Mannequin Makeup Tips

By Melinda Gaines

Whether you need a mannequin made up for a retail store display or to practice your makeup artist skills, the desired end result is typically the same---a natural, flawless look. This can be obtained on a mannequin by following just a few basic guidelines.

A made-up mannequin


When making up a mannequin, you will need sponges and brushes---you can use cheaper ones for this purpose, but you shouldn't be using your hands. You will get the best finished look if you use professional tools.

You will also need makeup remover for correcting mistakes, makeup crème for flat-back mannequin heads, eyebrow templates and professional quality makeup for application.

Quality Brands

Use the brands on your mannequin that a professional makeup artist would use on real clients. For the best effect, use theater or special effects makeup brands such as Kryolan, Joe Blasco, Graftobian or Ben Nye. If you are making up a mannequin for the purpose of a retail display, you should seal the final look with a makeup sealer. Ben Nye makes one called "Final Seal Matte" that is water resistant, smudge-proof and ideal for this use.

Other brands that are suitable for use on a mannequin include Make Up For Ever, Smashbox, Cinema Secrets, Face Atelier, Urban Decay and Stila. Do not just choose products because they contain the phrase "pro" in them---consider whether true makeup artists would include that brand or item in their kit.

Things to Avoid

If you are applying makeup to a mannequin for a retail display, one common mistake to avoid is using drugstore makeup brands. These will not adhere well to the mannequin, and the colors will fade quickly and smudge easily. Also, do not try using felt pens to add details such as lashes, brows, or eyeliner---should you make a mistake, you may not be able to remove the markings from the mannequin without damaging it. A good idea is to hire a makeup artist to make up your retail display mannequins.

If you are making up a mannequin for practicing makeup or cosmetology skills, avoid leaving products on the mannequin after you're done practicing. Remove them with a gentle makeup remover or makeup crème made just for use on mannequins. Failing to do so can stain the latex or foam it is made out of, which will result in future applications not looking clean, or colors mixing.