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Theatrical Makeup

Theatrical Makeup

In the performing arts, Theatrical Makeup is used by actors to assist in creating the look of the characters they represent. Changing an actor's perceived age is often created with makeup and can be achieved with some essential methods. Theatrical Makeup is applied as a method in conjunction with stage lighting to highlight the actors' faces in order make expressions visible to the audience from moderate distances. This often includes defining the eyes and lips as well as the highlights and lowlights of the facial bones.

In general, Theatrical Makeup is an instrument that can help your personality appear older, younger, angry and harsh or wise.

The world of screens and lights demand the necessary makeup for both visual and character interest. Theatrical makeup requires a particular talent set for a makeup professional. As the spectators sits far away from the actors, makeup is necessary to create the look desired by the director and be visible from a long distance. In theatre work, artists must also be experienced in the complete look, including wigs and facial hair.


A full time Theatrical Makeup career generally takes two years to finish while a part time Theatrical Makeup career takes three to four years.

The Theatrical Makeup career does not have a typical official recognition. Volunteering makeup services to small companies offer a Makeup Artist the opportunity to get experience and build a collection of photographs of their makeup work. Be a volunteer can be beneficial for finding a job as a Theatrical Makeup Artist. Placements with theatrical companies, television stations and fashion designers are highly advantageous. Attending a beauty school is also very useful for the career.


Any Theatrical Makeup Artist performs the following tasks:
  • Apply makeup to performers to improve or alter their look
  • Prepare the skin for makeup applications
  • talk with directors to determine the desired effects from makeup
  • Evaluate a performers skin type to make sure makeup won't cause skin irritations
  • Analyze scripts in order to prepare plans for each scene
  • Requisition or acquire needed materials
  • Establish budgets
  • Collect historical images
  • Gather visual material from different countries and cultures
Theatrical makeup artists should also be skin care experts. They must be aware of possible allergic reactions and other negative effects originated by makeup.

Employment Outlook

The employment of Theatrical Makeup Artists is projected to grow from 10 to 20 percent until 2014.

Creativity is a very important aspect for Theatrical Makeup Artists. They need to be technically trained in makeup application. They also need to be able to work as part of a team. Sometimes makeup artists are required to work overtime. They sometimes have to deal with high pressure situations. Theatrical makeup artists usually collaborate with actors, directors and costume designers.

Some beauty companies hire Makeup Artists as consultants. Makeup Artists are also sometimes hired for one-time events, including fashion shows. Some Makeup Artists are hired to work in departments stores and apply makeup to clients in order to help increase the sales of makeup products.

The common job titles for a Theatrical Makeup Artist are: Hair and Makeup Designer, Makeup Artist, Prosthetic Makeup Designer, Special Effects Makeup Artist and Commercial Makeup Artist.

Salary potential

Many times Theatrical Makeup Artists have other jobs to supplement their earnings. The median annual earnings in 2009 for theatrical and performance makeup artists were $26,270. The motion photograph and film industries are the highest paying sectors for the occupation.