Competition Makeup Tips

By: Megan Melone - Makeup Artist

As most people know, winning a show is not simply about who is the most jacked, many other things come into play when a judge sees a lineup of ladies on stage. Tan, Makeup, Hair…. These are all important details that a competitor must consider.

To begin with, I started doing makeup professionally when I was coaching girls for the stage. It sort of snowballed and I was soon asked by promoters to be the makeup artist for their show. It’s been really fun to work with a wide variety of clients from bridal to stage.

One of the biggest challenges for most competitors is makeup. Tan is something most people understand has to be done professionally, but makeup is just as critical. I can always tell when someone has done their own or they’ve hired a sub-par artist for their show. Foundation is tricky, which is why I custom blend all foundation on at a competitors appointment with me. Even with clients using the same tanning product, it may react with their skin or “take” differently on one client as opposed to another. You want your face to be a shade or two lighter than your body; otherwise the skin begins to look muddy. We want a clean, gorgeous application that blends and lasts all day.

I am frequently asked about traditional makeup vs. airbrushed makeup. Airbrushing has some advantages: it can be full coverage, and waterproof. However, the advantage to airbrushing belongs exclusively to the artist (fast and easy application). Airbrushing is one-dimensional, whereas with traditional makeup, the artist has the ability to highlight and contour with ease, creating a more flattering appearance. The chances of the makeup settling into the fine lines and pores with airbrushing is much more likely than with traditional makeup. Since most clients like a flawless look that isn’t “flat”, traditional makeup applied by a competent artist is preferred. A good makeup artist will provide the same benefits as airbrushing (full coverage, long wearing and waterproof) and the added benefit of contouring and highlighting.

Other than foundation/skin eyes are of the utmost importance. Sultry eyes really capture the judges attention and play into the overall beauty of a competitor. Eyes should be smoky with a voluptuous lash (strip lashes work nicely). Use intense colors on a earth tone palette (golds, tans, black, etc…). I do not recommend bright colors such as blues, pinks and powerful shimmers.

Finally, a detail I don’t specifically deal with, but SUPER important… Tanning… Tanning is CRUCIAL!!!!! One wants to be dark, but ‘even’ and not muddy looking, which will blur a competitors conditioning. Choose a spray tanner who is skilled and experienced! Some competitors opt to do their own tan, which can be done well; however not advised for a newbie competitor.

When choosing a makeup artist, hair stylist or tanning person, it is so important to ask for pictures. A good artist will gladly share pictures because he/she is proud of their work. If an artist isn’t willing to share or states they don’t have pictures, move on…. Pick someone else.

Many times I see girls lose a show because they’re not completely put together (makeup/hair/tan). Lips are pretty personal—we need a lip color that is richly pigmented. If the eye is super smoky, we can go with a medium berry (more on the neutral palette) and if it’s a moderate smoky, we can use a rich berry or raisin toned lip color. I also custom mix lip color if a client wishes. I consider the color of their suit, eye color, hair color and overall “look” when applying makeup. There is no real cookie cutter answer for what flatters each woman. My best advice would be for a newbie competitor to hire a competent makeup artist for their first few shows to get the hang of what look suits them best.

Megan's website:

Megan Melone

Megan Melone

Photo by Jody Kavanaugh
of JSK photography