My Vintage-Inspired Beauty Routine, An Interlude: Stage Makeup

Tonight is opening night for the show I’m in currently. Most of the shows in which I’ve performed have been period pieces, ranging from Victorian times to the 1970s, so my vintage-inspired beauty has transitioned nicely to my stage makeup routine. But I don’t want to be without my everyday makeup for the run of a show, and it’s nice not to cart things back and forth. So I have a less expensive version of my makeup bag to keep in the dressing room.

Most of the theaters in which I perform are smaller, black-box type theaters, and don’t require formal stage makeup. Those that are larger have refined enough lighting not to require a Ben Nye or Mehron stage makeup kit. So my “stage makeup” kit is a collection of drugstore makeup that works well.

I have a heavy-duty concealer from NYX, their Full-Coverage Concealer Jar, to cover undereye circles and larger blemishes. I layer this with NYX Mineral Stick foundation. It reminds me of Pan-Stik. It’s quick, too: I can just swipe on some stripes and blend it in. I keep a second pan of NYX Cream Blush in Glow to give my cheeks color. I like NYX cosmetics for the stage because they are inexpensive, but good quality, and they make quite a few things that are free of some of the chemicals I try to avoid. If I need to have a more powdery finish, or if the stage lights are particularly hot, I can also use Rimmel Stay Matte foundation.

With my base done, I move to eyes. I have two matte eyeshadows from Jane Cosmetics: Clay, a warm light-to-medium brown, and Birch, a darker, cooler brown. I use Birch in my crease to add dimension to my eyes, and then Clay to add further definition. I have two liquid eyeliners: a brown one from e.l.f. for a subtle look and for under my eyes, and a black Milani Eye Tech Extreme pen for heavier eye liner and cat’s-eyes. I also have a L’Oreal kajal pencil for very heavy black eye makeup. I finish off with NYX Le Frou Frou mascara.

On my lips, I tend to take from my Revlon lipstick collection if I need distinctive colors. For more natural looks, I use a Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in Sweet Violet. It’s just enough color to make my lips visible from the stage, without looking too done. My Revlon lipsticks are serving me well for this show, which is partially set in the 1940s, the era of red lipstick. Also, I’m starting to move away from my Revlon lipsticks for every day use, but that is another post.

At the end of the night, I have to take it all off. Backstage, I keep a pack of Burt’s Bees makeup wipes for sensitive skin as my first line of defense. Then, when I get home, cold cream and a warm cloth gets rid of the rest. Even though I use standard makeup, it’s still a lot more makeup than I’m used to, so I make sure to take care of my skin well. Having an ultra-simplified nighttime routine makes it even easier to force myself to wash up, even when it’s hours later than I usually go to bed. And during weekends, and after the show, I give myself plenty of drawing clay masks, and pay plenty of attention to my skin to make sure I don’t end up with congestion and breakouts. And at the end of the run of a show, I like to go for a facial, just to tune things up and make sure there aren’t any problems waiting to come out.

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