Mime Makeup Application and Tutorial

Michael Lee as Harpo Chap

Michael Lee as Harpo Chap

How does one apply mime make up you ask? We learned in our article “Mime, Discovering the Art” and interview with Michael Lee that mime and the makeup used is not defined by whiteface. Let’s refer a moment to what our mime expert has to say on this topic.

When asked the question, how does one apply “mime makeup”, Michael simply replied; “this question implies that there is a set mime makeup.”  This of course addresses the misconception that white face and black details are the template for mime make up. This is one style of mime he assured me, but does not encompass all mime characters. Many who wish to perform mime simply copy what they have seen of Marcel Marceau and assume that all mimes should look and act this way. In fact, Michael explained Marcel’s white face was paying homage to the character Pierrot by Jean-Gaspard Debarau. A mime performer need only where stage make up like any other actor so that the audience can more readily see facial expressions and details. On the topic of learning to apply make up, Michael stated;

“ I used to use white-face before I knew better; that I was only copying M. Marceau.  The reference to music is again useful.  If I learned music from Marceau, then I play a different instrument, instead of the violin he played.  The stereotype was established because for over 50 years he toured the world and was the only known mime to so many.  That was merely his choice (white-face), and unfortunately it became synonymous with mime instead of being synonymous with Marceau.”

Michael did also add that he first learned to apply make up from a clown.

*I would like to take this opportunity to thank Michael Lee for his time and insight to help make this article a valuable source of information for our readers.

Because there are still many people who wish to go dressed as a Whiteface Mime for parties and the like we have included a step by step tutorial on the application of Mime Whiteface makeup.

Supplies Used:

Mehron Clown White
Mehron black Cream Makeup

Translucent Setting Powder
Cosmetic Wedge and Detail Brush

Mime Makeup Tutorial

Step 2.

Step 1: Always start with a clean face, and freshly shaved for the guys. If you have oily or acne prone skin, be sure to use a cleanser that's designed for your skin type. Also, apply a toner to balance the pH of your skin. For those with dry and/or sensitive skin, apply a good quality face moisturizer to prevent chapped skin and ensure good makeup application. 

Step 2: Foundation color is first. Make sure to apply this evenly and smooth make up so you have a consistent covering. To apply makeup, use a sponge and gently dab onto the skin. Be sure that the coverage is even so that it looks uniform and professional.

Step 3: Now pat the make up into the skin with fingers and hands. This will ensure that the makeup is even, that there are no globs, and that it stays put.

Step 3.

Step 4: Powder your foundation with a professional setting powder, brushing off excess with a large soft bristle brush. Some prefer to apply the entire make up before powdering, use whichever method works best for you. Applying a powder foundation also ensures that the application is even, but most importantly, it helps your makeup last longer and is also great for those with oily skin.

Step 5.

Step 5: Outline eyes, add any accents and enhance eyebrows with black eye liner or black cream make up and a fine tip brush. This will give the effect of a more detailed makeup look. Be sure to use good quality makeup and/or face paints.

Step 4.

Step 6: Repeat powdering step once again and your face is ready for the stage! Adding an extra layer of powder ensures that your makeup will stay put all day long!

 Step 6.

We added a black tam to add to the well known white face mime look.

Finished makeup.

Finished makeup!  

Please also read our other articles on make up styles and application techniques.


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