What I Learned From A Drag Makeup Class

by Danielle Guercio

My favorite part of Season 7 of RuPaul's Drag Race was the Supermodel Squad: Violet, Pearl, and Miss Fame. This was mostly due to their incredible makeup and fashion skills. Miss Fame in particular should have won an award just for makeup in the show, IMO. The only person who gets better paint is Ru herself!

So, since I'm such a huge fan, I jumped at the chance to go to the very first Painted By Fame Makeup Master Class to see a full transformation firsthand. Plus, even though drag makeup isn't exactly about finding your casual go-to look, I was curious to see how these lessons could translate into everyday or event makeup. Drag makeup is like Film and Theater makeup; the subject is completely painted to reflect the performance of it’s wearer. It takes dozens of products, no fewer than 32 tools, and an expertise of a true artist, which all add up to drag in Miss Fame’s iconic style.

As I watched models get their makeup done, I picked up contouring tricks, surprising eyebrow tips, and a new appreciation for a solid blending brush. There are products drag queens use that I had no idea existed — but now fully plan on adding to my makeup arsenal. Check out the 10 most important everyday beauty tips I learned from this drag queen's class.

1. Antiperspirant For Face Exists

Alcone Stop The Sweat, $9, Alcone Co

I had heard of antiperspirant for body, but I had no idea people were using it on their face. Alcone, makeup accoutrement supplier to the actual pros, makes a product called Stop The Sweat that is an evaporating liquid that distributes antiperspirant to the face. I wouldn’t do this every day, but if it took four hours to get my makeup perfect, you better believe I would wear this underneath. It's pretty genius for a full day's makeup where you need to preserve a look for a long day or lots of photos.

2. Don't Mix Formulas With Different Bases

Be careful when you're choosing which primers, moisturizers, and foundations to apply within a single look. Mixing two unfriendly substances, like an oil-based moisturizer with a silicone-based primer, will get you pilling and neither will adhere to your skin properly.

3. Contouring Is For Everyone

Drag is about creating the illusion of a feminine face on a usually more masculine bone structure. For this reason drag makeup typically begins with the eyes, unlike the Kim Kardashian/Mario Dedivanovic Master Class, which begins with the foundation. However, both techniques involve layers upon layers of product and are meant to stay on through a hurricane. The only difference is that drag makeup literally shades in a new eye socket. This changes the proportions of a strong brow bone into a softer, wider-eyed appearance.

4. Orange And Red Concealers Will Hide Any Dark Marks

That makeup trick where you use red lipstick to cancel out cruddy undertones under your eyes is based in color theories that apply to all creative venture. Orange and red are powerful enough to help refract light off of even beard shadow, so it will do for dark circles.

5. The Powder Cooking Trick Is Very Legit

Get the longest wear possible out of your look by using generous amounts of powder to set foundation — no matter what kind. Baking or cooking the makeup allows the formula to rise to body temperature, and any shine in the formula is sweat out into that excessive powder, ready to be either dusted off or blended in for good.

6. Avoid Shimmer In Your Contoured Base

I’m 100 percent guilty of having a massive streak of pearly metallic highlight on my cheeks from time to time. Though my application may have been off, Fame and I both use Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Champagne Pop, a fabulous highlighter that's universally flattering, but best (and indispensable) as a finisher. When you're working on your base makeup, a non-metallic highlight powder creates dimension and gives life to the foundation as you build and blend. Also, avoiding a too-chunky contour is important. Overdone nose contour is the number one way to see your makeup clocked for being just that, makeup.

7. Invest In Good Blending Brushes

Makeup Brushes, $12 - $30, Roque Cozzette

Fame recommends using the leftover powder on whatever tool you used to apply foundation to blend all sculpting work. Using Make Up For Ever’s Ultra HD Stick and Sunday Riley’s Soft Focus Loose Powder in tandem, Fame made Milk’s makeup layers meld together. The leftover foundation will help to create a filter over all shading and highlighting.

8. Try A Super Light Eyebrow Pencil

Anastasia Brow Wiz, $21, Sephora

Queen Ru always looks stunning, in part due to the extremely soft, airbrushed effect of the makeup, including a brow so soft and perfect you’d swear it was impossible. It may seem counterintuitive, with all the bold brow talk we've been hearing about recently, but the trick to a perfect arch is actually to pick brow products that are lighter than you'd usually reach for. This helps draw in those fine hairs that appear naturally in your eyebrows.

9. Brick Lay Your Lashes

Rather than putting on a single strip of lashes that can appear like doll-like, cut the lashes into at least three pieces and apply them in a bricklay pattern to blend in the cat eye.

10. Never Do A Full Second Application

This one is pretty brilliant. If you have a complicated eye look, if you ate some messy food or worked out, remove your makeup from the eyes down and then just reapply the bottom half! When I get really into dinner, all of that detail work goes to sh*t, even after a lipstick re-do. Wipe and wash your face from the cheekbones down and just go back over it if you need to keep going.

I had such a dope time hanging with Fame, Milk, and the attendees — some of whom were makeup legends in their own right! My makeup inspiration batteries were full up after witnessing this transformation.

Miss Fame’s Painted By Fame Makeup class will be parking in cities across America, and it's nothing short of breathtaking. And who knows? You just might pick up some everyday makeup tips of your own.

Photos: Roque Cozzette (2); Danielle Guercio (11)