After 10 years of RuPaul's Drag Race, which brings drag culture to the big TV audience, the UK is getting your own version of the show, full of "charisma, uniqueness, courage and talent" – and of course makeup. Drag queens are known for their exaggerated make-up: false eyelashes, bold eyebrows and extreme contours are common. There's also a lot of brilliance (and to make the Drag Race shine sustainably, look at the options on here and on here) Importantly, whether comic, caricature or comparatively subtle, drag makeup is always on point. Here are the tips and tricks that translate into the workplace in everyday makeup looks, according to former Drag Race participants.
Courtney Act: "Press duct tape to shine and remove"
Courtney Act at the London Premiere of A Star Is Born in 2018 Photo: Anthony Harvey / Rex / Shutterstock
It sounds like a cliche, but good makeup starts with good skin. The best makeup tip is to drink water – not just while you put on makeup, but usually. It swells up your skin and makes it glow.
Your base tone should always resemble your skin tone. The skin has different shades – this applies to all skin colors – so some people have warm tones, others have cool tones. One thing I always see is an orange base with pink necks.
People always ask me how to apply glitter and sparkles. You can stick crystals on the face with eyelash glue, same for glitter. The trick is to take your time using a thin, angular brush and be very precise. Then there's the shine – because if you just wash your face, it will shine everywhere for days. Instead, take some tape and press it against the glare to remove it. This will properly leave you dull.
The Vixen: "It surprises me that people use duct tape to draw on the wings of the eyeliner"
The Vixen at RuPaul's DragCon 2019 in New York. Photo: Santiago Felipe / Getty Images
If you're in a hurry, take the black shadow and don't lower it until it's over. You can use it for eyeliner, eyebrows, eyeshadow creases – so do them all at once using an angled brush.
I often make my eyebrows using a golden liquid liner, which really adds a pop. I even did it as a boy when I went to a club. It surprises me that people use tape or cardboard to draw on the eyeliner's wings – it's not that hard to draw a straight line at a 45 degree angle! It looks manufactured and makes me think you failed art class.
The drag makeup is designed to appear. The minute you enter a room, it catches everyone's attention because its resources are so exaggerated. I love the transformation I create using makeup and I love knowing that people in the back row can see all the details.
Alaska Thunderfuck: "You can also use eye color liquid lipsticks"
Drag queen Alaska Thunderfuck Photograph: Startraks / REX / Shutterstock
I call my face Frankenstein because there isn't a mark that I use in all areas. I use Kryolan and Mac base, all different types of Anastasia liquid eye shadows and lipsticks. It's a good idea to play and experiment.
I use liquid lipsticks because they remain. I'm not one of those delicate queens that has to have a straw – honey, I'm using my mouth. I'm eating, I'm drinking, I'm talking and I need lipsticks that stay where they should. You can also use liquid lipsticks for eye color.
Ongina: "You don't have to paint with all the colors of the rainbow"
Drag queen Ongina Photography: Michael Buckner / Variety / REX / Shutterstock
Your eyebrows should be at least close relatives – if possible twin sisters. When it comes to eye makeup, you don't have to paint with all the colors of the rainbow. I've seen a lot of people who obviously bought a five-color eyeshadow palette and then put all five colors on their eyelids without mixing them. The main technique is to go from light to dark, from the eyebrow bone to the eyelid. So just mix it all up.
My favorite lipstick is now anything bare – to me that means a muted pink and gray-gray color. I currently use Sugarpill Cosmetics Liquid Lip Color on Trifle. It's easy and complements any makeup look. If you wear red and bleed, it may look like you have bitten a red berry, but that is not the case with nudes.
It takes me so much time on my makeup, creating a look, or getting ready for a performance, and I think that's why drag queens tend to look so good. In addition to makeup techniques, it depends a lot on time and preparation.
RuPaul's Drag Race UK starts on BBC Three on October 3 at 8 pm and will be available exclusively on BBC iPlayer
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