There is an old saying that a chef or a cook is only as good as their ingredients.

In a similar vein, there is a lot to be said about makeup artists. Very few (if any) makeup artists, whether it is special effects makeup or bridal makeup, have managed to become successful and retain customers by using cheap, ineffective products.

So, if you are looking to start your career as a theatrical makeup artist, you may be curious about how to test the quality of these products before your actors hit the stage.

It isn't that tough, and this article will guide you through the steps that you need to take to ensure that the makeup you apply looks great and lasts as long as you need it to.


When it comes to theatrical makeup, pigmentation is important, as you don't want the actors you apply the makeup to looking overly pale. Professional theatrical makeup will be extremely pigmented, as it needs to be seen by the people who are watching the stage or the performance from far away. To test this, you could apply some of the paints and powders to the back of your hand and take photos of them under bright lighting. If they look vibrant, then this is a high-quality product. If they look faded or pale, then it is best to skip it for your makeup kit!


The last thing you want when applying theatrical makeup is chunky or difficult-to-apply textures. Granted, the theatrical makeup you apply will need to be slightly thicker than what you would apply on a wedding day, but you don't want it to feel overly thick or thin, as this can cause irritation to the skin of the person who's wearing it, as well as pore blockages.


Any theatrical makeup that you add to your makeup kit should be durable and be able to withstand long hours of sweat, movement, and wear, as this is what is going to be happening to the actors who are wearing it. The highest quality theatrical makeup does not smudge or fade easily, so, again, it may be worth applying some to yourself, going through the daily motions and seeing how long each paint, powder, or concealer lasts, and adding the passing brands to your kit.


Next, you need to look at the ingredients. There are some cheaper versions of theatrical makeup that have ingredients that have been linked to skin irritation, acne, and even allergic reactions! So, be sure that all of the ingredients are safe for use on the skin over prolonged periods of direct contact.


Finally, the brand of makeup that you choose is important. While there is nothing wrong with going for lesser-known brands, the popular brands of theatrical makeup are that for a reason. Therefore, if you are brand new to the area of being a makeup artist in the theater, it is best to go with a well-known brand name for your makeup kit.