Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Makeup: for Black and African American Dancers


Recommended Posts


This year, I did my first performances at a decent school that didn't mandate makeup colors just because that's what the studio owner wore (Revlon Fire-color was SO not my color). I found myself a lipstick that looked nice with my skin tone, and I found the right amount and color of blush I needed for a glow, but the eyes really got me.


Since our school's theater is relatively small, I got away with not wearing eyeliner at all because I wasn't sure if it would make my eyes look too dark under the lights. Black is just as well for girls with fairer skin tones, but I worry that it may not fly so well with me under lights. I alternated between a purple, turquoise and gold eyeshadow each performance because I couldn't decide which would look better than lights. For everyday wear, I can wear black eyeliner and a soft purple eyeshadow to make my eyes seem more brown than black.


So as far as eyes, what colors of eyeliner and eyeshadow would bring out the eyes on stage? Should the eyebrows be darkened? I have a medium to deep skin tone. Of course, I would Google this, but all that comes up are makeup tutorials for Black Swan.

Link to post

I am not a make-up expert in anyway however I do have experience with looking at my students, of various ethnic backgrounds, onstage. A very big concern will always be the lighting on stage. If the lighting is not good, it does not matter what you do, you will not be seen. Good lighting will accommadate all skintones.

Link to post

A member has sent me this link to post that you might find helpful. Of course this does not take into consideration that a stage must be well lighted for anyone to look their best onstage, however assuming that is taking place, these tips on stage make-up might be helpful. Thank you diane for the link.



Link to post

I am a professional make up artist (begrudgingly... it's a profession that seems to follow me everywhere I go, even when I'm trying not to do it). I find that for stage make up, black eyeliner is essential - even if you have skin that is so dark that custom foundations have to be made for you. Unless the role is meant to be ethereal or fantasy in nature (think sylph, magical creature, fairy, etc.), I would really recommend avoiding overdoing products with high impact shine or sparkle. Under stage lights, it can be over emphasized and will look either like sweat, shine, or tinkerbell had hacked all over your face. This advice goes for dancers of all skin colors.


Like vrsfanatic said, if the stage lights are bad, it doesn't matter how well you do your make up, you will look strange. Contrasting colors versus lights tend to get neutralized... for instance, red lights with green eyeshadows renders that eyeshadow virtually ineffective (as well as most other colors). Cool lights intensify cool vibrant eyeshadows greatly, but may turn red based cheeks & lips into a more subdued purplish burgandy color. Knowing how the stage will be lit can really help with your makeup plan - that's probably one of the reasons some schools have rigid demands for make up.


Depending on how you define your eyes and apply your eye makeup, black liner should not necessarily diminish the size of your eyes at all! It's one of my most important tools in my make up kit for everything. If the mods don't mind, I'll list the eyeliners I love. I'm not trying to sell for this company, but these are just the trusted products I use professionally for both stage, print, and film work.

- MAC Fluidline: Blacktrack (Pros: essentially waterproof/sweatproof if you're not wiping at it. Easy to work texture/consistency. Cons: You have to own a decent eyeliner brush to use this product.)

- MAC Eye Kohl: Smolder (Pros: soft, easy to apply, pigment heavy product, Cons: not as budge-proof as the Fluidline. If you touch it, it will smudge... just not as easily as other pencil eyeliners perhaps).

- MAC Chromagraphic Eye Pencil: Pure White (great for adding fake highlights and enlarging the eyes if the audience is far away from a large stage.)

- MAC Chromagraphic Eye Pencil: NC15, NC30, NC42 (Beautiful more subtle than pure white for achieving the same effect of enlarging eyes. Preferred if audience isn't so far that one would have to draw an over exaggerated eyeline underneath the eyes.)


If you need personalized advice, please feel free to PM me and I can assist you further from there.

Link to post

Thanks, vrsfanatic! That article didn't come up when I Googled the subject. Also, thanks to LaFilleSylphide for the product recommendations!

Link to post
  • Momof3darlings changed the title to Makeup: for Black and African American Dancers


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...