Thursday, 7 March 2013

The problem with 'Dames' is...

From stockings to lashes, wigs to high brow lines, 'the uglies' as they were known were by far the most challenging and entertaining to style. 'Dame' what i feel is the British answer to the 'Lady Boys' of Bangkok. However 'Dames' are not to be mistaken for drag acts, they are not meant to look like women. They serve a comedic purpose and when is all said and done are quite simply, men in frocks and wigs and make-up are used to enhance this illusion. However nobody is more grateful to a make-up artist then a man.

When i was first told i would be doing hair and make-up for the production 'Cinderella' the thought that I would be creating elaborate looks for 'Dames' never even crossed my mind... Thank goodness for dress rehearsals. I quickly found there were a few contra-indications that i needed to address.

As a rule boys do not tend to moisturise. Some will do everything to get out of it. Although a notice was sent saying to moisturise the face at least 20 minutes before arriving I made it my duty as the men would arrive I'd rub some moisturiser into their face before flying down the hall to tend to the girls. This allowed time for the moisturiser to set into the skin, not only aiding a smooth surface to apply the make-up but also building a barrier to protect the skin minimising break outs and irritations for those with sensitive or skin conditions.

Dames make-up is thick and heavy and can often be difficult to remove. (Especially for the older actor with slightly loose skin.) I researched other Dames in current theatre and adapted eye make-up so the 'ugly sister' at night could transform effortlessly into the business manager once the show was done. Because the eye area has the thinnest most sensitive skin i never took the make-up on to the lid or directly below the eye. This avoided product build up and irritation to the eyes making the look comfortable (as possible) to work in.

The tantrums that was caused by applying false eyelash strips were phenomenal. As I applied eyelashes in the girls changing rooms, roughly taking 5 seconds per lash. I couldn't help but think about the divatastic men that awaited me down the hall. When using new lashes i would apply them as normal, (and that was bad enough) however night after night the long feathery lashes had to sometimes be reused and as they aged they got droopy and uncomfortable to wear so i had to adapted the technique in which i applied them. To prepare the lashes i would hairspray them lightly (to much would make them worse) to harden up the feathers. I would place them just above the lid of the eye for less irritation and comfort.

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