Theatrical Make Up Application Techniques

Changing an actor's preceived age is most often created with make-up that can enhance and assist in character development.

Any theatrical production is a balance of the correct lighting, costumes and sets to portray the actor in the best possible way. No one area of the production should stand out - make-up included. If your stage lighting is good your make-up will not need to be worn as a way to compensate for the size of the theatre but rather to enhance your character.

Make-up is an important part of creating an actor's character effectively. As an actor you should be developing a mental picture of what your character would look like, not just their mannerisms, speech patterns or other character traits.

Make-up is a tool that can help your character appear older, younger, angry and harsh or wise. Changing an actor's perceived age is often created with make-up and can be achieved with some basic techniques.



To appear to look only a few years older or even middle aged these steps can help you in using make-up. Always start with a clean face and apply a even layer of foundation on your face and neck. There are two basic methods used when applying make-up as an aging technique. You will either need to use highlights over the muscle structures of the face or you will need to shade under and around the muscles. If men or women have a darker skin tone they should use the highlighting option while light colored skin tones should use make-up to shade the facial muscles.

Standing under an overhead light with other lights turned off can assist you in finding the highlights or shadows on your face. After shading or highlighting the sunken area of your eyes work on emphasizing the depressed section on either side of your nose.

Each intense area of highlight should be next to an intense area of darker shading. Every fold, crease or muscle catches light and creates a different shadow. It can help to make a face at yourself in the mirror to find your natural frown lines on your forehead and neckline. If you need more emphasis in wrinkle areas try using a sharp eyebrow pencil to create the lines. Adding lines to the corners of your mouth can enhance the age but remember not to overdo it. Age and wrinkle lines should not look drawn on but rather a natural result.

When you are finished, powder your entire face and neck to set the make-up. This should be patted on gently, never rubbed. You can also use mascara, eyeliner or rouge make-up as well although it is not always necessary to use every make-up option altogether.

Men will want to use make-up to gray their hair at the temples and sideburns. You can create a false widows peek as well if it fits your character. Darkening the temple areas can also give a sense of age.

Don't forget to age your hands and other skin that will be visible on stage. Foundation should be applied in the same manner it was on your face. Shade or highlight the depressed areas and bring out the natural winkles on the knuckles of each finger. A touch of blue-gray makeup applied to the veins will make them more noticeable, too.

To look decades older than you are, you may have to incorporate the use of liquid latex or duo surgical adhesive to create excessive wrinkles, sagging neck and facial muscles or major hair loss.

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