My very first time seeing tribal improv live was at the Farmers’ Market in Flagstaff, Arizona. The dancers brought a carpet to dance on, and drummers, and created such a wonderful spectacle with their wide variety of bodies and faces and skill levels. They brought so much joy to the people who thought they were just coming to the market for the vegetables.
To this day, street fairs and similar casual outdoor gigs are my favorite venue to perform in. They’re a great opportunity to share our joy with the general public who wasn’t expecting to see something so delightful.
Makeup for this gig is interesting. On the one hand, these gigs are probably going to be marketing opportunities for your studio, so you want your face to look accessible and friendly. You want potential new students to think, “hey, I could do that.”
On the other hand, you still want to create a spectacle, and you still want to create enough of an exotic look so that someone walking by doesn’t think, “Oh, that’s just Janet from the office in fancy duds.” You still want your look to be removed from the everyday.
Here’s one way to achieve that.
Step 1: Sunscreen.
This is important, ok? I like a lightweight cream sunscreen for my face (the purple tube) and a spray sunscreen for everything else. Don’t forget your back, and neck, and chest! And midsection!
Yes, I use a foundation that has SPF. But I still put a layer of sunscreen on underneath. I live in California, and that sun can get intense. You could also use a tinted moisturizer that has SPF, if you like, but me: I FRY. So this is what Step 1 looks like before I rub it in:
Seriously. Do not skimp on the sunscreen. Remember that you can get burned even through clouds or — because this is San Francisco — fog.
(Depending on the texture of your sunscreen, you may find that your makeup slides around a little bit as a result. Don’t worry, some tips and tricks for dealing with that are coming your way!)
Step 2: Primer.
Face and eyelids. Here’s what I use.
Step 3: Foundation, contour, blush, highlight.
For foundation, I use one of the normal, day-to-day foundations that I often reach for: a pressed powder from bareMinerals. (I’ve got very sensitive skin, and the mineral makeup doesn’t seem to irritate it at all. )
Use what makes you feel good. I don’t recommend liquid, though; I feel like the powder helps set the sunscreen a little bit to prevent too much sliding around. But that’s my personal experience, of course, and yours may differ.
For contour, I used a pressed powder that is a few shades darker than my foundation. I put it in standard contouring places: under cheekbones, under jawbones, on temples, and around the forehead.
For highlight and blush, I’m using these from the “Rock Star” palette from theBalm. I am in love with this palette.
Blush goes on the cheekbones. Highlight goes on top of blush, over eyebrows, maybe on the nose if you want.
Blend the heck out of all of that.
Step 4: Eyeshadow.
For daytime gigs, my troupemate Jesse turned me on to a black and gold eyeshadow look. They’re both neutrals, but just bold and blingy-enough that it sets you apart from your daily routine. And the gold keeps it light, a dramatic look that’s still good for daytime.
First up, the gold. I’m using Blitz from the Urban Decay original “Vice” palette — lots of great metallics in here — but use whatever metallic gold you want.
Next, the black. I’m using Black Market from the same palette. Any matte black should work well, though. Put it in the crease and just under the outside part of the inner lid.
Then blend. After blending, I will sometimes put another layer of gold on top to really lighten things up. Here’s the finished eyeshadow look.
Now is a good time to give yourself a dose of setting spray. This one’s my favorite.
Step 5: Eyelashes.
Normally I would always wear lashes, even to a daytime gig, because they really finish off the look and keep things interesting. Here are the lashes I was going to wear — not as crazy as for stage, but still interesting and bold.
… but I was having issues with the eyelash glue, and my hands were shaky since I’d had coffee but no real breakfast at this point, so I gave up and went a different route: lots and lots of mascara.
I would definitely not recommend this for stage or any nighttime affair, but if there’s one gig where you can get away with just mascara, it’s the daytime outdoor gig.
I did two types of mascara: first, a thickening mascara from Makeup For Ever, and second, a lengthening mascara called They’re Real! from Benefit.
Step 6: Eyeliner.
(Or you could do this before the lashes. Up to you, of course.)
I didn’t do anything fancy with liner today – I don’t normally for daytime gigs. Liquid on the top lash line (I like the Illamasqua brand), no crazy cat eye, but you could go that route if you wanted. Pencil about a third of the way in on the bottom lash line.
Step 7: Eyebrows.
I FORGOT TO DO MY EYEBROWS. SERIOUSLY, GUYS, DON’T DO THIS. Luckily, my troupemate Sofia had some brown pencil with her and I was able to fix it later.
Step 8: Lips!
Pencil, lipstick, and a little bit of glitter eyeshadow in the pout to finish it off. But when I leave the house, I just do pencil – it’s enough to help the look appear finished, but you’re not going to eat off your lipstick before you get to the gig.
I always pack a mirror, lipliner, and lipstick with me so I can get those things done before I go on.
And here’s the finished look! With the ever-patient Sofia. (She’s made different — and equally lovely — makeup choices. Remember there’s no real right or wrong here, just be mindful of why you’re making the choices you’re making, and be creative.)