Drag queen makeup, like the man who wears it, is anything but subtle. While many women, and some men, wear makeup as a way to enhance and polish their images, men who dress as women use cosmetics as a transformation tool. It takes a lot of makeup and skill to turn an ordinary guy into a glamorous diva.
Makeup for Queens
Whether a drag queen performs onstage or not, makeup is a necessity for fully recreating a feminine experience. Most men who dress as women go all-out with their makeup application. Essential cosmetics in a drag queen's makeup bag include:
- Foundation: While many women steer clear of cake foundation because it's so heavy, many men find it necessary to hide five o' clock shadow and to perfectly even out their complexions.
- Eye shadow: Drag queens are often experts at all kinds of sultry eye looks, including cat eye and smoky eye makeup looks.
- Mascara: Many coats of mascara are needed to pull out a man's feminine wiles, though some guys will take a shortcut and opt for false lashes instead.
- Blush: While women often use blush to create a realistic flush, drag queens use it to contour and create enviably high cheekbones. Therefore, you won't see as much of an emphasis on blending.
- Lipstick: To finish off their womanly faces, these men rely on the ever-popular lipstick in a wide array of shades.
Applying Drag Queen Makeup
Think about some famous drag queens like RuPaul or Lypsinka. While different queens choose various focal points, the eyes and the lips tend to be the areas of greatest focus. No queen would be caught without mascara or fake lashes. Plus, many of these men have perfected the art of the arched eyebrow, which helps begin the transformation from man into glam. Once you're clean shaven, you're ready to apply drag queen makeup.
- Use a cosmetic sponge or flat brush to apply foundation all over the face, taking care to cover any beard shadow. Heavy liquid formulas or cake foundation may be necessary to get a sufficient degree of coverage. Queens often go for a matte look.
- Follow your base with a dusting of loose powder in a matching shade.
- Create a drag queen eye makeup look with plenty of deeply-pigmented shadows. A contour brush helps apply dark eye shadow in the crease of the lid and bring it just past the outer corners, while a flat brush is good for applying highlighter, a staple under perfectly-arched brows. Liquid liner, mascara or fake lashes will finish off these heavily made-up eyes perfectly. The color choice is yours and you may find you select different colors depending on the persona you choose. A Diana Ross impersonator, for instance, would wear different colors than a Cher copycat.
- Don't shy away from blush. A lighter color can go on the apples of the cheeks, but use a slightly darker hue for the hollows; this creates a high-cheekboned look that even women will envy. If you do contour, make sure to blend your blush shades together.
- Line lips with a lipliner that closely matches your lipstick. Apply several coats of lipstick -- gloss is optional, but highly prized when onstage. Since you're already ready for the limelight, try lip colors that contain hints of sparkle or gems designed to be worn on the face.
Completing the Look
If you're new to makeup, it takes practice to find a look you like and are comfortable with -- this is true for men and women. While some drag queens can fool all but the sharpest eye, others are content being recognized as men dressing as women. Makeup is just a part of the fantasy, as wigs and clothing also contribute to the transformation. Once your face is done, hair is applied, and you're all dressed up, enjoy your time onstage or off -- you're a drag queen now!