Stage Makeup

Dear Miss Beauty Nerd,

I was wishing that I knew a makeup expert, and then I realized that I do know a makeup expert!

I am in a musical, and they want us to wear stage makeup, not regular makeup. The are recommending the Ben Nye kit. From the net (that has totally failed me) they might be hypoallergenic. I have terrible allergies / eczema, and am specifically allergic to balsam of pine, which is in most everything. Do you know about stage makeup? I was going to by a pack of the Ben Nyes and try it, but if it fails, do you by any chance know if there is anything else I can use? I use Almay now, but Marcelle is also OK, and I haven’t tried anything else for a while.


Hi A,

So nice of you to reach out to me :)! Given the fact that you have terrible allergies/eczema, I would try to stay away from any kind of stage makeup. Usually stage makeup is loaded heavily with pigments which can cause a lot of irritation. I have developed eczema on my eyelids from an eyeliner several years back, and now every time I apply something heavily pigmented, I react all over again.

I would try to stick with brands like Marcelle or Almay, if you can. There is of course, a tradeoff because the pigments are also much weaker, and may be too weak for stage.

Something else I have been experimenting with lately is to use a primer beforehand to shield some of those pigments from sitting directly on your skin. I have had some success with doing so. You can try using a face and/or eye primer (I have been using the ones from MAC) before you apply makeup with heavier pigments. Brands like MAC or Makeup Forever has makeup that would work for stage as well.

I hope this helps!!


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