I took a stage makeup class and all I got was a gorgeous makeover and new skills for life.

It was pretty awesome.

First, Le Results.

Here are a few shots of me modeling in soft, romantic fluorescent light of my litchenbedroom (I live in a studio). I didn’t think to show you my eyes closed because, naturually, my number one concern while taking photos is making sure my nose doesn’t take up 3/4ths of the shot. Sorry! #priorities


I woke up like this. (LOL JK this took 45 mins).
I woke up like this. (LOL JK this took 45 mins).

Before this I was trying to get a clear shot of the makeup in the bathroom for a long time, and my face started getting tired. My smile became kind of… demented… and I rolled with it.

Trying to be pretty is tiring.


True story: I used to make faces at my ex-boyfriend all the time while being silly and he would suddenly get really serious and say, “That was too scary, never do that face again.”

ANYWAY. This makeup class was two hours long, and offered at my bellydance studio, taught by the director of the school.

K, a teacher and performer, used to do 5 shows a day in Las Vegas in the same face of makeup, so clearly she knew her pencil eyeliner from her potted to her liquid felt-tip. The first hour was spent watching in awe as she applied her typical stage face, which was awkward, but informative. It’s not very often you get to openly gape at another dancer while she does her makeup and not get a strange look.

True Story #2: speaking of dancers putting on makeup, part of the reason I decided to take this class was because of a passive aggressive comment one of my dance idols made before our last show. She came up behind me in the dressing room while I was digging through my makeup bag, and thinking she needed the mirror, I immediately cleared a spot for her. But she said, “No, no, I’m fine–did you do your own makeup?” and I totally fan-girled and turned red and said yes, yes I did (OMG SHE LIKES MY MAKEUP??!!!). And then she sighed and walked away. “We really have to offer that makeup class at Bellyqueen again.”


So anyway, I decided to take the class–the second, more hilarious half of which was spent using our own supplies to try and do anything resembling what we had just been shown. The steps were as follows.


-Moisturizer (always, K said we should let it soak in for 10 minutes before doing anything else)

-Primer (Yas, suction cup your makeup to yo’ face!)

-Eyelid primer (I dismissed this as prissy and unnecessary until Kaeshi put a little on her hand and then applied some blue eyeshadow over it–which look very intense, highly pigmented, and practically opaque. She then applied some of the same eyeshadow on the bare skin next to the patch of primer and it look about 5 shades lighter and completely see-through. ALRIGHTY THEN. [buys all of the eyelid primer])

-Foundation (K applied this with a brush, a technique I fully endorse)

-Concealer (zits, etc)

-Powder (set that ish!)

-Eyebrows (There is some science to this! Did you know your brow should arch just over the outside rim of your pupil? And try this trick: hold a pencil parallel to your nose at the nostril: that’s where you eyebrow should start. Then hold it diagonally from your nostril to the outisde of you pupil. That’s where your eyebrow should end. Actually fuck it, here is a picture).

-Eye shadow highlight (You probably know this trick–champagne/white/silvery shimmer shadow under the brow bones and in the inner corner of your eyes. This will contrast with your darker shadows to give more dimension (re: highs and lows) to your face that stage lighting will wash out)

-Eye liner (complicated, I’ll revisit this)

-Eye shadow, tri color (FINALLY something I know about. I’ve been doing the brown bone/crease/outside corner trick practically out of the womb. But turns out… my technique was lacking–K said I needed to bring my dark “crease” shade a lot higher up, since I was trying to keep it safe and close to my lid. She was right, of course.)

-Eye lashes (Note: fuck these. They are gorgeous, but so unwieldy.)

-Contouring (Kim Kardashian killed any interest I had in manipulating the look of my bone structure but I grudgingly did it).

-Blush (Apples of the cheeks only, bitches, it’s 2014.)

-Lip liner

-Lipstick (the kind you can practically peel off like nail polish for children, ie. Cover Girl Outlast, etc.)

So those are the steps… but now let me impart on you my biggest stage makeup breakthroughs (since, come on, we all know how to put on basic makeup).

Dat gap. (between top and bottom eye lines, not thighs).
Dat gap. (between top and bottom eye lines, not thighs). And yes that IS the Verazzano Bridge, thanks for noticing.


1. Connecting your top and bottom eye lines makes your eyes look tiny

The pros leave a SPACE. (I know, my mind was blown too). And for extra points, use that light colored eyeshadow you popped on your brown bone to further define the little space. Use a small brush or Q-tip.

Here how ya do it: start by lining your lower lash line. Continue the line (keeping the same angle) past your lash line. Then, starting from mid lashline on the top, start drawing a line and pull it out parallel to your bottom line. Fill it in and bring it up to the inside corner of your eye. SHAZAM.

2. You can get away with cheap-ass eye shadow if you have a good primer

For stage make up especially (where you need to see that shit coming and going from 200 feet), pigment is everything. But pigment is pricey, and we can’t all afford K’s magical trunk of MAC goodness. This is where dropping a little cash on a good eye shadow primer up front will help you get tons of use out of the crappy eye shadow you already have: it grabs and holds the pigment (however little), making it appear super intense, and keeping it on your face.

I used Urban Decay… Potion… something or other? It worked well!

3. Contouring for stage isn’t just about making your face skinny or tanned-looking like IRL

It’s about replacing the natural high-and-low dimensions that stage lighting will wipe out. Ditto for the eybrows and lashes and lips. Stage makeup is a little different than your everyday “look-young-and-rosy-and-doe-eyed” game. Your eyebrows, for example, have to be clearly defined so that the audience can see you lift or scrunch them. They’re as much a part of your dance expression as fingers or a pointed toe. Same goes for eyes and lips–the makeup simply makes them visible, so you really can’t be shy about highlighting them.

4. You can reuse eyelashes

What?! I didn’t know this. You just need to wash the glue off gently after a wear. That makes me feel a lot better dropping $20 bucks on a pair at Sephora.

So that’s all the knowledge I have to drop on you guys! Speaking of Sephora, I completely spent $150 I don’t have on new makeup in a pre-show panic Saturday. But I’m now the proud owner of a proper pot of eyeliner, quality lashes, a single pan eyeshadow (NOT PART OF A KIT I GOT FOR CHRISTMAS, WHAT), a new angle brush, and a general mishmash of overpriced, undersized products.

Do you have a go-to stage look? A favorite product? Can you reassure me that higher-end products are indeed worth their insane price points?



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