Every single time I get in drag, people swarm me, asking how I did my makeup. That, or if I’ll come over to their house and do their makeup for them before they go out with their girlfriends (yeah, let me jump right on that). A knowledge of makeup is fundamental, but only comes from trying new things and studying up. I won’t give away all of my secrets, but here are some really important things that I wish I knew when I first started doing drag. Ladies, anything that I say here, turn the volume down on it or else you’re gonna walk around town looking like Carol Channing. Not cute, dahling. Not cute.
1.) Create a dramatic new eyebrow, with an insider secret: a purple Elmer’s glue stick! It coats well, and you can easily tell when it’s dry by the color! Take your existing brow and comb it down towards your eye. Take your glue stick and completely saturate in the direction you’ve just combed. Now, comb the brow in a diagonal direction that it naturally grows (towards the corner of your hairline). Apply another layer, then press it down with your finger to smooth out any bumps. While that dries, apply your facial foundation. When the glue has finished drying, take a baby wipe and clear off the inside corners so that there is no more glue (this will make the new brow that you later draw on more realistic). Heavily apply your powder over the flattened brow. Cover that with full coverage foundation, then another layer of powder. Bam! They’re gone! Once you’ve finished your foundation and set it with your powder combinations, draw on your new brow, going along the top of the old one and embellishing as far as you’d like! NOTE: This will take a few tries. It took me months to get it right. Some people opt to shave their brows off completely.
2.) If you’re wearing a wig, make sure you darken up your hairline. Doing so will blend the lines that would otherwise be very obviously contrived, and will brighten up any highlights you create on your forehead. A dark foundation paired with a non-shimmer bronzer should do the trick. Don’t forget the hairline temples, because light reflecting there will reveal any secret you may be eager to keep!
3.) Dramatic eye makeup takes many layers, and lots of practice. It’s pretty well determined that the best way to create it is after you’ve done your base/foundation, powder and drawn on your new brow. But applying heavy eye shadow means lots of flaking and excess shadow falling down, often landing on the already-highlighted fatty part of your cheek. When that happens, there’s no getting rid of it. Expert tip from the masters of drag: Take some talcum powder (yeah, baby powder) and liberally apply it in the areas that will catch the fallout. Not only will it get rid of unwelcome under-eye colors, but it will also help in highlighting your cheeks and lower eye sockets, which should be highlighted to begin with. Just brush the excess away with a powder brush!
4.) Cooking doesn’t only belong in the kitchen, girl! This is a method of applying your base/foundation that has been passed down from queen to queen. When applying your base/foundation, do it somewhat liberally and don’t blend it in right away. Create your contour and your highlight and LET IT SIT (or “cook”) for about 5-10 minutes. Your natural oils will mix with the pigment and make a smoother, more luscious blend when the time comes. Set it with matching powders and bronzers and blend all of that together, and you can create any face shape you want!
5.) Want that super sharp cut on your cheeks/next to your brow line (into the temple), but don’t have a steady enough hand to pull it off? Ever get passed a club flier or have a spare post card lying around? Perfect! First, smile big. Place one side of the more horizontal card right near the corner of your smile, and then relax the face. The other end should head towards the top of your ear. Pile that bronzer on. You can blend more towards the ear if that’s the look you want, or blend up towards the eye. But be careful not to lose your highlight that you’ve already created; you’re trying to contour that! If it does happen and you look too dark where you shouldn’t, simply counter-attack it with a mixture of your light powder and talcum powder. You can do this for your brow line as well, starting closest to your ear and working parallel with the cheek cut that you’ve just made. This time, don’t worry about the highlight, ‘cause you’re going to contour the hairline anyway.
6.) Your eyes can look severely huge if you want them to. Simply apply a layer of white eyeliner along the bottom lash line. It will look funny until you apply a line of black eyeliner underneath, followed by a VERY light layer of black or dark color shadow along that black line. Then, apply any fake lashes you want to wear along the lower eye shadow line. It’ll feel weird at first, but you’ll get used to it quickly. Make sure the black liner under your eye works into the contour cut that you’ve just created under your new brows. DO NOT LET THEM TOUCH, though. That’d look stupid, girl.
7.) Want to apply fake lashes, but can’t get it down? They’re a pain in the ass, so don’t feel like an idiot. I find that lash glue never works, and always dries kind of white-tinted, which I have to go back and attempt to cover with more liner. No thanks. The alternative: Hair extension glue. It goes on blackish-grey, and is rubber-based so it peels right off, but only when you’re ready. Also, the shape of fake lashes doesn’t always fit everyone’s eye frame. Solution: Cut them into thirds. Start by applying the inner corner and work your way out. Want more volume/support? Use thickening mascara on your natural lash after the glue has dried.
8.) Achieve a more feminine nose shape by applying two lines on the shaft of your nose, slightly inside where it naturally runs. Blend it towards your cheek, but not too far! If you make it too sharp and too clear, it’s gonna look like someone smeared dirt on your face. Complete that by making a half-kiss face and doing the same technique where your lip cleft rests. The middle of all of that should be your lightest powder, to really make it stand out.
9.) Lacking in the cleavage department? Here’s a fabulous trick for men and women alike. Take your lightest foundation and lightly draw the shape of a martini glass between your two fun bags (or where they would be). Right along that should be the base of the actual meat of your breast. Take your darkest bronzer and draw the shape of your breasts, stopping towards the top so that they don’t look like they were traced with two plates. Blend inward, and then apply a really light shimmery powder or pigment along that line on the inside. You won’t believe me until you’ve done it, but people will ask you how much your boobs cost, and it’ll all be smoke and mirrors.
10.) Have. Fucking. Fun. If you want to go for a really simple look with really blended contours and no cuts, and want to stick to a simple pink lipstick, more power to you. If you want to paint your entire face to look like a pro wrestler with anemia, have at it, baby boo. I just encourage you to have fun with makeup, because “you’re born naked, and the rest is drag”. Make it your own, and don’t be afraid to freak people out with your transformation, be it with a sexy seductress look or a spooky, blue-lipped goblin diva. And play with it. My techniques work for me, but might not fit your face shape. Check out YouTube; they have tutorials on absolutely everything you could want to know about painting your face. Enjoy!
SOON TO COME: A fierce-as-fuck video of me transforming from my boy counterpart into the ridiculous diva that is Cherry Lemonade. Stay tuned.