Make-up Products and the Kit

more new and different items than they did some 10
or 15 years ago, so one can always tell the difference
between an outmoded or amateur kit and that of the
currently working professional. Products can be di-
vided now into three basic categories: commercial,
theatrical, and professional items.
Commercial products are generally sold in department
or drug stores for street make-up to be self-applied,
and fashion dictates govern their sale, variety, and
promotion. They are often merchandized with volu-
minous advertising and sales promotion, with the buy-
and-try adage being the main sales pitch. Competition
between commercial cosmetic lines does not consist so
much in product difference in the main but in how
ostentatiously the item is packaged, how loudly the
brand or product is touted with advertising, along with
the invention of various phrases and semantics spiced
with juicy brand names. Red is never just red but must
be Witch’s Blood, Roaring Red, or the like, and many
directions are strongly overworked by the employment
of terms such as natural, organic, and so forth, without
more than a that’s-what-sells attitude beneath it all.
Such products are designed not for use by profes-
sional make-up artists but as self-application items by
the purchaser. Low-pigment liquid foundations (that
provide little or no skin coverage), supposedly long-
lasting (and possibly staining) lipsticks, soft pencil or
cream-style eye make-ups (that smear but that are eas-
ily finger applied, nevertheless), lotions and skin care
creams with exotic ingredients such as mink or turtle
oil, fruit or vegetable additives (strawberries, cucum-
bers, and so on), and pH value ratings (with little or
no real meaning of what they actually mean or why)
are but a few of the directions of sales jargon and
ingredients for commercial cosmetic products. In gen-
eral, these are neither designed for coordinated use for
screen or stage make-up nor really recommended as
such by their manufacturers.
Theatrical make-up lines are mostly defined today
as those advertised for sale in student kits or for ama-
teur school and college use. They still have the archaic
foundation names such as Juvenile Flesh, Sallow, Hero,
and so forth, as well as many colored powders for the
face, old nose putty, and such, all of which have seen
little or no use for some years by make-up artists.
Professional make-up products, however, are man-
ufactured for use by make-up artists and are not usually
sold on a retail level (seldom, if ever, in department
stores or the like). In the main, they are rather plainly
packaged and designed to fit in the make-up artist’s
kit or in larger stock sizes. An enormous variety of
products, sizes, special materials, and items are sup-
plied in the professional category that may never be
found in any of the commercial lines and are often
more advanced products than those for similar use in
the theatrical lines.
Note: Most of the cosmetics that are made in the
United States are quite reliable overall (due to stringent
pure food and drug rules that govern the ingredients),
and reactions of an allergenic nature may occur only
to the perfumes, stains, or to sensitivity to a particular
ingredient by a particular person. However, all the
theatrical and the professional make-up companies (not
the commercial companies whose products are sold in
department or drug stores) generally sell certain items
that are not in general use by the public. For example,
resin-based adhesives, vinyl-based sealers, plastic waxes,
latices, or plastics that are in common, everyday use
for character make-up by professional make-up artists
are not sold except for this use. Since the solvents for
these items may be alcohol, acetone, and such, there
are possibilities that some performers will have a sen-
sitivity to these products, resulting in an irritation
factor. If the make-up artist finds that anyone does
have a reaction to any such material, it should be
removed and not further employed for that person.
Such cases are rare because most human skin can stand
more than is imagined. A face covered all day, for long
hours, with a number of latex or plastic pieces will
not breathe as well as one with just a coat of foun-
dation, but such character make-up is necessary to the
work of the professional make-up artist to create the
necessary effects.
Many schools and colleges that have a make-up course
as part of an audiovisual, television, film, or stage
program or curriculum or that have drama clubs as
extra activities for some years always purchased make-
up products for the group and simply left them out
on the make-up tables for use by the performers. As
such, the destruction level of the products was high,
and cleanup after one or two performances was minimal. Most often the make-up kit or box was a veritable
mess. Only in those institutions or groups where one
person (who was often more interested in make-up than
in performing) had charge of the kit, show after show,
was it kept in any semblance of cleanliness or com-
pleteness. Eventually, instructors of make-up classes
found that small individual kits served the purpose
better and were sold to the students or included in
their lab fee. This may be fine for a performer level
but is quite inadequate for one who wishes to study
in make-up artistry or design. Here, a full make-up
kit, on the level of the professional make-up artist, is
really a necessity.