Life’s A Stage: The Tips And Tricks Of Grease Makeup
Whether you’re thinking about using oily makeup for a theatrical event, a special Halloween party, or any other occasion, you need to know what products are out there and how to apply them.
Although oily makeup takes more time and preparation than regular water-based face paint, it also lasts much longer. Most importantly, oily makeup won’t smudge or run in hot light or conditions where you might sweat.
In addition to oily face paints and pencils, you will need:
facial cleanser or cream and/or baby shampoo
clean towels or paper towel
a blanket and hair clips or a shower cap
possible shaver for men
mirror unless you work from home
quality painting brush, powder brush
professional hardener, talc or baby powder and applicator (see below)
Q-Tips or a fine paintbrush, tissue paper, or paper towel all work
Other items you might also consider:
light moisturizing cream
baby oil (to correct mistakes after the painting has “hardened”)
angular eye pencil
mist or water spray
glitter and other decorations
Before you start applying your makeup, you need to prepare your face so that it goes smoothly. Clean your face thoroughly, tie up your hair if needed, and shave for men. (Bearded men can apply greasy makeup, but it can be difficult to keep it out of their hair.) Remember that greasy makeup will stain clothes, so wear an old button-down shirt. After the skin is dry, apply a very light moisturizer.
First work with the lightest color – usually white – and with a good quality brush or sponge, or your fingers, you can outline the area and then fill it. Alternatively, you can paint according to the contours of the face. Oily makeup may not go on smoothly if it’s too cold, which you can fix by putting some paint in your palm for a minute. After applying, use your fingers to “tap” the makeup into the skin.
Unlike water-based makeup, oil-based makeup requires you to paint your face and then “fix” it with a professional setting powder or baby powder or setting powder. (If you use talc, make sure in advance that you do not have an allergic reaction to it.)
You can “set” the oily makeup either gradually after applying each shade or at the end of the perfect painting. Some people prefer the latter, applying all the shades before the powder sets, as they can more easily precise mistakes.
The downside, however, is that you run the risk of accidentally mixing colors and smearing your work.
Whether you’re “setting” in stages or at the end, one surefire way to apply powder is to partially fill a small, clean cotton sock with powder, tie it off, and then gently wipe your face. Leave the powder on for about half a minute before brushing off the excess with a powder brush. The painted areas should no longer be wet or sticky – if not, you probably need more powder. Once the oily makeup sets, it should be pretty smudge-proof. If something needs touching up at this point, you can use Q-Tips dipped in baby oil, but remember that the adjacent areas might smudge now.
Be careful not to apply oily face makeup heavily or in layers. If you have too much in one spot, press down with your fingers to even it out.
Continue to soften the face using Q-Tips or a fine brush for smaller areas. Fat pencils can also be used on the face, charcoal pencils on the eyes and don’t forget the lip color!
Let the oily make-up dry thoroughly and apply the last thin layer of powder, removing the excess with a brush or tissue paper. A damp cloth at the end can help remove excess powder or spray with a very light water mist. In warmer climates, you can probably skip this step because the extra powder will absorb all the sweat.
If you apply glitter, it should be done at the very end. In general, glitter is most effective when applied to the eyes or cheeks, a glitter gel is often used instead of dry glitter to minimize the chance of flaking into the eye. With dry glitter, first lightly moisten the face and cheeks, then “puff” the polyester glitter. Don’t forget to let your makeup set for about half an hour before you go out. If you have stray color on your eyelashes, cover it with mascara.
For almost any type of face look, you’ll need at least a white oily foundation and a black pencil, but of course, there are many colors in between and you’ll maybe want to try at least a few of them. Leading manufacturers of fat makeup are Mehron and Ben Nye. Mehron oily makeup is aimed at theatre professionals who want an easy application with good coverage.
Ben Nye also appeals to the same community, even though Ben Nye’s oily makeup is actually a cream. Oily face makeup comes in a number of forms, from palettes (usually sold as a set) to individual liners. Pencils, crayons and sticks are suitable for smaller areas of the face. Both Mehron and Ben Nye also make eyeshadows, blushes, a range of glitters and hardeners and seals. You can also consider sweat-blocking facial sprays to help keep the oil at bay under bright light or in hot environments.