How To: Stage Make-up

The Face

For foundation: Some parents may prefer to opt out of foundation. Check with the instructors to be sure, but most won’t require foundation for very young dancers. If you choose to go that route, however, that will be the first step.

Make sure the color matches your child’s skin tone. If she’s never worn makeup before, test the skin on the inside of her wrist to make sure she doesn’t have any allergies to the product. Use a makeup sponge to dab the foundation evenly across her face and neck once you’ve determined that it’s safe. Dance for Kids recommends going over a liquid foundation with a powder to help the foundation set and to avoid extra shininess under the stage lights.

For blush: Stage makeup for kids will be a little more dramatic than normal makeup, so the blush should be slightly more pronounced. Since kids tend to not have defined cheekbones, have your dancer smile the biggest, cheesiest smile she can, or else suck in her cheeks to make a fish face. This will help you find the apples of her cheeks. Swipe upwards toward the temples with a blush brush.

The Eyes

You’ll again want to verify with your child’s program to see how much eye makeup they prefer. Some will be fine with just a little eye shadow and mascara for young dancers. The most basic stage makeup for kids will include eyeliner.

For eye shadow: Choose a neutral color to highlight the brow bone first, or just focus on the lid. The lid color should be close to your dancer’s natural skin tone, just a few shades darker. For pale dancers that could mean either a tan or light grey, for example. Sweep a brush over the crease of her eyelid and blend down toward her lashes.

For eyeliner: The Champaign-Urbana Ballet recommends using eyeliner on the bottom and top lids to help emphasize the eye. Be aware that for young children a traditional pencil liner may be too hard for their delicate skin. Instead try a liquid or gel liner that has a soft applicator.

For mascara: Most mascara tubes have brushes that are too big for small eyelashes. Try finding a small sample- or travel-size mascara, or one that’s made for lower lashes. These will be smaller and more manageable on young faces. Many kids will be wary of having something so close their eyes. A good tip is to have them roll their eyes up at the ceiling while you apply the mascara, so they don’t see the wand so close to their eye.

For fake eyelashes: We recommend using half or 3/4 band length. The band is the part that goes across the eyelash line. Some parents may prefer to opt out of fake eyelashes. Check with the instructors to be sure, but most won’t require them for very young dancers. If you choose to go that route, however, that will be the last step.

The Lips

To help keep lipstick from smudging, apply a primer or more foundation over her lips first.

For lipliner: Lipliner will help keep lipstick in place. Use a pencil liner that matches the lipstick shade to outline the edge of your dancers’ lips, then color in the rest of the lip.

For lipstick: Apply lipstick last and be sure your dancer blots with a tissue. Keep straws handy so she can sip on drinks without smudging her lipstick.

  1. Apply your liquid foundation all over your face including eyelids and under the jaw blending towards the neck
  2. Apply your blush generously to your cheeks, sweeping up towards your temple
  3. Apply your loose powder to your face making sure to press it in to set your foundation and blush
  4. Apply your white eye shadow to the whole eyelid (eyelash line to under eyebrow)
  5. Apply your dark brown eye shadow to the crease of your eyelid swooping the outside up towards the outer eyebrow
  6. Apply your black eyeliner in a thin line swooping the outside line up towards the eyebrow creating a ‘wing’
  7. Apply your fake eyelashes (they might have to be trimmed to fit your eye shape or size)
  8. Curl eyelashes with the fake eyelashes using an eyelash curler
  9. Apply one coat of black mascara to eyelashes, powder with loose powder to thicken your lashes, apply another coat of mascara
  10. Apply your red lipstick to your lips, powder with loose powder to set lipstick, apply another layer of red lipstick and blot (close your lips over your pinky finger and pull your finger out. This will remove any lipstick that may transfer to your teeth)