What Is the Difference Between Stage & Television Makeup?


An important part of any actors costume is makeup, whether on stage, screen or television. Just as the appropriate clothes are required, the correct makeup technique needs to be used. There are differing makeup techniques for screen, including television, and stage.

Technique Differences

  • Because the actor is often seen up close on television, makeup is used to soften skin inconsistencies, cover imperfections and accentuate the features without looking painted. On stage, makeup is used to make features visible from a distance; stronger color is used, often making the face look painted close up.


  • For both stage and television, makeup can be used to hide flaws and accentuate positive characteristics. It is also used to create the character, such as adding features or aging the actor.

Prior To Application

  • To assure proper makeup application, oil and dirt should be removed from the skin with a gentle cleanser. Men should shave at least 60 minutes before applying makeup to avoid skin irritation.

Considerations For Stage Makeup

  • More makeup will always be used in stage production. However, the amount will be decided by the distance of the stage from the audience. Small theaters require less dramatic makeup application than larger theaters where the distance between the audience and the stage is greater.

Considerations For Television Makeup

  • For television, the amount of makeup should be minimized to maintain a natural look.

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