As a female physique competitor, proper make-up selection and application is one of the most critical aspects involved in one's presentation. A competitor must learn appropriate application techniques for stage make-up, as the lighting is extremely bright and hot, and the make-up can bleed and/or wear off easily if it's not a quality brand that hasn't been applied properly.
Color selection is also extremely important due to the lighting. The color should blend well with the skin after the tanning product has been applied, and matching the shades is often a difficult process. Fitness models encounter similar difficulties when preparing for guest appearances, endorsements, and photo shoots.
In addition to make-up techniques, proper skin care year-round helps competitors and models to look their best for the many appearances and events they encounter. To clear up any confusion that you may have, either as a competitor or a model, I've enlisted the guidance of several top make-up consultants in regards to these critical elements of presentation.
The Panel Of Experts
| Bethany Howlett
Bethany is an IFBB Pro Fitness Competitor, NPC judge & promoter, and owner of Better Bodies By Bethany, Inc. She advises top amateur and professional fitness and figure competitors in all aspects of contest preparation. Read more about Bethany, click here.
| Kathy Geddes
Kathy is a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant based out of Florida. She supplies make-up and advice to NPC Fitness Competitor Alissa Carpio and renowned opera singer Renee Fleming.
| Michelle Ann Beaumont
Michelle is an NPC National Fitness Competitor, fitness model, personal trainer, and expert in mind/body health. She provides private make-up consultation services to fitness competitors and beauty pageant contenders. DJ Wallis, Renee Masi, Lydia Haskell, and Ally Bookless are a few of the IFBB Pro's Michelle has worked with. She also does public speaking on anything related to image and on-stage presentation.
| Monet Colbert
As CEO of Shades of Monet Cosmetics, Monet and her team of representatives provide a wide variety of services, including consultation, weddings, photo shoots, and fitness competitions. Monet is also an actress and a WTF and Fitness America Competitor.
| Liza Lamas
Liza is the Founder of Miami Makeup and Hair Artistry. She offers consultation on hair and skin care, as well as image projection.
The Experts' Advice
[ Q ] Competitors must apply make-up in an exaggerated manner so that it is visible on stage. Are there any particular facial features that you recommend emphasizing over another to ensure an even, more natural look?
I always recommend emphasizing the cheekbones and eyes more with the lips in a deep, more natural color, in order to ensure a more even and natural look that still appears professional, as well.
Kathy: Eyes, and especially the lips.
Michelle: Competitors should emphasize only their best feature. Pick either eyes or lips.
Monet: I say start with whatever you are most complemented on as a person. If you have heard people say to you, "Wow, you have the most amazing eyes," then let that be your focal point, at which point don't over exaggerate anything more. It will all fall into play.
So many times I have seen women feel the need to accentuate everything in which they end up look like a self-made clown. Beauty isn't defined by how much make up you wear on stage. Yet, stage beauty is defined by one appearing as natural as possible while highlighting your best feature.
If it's your eyes, then accentuate your eyes. If it's your lips, then focus on your lips. Be sure to have that one thing set you apart from everyone else.
Liza: Each and every person has features that are more attractive than others. The two most expressive on the face are the lips and eyes. Choose to emphasize whichever one you receive the most compliments on.
[ Q ] Base color selection is extremely important due to stage lighting. The color should closely match the skin after the tanning product has been applied to the body. How should a competitor go about matching her foundation base to her new darker skin tone?
Bethany: I recommend that the girls place a small amount of competition color on the outside of one hand and show it to a professional make-up artist at the MAC counter, as they will match the color exactly.
Kathy: To find the right shade, you should always test a few shades on your jaw line or cheek. The correct shade should literally disappear into the skin and blend with the skin tone of the neck rather than the face. Also, it is best to test it in natural light. The goal of foundation is to even out the skin tone. The right shade makes the skin look smooth and flawless.
Michelle: For first time competitors, it is best to apply all coats of your tanner beforehand. Once you have the desired color, make sure you have time to visit a counter and match the color. I suggest one shade lighter than your final contest color.
Monet: Great question. I too have run into this problem on both ends - as a competitor and a makeup artist providing makeup service for competitors. We understand the illusion that we create by adding multiple layers of tanning solutions to our bodies and through additional tanning sessions to help accentuate our body definition. While we spend great amounts of time prepping our bodies to look picture perfect, we don't complete the process to include our facial areas.
Tanning the face under tanning beds is not a healthy practice, as many already know. However, when using self-tanning solutions, it is acceptable to continue this process to include the facial area. When applying a tanning solution to the face area, make sure there is a red tone to the base color.
I have noticed that many tanning products have a blue base, which makes the tan seem to have a green under tone and appear dull in color. But don't over-apply self-tanners. You should stop added tanning solution to facial areas approximately one shade lighter then your final tan. Yes, you will appear much darker than you're used to.
I can't emphasize enough how important it is to understand the approach we are taking here for ideal stage presentation. From distances it is not going to look as unnatural as it will appear to you. What's more important - making sure you match on stage or how you look before performing?
When it comes to stage presentation, you want to make sure that not only does your facial tan come close to your overall body but also that your facial skin doesn't become oily. The next step is "Priming the Tan". This effect will help give your skin a smoother texture in appearance. I find that MAC Studio fix is a great product for this. While some people use this product as an everyday solution, it was designed to create the "Picture Perfect Face" for photos.
When choosing colors, make sure to select a color one shade darker then you normally are when at your final tan stage and one shade lighter then your final tan stage.
This allows you to blend the colors to match your overall body color. Your skin may feel dry and chalky at this point but by using a damp washcloth or a mist spray to lightly pat/mist the face, you will resolve this problem. This allows the powder to set in and create a more natural texture.
As a final touch after your remaining makeup is applied, I recommend applying a bronzer to the face and neck area. This helps the face appear vibrant and radiate when on stage. I recommend a bronzer from my line, Shades of Monet Cosmetics, called "Faux Sun" in a pressed powder form. We have four shades and are all hypoallergenic and triple-milled to leave a light, velvety finish that looks real and never streaks. It can also be brushed on cheeks, neck and shoulders, leaving a sun-kissed radiance.
Liza: Purchase a foundation after your tan is completed. You apply and verify that the colors match with a mirror in outside daylight or a makeup mirror that has hot lights.
[ Q ] What special tips/tricks do you recommend for ensuring the make-up lasts long and stays put during a taxing, all-day event, such as a competition or photo shoot?
Bethany: I always have my girls apply their foundation with a moisturizer. Also, once all make-up is applied, place a layer of select sheer pressed powder over the make-up, as that will help it stay on all day.
Kathy: For shadows, always use a quality eye primer to help the shadow go on smoother and prevent creasing. Beauty blotters help absorb sweat and oil without disturbing your makeup. Talc-free loose powder controls excess oil and unwanted shine without drying the skin.
Lips - you can line your lips and then use the liner to color in the whole lip area, apply lipstick, powder lips, apply lipstick again and then do any liner touch up needed. This gives you long lasting lipstick without drying out your lips. Also outline your lips with a lip outliner to keep lipstick/liner from running and feathering while giving your lips a fuller look.
A similar technique can be used with mascara. Powder your lashes with your lightest eye shadow shade or a loose powder, apply a brown mascara for fullness, then apply black only on the tips for length.
Michelle: Using a pressed powder is ideal and will blot shine off the nose. Also, competitors should be prepared to touch up lips, cheeks and eyes in between shows.
Monet: The whole trick to getting your make up to remain on longer through the day comes down to the how much powder are you using to actually lock in the makeup. Also, a way to help eliminate this endless evaporating nightmare is to actually find a product that focuses on maintaining longer wear and resists creasing that can occur throughout the day from natural oil secretion.
Shades of Monet Cosmetics has taken this matter into consideration when trying to develop the right eye shadows. Our eye shadows were designed with the concept of athletes being in the sun sweating. Though it is not permanent makeup, our product will last longer and maintain a healthy look. It is hypoallergenic, crease resistant and mineral oil free.
Liza: Use full coverage foundation (What's been called "pancake makeup.") It's not your every day makeup. It's show biz makeup or stage makeup, and is specifically made for hot stage lights and lasting over perspiration. Make sure after applying the full coverage foundation to use a loose form setting powder.
[ Q ] What general skin care procedures/products do you recommend for all competitors/models?
Bethany: I recommend that an individual wash her face twice per day: in the morning and in the night. The night washing should be done with an exfoliating sponge to remove all dead skin cells, as well as dirt from the day. I recommend using a moisturizing soap bar as well as a day and night compound to be used at the proper time after washing.
I also recommend using a toner after washing and before placing the desired compound on, and the last thing to be applied is the moisturizing lotion. I recommend using all products by the Peter Thomas Roth line, as their products are great! Their daily moisturizing bar, daily compound, nighttime compound, moisturizing lotion with sun block, and toner are of the highest quality.
Kathy: A good skin care regiment is the key for everyone, regardless of age. For the face, cleanse, exfoliate, freshen and moisturize twice daily. Mary Kay provides a product called TimeWise that cleans, exfoliates and freshens in one step. Anti-aging products should then be applied, moisturizer last.
A sunscreen ingredient should be in either the anti-aging products or the moisturizer and have no less than an SPF of 15. Also, a weekly mask is a necessity. Daily body care maintenance is essential for healthy, beautiful skin. Buffing creams for hands and body, body smoothing scrubs, body washes, hydrating lotions and energizing foot and leg creams all help to maintain beautiful, healthy skin.
Michelle: I personally use natural products. I avoid anything with perfumes in it. My favorites are Clarins and Herbalife. I use a milky cleanser to remove make up and a regular mild cleanser to clean my face after a workout.
I use a nice balanced toner and use a hydrating moisturizer and eye cream. Competitors tend to be dehydrated so good skin care is essential to keep skin from looking leathery.
Monet: Shades of Monet Cosmetics not only focuses on makeup. We develop skincare products as well, which were designed to work strong enough for athletes. We pride ourselves in understanding the toll that sports take on all women of all ages.
We realize that in today's world of glitz and glamour, we need to focus on maintaining beautiful, healthy and youthful skin. One of our main focuses is on developing formulas to work for different skin type needs.
Liza: I've noticed most competitors are lacking, of course, water and some essential oils within the skin cells, due to their strict diet and dehydrating for a more cut look. This tends to really create more lines in their facial skin, and bring out under eye bags. This has been a challenge for me.
It also tends to throw off the balance of the skin, so it can be excessively oily or cause your laugh lines, frown lines, and under eye lines to appear deeper. My answer to this is take care of your skin as much as possible during the off season, just to give your skin strength, endurance, and elasticity, so during contest season it will stand the test of competition days.
[ Q ] How important is avoiding UV radiation in keeping healthy skin? What methods do you recommend for avoiding overexposure to sunlight and UV rays?
Bethany: It is very important to avoid UV rays, thus I recommend using a foundation with UV protection in it, as well as a moisturizing lotion with UV protection in it. In addition, always tan with your face covered.
Kathy: Very Important. Always use a sunscreen or products containing sunscreen.
Mary Kay has four Sun Essentials Products:
- Sensible Protection Sun block SPF 15
- Ultimate Protection Sun block SPF 30
- Lip Protector Sun block SPF 15
- Sunless Tanning Lotion.
In addition to those, the anti-aging Day Solution and daily moisturizer also contain an SPF 15. And don't forget your hands. Use a hand cream with an SPF in it also. One interesting fact, more men than women get skin cancer of the lips. The reason for this is that women use lipstick, which blocks out most of the harmful UV rays. That is why Mary Kay developed the Lip Protector.
Monet: It is very important to avoid UV Rays for the obvious reason of avoiding skin cancer. As fitness competitors, models and actors we want to create the illusion of healthy, flawless skin. We hear so much about the sun damaging our skin, but often neglect to be honest with ourselves in admitting that tanning beds are just as bad.
Michelle: The best bet is to go with an SPF-15 that can be found in many moisturizers. I also suggest that eyeglasses be worn to protect the sensitive areas around the eyes, and a brimmed hat when in direct sunlight. While tanning, always use no less than an SPF-15 sun block.
Sun lamps emit mainly UVA radiation, and thus these so-called "tanning rays" are less likely to cause sunburn than UVB radiation from sunlight. But, contrary to the claims of some tanning parlors, that doesn't make them safe. UVA rays have a suspected link to malignant melanoma, and, like UVB rays, they may also be linked to immune system damage.
We should avoid engaging in activities that may promote skin cancer by not using a tanning bed and by always wearing a sun block with an SPF of 15 or higher. As women, we can even take it a step further by making sure our makeup products maintain this minimum requirement. This is where Shades Of Monet Cosmetics strikes again. Our company understands this concern and developed a lipstick that contains SPF protection in it, while costing only a little more than a regular lipstick.
Liza: It is very important to avoid harsh UV rays. We do need sunlight; it's recommended in the early morning or right before sunset. Mid-day sun causes skin cancer and premature aging.
[ Q ] What colors/procedures do you recommend for girls with small, thin lips?
Bethany: I recommend using a deep lipstick color and lip liner color that match, as be sure that the color is not too bright and/or light. Once applied properly, use a one shade lighter than the base color gloss to go over the base color only in the middle of the upper and lower lips.
Kathy: Usually the upper lip is the thinnest. Dark lipstick is definitely a no. Line the lips slightly outside the natural area and then use a lighter skin tone color to outline the liner. Fill in lips with a light bright color.
Michelle: I am one of those girls with thin lips. What I do is avoid dark colors that will only enhance that. Victoria's Secret has a limp plumper I use under my lipstick. I then line my lips a little above the lines and add in a darker color on the edges and a light glossier color in the middle to bring out more fullness to my lips.
Monet: Great question! The first mistake that many girls make is that they actually try to make them look bigger by drawing them in as such. My advice for most would be not to try to make them look larger. Now, there are exceptions to any rule. Instead, focus on finding a medium toned lip color that looks great on smaller lips. Again, this will differ depending on your natural skin tone.
Liza: Definitely a lip pencil a shade darker than the lipstick you are going to use. And draw the lip line a little outside of your own lips.
[ Q ] What colors/procedures do you recommend for girls with small eyes?
Bethany: I recommend light colors to be placed on the upper lids with a very light shimmering white color to be placed right under the arc of the eyebrow. I also have girls with smaller eyes place white eyeliner on the inside of their lower lid as this helps their eye size appear larger.
Kathy: Like the lips, no dark colors. Outline the eyes with eyeliner above the upper lashes and below the lower lashes. Outline the inside corner of the eyes with a light color. Use light colors on the lid and be sure to highlight the outer brow bone area.
Michelle: Small eyes can be made to appear larger by applying a whiter shadow or pencil in the inside corners of the eyes. Then, applying a darker shade to the outer rim of the eyes and underneath the eye lashes on the bottom. Like the lips, I add a lighter shade to the middle of the lid and crease blending into the dark color. Finally, I add white underneath my brow.
Monet: As one may or may not know, eyeliners are always a great way to help make the eyes appear larger. However, that doesn't mean that you have to resort to the darkest colors (i.e. black or charcoal). Try using softer toned colors like gray or brown, and apply black mascara. Use a light or white color at the brow bone to help expand the eye area.
Liza: Dark browns/black and the smoky eyes look work well. Have the dark colors on the outer of your eye. Leave the inner eye natural, or pencil it in with light, natural eyeliner.
[ Q ] How can a competitor/model go about selecting colors that compliment her skin tone, eye color, and hair color?
Bethany: I recommend that all girls go speak to a professional make-up artist who can help them decide which colors are best for their particular features.
Kathy: A lot of this is by trial and error and passed down by the more experienced. For example, I have learned blue eyes look best with brown shadows, hazel eyes look good with about any color and brown eyes look best with plum, jades and certain shades of blue. I usually match eye shadow by the eye color only and not as much to skin tone and hair color.
Michelle: There is a book called Color Me Beautiful that addresses skin tone and the seasons. This is the best resource I have found to help people understand this concept.
Monet: Unless you're good at colors, my honest and safest suggestion is stay with neutral colors in the brown color family. All shades of brown, whether light or dark, work well on everyone.
When we speak of colors, you have to have a good idea to know how to mix these colors in a manner that is complimenting - not necessarily what you think is best, but what others feels make you look your best.
Liza: More important is choosing a hair color that suits the competitor/model. If her hair color does not compliment her skin tone, no makeup is going to look good.
[ Q ] What brand(s) of products do you recommend for skin care? Why?
Bethany: I have always loved Peter Thomas Roth skincare products, which were invented by a team of dermatologists. They work great because they have products that cater to all skin types.
Kathy: Mary Kay develops, tests, manufactures and packages the majority of its products at its state-of-the art plant in Dallas, TX, thus allowing the company to have more control over what goes into its products, while supplying jobs in the US. There is no animal testing. There is virtually no advertising. This allows Mary Kay to provide a quality product at a lower cost. And I personally use the products so I can verify their quality and benefits.
Michelle: My top recommended brands are Clarins and Herbalife because they contain plant and flower extracts, vitamins and herbs. The skin is less sensitive to natural products.
Monet: Shades of Monet Cosmetics is the world's first fitness cosmetic line and carries a variety of skincare products. Our products are formulated to help female athletes who have a lot of things going on with them internally and externally.
Our formulations were built on helping the female athlete to maintain the youthfulness necessary to last in the business. We understand and provide what is necessary for you to over come these unhealthy skin obstacles.
Liza: For those of us that don't have major skin problems, I recommend and use Neutrogena, Ponds, Aveeno, and St. Ives, as well as some products with Alpha Hydroxy for exfoliation. A lot of the products are sold at most major chain drug stores. I don't go by name brand as much as I go by ingredients.
[ Q ] What brand(s) of products do you recommend for a base/foundation? Why?
Bethany: I have used MAC foundations as they work well under the hot white stage lights as well as stay on all day.
Kathy: Because of the heavy sweating, lighting, etc with competition/modeling, I would not recommend the foundation product I sell. It is made for everyday, normal use. On researching products for this line of work/use, I find that DermaBlend is probably most suitable in this area.
Michelle: Which base you choose depends on your skin and what it needs. My favorite is Clarins because I don't like matte foundation and this gives me a glow. At 36, you need a glow. The best thing to do is go to the counters and experiment by matching it against your neck. (Apply to your jaw line.) Also, never buy it from any place that you cannot test it directly on your face.
Monet: Since Shades of Monet Cosmetics is still in works with this particular area, I would have to say MAC. The product is not hard to work with and really does help create what I call the picture perfect face.
Liza: I personally use MAC because its geared for the Professional Artists' needs and latest trends. I have found other makeup products outside of MAC that have served me well from time to time, but MAC is 80% of what I need. Not only that, but it looks great on the face!
[ Q ] How important do you feel it is for a competitor/model to have selected the right colors and applied them properly for an event such as a competition or a photo shoot?
Bethany: It is essential that a competitor and/or model's make-up be applied correctly and in the right color hue. It can really make or break a performance and/or shoot.
Kathy: The right choice of colors and proper application is very important. When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good you are confident in yourself and you will do a better job.
Michelle: If you choose the wrong colors, you can look older or not sophisticated enough. It will bring out the wrong features and not enhance your best ones.
Monet: I look at it like this. As competitors we spend months, and most even years, to get our physiques to a level of what we feel may be "perfection." I don't understand why women work so hard to get themselves to the point of perfection - whether on stage or for a photo shoot - and then neglect the importance of final touches.
These final touches are what make-up is all about. It allows you to smooth out any flaws and enhance all the natural beauty that will be possessed at that moment. So the word "important" should be replaced with the word "mandatory".
Liza: I think it has importance. If a judge had to choose between two competitors that were the last two finalists and they both are equally great at their routine, strength and body structure, then it's down to who looks more attractive to the eye.
[ Q ] What is the best way for a competitor/model to go about choosing colors that match her competition posing suits and/or photo shoot outfits?
Bethany: I always tell my competitors to take their suits and/or outfits to the actual make-up counter and ask the professionals what they think would look the best.
Kathy: I match makeup colors according to my outfit colors, green outfit, green eye shadows, etc. But remember not to use colors that do not go with your eyes. I use only several lipstick shades, changing only the lip-gloss color to give the lipstick a different look.
Michelle: The trend is to go with a "natural" look, which is tricky when you are talking about stage makeup. Natural tones that compliment your suit are best. Make sure the ones that outline your features are bold enough. Remember, the make up will only enhance your face. No one can see the color but you!
Monet: Again, color is not always an easy thing to work with. We makeup artists can even make mistakes with regard to choosing color. Unless you have a good eye at it my best advice is stick to the brown/neutral family. With this option, you can never go wrong.
Liza: First, consider your theme and how you want to come across on stage. For photo shoots, it depends on what lighting and style you wish to project.
[ Q ] Do you have any additional tips for general purposes regarding make-up selection, application, and/or skin care?
Bethany: Never share your make-up with anyone. Wash all make-up brushes at least once a month in a soapy solution. Throw mascara out three months from the date of first usage. And always wash your make-up off before going to bed!
Kathy: Buy a good makeup brush set. Using a lighter color in the center of your lips makes your lips look fuller. A light color in the center of your eyelid, right above the eyelashes, brings attention to your eyes. Do not bring your blush down too far on your cheekbones - it brings attention to your nose. Brown mascara makes the lashes look fuller, while black makes lashes look longer. Yellow concealer is the best for covering dark shadows.
Michelle: Your skin is the first and foremost important part of your success with your make up, so be sure you are getting the right nutrients to support that. You want your skin to glow and not look dehydrated.
Microdermabrasion can help get rid of rough skin. You also want to use a mild scrub daily to replenish your skin. Like your tanner, your foundation and make up will look so much better if it has a smooth surface! Another great thing to do is get your teeth whitened so that your smile shines on stage.
Liza: Read all you can. There are many books at the major books stores on every subject. You can never know too much on keeping healthy skin and looking great.
Services & Contacts
What services do you provide to fitness/figure competitors and models in regards to make-up?
Bethany Carter Howlett
I help and advise all fitness and figure athletes on the topics of diet, training, and supplementation, as well as choreograph routines for fitness athletes. I also help fitness and figure athletes with their make-up and overall stage poise.
I am an Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay. I have supplied makeup and tips to NPC Fitness Competitor Alissa Carpio and opera singer Renee Fleming. My physical location is Palm Coast, Florida. Personal consultations are available in the Florida area and online consultations are available anywhere in the US.
All consultations are free. You can purchase products from my secure online website. Visa, MasterCard and Discover are accepted.
Palm Coast, FL 32137
Michelle Ann Beaumont
I give mostly private advice to competitors in beauty and fitness competitions. At times, groups of girls will hire me to come to a show. I also make speaking appearances on anything related to image and on-stage presentation. My prices vary and are available upon request.
We provide a wide verity of services ranging from consultations to weddings, photo shoots and fitness shows. If interested in receiving any of these services or to see if we will be attending a show near you, please visit our website. Currently, you can order Shades of Monet products online. Shades of Monet cosmetics will be coming to trade shows near you in 2005.
I currently have six spokes models representing our product line. These athletes have had the opportunity to work hands-on with Shades of Monet Cosmetics and with me during the Shades of Monet photos shoot in Miami. Each athlete comes from a different state, different federation and most importantly, different ethnicities. This allows us here at Shades of Monet Cosmetics to show the diversity the company maintains.
Currently representing Shades of Monet Cosmetics line are:
- Monet Colbert - CEO/actress/makeup artist and WTF, Fitness America Competitor
- Laura Mak - IFBB Fitness Competitor, cover model for many magazines and owner of Mak Attack Fitness Wear
- Sylvia Ferrero-Hernandez - WTF 2004 World Fitness Champion and cover model for Oxygen and Natural Muscle Magazines
- Vida Garcia - FSC Champion for 2004, WTF and Fitness America Competitor
- Tania Becht - NPC and WTF competitor and cover model for WTF Magazine
- Elaine Seth - NPC and WTF competitor and cover model for Gem Magazine
- ShaNay Norvel - NPC and WTF competitor and featured in Oxygen Magazine
To find out what each of these women have to say about Shades of Monet Cosmetics, visit the spokes models page on our website.
As Founder of Miami Makeup and Hair Artistry, I provide makeup and hair services for productions, photography, public speaking, weddings, and pageants. I also consult on image projection, skin care, hair products, hairstyles, and hair color.
About The Author
Alissa is the current NPC Virginia/DC State Fitness Champion and is the Owner and Webmaster of Fit Figures and www.fitfigures.net. Her site highlights female physique athletes by featuring interviews, profiles, and articles, as well as contest coverage.
The site also contains a huge bodybuilding and fitness directory of over 400 links and competitor resources. Fit Figures offers full website design and administration services to female physique competitors and models.