Last week, we discussed what judges are looking for in their competitors and how paying attention to all the details from your magnetic stage presence to suit selection can make the difference between winning or losing your competition.This week, we will select one of those areas, physique stage makeup and discuss how you can impress the judges with your glammed up look and style.

First, you have to realize that stage makeup is different from your everyday look. It has to appear complementary under stage lighting and should accent your overall style not detract from it.

Nothing should distract the judges from what’s actually important, i.e. your physique.

Remember, and I can’t stress this enough, it’s always best to present yourself based on how the Judges want to see you and that’s no different when it comes to makeup or as the Judging criteria refer to it beauty flow.

(If you want a comprehensive overview on what the judges require in the area of Beauty Flow, you can read it HERE)

Remember what may look good off stage might look really flat and uninspiring on stage.

If your makeup is not applied correctly, you stand the chance of looking washed out under the stage lights. 

For this reason and more, you need to either master doing your own stage makeup or seek the help of a professional makeup artist who can guide you towards the perfect look and style for your skin type and facial structure.

Do You Want To Do Your Own Stage Makeup?

So, if you want to do your own stage makeup, this is what you should be looking out for.

First, if you are going to do your own makeup, you should complete a few dry runs before your show.

Pay attention to your lighting!

Lighting can significantly affect your onstage look and for that reason, you need to have an idea or some method to replicate what type of lighting you will be standing under on stage. 

Once you know what type of lighting you are dealing with, or have a method to replicate it, you will have an easier time game planning your makeup choices and application.

My go-to method for testing makeup application is to use good old natural lighting. I feel natural lighting will provide you with a great stage look perspective.

After you have applied your makeup stand in natural lighting with a hand mirror and place the mirror in different angles so you can see how your makeup looks and pops.

This method has served me well along with the hundreds of clients I have applied show day makeup for.

Another option used by many is testing your makeup under any bright light, such as a flashlight.

I have not had much success with this option, but you can give it a try and see if you have a better result.

After applying your makeup take a  flashlight from different angles, such as from the top of your head and then slowly rotating it till it reaches the front of your face.

Closely observe how your makeup application reflects under the different lighting positions.

The theory is if you have done a good job with your makeup application, you will come to see that the more light you have on your face, the more flattering your makeup will look.

These simple tips of using natural lighting or the flashlight method will give you an idea of how you might look in front of the judges and whether your makeup application is flattering, flat or muddy.

On most stages, the lights are placed above the head, which creates hard shadows.

While such lighting is excellent for your physique, it may not necessarily be good for highlighting your face.

If the stage is set up this way, you want to be careful overusing dark shadows for your eyes, if applied colors it may look even darker under a hard shadow.

Applied correctly dark eye shadows can look great but its all in the application.

You also have to choose your makeup according to your skin type.

For instance, oily skin can make your makeup look blotchy and runny, especially under the hot lights of the stage.

With stage makeup, you have to find a balance between dull, flat makeup and exaggerated makeup.

Stage makeup may look a little exaggerated off stage, but you have to make sure you do not cross the line where it starts to look over-the-top, you know circus clown look.:)

The bottom line is you need to look polished and well put together, essentially strike a balance where your stage makeup accents your look but does not dominate it.

Now if you do not want to do your makeup, or you feel you have not mastered the art of applying your makeup, then I strongly suggest you hire a pro.

Shawn Knows Physique Stage Makeup Application! And Rebekah Agrees!

NPC Bikini Athlete Rebekah Clementson All Glammed Up Courtesy of Shawns Couture Cuties.

Why You Need A Professional Makeup Artist?

No matter what type of show you are doing, you want to consider hiring a professional to do your makeup.

On your show day, you do not want to be stressing out about having to put yourself together. You should be relaxed and focused on performing your best.

Also, if you try to do your own makeup, and it is off that WILL affect your confidence level, and as you know confidence affects everything!

Most competitors delude themselves into thinking they do not need to invest in a professional because they are capable of doing their own makeup.

 Yes, you might be skilled in doing your everyday makeup, but that is a far cry from stage makeup.

A specific set of makeup skills is required for stage makeup that will contour your face in a manner that helps you look amazing on stage.

CLICK HERE: For a FREE Suit or Stage Presence Consultation

Another mistake competitors make is walking into high-end makeup stores and getting tips from the makeup lady behind the counter, but what you have to realize is that while they may be qualified for street makeup, they may not necessarily understand stage makeup.

 Lastly, you need a professional makeup artist for the day of the show just because you want one less thing to worry about.

Let’s face it physique competitions can be nerve-wracking.

As a competitor, you have to focus on many things, including timing meals, dealing with family, last minute prep on your physique and making sure your entire stage presence package is on point.

The last thing you want to concern yourself over is having to apply your makeup.

When you prepare yourself for your competition, you do not want the audience and the judges to be looking at a botched up makeup job that deflects the focus away from your physique.

So, let the professionals take care of that aspect of your show day preparation while you focus on rocking the competition.

Do’s and Don’ts of  Physique Stage Makeup

Do Hire a Makeup Artist Who Understands How To Apply Stage Makeup

When you are on the lookout for a professional makeup artist, you want them to be experienced in physique stage makeup.

I suggest asking for references and pictures of athletes they have worked with. I would suggest you ask for before and after pictures like this:

Heather Colon-Physique Stage Makeup Apllied By Shawn's Couture Cuties

NPC Bikini Athlete Heather Collon Before & After Stage Makeup Courtesy of Shawns Couture Cuties.

All makeup artists are qualified to apply makeup, but not all makeup artists are qualified to do stage makeup.

Some of the common mistakes I see at shows are athletes glammed up with glitter makeup, I know its all the rage right now but its not a good look for the stage.

Also you want to  be prudent with dark eye shadows on stage. Application is everything with  dark eyeshadows. If dark eye shadow is applied incorrectly  you can make your eyes look like raccoon eyes or man hole covers.

You also should avoid overly bright lip colors, such as fire engine red, because it can be overwhelming on stage.

These are just a few makeup faux pas that a qualified makeup artist would help you avoid.

Do Apply Dark Matte Shadows

Dark matte eyeshadows when applied correctly looks great but if overdone under overhead stage lighting could make yours eyes  look unflattering. 

Your blush should be matte as well and lip colours should also have a glossy finish, so they reflect under stage lights.

Do Apply Reflective Makeup

This another area where you will find different opinions.  

Some makeup artist will advise you to use reflective makeup stating your makeup should be light-reflective rather light absorbing.

I have found by using reflective makeup you achieve a mudding look on stage.You want the light to bounce of the skin. Not reflect or refract.

The key here is that your makeup should not look muddy on stage and I have found that reflective makeup creates a muddy look.

Do Find a Look That Works For You

Before your competition, try to find a look that you feel will suit your personal style and will complement your overall look on the stage.

You can look at past competitors to get an idea of what you should be doing and what you should be avoiding. 

With that in mind, each client I work with will come with unique facial charateristices, skin tones and challenges.

My responsibility is to accentuate your strengths and soften up areas that may be problematic.

Stage Makeup By Shawn's Couture Cuties

My Cuties & Me All Glammed Up-Notice The Contouring and Differences in Styles. Courtesy of Shawns Couture Cuties

Do Contour Your Face 

When your skin is tanned, find a foundation that is a couple shades lighter that your tan and then select another foundation a couple of shades lighter than that to use as highlight.

You will blend the two olors together to make the perfect match.

Do Use Your Foundation As a Highlight

Use a foundation as a  highlighter to get a 100-watt skin. Highlight the high points of your cheeks, the bridge of your nose and the middle of your forehead.

This type of contouring will brighten your face under the lights.

Again this is another area where you will find mix advice on. Some makeup artist will state not to use foundation as a highlighter but based on my experience that is erroneous advice.

Do Prepare For Touch Ups

Have some essentials on hand for touchups and emergency. Remember it is a long day and your makeup will have to survive an entire day and in some cases late into the night.

If you have your makeup applied by a PRO they should provide you with a ready to go touch up kit.

With that said most of your makeup will stand up, lipsticks are likely to loose there luster, so keeping a lipstick in your touch up kit is a must.

Also, have blotting sheets, cotton buds, and tissues at the ready, for any makeup emergencies.

The most important tip to keep your makeup looking fresh and vibrant  are, of course, to avoid undue stress and worry throughout the day.

Make it a point to do as much prep work beforehand as you can, so that you are calm and relaxed on your show day; after all, the glow inside reflects on the outside.

To quote Lady Gaga: “Whether I am wearing lots of makeup or no makeup, I am always the same person inside.”

Don’t Forego Your Sleep

Planning and prepping for a physique show is stressful. However, there is no excuse for foregoing on your sleep; it is called beauty sleep for a reason!!

Concealer can only do so much for the dark circles under your eyes and a haggard, and tired face cannot be fixed by spackling a bunch of makeup on.

Make a point to get restful sleep not just on the night before your show, but do your best to maintain a healthy sleeping habit throughout your prep.

This is especially true if you work weird hours and your lack of sleep has already taken a toll on your skin.  At that point, it is imperative that you get enough sleep to undo this damage and repair your cells.

Also, make it a point to take care of your skin on a daily basis. You can read about my top tips for healthy glowing skin here:

Tips For Healthy Glowing Skin

Don’t Leave Grooming To The Last Minute

You want to have a blemish irritation free clean canvas to work on, so don’t have a face with a bunch of stray hairs the days leading up to your show!

So much can go wrong if you leave your tweezing and grooming to the last minute. You can very well end up looking like the Mona Lisa(and not in a good way).

Make sure you do all your tweezing, peels, microdermabrasion, facials well in advance from your show. The last thing you need is irritated or burned dry skin.Especially if your skin is prone to breakouts.

Don’t Wait To Hire a Makeup Artist On Short Notice

The makeup artist that is good at their craft book up really fast. If you are leaning toward having someone apply your makeup and you want a the best then pull the trigger as soon as you can and reserve your spot.

Also, hire someone reliable that will follow through preferably someone that is involved in our sport. 

I have had athletes in tears the day of their show whereas a outside contracted makeup artist simply does not show up, and they are looking to me to take over.

I would never turn an athlete down in that situation even though it puts me in a bind due to being booked up. But what you can do to avoid this scenario is plan ahead, secure references and choose a makeup artist who is heavily involved in our sport.

You do not want to risk not having a reliable option available, you have to much on the line and to much to lose!

So By now, you have to be convinced how important of a role your physique stage makeup plays in presenting an overall stage presence package to the Judges.

All the little details addressed in this article are important and when done right, will give you a polished winning look that the Judges will undoubtedly notice.

With that in mind, the question then becomes, do you want to do it yourself or hire a professional? 

If you want to do it yourself, I provided a comprehensive list below of makeup products and tools that I use when working with my clients.These products are fantastic for stage makeup application.

I also included a Makeup Products & Tool checklist from the physique stage makeup seminar from my Cuties Conquering The Stage Event. You can download the checklist HERE:

Makeup Brushes and Tools

  • Foundation Brush
  • Stippling Brush
  • Powder Brush
  • Eyeshadow Brushes
  • Blush Brush
  • Beauty Blender
  • Eye Line Brush
  • Eyebrow Brush

Makeup Products

  • Face Primer
  • Eye Primer
  • Scotch Tape
  • Yellow Based Concealer
  • Foundation in Dark/Tan
  • Matte Translucent Powder
  • Matte Bronzer
  • Bright Pink Blush
  • Matte
  • No shimmer


  • Avoid bright colours
  • Pick muted colours, such as brick red or nudes
  • Clear Lip Gloss


  • Nude – Can be shimmery
  • Deep browns
  • Color Shadow – A color that compliments eye colour
  • Black Eyeliner
  • Black Mascara
  • Fake Lashes
  • Eyebrow Pencil
  • Clear Mascara

Bonus Hair Products

  • Teasing Comb
  • Hairspray
  • Shine Serum
  • Hairstyling Products
    • Curlers
    • Rollers
    • Straightening Iron
    • Curling Iron
  • Clip in Extensions
  • Bobby Pins

Questions? Comments? Did you find this post helpful? Let me know in the comments section.Thanks!

AND if you want to discuss your next suit purchase (even if it is not through me), need stage presence coaching or need some advice on stage hair and makeup I would love to help!

Click on the link below and fill out the simple contact form and I will get back to you ASAP:

CLICK HERE: For a FREE Suit or Stage Presence Consultation