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Make-up Application

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This was sent in response to an email I received on 9/22/96. I don't claim to be an expert, but this is what I know about make-up application. Hope it helps!

>Hi from California.
> My girlfriend and I want to dress as clowns for Halloween and we are looking for some ideas on make-up. Could you possibly send us some pictures or a brochure containing pictures?
>Judie and Sharon

Hi! First let me apologize for taking so long to get back to you. You have a couple of choices with regard to dressing as a clown. I guess my first question would be this: is this a one time thing you're looking to do, or did you intend to become clowns (full or part time)?

If it's a one shot deal, just go to your local Wal-Mart or local costume shop and buy a "kit". The down side to this is that you will look like you went to Wal-Mart and bought a kit. On the other hand, using stage make-up will make a BIG difference IF you take the time to learn how to apply it properly. The kit make-up is water based and will wash off. Unfortunately, you will probably look streaked, though I have heard of people using water based make-up well.

I will be referencing my own face (you can see it at http://www.clownsupplies.com/Cheesecake ) as I continue here. I have always used grease based make-up and apply it according to the "dry" method. I will describe the difference between wet and dry at the end of this message. Start with a clean dry face. Men should be freshly shaven. (Figure 1)

The first thing I do is apply the white around my eyes and muzzle. This is applied with the finger to get the rough shape. And you only need a little bit. Too much will look heavy and may even slide off your face over time. After the general shape is applied, the fingertips are used to pat the make-up. This helps the make-up to get into the pores and smoothes out any streaks and fingerprints you may have out in it with your fingers. Then a q-tip is used (I swirl it in my mouth to get a fine tip and get it a little wet) to make the shape sharp. Also, at this point any designs (like my red mouth) are cut-out of the white, leaving skin showing. (Figure 2)

Then I powder the white make-up. Powdering is ESSENTIAL when using grease based make-up. Not unlike powdering the cosmetic make-up women wear, powdering "sets" the make-up and makes it VERY difficult to remove. What I mean is this. After powdering, you can take your finger and rub REAL hard and your make-up will still look very good. I use Johnson's Baby Powder (NOT the cornstarch!!!!!!! Powder with cornstarch will tend to "yellow" your make-up and run. It's not pretty.) dumped into an old tube sock and tied up. To powder, you shake the sock and get a coating of powder all over the areas that you have make-up. Then you actually apply the sock to your face to fully powder. Let it sit for 30-60 seconds and brush off the excess with a powder brush.

Next, I apply the flesh based make-up to the rest of my face (except the area between my eyes and muzzle, red will go here at the end. Again, after applying it, pat it with the finger tips. I then powder again. (Figure 3)

Next, I apply the black lines around my eyes, muzzle, the lines on my eyes, the dots on my cheeks and chin. Also, I apply my red mouth. I use a brush to apply my mouth and a pencil (many people use a woman's lining pencil, but they don't work for me.) I use a theatrical pencil called a "Pro Pencil". Using a fine brush to apply the lines also works. Again I powder.

Last I apply the red to the area between my eyes and muzzle and blend it down into the areas around my muzzle. Then I powder my whole face again. (Figure 4)

With the "dry" method of application, you powder between colors. With the "wet", you powder only at the end. It is easier to do repairs when you do wet, but you have to be more careful not to smear and mix colors. Brushes should probably be used when applying make-up "wet". It's a personal choice. I know just as many people who do it one way as does it the other.

After all the make-up is applied, I wet a face cloth with cold water and pat it gently all over my face to remove any excess powder. Some people I know use a spritzer-type bottle (like you use to mist your flowers) and squirt their face.

The last thing I do is apply mascara to remove any powder and white make-up that got on my eyelashes.

OK, this sounds like a lot of work, and it takes me about 35 minutes to go through the process. It used to take me 1 hour and 20 minutes when I first started. If you apply grease-based make-up this way, you will get the best look! (Figure 5)

OK, where do you get make-up? Like I said, a costume shop or theatrical supply house is probably the easiest. Don't know where you live, but I would bet that there is one handy. If you're in college, ask someone in the dramatic arts area. There are a WHOLE bunch of vendors listed at my web site. The address of the vendors page is: http://www.clownsupplies.com/Cheesecake/t-vendor.htm.

I described the make-up application for my type of clown. I am an Auguste clown. A whiteface clown (Bozo, or Ronald McDonald) has white make-up all over their face and you cut out the areas where you will apply designs around the eyes, mouth, etc. Remember to cut it out before you powder because you won't get it off afterwards without soaking a q-tip in baby-oil. And you run the risk of ruining some other completed area of your face.

A Tramp or Hobo will have the white around the mouth and around the eyes (not over the eyes like me, but up to the eyebrows.) The tramp may still have a base color to provide a sun-burnt/weathered kind of look. Also, there may be some red blended down from the cheeks just into the beard to give a ruddy look.

Avoid blue around the eyes, if you're not careful, what you do to your eyes can make you look VERY scary. Give a sunken, hollow look. Whiteface clowns tend to be more "pretty". Auguste tend to be more the "buffoon", and Tramps are, well, sad.

This is probably WAY more information that you wanted to know, but I hope you find it useful. Let me know what you decide and email me a picture if possible.

Take care and bump a nose!
Cheesecake the clown (a.k.a. Dana)

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