For many years, queens have put a lot of effort and shown great creativity with cosmetics to transform their looks from basic to fabulous. Here are some makeup tips and tricks from Chelsea Piers, a drag queen from New York City.
As a busy drag queen on a budget in the Big Apple, I always take the subway to my gigs wearing only athletic attire and a full face of cosmetics. I look sort of like a pageant queen turned workout instructor. Being the fabulous city that this is, people often stop me to compliment my makeup and ask for tips. While I’m shocked that anyone would want to look like a life-sized Bratz doll, there are a lot of basic makeup tricks that drag makeup does right, especially in relation to foundation, so I’m mostly flattered and happily oblige. Unless you catch me in the zone, lip-syncing to Britney Spears, of course.
Whether you’re inspired by Devine or Naomi Campbell, you can certainly appreciate all the drag techniques that can help anyone bring their makeup game to the next level. Put your best face forward with these tricks.
Start with skincare
You can buy the fanciest products in the universe and have the best technique in the biz, but it ain’t worth squat if you don’t prepare your skin properly for makeup. Don’t panic. Use a cleanser, a moisturizer and most of all, apply a primer. Your foundation will glide onto your smooth and even skin. If a product that holds your makeup up to 24 hours while tightening and moisturizing your skin sounds good to you, go for Insta-Grip™ Jelly Makeup Primer.
Invest in a fantastic foundation
As the foundation lays the structure of the entire look, you might want to choose your canvas carefully. There is no shame in pumping up coverage, if the full glam look is what you’re going for. If well applied, a high-quality full-coverage foundation will cover all sorts of flaws, such as facial hair, which will keep you away from Facetune. I recommend Dermablend’s Cover Creme foundation. This long-lasting, transfer-resistant (if paired with Dermablend loose setting powder) can cover pigmentation, scars and birthmarks. Wind, sweat and tears, which are to be expected in a drag night, are no match for this stuff.
The art of contouring and highlighting
The Kim Kardashian treatment isn’t for everyone. Try to analyze your face to see what you want to emphasize. In my case, I have prominent cheekbones, so I don’t need to paint brown lines underneath them. Before you become green with envy, let me tell you that I also have dark circles under my eyes, just like Keith Richards, and a long face, just like Las Vegas queen Celine Dion. To fix that, I highlight super bright and wide under my eyes. I suggest the Quick-Fix™ Concealer stick, two shades lighter than normal for highlighting and two shades darker for contouring. Keep in mind that all faces are different, so you should do what works for your own shape when sculpting your foundation.
Powder is your friend
In order to ensure long wear, us queens quite literally pound powders into our faces to lock in our foundation. That’s probably where the expression “beat your face” comes from. Powder really does wonders to make your makeup last longer. Although drag makeup uses more of everything, you don’t need to go all out with this. Just press in or brush a layer of Dermablend’s Loose Setting Powder over your foundation. It’s dermatologist-tested, will not leave your skin feeling dry and you won’t even feel it. To add dimension to your face, try placing a lustrous highlighter on the high points of the face. Dermablend’s highly pigmented Glow Creator Liquid Highlighter will bring you the glow you need, but make sure you only use a small amount.
Always apply a lip liner first to prevent bleeding and feathering. I fill the entire lip, but I go lighter in the middle to give lipstick something to stick to. As for lipstick, liquid mattes are my new obsession. They are easy to apply, dry quickly and stay on. Another trick is to use Loose Setting Powder for extra hold.
Bring out the colours
As a makeup artist, I had many clients who were terrified of colours. Fortunately, drag queens are experts when it comes to playing with all the shades of the rainbow. Even if some people might tell you to tone it down, you should definitely stick it to them and do what pleases you. Colour expresses so much and if well applied, can create a vibrant and unique look. Try shimmery blue eyeshadow over your eyelids and bright pink blush on the apples of your cheeks and see how brighter the world is! For all-day wear, add some Lock and Last setting spray.
Lashes to the moon and back
You’ve seen it, lashes can completely change your look. They are part of all drag queens’ arsenal. A few touch-ups are necessary to get the best volume. Stacking a pair on top of another, cutting them a little by the inner corner to open up the eye, or cut some pieces off a pair to glue them to another are great ways to end up with the perfect shape.
At the end of the day, there are no rules in makeup. Resistance and protest helped build the drag community. Notions of gender, sexuality and beauty are defined by this form of art. Why not use makeup to reflect that rebellious spirit? Makeup is a fun way to express yourself. While tutorials are helpful, you should wear whatever makes you feel good. Makeup can make you feel powerful, beautiful and confident.