The Basic Stage Eye

With so many performances of “The Nutcracker” just around the corner, I thought it would be useful for me to show all of you a basic stage eye. I learned this from Michael Avedon, a former makeup artist with the New York City Ballet. This is my blueprint for doing my makeup, no matter what character I am dancing. I will just change the colors around. Today, I will teach you one with neutrals that can work on any skin-tone, under any lighting, and for any role. I will get into more colors and details in future posts!


~ 4 eyeshadows- a white or very light beige, a peach or neutral taupe, a medium brown, and a dark brown. Here’s what I used:

~ Black Liner

~ Brown Liner

~ Mascara

~ False Lashes and Eyelash Glue (Not required but HIGHLY recommended)


(Click on pictures to enlarge if needed.)

   1. Apply the peach or neutral taupe to the lid.

2. Brush the white or very light beige under the brow and just in the inner corner of the eye. Then take the medium brown and place it in the outer corner to give a little depth to the eye.


3. With your black liner, draw a thick line along the lashes that extends slightly upward at the end. The extension is important- a flat line or one that droops can make your eyes appear sad onstage.


4. Take your brown liner and draw a line following the crease of the eye, and connect it to the end of the black one. It does not have to be perfect- you are going to blend it out in a minute.


5. Now, taking the dark brown shadow, go over the brown line you just made, blending it out. This is to ensure the line isn’t harsh.


6. Using the brown liner again, line the lower lashline, finishing right up under the black line. This creates one shape with your eyeliner- not 3 separate lines.

7. Take the dark brown shadow once again and soften the underline, again preventing it from looking harsh.

8. Curl your lashes and apply mascara.

9. You can stop there, but I highly recommend false lashes. They really make your eyes pop onstage, and they hide a multitude of sins makeup-wise. Any uneven lines around your eyes disappear! They take practice but are completely worth it.

You are done!


Here are some things to keep in mind when doing stage makeup:

– DON’T PANIC UNTIL YOU ARE DONE! It’s ok if it looks a bit messy! Honestly- mine is a mess until I apply the false lashes. Keep in mind, you are on the stage. You are not up close and personal!

– Blending is your friend. Never leave your lines harsh. This can make your face and features look strange under stage lighting. This is something Michael taught me. Unless you are portraying a character that needs special distinctive makeup (Firebird, Mother Ginger, etc.), ALWAYS blend your lines.

– Practice! I did NOT get my makeup right the first time or the tenth time. I worked with Michael A LOT before I finally got the hang of it. So don’t be discouraged! You can only get better.

Let me know if this helps you all! Feel free to ask any questions, and I promise to post some more intricate looks soon!



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