No sweat, huh? : Making Belly Dance Stage Makeup Last
If you read online discussions with bellydancers talking about makeup, you will find an awful lot of them commenting on how much they sweat when they perform… most seem to think their problem is unusual. For those that give their show their all, I don’t think they sweat any more than any other athlete that puts in the same effort, but nobody expects a runner or soccer player to still look fresh and glamorous at the finish line or final buzzer. It’s no surprise that so many dancers are looking for that secret technique for sweatproof stage makeup. This exact request was sent to me from long-time Daily Bellydance Quickies subscriber, Sasha, so I thought I’d dig up some info on this hot topic as we head into the extra-sweaty season, especially here in the solar oven we call Phoenix.
Before I go any further, I have to tell you that I am not a makeup artist by any stretch of the imagination. Anything I’ve learned has been through lots of trial and perhaps even more error in doing my own stage face. This post is also not a recommendation of any products. Think of it as a summary of what dancers are using and recommending to each other online. I haven’t tried many of these personally since I’ve already found what works for me – but it may not work for you. So, if you haven’t found your solution, maybe some of this information will help you experiment intelligently.
My personal choice is MAC Studio Fix base. I like it because it’s full coverage and stays put (on me). I tend to get red-cheeked when I dance hard and this keeps that under cover. I go light on the moisturizer and make sure my face is completely dry before I buff it in with a short, flat-topped brush. After a show I carefully and lightly blot my face with a towel and before the next show might touch it up with a light dusting of Studio Fix pressed powder if needed. No, not sophisticated but like I said, I’m not a makeup artist and it works for me.
The suggestions I gathered from online conversations seem to fall into two categories – primers and sealers. Relatively few talk about actual “sweatproof” foundation formulas. There were a few sketchy suggestions too, so before we go on let me just say that applying roll-on antiperspirant to my entire face or misting my finished face with hairspray do not sound like anything I’ll be trying!
Primers are liquids or gels applied before foundation. They are formulated to create a smooth surface for the foundation to stick to and (supposedly) improve the staying power of your makeup. A quick search shows that just about every makeup manufacturer from drugstore Revlon to high-end Clarins and NARS makes a primer. The ones with the most positive reviews seem to be MAC Prep and Prime and Smashbox Photo Finish. The theatrical makeup line Kryolan reportedly makes a price-friendly one. The thing I’ve found most odd is that the official product descriptions from the makers do not claim their products will improve the durability of foundation. It’s the users that are circulating that information.
Sealers are applied over finished makeup; some are sprayed and some are brushed on. MAC Fix Plus gets a lot of good chatter in stage makeup discussions, but again, the official product description doesn’t make any claims to keep makeup in its place. Another product called Model In A Bottle, claims to do exactly that however. SheLaq by Benefit is one of the “brush on” sealers and some users have said it feels heavy, but reviews are generally good. There were a few good mentions for Make Up For Ever’s Mist & Fix too. Ben Nye Final Seal is made for the stage and makes a bold claim, “Apply over any completed makeup for smudge and water resistance. Final Seal keeps makeup in place on performers who heavily perspire.” I’m curious to see what happens to my makeup in the steam room with this one….hmmm. Check back with me on that.
Do you use any special products to keep your stage face from melting? What has worked for you and what hasn’t? Tell us in the comments below.