Makeup tips to learn from drag queens

Don’t be scared. Just because I’m giving you makeup tips to learn from a drag queen doesn’t mean you’ll actually look like one (although it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if you did). You can read all the Into The Gloss posts you want (I know I do), but there’s nobody in the world who knows more about makeup than a seasoned drag queen. And I’ve watched enough Ru Paul’s Drag Race to know. Seriously – those queens are true artists when it comes to painting their faces. If they can transform themselves from balding over-weight ugly tradie to fierce and gorgeous queen that would make even Tony Abbott question his sexuality – then imagine the magic you can do with their know how. Now clock the bag, clock the shoes, clock the mug – it’s time to work! Take the advice from these pros.


Start off fresh

You wouldn’t paint a masterpiece on a dishrag would you? Well hunty, the same goes for your face. For a big queen night out, you gotta start with a clean, blank canvas. Prep the skin by washing it, scrubbing it and then moisturise. The Queens are big on this step because they end up piling A LOT of paint on their faces so the cleaner they get, the more they can get dirty.


Work with the right tools

You could have the most expensive shadow, blush or foundation in the world, made from unicorn tears, volcanic pigment and the seaman of a young and pure Justin Timberlake circa his Mickey Mouse Club days – but it doesn’t count for shit if you’re applying it with some dirty collection of acrylic fibres. Invest in some amazing brushes, dab your foundation on with a sponge and use a brush to apply lipstick. With great brushes, not only will your makeup go on more evenly, but it should also last much longer too.

Contour and conceal

This is where drag queens really show their expertise – contouring and concealing. They hide their jawlines, they give themselves an eyebrow arch, they highlight their cheekbones – contouring is really where the magic happens. While you might not want to transform your bone structure completely, us ladies can still use these tricks to sculpt and highlight our faces. Apply a mixture of concealer and highlighter to the eye area, under the brow, down the front of the nose, along the cheek bow, above the bow of the lip and even around the lips – especially if you’re wearing a strong shade of lipstick. Basically there’s no where you can’t highlight. The key is, when applying it, to pile it on and let it sit and ‘cook.’ This way the liquid is more likely to skin into skin, making it much easier to blend.


Don’t forget to blend

While drag queens can get away with more literal looks, blending is a girl’s best friend. Let your makeup sink in first, then blend thoroughly using your fingers or a sponge. Oh and make sure you get the colours right. Foundation and concealer that is too white or too orange can have terrifying results.

Don’t be afraid to be fierce

Drag queens look fierce because they’re not afraid to go that extra mile, wear sparkly red eye shadow and lashes so big you could stab a man with them. While you don’t have to go all the way with it, don’t be afraid to branch out.  Wear a bold lip, rock a pair of falsies , what ever you do, just do it all the way. And when in doubt – glitter makes everything better. Work!


For some inspiration and professional techniques, here’s a look at one of the world’s pretties queens, Ivy Winters, doing her makeup.