Drag It Up – Make-Up Guide

Craig Lomas
Latest posts by Craig Lomas (see all)

RuPaul, Lily Savage and Dame Edna Everage.What do they all have in common? Why, killer drag make-up of course! Drag queens reign supreme, in making a statement and in thrusting their thirst for self-expression into their own niche world. Like any performer, they can unleash this alter-ego onto their world.

Years ago, before I gave into my now ever-consuming passion for make-up, I saw the idea of wearing it pointless and a little self-indulgent. However, I have always had somewhat of a fascination with drag make-up. It’s not merely a case of looking like an attractive female, it’s about taking it to the next level. Making the brows higher and fiercer or contouring cheekbones to within an inch of their lives is a way of saying ‘I can play at being a female better than you’.

You will very often catch a drag queen in a demure shade of taupe or pastel pink; it’s all about a lavish variety of colour. Such make-up brands like MAC, I believe, take a lot of inspiration from drag artists, as their basic training into contouring, colouring and overall finished looks, are often a  couple of notches down from drag make-up. Strong brows and eyelashes that will cause gale force winds are most popular.

As you can probably imagine, a full drag make-up routine isn’t like your average everyday look. It requires patience, creative flare and an insane amount of spare time. Eyebrows have to be blotted out (a way of sticking down the natural brows, and concealing over), which along with contouring is most time consuming. The average time depends on the look that is to be achieved, but as a rule of thumb it can take between 1-2 hours, to get a really flawless and artistically executed look.

Make-up artists/sisters Sam Chapman and Nicola Haste, are renowned for their informative and varied tutorials, but their most intriguing and provoking videos, are their drag themes. This to a novice would be a great starting block to further expand and develop into a truly fabulous queen:

I personally have no desire to take my everyday make-up to the level of drag, but I appreciate some of you may. With this in mind I will endeavour to give you a full listing of required products and suggestions to begin your drag experience:

Foundation: Coverage is everything and the skin must looks flawless. It has to look like a walking advertisement for Photoshop. Go for something such as Estee Lauder Double wear or MAC Studio Tech. Both are supremely heavy and offer maximum coverage. These can also be used to contour the face to add depth, by choosing a colour a few shades darker than your foundation.

Concealer: Again you will need something to provide maximum coverage and I would advise picking a much lighter shade than you would normally opt for. Brands such as Benefit offer a product, respectively known as ‘Boing’, which comes in a cream compact.

Setting Spray: You must always use a powder or spray to set any cream product on your face so that you avoid product slippage through changes in temperature. Ben Nye are infamous for their ‘Final Seal’ spray.

Eyeliner: A favourite of mine is MAC fluid line as it’s extremely rich and comes in a few adaptable shades.

Lashes: A company called Red Cherry offer extreme fanned out lashes which can be doubled up, or brands such as Illamasqua, with their theatrical and exquisite offerings.

Eye Shadow: It may be worthwhile investing in a palette that not only caters to your alter ego make-up but also your everyday routine. Brands such as E.L.F and Costal Scents are great and very inexpensive.

Lipstick: Barry M and other drug store bands like Rimmel, offer supremely rich colours and most have conditioning agents to nourish the lips as you wear, something important when layering of copious amounts of top up make-up.

Happy dragging and be sure to tweet us your pics!

About Craig Lomas

Well where do I start? At the very beginning, like Julie Andrews taught me.I graduated with a degree in Fashion Design in 2009 and have since set up my own bespoke clothing label.Currently working full time as a costume designer.My main passion is buying things I don't need... I WANT!

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