How to Care for Skin While Wearing Theater Makeup

by Kay Dean

You’ve just been cast in a play and you’ll be wearing theater makeup. Stage makeup can be really harsh on your skin. Well, the old fashioned grease paint was a killer on complexions, but the newer brands of theater makeup are much gentler on the skin. However, other things, such as excessive sweating under theater lights, wearing makeup when you normally don’t or having a sensitivity to makeup, can aggravate most skin types. There are some things you can do to care for and protect your skin when wearing theater makeup.

Items you will need

  • Facial cleaner
  • Facial toner
  • Facial moisturizer
  • Foundation primer
  • Theater makeup
  • Disposable sponges
  • Makeup brushes and applicators
  • Makeup remover
  • Facial deep cleansing treatment
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Small spritzer bottle
Step 1

Begin a skin care regimen, if you don’t already have one, as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you’re into show week. Sometimes it takes several weeks for your skin to adjust to a new product. You don’t want to stress your skin by adjusting to a new skin care regimen during show week. Use a product that is formulated for your skin type. If you are not sure what your skin type is, you can check with a dermatologist, ask a sales representative at a local skin care/cosmetic counter or you can follow the guidelines at websites like Discovery Health to determine your own skin type.

Step 2

Purchase a foundation primer. It acts as a protective barrier between your skin and any makeup that you put on your skin. Photo Finish, by Smash Box, is a great product. It feels like silk on your skin and comes in different formulas for regular, oily and sensitive skin. Apply the foundation primer on a cleansed and moisturized face before applying makeup.

Step 3

Purchase your own theater makeup, brushes and applicators. Sharing makeup is a good way to share all sorts of germs. If you can’t afford an entire makeup kit, at least purchase your own foundation. Always apply makeup with a fresh disposable sponge, clean brushes and applicators.

Step 4

Remove your makeup as soon as the performance is over. Use cold cream or makeup remover, such as Abolene Cream. Some of the new cleansing and makeup removing towelettes are good at removing theater makeup. Once your makeup is removed, wash your face. Wash it twice if you wore heavily-pigmented makeup, like clown-white, in the show. Follow with your toner and moisturizer.

Step 5

Use a deep cleansing treatment on your skin. If your show runs a single weekend, use the treatment after the last show. If your show runs for more than one weekend, use it early in the week. This will pamper your skin and prepare it for the next weekend’s shows.

Step 6

Clean your theater makeup and applicators between uses. Lightly spritz rubbing alcohol on all the makeup. Wait for it to dissipate before replacing the lids. Wash all brushes and applicators in hot soapy water and rinse in hot water. Allow the brushes and applicators to air dry completely before storing.

Tips

  • Your skin often reflects how you’ve been treating your body. Get plenty of rest, eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of liquids before and during a show. If you have never worn theater makeup before, ask the Makeup Designer for the show if you can test some theater makeup to determine whether you might have an allergic reaction to it. Apply a small amount on your skin. Watch it over the next several hours for any signs of redness, burning or itching sensations. If you experience any of these, remove the makeup immediately. You’ll need to purchase theater makeup formulated for sensitive skin and make sure to use a foundation primer.

About the Author

After attending Hardin Simmons University, Kay Dean finished her formal education with the Institute of Children's Literature. Since 1995, Dean has written for such publications as "PB&J," Disney’s "Family Fun," "ParentLife," "Living With Teenagers" and Thomas Nelson’s NY Times bestselling "Resolve." An avid gardener for 25 years, her experience includes organic food gardening, ornamental plants, shrubs and trees, with a special love for roses.