mention About Base Tans:
Personally, I am not an advocate of tanning by means of the sun or tanning beds/booths. I happen to use Olympic Sun Gold Bronzer for my base tan. This is my personal preference because I have a sensitivity to the sun and I want to prevent skin cancer and premature aging.
Creating A Stage Worthy Face
An Artistic Masterpiece
A Clean Canvas
Let's begin with your base. Your face will need to be clean and free of any dirt, oil and makeup. Think of it like an artist creating a masterpiece on a canvas. There are many small applications that gradually build on one another in order to complete the end product. Start with a light, oil free, non-comedogenic moisturizer. Make sure it is evenly applied and gently massaged on with your fingertips.
Applying The Foundation
At this point, you can begin applying your foundation. There are a couple of points you need to keep in mind when choosing the proper foundation. If you have very dark under eye circles, sparingly apply a yellow base concealer with a brush before putting on your foundation.
If you are using Pro-Tan Competition color, the best match I have found is Dermablend's Reddish Tan compact Cover Creme. It has amazing coverage and is slightly lighter than the Pro-Tan. This stuff will cover any blemish or imperfection.
I would recommend applying it with a cosmetic sponge and blending it with clean finger tips as needed. If you are not using Pro-Tan, my number one recommendation is to go to your nearest MAC counter and have your foundation matched. These gals and guys are excellent at making a match.
I have found the best MAC foundation to be the Studio Stick. It is easy to apply, can take a beating and has excellent coverage. Make sure you have adequate lighting and have someone else take a look at your application in case you have any streaks. One important point: Although it may look extremely dark up close, stage lights will wash out even the darkest daytime face.
For blemishes or other types of imperfections that you want to conceal, do your touch ups after your foundation has been applied. In most cases, the foundation will do the job. If not, use a concealer brush and gently apply a little extra foundation to those problem areas.
It is important to set these spots with a little loose translucent powder. Don't slap it on there or you will end up with powder spots. Lightly swish your powder brush into the powder, gently tap off the excess and then apply.
Getting Those Eyes To Stand Out
Your eyes are the next area of the face to create. Anytime you apply makeup, moisturizer or foundation to this area - be gentle! The skin around the eyes is delicate and thin. We work hard enough to combat aging so don't be rough with your skin and reverse all the good.
You will need an eyeshadow brush, blending brush and eyelining brush. Don't use those sponge tip applicators. They harbor bacteria and don't supply even coverage. Make sure you evenly applied your foundation to your lids, crease and brow bone as well. This provides a properly prepared canvas to work from. The key to beautiful eyes that last all day, is layering and blending. Keep this in mind in the next section.
A Base Color
Start with a medium color, sweeping it over your entire lid, crease and just to the brow. This is your base color. It should be complimentary to your skin tone.
For example, I use a neutral color with pink and brown undertones because my skin has shades of pink. The color you choose should be too dark to be a highlighter but not dark enough to add contrast to the crease of your eye.
Start from the inner corner and blend outward in a gentle sweeping motion. Don't be afraid to get some solid coverage on there. You want those eyes to stand out on stage.
Adding Depth & Contrast To Your Lids
Next, there are two different options you can choose.
First, find a dark color that will add depth and contrast to your lids. If you do not want to add a bright color on your lid, skip to the next step.
Since this is a stage presentation, have a little fun. I have a fantastic bright teal suit that I've worn for figure competitions. I chose a deep, shimmery teal from the MAC counter in a solid powder pot. These are the most versatile and economical because you can apply them wet or dry.
I wet my brush when applying my shadow for stage. It makes the color appear stronger and brighter and increases it's staying power. You don't want to soak the brush, just dampen, tap, swirl in the color, tap and sweep it across the lid, and just into the crease - all the way across the eye. Do not carry the bright teal up to the upper lid/brow bone area. This creates a clownish look.
Once you are satisfied with the depth of the bright, choose a dark brown (bark color) or black. I personally prefer black on stage because of extreme depth it creates. I use MAC's Black Tied. It has tiny sparkles in it! This is where blending really becomes critical because you don't want to create raccoon eyes.
Picture it: your eyes have the medium base all over and the bright across the lid and into the crease. Take your dark contrast, using a small (tapered) shadow or concealer brush and begin sweeping from the inner corner to the outside of your eye, in the crease. This is not a harsh, line, but a soft blended one that crosses slightly into the upper and lower lids.
Keep in mind that the concentration of the color needs to be in the crease though. Keep adding and blending the color until you reach a dramatic depth. Remember: although the makeup may look heavy in the mirror, it needs to be dark to be seen on stage.
You will want to take your thin eyeliner brush, dampen it and apply wet shadow as an eyeliner on the upper lid. Be careful to keep it directly along the lash line. Again, the key is to keep adding gradually and blending until you reach the desired darkness. Don't just slap it on there in thick gobs. Your lower lid should still show that bright color you chose earlier in the center in a shape like a sideways almond. If not, you put on too much dark contrast.
If you did not want to use the bright color, then just blend the dark contrast color so it looks like a smoky charcoal or dark sable on the lid (depending on whether you chose black or brown). The bright will really begin to make your eyes look big and "pop" on stage.
The reason I recommend black or brown as your contrast/depth color is simple. You don't want to look clownish or trashy. Colored eyelashes and blue eyeliner are great retro looks, but keeping the look classic will take you further with the judges.
The final eyeshadow step is the highlighter. This is applied directly under the outer third of the eyebrows along brow bone. This step is really important in making your eyes really look larger than life on stage. Use a lighter shade with some shimmer. Don't go for sparkles, just a little iridescence to add some more diva value. This is swept on and blended with your shadow brush from the inner to the outer corner of your eyes.
Mascara & False Eyelashes
At this point, you have the option of applying either your mascara or using false eyelashes for considerably more pizzazz. If you have a steady hand, you have two options for false eyelashes. You can use either mini fillers, which are 2-3 hairs glued in between every few of your lashes or you can opt for a strip lash.
I prefer the strip lash. It is easier to apply and as long as you don't go for the floor sweepers that are the same length all the across, you won't look like a drag queen. Choose a strip that is more like a natural eyelash line, which is shorter toward the inside of the eye and gets a little longer to the outer eye. You don't need to spend a ton on a brand like MAC. I use Ardell or some similar brand lash and they work well.
Application is the tricky part. You will need to first curl your own lashes so they're not sticking straight out under the false ones. Take a pair of tweezers and gently pull the false lash off of the base. You have to be really careful not to pull too hard as you might kink one of the hairs.
If this happens, take a pair of manicure scissors and snip off the kinked hair. You will never be able to straighten it back out. Apply a thin line of eyelash glue to the length of the false lash. Do not use any glue other than what is specifically intended for eyelash application. Don't laugh, I have heard of some unfortunate soul using super glue!
Place the eyelash right at the lash line, not above it and not on your own lashes or you'll end up pulling them out! This is the tricky part and may take some practice. Remember; make sure you put the shorter lashes toward the inner corner of your eye and the longer lashes on the outer corner. Don't wait until the day of the show to practice.
You can also use a cuticle stick to help slide the lash into place down to your lash line. Just don't poke yourself in the eye, please. The glue is white when initially applied, but it does dry clear. Wait at least five minutes before applying mascara because you don't want to pull the lash off with the wand.
Once your lashes are dry and applied in the proper place, it's time to apply mascara. This will blend your own lashes into the false ones making it more natural and it will give your eyes that final pop. Apply enough mascara so that it gives everything a good coat, but please don't over do it. You'll end up looking like a couple of spiders took refuge on your eyes. Your eyes are done!
Applying Your Blush
Next, you will apply your blush. There are several options - creme, powder or bronzer. I prefer a powder blush or a bronzer. The creme can smudge your foundation and make it look uneven if not applied with care.
You can choose either a deeper blush color that compliments your skin tone or a bronzer. Swirl your blush brush in the powder, tap off the excess and apply in a sweeping upward and outward motion.
Start at the apple of your cheek and blend outward along the cheekbone. The key word here is blend. You don't want skid marks on your face. The point of blush is to add depth to your face, accentuating your bone structure. You will be choosing a color that will be darker than what you would normally wear. My best suggestion is to ask a professional at the MAC counter for their recommendation.
Lips are the next feature that will be highlighted. Many people believe that a darker color with an overlined lip is the way to go - wrong! This is very unflattering and will make your lips look like two lines drawn on your face. Lip liner is great for helping to maintain and keep your lipstick in place. Choose a color that is closest to your natural lip color. Make sure the tip is sharp.
If your lips are on the thin side, you can overline them very slightly but you don't want to look like Bozo. Fill both lips in evenly using small, feathered strokes. Choose a natural, flattering lipstick color that coordinates with your blush (either cool or warm) or play it safe with a neutral color. I like to finish off with a layer of very shiny lip gloss. The really sticky ones aren't fun to wear, but they last. A clear or very sheer shade works best, but make sure you do not choose one with glitter in it. Less is more!
Finish Off With Setting Powder
Finally, you will need to finish off your face with translucent setting powder. This is critical to preserving the face you worked so hard to create and it helps to keep the shine away. Swirl your large powder brush in the powder, tap off the excess and gently sweep the brush across your forehead, cheeks and chin. Don't swipe at your lips or eyes or you will smear them.
Later in the day, you can apply one more layer of powder; make sure you get off all the excess so that it does not come out white on your face! If you're having trouble with shine, invest in some blotting papers. They work great and you don't have to keep layering powder on your face.
The only thing you should have to reapply is your lipstick and gloss and perhaps a little touch up on your eyes. If at all possible, stand up on stage (with the lights on you) before prejudging and have your trainer or someone you trust sit down in the audience. They can see if your face looks washed out, too pale or too dark. If you have a digital camera, you could also have them take a picture of you. Pictures never lie.
This will help guide you for future competitions. You have worked so hard on your physique, now you can complete the package with a gorgeous face. Good luck!
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