Theatrical or Stage Makeup

My daughter’s recently had ballet and tap recitals.  Before my daughter’s first dress rehearsal her dance teacher told us that we needed to have hot pink lipstick, heavier blush and neutral or pink eyeshadow and a small amount of mascara for the older girls…

During dress rehearsal some of the other “stage moms” were looking at me like I was crazy, by filling in my daughters very blonde eyebrows with a slightly darker brow powder, applying a lipliner, lipstick and lipgloss and heavy, dramatic bright pink blush.  I put on her mascara and even doubted myself, which i don’t do much when it comes to makeup about my application.   Did I put too much on?  Oh come on, I know better than that.  When you are on stage, far from the audience with bright lights shining right down on you, a person in the seats would not be able to make out any part of your face, you’d look like a faceless ghost.

I think even my mother in law thought “what the heck is she doing to my granddaughter?”.   I have mostly only been buying makeup meant for theatre’s and camera.  I somehow found a way to make it look natural when I need to,  but mainly I like theatrical makeup because it has pigmentation and lasting power.    So many brands of makeup i’ve seen have no color payoff.  They are pretty pastels in their containers, but even with 30 swipes you get a chalky, pale, thick disappointment of an eyeshadow.   I like M.A.C. and Ben Nye the best.  I like Urban Decay, Too Faced, Makeup Forever, and a few others.  I think every drugstore brand has a shining star, but now days their prices are basically the same as department store makeup.  For the convenience I can see why people would buy drugstore brands.  But at the same time,  if you buy higher end makeup with more color and use less of it, you spend much less.  Even less expensive is actual theatre makeup bought in a theatrical, costume or dance stores, but unavailable to many that don’t live near a larger city or able to order from the internet.  Ben Nye Lumiere Luxe Loose powders are in large containers and cost around ten dollars each.  Hardly any color is needed for everyday wear and its good for switching to more dramatic nighttime looks by simply applying it heavier and the powder does not become chalky.  It adheres to your skin much better than a covergirl or maybelline eyeshadow.  Or those large palettes you often see near Christmas that have every color of everything in it for $15 but doesn’t even show up 2 feet away.   Coastal Scents and Yaby palette’s are two that surprised me greatly in their price, quality and quantity… they are great!

Back to my story.  As the girls lined up to walk out on stage for rehearsal, the dance teacher pulled my daughter up to the front and firmly told the other mothers that they had not put enough makeup on their children.  She told them that “this” is what the girl’s are supposed to look like.  She didn’t make the mothers go back and reapply, she just told them to sit in the audience because of time restraints.  69 programs in one night!  As we sat in the audience I was so happy I could see which girl was mine.  The other mom’s caught on.  My daughter still looked like herself.  Healthy, cute pink visible lips and brows that framed her eyes and face.  The dance teacher walked out onto the stage and reminded them about heavily applying makeup so they could be seen.

That night, the mom’s were frantically putting on makeup.  I was glad I didn’t look like an idiot.  Actually I couldn’t believe that every other mother, in a group of 11 or so, had no idea performance makeup was heavier than regular makeup.  Had they never watched television, seen or been in play, ballet, choir ever?   I guess being a young mom has it’s perks, although I never fit in with the rest of them.  Not because I didn’t try, but nothing they ever talked about really interested me.  Being nearly 10 years younger than most of them,  I had my daughter at 21 and i’m 29,  I realized there was a huge gap in things.   I can only wonder what my daughter will know and I will not in 10 years.

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