Face Makeup – Step By Step

Dr. C.P. Unnikrishnan

In our December’17 article on History & Modes of and Trends in Makeup, the basic ingredients of each item used and their application purpose have been explained. Based on this knowledge one has to apply each of the following items. There are varieties of each item for dance makeup, brought into the market by various manufacturers. Which one is most suitable for an individual for the intended work can be decided only by knowing the materials, and the parameters mentioned in January’18 article. Above all, it is experience that helps in making the right selection and right the mode of applying them. However, there is a definite sequence in which the items are to be applied. Therefore, a general method that can be followed for the Bharathanaatyam, Mohiniyaattam & Kuchipudi styles is given below. Doing up the hair and wearing the specified ornaments on it are very important subjects in relation to face makeup. This ensures that the different parts of the face remain most proportionate to the head as a whole.

The Sequence: Cleaning Face & Neck and Relaxing, - Understanding the Structure and Nature of the Face - Applying Foundation - Applying Powder - Applying Pancake - Applying Rouge(Blush) – Lining Brows - Applying Eyeshade - Lining Eyes – Drawing Hair curls - Applying Bindi/Thilakm/ Pottu – Applying Lipstick.

Cleaning Face & Neck and Relaxing

The outermost layer of skin is dead and carries many external particles. Use a suitable cleansing agent. Wash face and neck, carefully removing dust, marks of eye and brow lining materials, sticker pastes & lipstick marks if any with clean water at room temperature. If the lips are too dry and scaly, a very soft tooth brush can be used to remove the scales and a transparent base cream to soften the lips. Wipe dry with a clean white cloth or wet tissue. Wait for at least 15 minutes before Makeup for the skin to get rid of the extra moisture. A black hair band should be tied above the forehead, covering also the hairlines along the temples. This is to avoid smudging of the makeup materials on to the hair. Remain with a pleasant mind in a place where you are not likely to sweat. As far as possible avoid talking or doing other activities. Mental conditions can cause instant or late subtle aberrations to the skin. Definitely, instant changes can adversely affect facial makeup - (‘The Mind and Skin Connection’ - John Koo, M.D., University of California, San Francisco, Medical Centre, California).

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Note: Makeup Room (Greenroom) is the place from where a ‘Human Figure’ gets transformed into a ‘Stage-Figure’; be it a ‘Sculptural Dancing Figure’ or a Specific ‘Character.’ It is the ‘Stage Figure’ that the audience see on the stage. The person who puts in the efforts to create this ‘Figure’ is an artiste like any artist who works on the stage. Realizing these facts, we need to consider the makeup room as an area bestowed with divinity where everyone should behave with due devotion and reverence. This has already been suggested in the Section 3 of this handbook. This repetition is only to reemphasize the truth.

Understanding the Structure and Nature of the Face

No two faces are ever similar. The shape, relative positions of the different parts of the face, contours, nature and tone of skin and hair-growth patterns show lots of variations. The process of makeup should be an attempt to achieve this ‘Ideal Figure’. However, the attempt should not displace the Facial Parts or totally change the characteristic appearance of the individual’s face, unless one is doing a stylized character makeup. The one who does makeup must bear these in mind and visualize the appearance which would be the resultant of the work. All the contours, differentiating among the areas of dark, highlight and mid tones, must be correctly identified. For this, one needs to be careful from the point of applying foundation.

Applying Foundation

As the name implies, foundation is the basis for the rest of the makeup. Foundation comes in varieties of mediums and textures, including loose powders, compact powders, creams, liquids, and aerosols. Use a Foundation that is comfortable to be used and matches with the skin tone. If one intends to use pancakes (which is foundation & powder together as a combined pack), the tone of the foundation should be one shade darker than that of the natural one.There are three primary means for applying foundation:with fingers, with a sponge, or with a brush. The choice must be based on the sense of hygiene and the comfort to work neatly. In certain cases, a primer, a clear gel that works to smooth out the skin and seal in imperfections is used. Some people also choose to apply Concealers prior to or after applying on Foundation. This is to cover up natural unevenness or scars left by acne, wounds etc.

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Begin by applying foundation as few dabs on the forehead, cheeks, nose, chin, and at few places around neck. Use the choice tool to blend the foundation around to cover the entire face and neck vanishing into the skin tone of the regions below the neck that are likely to remain at least partly exposed, even after wearing costumes and ornaments. There should be no noticeable lines where the foundation starts/or ends. It is desirable that the movements while spreading the foundation do not go against the natural hairlines and curls. Make sure that the foundation is neither too thick nor too thin. As said above, if pancakes are not in the work plan, contour accentuation should be done with due tones of the foundations, marking the darkest, mid-tone and highlight areas.

Applying foundation with or without pancake is a very important process. It is not just to give a brighter tone to the parts where they are applied. It can provide various illusions. Eg. If a relatively darker tone is applied from the sides of the nose and the outer margin of the cheeks, and spreading them carefully and gradually making it lighter to blend with the highlight area of the cheeks, a rounded circular face will appear longer & narrower. If the face is long and narrow, no dark tone should be used near the nose. Finally, in terms of relative proportions, if any part has to be made more conspicuous, a lighter shade can be applied and blended.