Making Faces: Miss Jaye’s Drag Makeup Essentials

Published on May 13, 2013 by   ·   4 Comments

I love to play with makeup and try new things, but people, especially new performers are always asking me how to get started with makeup and what products they should buy to create their look.  Makeup is very personal, and I think it’s important for everyone to experiment and play around with things until they find the products, textures, and formulas that they like and that work for them.  There is no one way to look – that’s the fun of makeup!  You can constantly play and recreate yourself in new ways.

Having said that, however, it’s nice to have suggestions as you enter the sometimes confusing world of makeup and so I’ve compiled a list of some of my own personal “must have” items in my makeup kit as well as thoughts about some different products that have been helpful to me in creating my look.

01 Graftobian1. Foundation – you can’t build a house without a sturdy foundation, or something like that.  I used to fuck this really hot carpenter and he was always using hokey expressions like that, and in this case it’s absolutely true.  You need a great foundation to set all of the work you are going to do in making your face.  The first thing I recommend is to start with a face primer.  I started using one in the last couple of years, and I really have seen a difference in how my foundation and makeup applies to my face.  It really is worth it!  There are lots available and I’ve had good luck with quite a few of them, so don’t feel you have to spend a ton of money on it.  The one I use now is e.l.f. face primer that I picked up at Walmart for less than $10.  I’ve also tried samples of primer from Urban Decay and Too Faced (thanks Sephora!) that are also pretty delicious.  Once you’re primed, it’s time to lay that foundation…

I am a believer in using theatrical cream foundations.  Liquid and powder foundations from department stores, even the higher end brands, just aren’t made to cover up as well as a theatrical brand – especially if you have dark facial hair or tend to get regrowth very quickly.  Theatrical creams have a higher concentration of pigment and give you better coverage.  If you have super dark stubble, most theatrical brands have some sort of heavier tattoo cover that you can lay down first (after the primer, of course!) and then put foundation and contour over.  I’ve used both Ben Nye and Graftobian foundations in the past, and I like them both.  The Graftobian feels a little bit creamier, so people with oily skin might like the Ben Nye better, but both brands are excellent and have a wide variety of shades to find your perfect foundation, highlight, and contour.  Although I haven’t tried them, Graftobian also has an HD glamour series that is specially formulated for film/video and glamour looks that may be worth looking into.

01 CotyI personally haven’t used the theatrical cake foundations – the ones that are dry and are applied with a wet sponge, but I’ve heard from others (Pills, I’m talking about you, diva!) that they can sometimes settle into wrinkles.  I used them in a makeup course I took in college, and I found them much harder to work with than the cream foundations, so when I started doing drag I went right for the creams!

2. Powder – It’s old school, but I love me some Coty Air Spun powder.  You might not know the name, but you will definitely recognize the container – your grandma probably had some of this stacked on her makeup shelf!  There is something about the feel and the smell that I just love, much better than any other powder I’ve ever used.  I have a MAC finishing powder that I sometimes put over the finished look, but when I’m powdering over the foundation and contour, it’s Coty’s Air Spun every time!  I have used the “Translucent” for years; recently, I discovered that they had a “Translucent – Extra Coverage” that is also excellent for drag makeup.

01 MAC Pro Longwear Lip Colour3. Lips – I love lip products, perhaps more than any other type of cosmetics.  I love to try out new formulas and finishes.  Lip “stuff” is where I like to treat myself, and buy new fun things just to try.  I don’t think there is any one way to do lips, but the one thing I definitely recommend for lips is one of those “demi-permanent” lip paints, like MAC’s Pro Longwear.  It’s the stuff you paint on, let it dry, and then you usually need to put some sort of balm, gloss, or something over the top because it feels dry as fuck!  They first came out about 10 years or so ago with a set by Max Factor that came with a little tube of paint and a clear balm.  They really do stay on!  I love them because with performing, emceeing, making out with other people’s husbands, etc., my lips are effing busy during a show!  Once I have the paint on, I can layer over with lipstick, lip gloss, glitter, etc., but I never have to worry about my lips coming totally off!  Even if I lose the top layers, there is still that base color there.  Just find a shade that works with look(s) you’re going to wear and then play around with layering.  My signature glittery lip is a coat of MAC’s Pro Longwear in either a red or a bright pink, a layer of lipstick, and then a layer of glitter mixed with MAC’s liquid mixing medium and painted on THICK!

I also love a good strong line around my lips.  I usually line my lips in a deep brown (sometimes black, though that can get a little severe, depending on your lip color).  However you choose to do your lips, lip liner is a good idea as it will help keep everything where it’s supposed to be and not bleeding all over your face like Courtney Love on a bender circa “Live Through This.”  If you don’t like the harsh contrast of a dark line, you can always use a liner that matches your lip color – a shade or two darker than your lipstick will help create definition without the over-the-top contrast of black or brown.

01 Urban Decay4. Eyes – In addition to using a face primer, I’ve also started using an eye primer, and I can’t believe I went this long without one!  It really does help your makeup stay in place when you are performing, dancing, sweating, and having a good time.  I love the Urban Decay Primer Potions.  There are 4 to choose from: Original, which is a sheer primer; Eden, a nude beige matte finish; Sin, a slightly shimmery champagne color; and Green, a shimmery gold finish.  I have all 4 and use them for different looks, but if you are only going to get one, I would recommend either the Original or Eden.  For women of color, I would suggest Original as the beige color of Eden might not work for all of your looks, though it might give you a nice light base for brighter colors.  Again, experiment and find out what you like.  Sephora is wonderful about giving out samples, so try a little of all of them and see what works for your needs.

After the primer, if I’m doing a really bright look I like to put down a layer of NYX Eyeshadow base in white or white pearl.  I don’t notice a huge difference between the two, but a lot of my shadows already have a shimmer so maybe I’m just not catching it?  I have a small, firm brush (sort of like a foundation brush but smaller, maybe a concealer brush?) that I got in a Sonja Kashuk special edition set for breast cancer research, and it spreads it on my eyelids perfectly!  The white really helps your shadows pop, and combined with the primer it gives you a great base on which to build colorful looks.

As far as eyeshadows go, I prefer pressed powder to loose, and loose powder to cream.  I will sometimes use a cream shadow or liner as a color base, but I like to have some sort of powder product to layer over it.  Loose powders are good, but I find them messier and I also end up losing more to fallout (and spillage!  I’m clumsy…) than I do with pressed, so it’s more wasteful.

Here is a list of some of the MUST HAVE items in my kit:

1. Coty Airspun powder – Translucent Extra Coverage
2. Graftobian Cream Foundations
3. MAC lip liner in Chestnut (my “go to” shade for lip lining and for drawing my brows)
4. Elmers Gluestick (for covering my real eyebrows!)
5. MAC Pro Longwear Lip Colour in various shades
6. Sugar Pill pressed shadow in Tako (a gorgeous matte white)
7. Urban Decay’s NAKED palette (so many possible variations on a nude eye…delicious!)
8. MAC Mixing Medium (for glitter effects, and so much more!)

Here are some of the JUST FOR FUN items I’ve been playing around with in my kit recently – be sure to have fun and buy things every now and then just because you like the trend or it makes you smile.  Makeup should be FUN!

1. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil in Freak (an amazing shimmery neon green!)
01 UD Freak
2. Sugar Pill Cosmetics Chroma Lust Loose Powder shadow in Lumi.
01 Lumi
3. Sephora + Pantone Universe Color Code Prismatic Shadow Block in Emerald (the color of the year!)
01 Emerald Shadow Block
4. Sephora + Pantone Universe Glitter Strobe Eyeliner Set in Emerald (what can I say – I LOVE green! These eyeliners are all versions of the same emerald base; my favorite is the one that has a light pinkish glittery sheen – to DIE!  I also picked up a pair of the lashes and the nail polish trio.  Long live 2013!)
01 Emerald Glitter Liners
5. Makeup Forever False Lashes in Erin (They are pink with feathers and they are gorge!)
01 Makeup Forever Erin Lashes
6. Lime Crime Velvetines Lip Color in Red Velvet (I finally got hold of some LC lip products…I am definitely enjoying them, but my earlier review of the company still stands. Very frustrating!)
01 Lime Crime Red Velvet
7. Lime Crime Opaque Lipstick in No She Didn’t (I’ve owned quite a few blue lipsticks/lip glosses over the years, but this is probably my favorite!)
01 No She Didnt
8. Lit Glitter in Champagne Wishes (How could I resist the name?)
01 Champagne Wishes

Once you’ve got your basic drag kit together and you’ve started to figure out your face and the best way to paint it, be sure to have fun!  Make daring choices – it’s JUST makeup!  It washes off!  How better to go out there and recreate yourself every time you step on the stage…or the street!

Now Go Forth And Get Painted!


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Readers Comments (4)
  1. janessajaye says:

    I think my next Makeup Forum post is going to be about the strange obsession I have with green makeup…I just can’t get enough! 😉

  2. […] found for crafting my face (you can read more about my foundations and my other makeup essentials HERE).  I also started buying a lot of MAC products because, at the time, they were still creating […]

  3. […] Makeup Bag: Thanks for the Glam-ories: Miss Jaye’s Top 16 of ’16 Making Up Edna Making Faces: Miss Jaye’s Drag Makeup Essentials So, Why Makeup? And Why Now? (The 1st Makeup Forum […]

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