Frequently Asked Questions

What are the basic elements of stage makeup?

  • Foundations provide you with your base coat. We carry Ben Nye's classic creme formula, as well as their HD matte foundations and Starluxe Creme foundations. 
    Creme foundations are easy to mix and blend, go on smoothly and look natural under stage lighting. This original formula from Ben Nye is their most densely pigmented line.
    Matte foundations provide a versatile blend of high pigmentation and natural coloring in a fine, textured crème. Apply with a sponge and dampen for a lighter finish. Being part of Ben Nye's Media Pro line, these foundations are perfectly formulated to perform properly under the harsh conditions of HD cameras. They are initially medium coverage, but can easily be layered for a more dense application.
    Color cake foundations apply quickly and work well for body makeup applications. Easily applied with sponge and water. They also make a great base for building a lighter complexion on pale or white faced individuals. Shades can be sheered out or build up with more or less water, respectively. 
  • Highlight and shadow are applied after foundation to “rebuild” facial features which are washed out by lighting and distance. Highlight and shadow are also used to change the appearance of the facial structure and to create the desired illusion for a particular character. Utlizing these techniques becomes more essential the larger or brighter the stage gets. 
  • Concealer is applied beneath foundation with a flat or dome brush. Blend, then powder lightly before applying foundation. For intense discoloration, carefully apply additional layers of neutralizer. Intended to color correct and conceal unwanted skin conditions. 
  • Rouge is available in either creme or dry cake form. They may be used independently or creme rouge may be applied first and “set” with dry rouge. Apply creme rouge with a sponge. Apply dry rouge with a soft, full brush.
  • Cake eyeliner, applied with water or LiquiSet and a fine-tipped brush, is the easiest for most people to use. If heavy perspiration is likely to be a problem, liquid eyeliner may work better as it dries to a water resistant finish.
  • Mascara is used to color the ends of the lashes, making them look thicker and the eyes larger.
  • Lip liner is placed around the outer edge of lipstick to accentuate the lips’ shape and heighten their contrast with the general face makeup. A well chosen lip liner can help extend the wear-time of your lipstick and will help prevent feathering lips.
  • Lipstick is used to enhance or mask lips. 
  • Powder is used to set the makeup after completion. Brush a thin veil over the entire face with a powder puff and remove excess with a powder brush.

Call the Counter Staff at 206-622-7850 to place your makeup order.

How do I get the best value for my makeup dollar?

Theatrical make-up kits offer outstanding value, especially for students and schools. They cost about half what it would cost to buy all the contents individually and come with a great array of extras, such as brushes, spirit gum and make-up remover. Color selections for foundations and liners are based on popular choices for the designated skin tones.

Call the Counter Staff at 206-622-7850 to order your makeup kits.

How do I know which foundation is right for me?

Your foundation should be slightly darker than your skin tone in order to counteract the effects of stage lighting. The best way to test is to apply a patch of foundation to your inner forearm, just below the elbow, and allow up to 15 minutes for the shade to rest on your skin. Checking the shade after this time has passed will let you see which shade it will oxidize to once on your skin.

A warmer base shade may be selected to ensure your complexion does not look washed out, or pale on stage or in front of the camera.

How can I check makeup colors before buying?

We have tester boards in our showroom for most of the make-up we carry. We can also send you a Ben Nye catalog which contains color chips.

Just call the Counter Staff at 206-622-7580 or e-mail us at [email protected].

Visit MakeupMedley’s showroom at 2414 SW Andover Street in Seattle to test make-up colors.  

How can we create scars?

Scars are made with liquid latex or with nose and scar wax. For a more realistic look, you can add Ben Nye Fresh Scab or Thick Blood. Ben Nye also makes a Gel Wound Kit that is available at’s Online Store and Seattle showroom. It has everything you need, including detailed instructions. Or check out our tutorials sections, where you can find videos from reputable artists that work directly with out brands to ensure their materials are being used and demoed properly.

We’re doing “that Scottish play.” How do we make blood sacs that work?

Try using small balloons, condoms, heat-sealed sandwich bags or zipper-locking plastic bags to hold the blood. You can also use the latex covers we sell for microphone body packs. A ring rigged with milliner's wire can puncture the blood sac as the actor clutches the wound.

Do you have any tips for avoiding “makeup room” cold epidemics?

Yes! Buy kits and assign each actor his/her own kit. When actors do share makeup, they should always use clean, disposable applicators or be rationed out the amount of makeup to use per show. Sanitize your work space before getting started. Dispose of makeup that is expired. Disinfecting wipes and 99% isopropyl alcohol will be your best friend when maintaining the cleanliness of your own makeup, or that of the makeup kit that is being shared. Use disposable applicators when appropriate. If you do end up sharing makeup products with someone, make sure you're using a spatula and mixing palette to make sure you don't cross contaminate products.