Applying dance makeup for stage can seem like a job only fit for professionals. Perfecting performance makeup is something that simply takes the following:

• experience
• trial-and-error
• some basic guidelines to follow

We can’t help you with the first two, but we can give you a few helpful makeup tips to perfect your application method. Here are 10 makeup mistakes you can avoid when applying performance makeup for stage:

1. No Foundation

Performance makeup worn without foundation begins to look blotchy after long hours of wear, and as dancers sweat. Without a solid and even base of foundation all other makeup slides off and thus, needs to be reapplied. A lightweight, water-resistant foundation creates a clean, matte surface and keeps makeup looking smooth all day long. It is very important to “set” you makeup with a base of foundation as well as a finishing touch of translucent powder to avoid shine.

2. Too Much Foundation

Too much foundation can also be a problem. Wearing too much foundation can give the face a mask-like appearance that is far too dark for the dancer’s complexion. For dancers who need to cover blemishes, it is best to use a minimal amount of a full coverage foundation. This way you can achieve an even complexion without using so much that the excess foundation blotches and ends up in the creases of the face. Be sure to use a foundation brush when applying the product so that optimal blending is achieved. Extend your blending past your jaw line so your face blends into the colour of your chest and arms.

3. No Eyebrows

Eyebrows express the emotion of a person, especially when dancing on stage under the bright stage lights, the dancer’s facial expression helps to portray the character they are playing. By not enhancing eyebrows, dancers appear emotionless on stage. When filling in your eyebrows, make sure that you select an eyebrow filler, pencil, or powder that is similar in tone to your natural colour as to not have them stand out too much. Follow the natural shape of your eyebrows and fill in any patchy areas as needed.

4. Black Eyeliner Lining Inside Lower Lash Line

Using a harsh black eyeliner on the inside of the lashline makes the eyes look smaller, rather than accentuating them. Instead, use a white highlighter pencil on the inner lash line and the outside corner to open and brighten the eyes. If you are going to use a liner on the lower lash line, use a minimal amount of a brown mineral shadow and only use it on the outer three-quarters of the lash line. Not all the way to the inner tear duct area as this look closes off the eyes. This will look more natural and less harsh.

5. Dark Crease Shadow That Is Too High and Too Far In

Crease shadow is the eye shadow that is specifically used above the fold of the eyelid. If you use your dark crease shadow at the top of the eyelid or too far inwards towards the nose, it will give an emotionless look to the face as the eyes are surrounded in darkness. The colour you select for your crease eye shadow should be focused on the outer half of the eye to accentuate the natural shape of the eyes. Don’t use black shadow or anything too overwhelming dark for the dancer’s complexion. A natural chocolate brown colour is an ideal shade.

6. False Lashes On Backwards

Many false lashes are designed to have one end with shorter length lashes, and the opposite end with the longest length of lashes. This is done to mimic the dancer’s natural lashes, as well as to emphasize the lash line and make the eyes appear larger and more enhanced. False lashes should always be applied with the longest length of last on the outer side of the eye and shortest on the inner side. By applying them in reverse, a large shadow is cast on the inside of the eyes making them look small and dark.

7. Lipstick That Is Too Red

Red stage lipstick is the most common colour, but make sure you wear the right shade of red. Wearing lipstick without using a proper lip liner underneath is a common mistake. Ensure the red you are choosing has a natural undertone to it, and always be sure to precede lipstick with a lip liner. By not wearing lip liner as a base to the lipstick, dancers don’t allow the lipstick to properly set. Not wearing lip-liner can also give a “clown red” type of effect.

8. Incorrect Colour Use

Colours of eye shadow, blush, and bronzer are often selected by what looks good for regular street wear. Keep in mind that the lighting and the height and depth of the stage greatly affects how the makeup looks to the judges and audience. Neutral earth tones are a great option to use for stage since they bring out the natural beauty of the dancer’s face. Eyeshadow in bright, bold, or primary based colours can often be distracting and diminish the dancer’s overall look.

9. Too Much Blush

Applying blush is an important final step to completing stage makeup. Use an appropriate amount of blush. Too much blush (especially when it is applied in a sharp line down the cheek bone) is a harsh and unflattering look, and too little will result in the contours of the face not being visible on stage. A blended approach is much more age appropriate and adds freshness to the face. Start off by using a minimal amount and apply additional blush as needed.

10. Not Enough Makeup

Due to the intensity of lights and the distance from the performer to the audience, facial features lose their dimension and ‘flatten’ out without enough makeup. When applying stage makeup make sure you keep in mind that your facial expressions need to be clearly visible to the first 10 rows of the audience. If you are unsure if you’ve applied enough, stand far away from a mirror (or a friend) and check to see if your facial expressions stand out, so you don’t appear “washed out”.