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Nutcracker Makeup Tutorial

Our Nutcracker makeup tutorial will create a look featuring a contoured face and dramatic eyes—it works well on stage.Stage makeup for the classic holiday production.

Though it wasn’t an immediate smash when it debuted in 1892, Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet has been one of the most popular American ballets since the 1960s and a perennial staple of the holiday season. Our Nutcracker makeup tutorial features a basic ballet makeup look with a little pizzazz that’s perfect for any important role, such as the Sugar Plum Fairy.

What you’ll need:

How to do it:

  1. Start with a small amount of primer and cake makeup foundation. Wet a natural sea sponge and swirl it in the cake. Then apply it directly to your skin with a patting motion. Work in sections, and buff over your entire face before the makeup fully sets. Cake makeup is a great choice for performers because it’s fade-proof and sweat-resistant.
  2. Use your flat brush to apply concealer where your foundation might have missed, like under your eyes or along the sides of your nose.
  3. Now for highlighting and contouring. Use an angled brush to apply the darker shade of rouge under your cheekbones, at your temples, and under your jawline. Apply white eyeshadow to the top of your cheekbones.
  4. Use an angled brush to apply powder rouge to the apples of your cheeks. Sweep up and outward over your cheekbones. We chose a light pink that reads as neutral on the stage. (Thanks, Kathryn Morgan!)
  5. Grab a dome eye makeup brush to cover your lids with white eyeshadow. Then apply Twilight Blue eyeshadow from the outer corner of your eye and into the crease. Accent the crease and lower lid with Blue Grey eyeshadow. Pro tip: If you’d like to bring your ballet makeup to the next level, check out Kathryn Morgan’s video tutorial (see below).
  6. With a dampened round brush, swirl your cake eyeliner into a workable cream. Apply liquid eyeliner just above your lashline, and pull it up into a dramatic cat eye. Let your eyeliner dry for a few seconds before you move on.
  7. Open your lashes and bend them slightly to separate the individual lashes. Use a pair of household scissors to trim your false lashes to fit your eyes. Apply a thin line of eyelash glue to the band of the lashes and let that dry for 10 seconds, or until it’s slightly tacky. Apply your lashes just above your top lash line and press the ends into place with the opposite end of a makeup brush. Use a clean finger to press the entire lash until it holds.
  8. Add a healthy coat of burgundy lipstick.
  9. Finish with a spritz of sealer spray. Hold the bottle 12 inches away from your face and spray, avoiding your eyes and mouth. Note: this spray dries quickly.

Bring the audience to their feet during the Suite with help from our Nutcracker makeup tutorial. It’s rooted in stage makeup basics, so you’ll undoubtedly be the belle of the ballet.

For all of the products used in this post, as well as a wide variety of makeup tips and tricks, visit us at