Skincare for the Stage Performer

Stage makeup effects are just a part of life for a working stage performer. Modern stage lighting requires the use of many different makeup application techniques. Sometimes, a person can be made to look very old or young, or have a different face shape entirely.

Lyric Opera of Chicago makeup crew member Bridget Rzymski posing with Jesus Christ Superstar cast member and LOSA Artist INSERT NAME
Lyric Opera of Chicago makeup crew member Bridget Rzymski posing with Jesus Christ Superstar cast member and LOSA Artist Jaquez Sims

A wig can be added to change hairstyles, or a bald cap to make one appear to be bald! A moustache and beard might be required. Jewels and glitter can be applied. Skin color can be changed completely. Prosthetic noses can be applied. Warts and scars are added. In one case, performers were made to look like trees, complete with limbs and foliage!

In order to make things stick to the skin, it is necessary to use skin adhesives such as spirit gum or KD 151 (prosthetics, wigs, and facial hair), telesis (used mostly in film and television production), and top stick (a toupee tape used for costumes and skin).

Adhesive removal is achieved by applying alcohol to reactivate the adhesive so that it sticks to a removing agent (cotton ball or cloth). Sometime baby oil is added to help soothe the skin.

With all this manipulation of makeup to produce the desired result, the skin can become irritated and pores become clogged without the proper skincare routine in place. The most common complaints are acne, irritated hair follicles and ingrown hairs.

These issues can be avoided! It is necessary to have a skin care ROUTINE in place.

LOSA Artist and Dance Captain Todd Rhoades pauses to have special effects makeup applied by Lyric Opera of Chicago makeup artist Bridget Rzymski.
LOSA Artist and Dance Captain Todd Rhoades pauses to have special effects makeup applied by Lyric Opera of Chicago makeup artist Bridget Rzymski.

The skin responds to a routine. If not, it is likely to be shocked by the sudden addition of harsh and frequent makeup application and removal. Clean the skin thoroughly before and after a show. Remember that skin is delicate. Do not rub the skin harshly in order to remove makeup. Take the necessary time to remove it thoroughly and gently. Try to replace makeup every 3-5 months and use a clean applicator every time. Otherwise, bacteria, mold, and yeast may begin to grow.

If wearing facial hair, do not shave immediately prior to application. Shaving creates open wounds on the face, which are susceptible to infection.

Make sure to use moisturizer for the appropriate skin type (normal/dry or combination/oily). Exfoliate the skin once per week.

Follow these suggestions to have happier and healthier skin!

Maia Surace, Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant and Opera Chorister at the Lyric Opera of Chicago with Bridget Rzymski, Wig and Makeup Crew Foreman at the Lyric Opera of Chicago