A Queen's Guide to Pageant Makeup
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- A Queen's Guide to Pageant Makeup
A Queen's Guide to Pageant Makeup
Your pageant makeup can either complete a look or make a mess out of your flawless look. How do you make sure your pageant makeup is as perfect as the rest of your outfit? How do you select the right foundation or false eyelashes for you? Pageant Planet has compiled the most comprehensive guide to pageant makeup to make sure you are ready for pageant weekend.
Use the menu below to get the answers to all your pageant makeup-related questions!
Check out our five favorite pageant makeup tips :
It may be the last step in preparing for the stage, but pageant makeup is just as key as picking out your dress. Unlike everyday makeup, stage makeup has more layers to offset stage lighting and flash photography. Pageant makeup is also usually more intense and may be put on by a . Depending on what type of pageant you are entering and your age division, the amount you wear will differ. What will also differ is what type of makeup you can wear and where it can be used. Continue reading to find out all you need to know about what pageant makeup is!
Photo and Makeup by Allie Hoffman
Natural and Scholarship pageantry makeup is applied to enhance one’s natural features. “Pageant makeup is basically a perfected beauty look” says Mykel Bacca, an industry expert. “You work with someone’s natural features, contour and highlight, basically making someone’s natural features pop more.”
There are many different ways to ‘pop’ someone’s features. Although pageant makeup is placed over the entire face, there are key places that pageant makeup is the most important. The epitome of pageant makeup are eyebrows, clearly outlined lips, a clean base and full lashes.
Once your eyebrows are shaped , an eyebrow powder, pencil or pomade can be applied to add additional depth to your brows. Having clearly defined brows will open up your eye area leaving plenty of space for contouring eye shadows and lashes. Anastasia of Beverly Hills has an amazing pomade perfect for pageant brows. Its mess-free and smooth formula stays in place all day. With 12 shades, there is a shade for everyone. Head over to to find your perfect brow shade, and don’t forget a brush to apply it with!
Anastasia of Beverly Hills. Photo: Ulta
Lip liners come in all shades and types. From old school wooden pencils to twist up wax crayons, finding a liner that will go on smoothly and stay in place is important. When lining your lips, go slightly above your natural lip line and line from corner to corner. Be sure to find a liner that complements your lip gloss, stain or stick. Correctly lined lips will attract a viewer or judge to your smile and beautiful teeth. Nars carries a wide variety of lip liners that are long lasting and streak-free. Find your favorite color at . Be sure to add a lipstick and gloss to your cart for a complete lip look!
NARS lip liner. Photo: NARS Cosmetics
Skin comes in all shades and textures. From oily to dry, smooth to rough, there is a foundation that will match and work for all pageant beauties. When searching for that perfect base to your face you first need to assess what texture your skin is and how you prefer to apply your makeup. My secret to color and texture matching is to ! Your local Ulta store is full of knowledgeable and experienced clerks that are there to help find the shade and brand that will be the best for your face. Since we are talking about stage makeup, a full coverage foundation will be preferred. Estee Lauder’s Double Wear foundation is well worth the cost and stays in place. With more shades than I can count, you are sure to find one that matches you! Make sure to ask about purchasing this product while at Ulta!
Estee Lauder Foundation. Photo: Estee Lauder
The last key item for pageant makeup is also an industry favorite: eyelashes. With thousands of different types to choose from, it is hard to know which is the best. My personal recommendation is to find a set that has a full band. A full band is easier and quicker to apply and can be reused for a few days. Ardell Wispies come in a set of five, so you always have an extra pair. The length adds just enough to open up the eyelid and their volume doesn’t take center stage either! You can grab a set at your local Target for less than ten dollars! Duo lash glue in white is a great partner to these lush lashes.
Ardell Lashes. Photo: Target Duo Eye Lash Glue. Photo: Target
If you decide to apply your own pageant makeup don’t fret.
“There is no wrong way to do something,” pageant makeup expert, Mykel Bacca suggests. “It is just learning what works for you! No one’s face is the same…accentuate what works for your face! Don’t be afraid to ask questions, go to the makeup counter at the mall!”
Bacca is right on point. By learning what works best for your face and how to best accentuate it, your pageant makeup can look amazing! Practice around with different products and ask others what they use. Never be afraid to ask a professional for tips!
Ah, glitz pageantry. The home of doll babies and big hair. Simply put, glitz makeup is stage makeup on steroids. Glitz makeup is loud, harsh and is meant to create the portrayal of a perfect porcelain doll in real life. It is where little girls can be made up for a short minute of time and play pretend.
“I love it, it’s not for everybody,” says industry hair and makeup artist Mykel Bacca. “I grew up in pageantry. When people find out, they are always like ‘wait what? You’re ok with all that makeup? But every little girl plays in their momma’s makeup, we encourage them not to limit their imagination and do fun things. It’s the same thing but on stage. They don’t wear it to school. They take it off and they are the same girl. It’s an artform. Who wouldn’t want to be a perfect little doll yano?”
Hair and Makeup Artist Mykel Bacca. Photo: Mykel Bacca
Glitz makeup is applied on the same areas as regular makeup but the layering and amount of product you use is the biggest difference. Another big difference is the color choices for lips and eyes. When it comes to the younger contestants, blush, pink and gold eyeshadow with black eyeliner, false lashes and pink lips is standard. Over age 7 is where the makeup starts to be bolder with crazier color choices and blending. Older divisions, teen and up, will be the most similar to a miss pageant with their makeup but still more layering and bolder color choices.
Makeup by Allie Hoffman. Photo: LBF
It’s all in the eyes for glitz makeup. Contestants as young as age two or three will utilize false lashes. In addition to false lashes, eyeshadow color combinations can be unique. Color choices are based on what color the child is wearing, their eye color and the shape of their eyes.
“I’m most known for my eyes.” Award winning makeup artist Mykel Bacca says, “My secret is you have to work with an individual person’s eyes. It’s the symmetry of their eyes, its shape, it’s color, its colors they are wearing. That all defines how I’ll contour the eyes.”
My favorite eye shadow combinations are ones that leave you wanting to try it on yourself! For a unique eye shadow look, check out on YouTube. She has a plethora of additional videos for pageant makeup and hair and much more.
Lips are not left behind in the glitz world as well. Although you may not spend as much time applying your lips or use as many color choices, it is just as important! A soft rose pink with a high shine and gloss is always a favorite for me. For older contestants you may want to use a darker pink with less shine and more gloss.
Glitz pageantry is not an easy world to figure out or to win. My suggestion for glitz makeup is to book a hair and makeup artist when available. When researching who to book, ask each for their pricing, information on what you will need to bring , and pictures of their past clients. Asking friends who they recommend is also a great idea. For the smaller pageants or one where there is not a professional, practice at home first with different colors to see what works the best! Tara Piercy has a great video for local or prelim glitz pageants that you can watch below
Want more glitz pageant tips? Check out this podcast:
Pageant makeup should be nothing short of gorgeous, fabulous, bold and beautiful! Of course, it has to be if everyone in the audience is going to see you under the spotlight. Being under bright spotlights allow for much heavier and bolder pageant makeup than in your everyday look. For the interview category of your pageant, your pageant makeup should have a lighter touch since you will be a lot closer to the judges.
Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez Booko. Photo: Nia Sanchez Booko
Pageant makeup varies the from interview portion of your pageant to the stage portion. Your makeup should embody a classic accentuation of your natural beauty. Pageant makeup for interview should be almost as light and natural as your everyday makeup. Try not to overdo your interview pageant makeup, especially if your conversation is up close. Heavy makeup can appear highly unflattering under standard room lighting without stage spotlights. Your foundation should be full-coverage making your skin even and free of any imperfections or discolorations. Here are some basics on applying an effortlessly natural look for your pageant interview.
Always start with a clean slate. Make sure your face is fresh, clean and moisturized before putting any product on. Know your skin. Using the right products for your skin type. Apply your favorite primer to make your makeup lasts all day long. You also want to at this step.
Using your hand or a brush, apply some concealer under and on top of the eye, on the chin, the T-zone and around the nose. Get an area that needs to be evened out. Take your time on this step and don’t go overboard.
Depending on your coverage needs apply your foundation to the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. Blend very well with a damp makeup sponge or brush. The damp application helps with keeping everything even.
If you didn’t know by now your brows are a deal maker! The make up your entire face. You must have two and they need to be identical and make you feel amazing. Use a brow pencil, powder or eyeshadow to fill in your brows.
Expert tip from Glamour Magazine: Use multiple small strokes rather than thick lines to create a full, natural brow, using your natural eyebrow shape as a guide.
Blend baby blend. Light natural contour with bronzer but don’t overdo it. According to makeup.com, apply highlighter along the top of your cheekbones, on the Cupid’s bow, chin and in between the brows. Then, swipe a contour powder along the sides of your nose, along the forehead and hollows of your cheekbones.
Apply any shadow of your choice that complements your skin to the lids and slightly below the lash line. Use a blending brush with the darker shadow into the crease of the lid and blend outward. Repeat lightly until desired shades are accomplished. Remember to keep it light for your interview makeup.
Lips have to be primed too. Lightly buff and scuff your lips with a little olive oil and sugar. Or use a damp washcloth following with a light lip balm. Don’t wipe it off immediately; allow the oil or the balm to set in the moisture. The “lip prep step” should be done with the clean face step.
Wipe off any excess if your lips feel too slippery. If you’re applying gloss, start from the center of your mouth and apply out over your lips, patting the color in a top with your finger to make it last longer. Keep the lips light, pink or nude.
Expert tip: If wearing a matte lip, add primer to the lips before applying Matte lipstick. It will make your lipstick last forever!
Your lashes should be natural looking. Seek a professional natural lash extension artist or apply .
With Pageant Planet’s Taylor Sparkles Mascara you can take lashes from full to flirty with this creamy waterproof mascara that increases lashes by up to 60%! This mascara is formulated with Vitamins A, E and C in addition to key nutrients such as Panthenol, Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Ginko and Ginseng extracts! All of these special conditioners moisturize, strengthen and nourish lashes to create a luscious look!
Watch former Miss World America 2015 Victoria Mendoza apply her interview pageant makeup step-by-step.
You’ve aced your interview with your natural day look. Now it’s time to get evening gown gorgeous. The Evening Gown portion of your pageant will be starting soon. This is the part of the competition where you can continue shine. What kind of pageant makeup are you looking to achieve? Good question. Your pageant makeup depends on your pageant and evening gown. Most of all how confident you feel.
Miss America 2018 Cara Mund. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Dick Clark Productions
The best thing about doing your pageant makeup for the evening gown category is you can pick colors based on your eye color or the color you are wearing! Fun right? You can choose bright and bold colors of rich red lips or the more natural girl-next-door look. Your makeup for this category must be seamless throughout your pageant. You don’t want such a drastic change from interview to evening gown that the judges don’t recognize you.
Remember you will be on stage so get ready to go in and go heavy. Those spotlights have to shine somewhere! Here are some ways to achieve a bold evening gown look and a natural stage look as well. Get going on adding a few more layers of foundation and never forget to set your makeup!
For your evening gown transition, you will take your interview makeup to the next level. Faviana.com has the perfect way to achieve a bold lip and majestic eye. Adding these to staples to your makeup will vamp your look for the stage.
You’ve decided to go bold or natural so pick your favorite colors. Make sure it matches your complexion and overall look.
“Start by putting the lip liner on your lips using short strokes and then filling in your lips,” Glam & Gowns by Faviana says. “This will help the lipstick pop and stick to your lips, preparing them for the lip color. You want to make your top lip look a bit bigger than your bottom, but don’t exaggerate this too much so it looks both bold and natural. Then, follow your lip liner and apply lipstick in a fluid motion on your top and bottom lip. Finally, dab some lip gloss in the middle of your top lip and bottom lip for a contour.”
For a bold pop of glitter try Pageant, Planets Taylor Sparkles Glitter Lipstick in Glitter or Blaze . These beautiful glitter lipsticks are packed with antioxidant vitamins and contain natural vanillin extract! !
Add small dust of highlight to top points on the lips to give a little extra sparkle. Next, you’ll want to add a bold eye to compliment the lip.
To get a smoky eye you will need to apply your highlighter. Your highlighter is the lightest of your three-eyeshadow shades. Then, put on your medium shade. Begin adding your darkest color blending your shadows. Add your eyeliner. Then, add your mascara. Brush away any excess color.
Deidra Murphy, Pageant Planet’s Duchess of Media Content, created a video tutorial of how to apply pageant makeup for evening gown. Check it out below.
For girls who are new to the world of pageantry, there are usually a couple of misconceptions about wearing makeup, so we want to help you out and let you in on all the industry secrets that you’re going to need to do well in your next pageant.
It makes sense that a newcomer would have some preconceived ideas about pageant makeup if you’ve never done a pageant before. But, if you are new to pageants, you have to know that pageant makeup is extremely different than your everyday makeup, and if you don’t learn to master this part of your look, you will end up coming off as an amateur, and we don’t want that to happen.
Miss Grand International 2018 Contestants rockin their swimsuit competition look. Photo: Miss Grand International
Pageant makeup versus everyday makeup
First of all, you likely think that all you need to do for your next pageant with regard to makeup is maybe swing by your local drug store and pick up a new lip stick, and maybe some blush because you’re running out anyway, and then just put your makeup on like you do every day.
Or, you may believe that all you have to do is wear a whole lot more of the makeup that you already have because you’ve seen pageants on TV and it’s obvious that those girls are wearing huge false eyelashes, and a whole lot of lip gloss! Or, maybe you know that you don’t know what to do so you’re just going to get a makeup artist to do it for you, and you think that then you’re going to look perfect.
All phases of a pageant competition require a unique makeup look or a different style of doing one’s makeup and those phases include everything from registration to rehearsal to interview to onstage competition. What that means is that you do use all the same types of products on your face such as foundation, concealer, blush, and eye makeup and so on. But, you use different formulas, shades, colors and coverage amounts depending on what phase of competition that you are in.
Miss Globe Ukraine at 2018, Kseniya Horbenko in perfect pretty pageant interview makeup. Photo Fans of Ukrainian beauty
Most contestants can figure out how to accomplish a suitable makeup look for times like registration and rehearsal, and maybe even interview, because those areas of the pageant are closest to their every day look or at least to a way of doing makeup that most women are familiar with. But, the most challenging area to master when it comes to a professional pageant makeup look is the onstage portion of competition. There are a number of reasons for this, most of them being related to the fact that not all contestants have actually performed on a stage before, so they simply do not have the necessary experience.
Overall, there are two important factors to understand about stage makeup. The first is that there will be incredibly bright lights shining on your face and body, so you must wear the right products to make up for that. And, secondly that your everyday makeup will essentially be invisible as a result, so you must wear enough of the right products.
Makeup for the swimsuit competition
Since the swimsuit or fitness competition is such a unique portion of the entire pageant competition, we thought that we would give you some pointers to help you take your makeup look to the next level.
Swimsuit is characterized by a sense of fun, joy, warmth, playfulness and coming across as being upbeat and sociable. Of course you are being judged on your physique and your actual level of fitness, health and overall symmetry, but your emotional state and what you “give off” onstage is also being assessed. Generally speaking, your makeup and overall look should be bright, clean, vibrant, fresh and pretty! You don’t want thick, exaggerated eyeliner, super dark lip colors or flat, matte formulas that look heavy or harsh.
Swimsuit is not the place to be intense and dramatic with your makeup, like you perhaps might be if you were wearing an evening gown. It’s so important that you get this phase of the competition right, because you’re setting the tone for the rest of your performance onstage as well as your final score.
Miss Grand International Philippines 2018 Eva Patalinjug masters the makeup look for swimsuit. Photo: Philippines Sunstar
The swimsuit competition is often the first area of onstage competition after the opening number or contestant introduction. And, this is the very first place where contestants make a major mistake with their pageant makeup. We know that you’ve been working out, eating healthy and doing everything that you can to prepare your body for the swimsuit or fitness area of competition, and that includes getting some kind of a tan, either a spray tan or a tanning bed tan, right?
The most common mistake is using the same foundation that you always use or buying one that is new, but still within the same skin tone. A lot of girls think that they can get away with using the same foundation and just adding bronzer to make their face look like it’s a bit tan, but under those incredibly bright lights, you just look pale and your face looks dirty.
It is just shocking to see what happens to skin under stage lighting, so you absolutely must get a brand new foundation that matches your tanned face color exactly. A great tip is to combine several colors together to achieve the perfect shade because we often do not match precisely what the makeup manufacture created in that tube, and that’s totally okay.
Our normal skin has a variety of tones within it, so it would follow that customizing your makeup to match your unique skin tone would make sense. Make sure to take your time and plan your makeup far in advance of your pageant. You should be practicing getting a tan and working with your makeup ahead of time so that you know exactly what is going to work for you.
The next points that you need to pay attention to are your concealer color and your contouring and highlighting techniques. Because your face is now darker, you may need to go up a level darker with your concealer, so make sure to experiment with that and don’t just assume that your regular concealer will still work. There is no better place to use contouring and highlighting than on the pageant stage. When that stage light hits your face, it completely flattens out the planes of your face and you lose a lot of your face shape and definition.
Contouring your face will help to bring back your cheekbones, reshape your nose and bring dimension to all of your features. If you are new to contouring or you need a refresher, you can find numerous tutorials on youtube and the internet to teach you what you need to know.
Contour and Highlighting Chart. Photo Pampadour
Before adding the highlighter, you need to put a long wearing blush on the apples of your cheeks. You’ll need to go a bit darker or else it won’t show at all. Use a shade of blush that compliments your skin tone and that is in the same color family as the lip color you want to use. The blush should be in a matte formula without a lot of shine to it.
Using a highlighter then brightens and enhances your now elegantly contoured and chiseled features and creates a beautiful glow that can be seen by the audience. When you are putting highlighter on your face, a little goes a long way, and you don’t want to put it all over. The best places to hit are the tops of your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose and your forehead.
For an extra bit of glam, you can put highlighter or even a very light colored shimmery eye shadow, in the inside corners of your eyes and on the cupid’s bow area just above your upper lip. After you’ve mastered your foundation color, and contouring and highlighting techniques, it’s time to determine what shades and types of eyeshadow and lipstick formulas you need to help your eyes pop and make your smile radiant.
Since we’re going for a fresh, vibrant makeup look, we want to use colors that accent the color and shape of our eyes and make our teeth look white and our lips look full and lush. One classic makeup look that works for every girl is to emphasize the eyes and play down the mouth. You do this by putting darker colors on the eyes and lighter colors on the lip.
Miss Virginia USA 2018, Ashley Vollrath modeling smoky eyes. Photo: Miss Virginia USA
The smoky eye is a fantastic makeup technique that works well for onstage competition and the great thing about it is that you can start out with a more conservative look and then build on it as the competition continues. You always have to think ahead and remember that anything you do to your face or hair has to be able to be either undone or built on quickly. You don’t have a lot of time in a pageant, so you want to be lighter handed with your makeup in the beginning and then you can add to it as you go.
If you’re not sure how to create a smoky eye, then find a good tutorial and become an expert at it. It’s not all that complicated, and it just requires a lot of delicate smudging and careful blending of colors to achieve. And, you can use any colors that complement your eye color such as browns, grays, purples, taupes and so on. A good tip to finish off a smoky eye is to put a light shimmery color like beige, ivory or champagne underneath your eyebrow, especially at the arch. This tends to bring the eye up a bit and makes you look more alert and perky.
Miss Tennessee USA 2018, Alexandra Harper modeling a great makeup look for swimsuit. Photo: Miss USA
Finally, to complete your swimsuit makeup look, you need to find a bright saturated lip color to make it perfect. Colors like pink, mauve, berry, coral or a pinky-beige all look amazing with the smoky eye you’ve done. Just make sure the shade is dark enough that your lips are visible and defined on stage, but that the color is not as dark as your eyeshadow.
The good thing about this makeup look for swimsuit is that it is a look that you can build on, and you can change it slightly for evening gown or talent and it won’t take a lot of time. For instance, if you are know that you want a deep, red lip to go with your evening gown, that’s fine because for swimsuit, you’re going to wear a lighter, brighter lip color. You can easily change from the lighter color to the darker, more dramatic lip colors for other areas of competition in no time.
A lipstick formula that is thick and creamy and perhaps with a little shine if ideal. First line your lips with a lip liner that closely matches the lipstick that you’ve chosen. You can even fill in your entire lip with the liner, and then go over it with the lipstick. This will make your lip color last for hours and your lipstick will absolutely not fade, leaving you with a ring around your mouth from your liner. To finish, top it off with a long wearing gloss!
Miss Virginia USA 2016, Desi Williams with makeup by Sherri Jessee. Photo Nathan Mays
Now that you know how to create the perfect look for the swimsuit competition, you need the perfect makeup. Don’t worry, Pageant Planet has already got you covered. We sell an incredible eyeshadow compact in our shop, from the makeup line by legendary makeup artist, Sherri Jessee. This pageant makeup innovation called, “Elegant Organized Beauty™” is a unique system of beauty tools acclaimed by beauty editors worldwide to help you clean up the clutter and get gorgeous fast because your entire face is in one place.