Stage Makeup vs. Regular Makeup

The basic concepts of stage makeup and regular makeup are the same—they are used to create an illusion. Granted, the illusions one wants to create for the stage are typically quite different than those for everyday life. Most often, everyday makeup is simply used to hide blemishes or flaws and highlight one’s natural beauty. Stage makeup can be used for dramatic effects and tends to be much heavier than everyday makeup. Today’s performer would consider makeup as central to the development of their character as their wardrobe. With the right makeup and skilled application, an actor can become someone entirely different on stage.

What are the Main Differences Between Stage Makeup and Regular Makeup?

The differences between the two aren’t as vast as one might think. Stage makeup is meant to be heavier, both in texture and pigment. This allows the makeup effects to be seen from afar, which is typically the case during a stage production. From highlighting and even exaggerating the shape of an actor’s face to giving the performer the effects of aging, makeup can transform stage actors.

Regular makeup is much lighter than that which was created for the stage. The pigments are natural looking, giving regular makeup a much more organic look. The idea of regular makeup is to cover blemishes without making the makeup the focal point. Stage makeup should be noticed and is intended to be part of the costume on stage; while everyday makeup is intended more for the background and should blend in to one’s natural features.

Can Stage Makeup Be For Everyday Use?

Because stage makeup is essentially just a heavier version of regular makeup, it can be used every day. It’s all a matter of personal preference; some people prefer to wear lighter makeup and would most likely be uncomfortable in stage makeup outside of the theater. Wearing it offstage will create a heavier look that is atypical for day to day use, but it really is a matter of personal preference.

On the flipside of the debate is this question: can regular makeup be worn on stage? With the right application techniques, regular makeup can work well on stage. By applying the makeup much more heavily and in a more dramatic way, it can create the desired effects just as well as stage makeup. There are also many scenes that require a natural look, making regular makeup a much better choice. It’s probably easier to use regular makeup on stage than vice versa. On and off stage, makeup is important in achieving the desired effects and enhancing one’s own features. With many different types of makeup to choose from—cream and powder alike—cosmetics play an important role in every stage production as well as in everyday life.

Face Off: Search for the Ultimate SFX Makeup Artist

The Premise

The magical and sometimes mystical realm of world-class special effects and make-up artistry brings viewers a new reality-competition series from SyFy–Face Off-which is set to debut on January 26, 2011. The premise of the show revolves around the often unrecognized artists who create truly amazing works of living art and possess near-unlimited imagination coupled with an extremely wide range of skill sets. The contestants in this exciting new program include a wide array of exceptionally talented, dynamic artists who will demonstrate their exceptional skills in a variety of areas in their trade, including prosthetics, 3-D design, animatronics, sculpting, eye enhancers, puppeteering, casting and molding. Each week the contestants will be asked to elaborate on the challenge, taking on such feats as designing full body paint make-up on models or creating their most innovative horror villain.

The Players

Image Credit: Isabella Vosmikova:Syfy

Actress McKenzie Westmore will host Face Off, bringing a true passion for the art of special effects to the table. Westmore’s great-grandfather, George, was a pioneer in the field of film and television make-up, and father Michael Westmore is the legendary make-up artist behind the Star Trek television series. SyFy has additionally signed illustrious makeup artists Ve Neill of Pirates of the Caribbean and Edward Scissorhands, Glen Hetrick of Heroes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files as well as creature designer Patrick Tatopoulous of I am Legend, Independence Day, Underworld and Resident Evil:Extinction to serve as judges on the competition/elimination series of Face Off. Ve Neil is responsible for setting multiple standards of excellence in the make-up field, earning three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards and four Saturn Awards over the course of her highly successful career. Fans will also remember her artistry in transforming Robin Williams into a Scottish nanny for Mrs. Doubtfire as well as her brilliance in the design and make-up of the myriad of villains, beauties and superheroes in the Batman film series.

The Drama

Each episode of Face Off will feature aspiring special effects artists, showcasing their finished works and granting viewers the dramatic build-up of one contestant being sent home each week by the celebrity judges. This intensely engaging show will culminate in one winner and one grand prize, sure to launch a winning career. Face Off producers have spent an exhausting year taking the casting search to major cities throughout the United States. Both professionals as well as novices in the special effects make-up field were considered when choosing what would ultimately boil down to twelve hopefuls for the 2011 show. Each contestant brings not only their individual style and talents to the show, but the hope that they have what it takes to be a top-flight makeup artist, grabbing the brass ring of Face Off. Tune in January 26, 2011 for a compelling sixty-minute show that will keep you glued to your seat in anticipation.