The Essentials: A Beginner’s Guide to Theatrical Makeup Supplies

The world of theater is all about bringing stories to life, and makeup plays a crucial role in achieving that. Theatrical makeup is an art form that involves transforming an actor’s appearance, bringing out a character’s unique features, and creating special effects. The use of theatrical makeup supplies is essential to achieve these results. In this beginner’s guide, we will explore the essential theatrical makeup supplies that every aspiring makeup artist should have in their kit.


The foundation is the base of any makeup look, and theatrical makeup is no exception. The foundation is used to even out skin tone, cover blemishes, and create a blank canvas for other makeup products. In theatrical makeup, the foundation should be chosen based on the character’s skin tone and the lighting conditions of the production. Cream-based foundations are the most commonly used in theatrical makeup, but other types such as powder, liquid, or airbrush may be used depending on the needs of the production.

Setting Powder

Once the foundation is applied, setting powder is used to lock it in place and prevent it from smudging or fading throughout the performance. Setting powder also helps to control shine and oiliness on the skin. Translucent setting powders are the most commonly used in theatrical makeup as they do not alter the color of the foundation.

Eye Makeup

Eye makeup is used to enhance the actor’s eyes and create a more dramatic look. Theatrical makeup often involves using bold and vibrant colors to create different moods or characters. Eye shadows, eyeliners, and mascara are the most commonly used eye makeup products in theatrical makeup.


Lipstick is used to complete the overall look of the character. Theatrical makeup often involves using bold and bright lip colors to draw attention to the actor’s lips and create a unique look. Lipsticks are available in a variety of formulas such as matte, gloss, or satin, and the right formula should be chosen based on the character’s needs.

Contouring and Highlighting

Contouring and highlighting are used to sculpt the actor’s face and create a more defined look. Contouring involves using darker shades of makeup to create depth and dimension while highlighting involves using lighter shades to bring attention to certain areas of the face. Contouring and highlighting products are available in cream or powder form and should be chosen based on the character’s skin tone.

Special Effects Makeup

Special effects makeup is used to create unique and unusual looks for characters that require something beyond normal makeup. Theatrical makeup often involves using prosthetics, fake blood, or latex to create scars, wounds, or other special effects. Special effects makeup requires specialized products and techniques, and beginners should seek guidance from experienced makeup artists.

To Conclude…

In conclusion, theatrical makeup supplies are essential for bringing a character to life on stage. Foundation, setting powder, eye makeup, lipstick, contouring and highlighting, and special effects makeup are the essential products that every aspiring makeup artist should have in their kit. While these products are the basics, the right techniques and application methods are also essential for creating a flawless and realistic look. With practice and experience, every beginner can master the art of theatrical makeup and create unique and captivating looks for the stage.