Beard Coverage

Source: “Eureka…It Works!” by Anne R.

Like most of us girls, I’ve been searching for years to discover a foolproof way to cover the black beard shadow on my face. Being, by nature, one who plays the fool, I still haven’t discovered it. But I have found a pretty good substitute, providing one is at least a little bit careful. And when I think of some of the things I’ve heard… It has to be worth the trouble! I remember one girl who explained her very painstaking efforts to lay an absolutely smooth mask of surgical cement over the entire facial area. Only two problems, to look right, it had to be done in one, continuous layer. Otherwise, take it all off and start over. And second, be very careful not to light a cigarette until it was dry – or the result could be instant blackface. And, whatever you do, never, never put on a wig ’til you’re certain the stuff is dry. EVERYTHING sticks to it, YUK. Then, I remember talking to a very, very successful stage performer. “Her” solution – a full half-pound of margarine – like greasepaint. Thick. Heavy.

But… properly handled… perfectly acceptable under even street conditions. Provided the temperature never rises above 85. And, says she, “Honey, don’t ever let anyone touch your face… it leaves fingerprints, like in concrete.” YUK, also. “Somewhere in the middle,” says I, “must be an acceptable compromise.” With a little help from an extremely close friend (my wife), I found it for me. Now I’d be interested in seeing if it works for anyone else. It’s actually very simple… relying more on skill of handling than on special ingredients and built-up layers. And I’m not certain how it will work on skin types other than mine.

Here’s the formula. You begin with Max Factor PanStik, Theatrical Grade #11-N or #10-N. This is a lighter-than-greasepaint, grease-based makeup. Comes in a handy stick applicator. Is available at almost any Theatrical Supply House (See your Yellow Pages). No need to have any qualms about buying it as John or Charlie, as the stuff is very widely used by any and all amateur theater groups; models, male or female… almost anyone who appears in a television commercial. This stuff is very dark. A deep reddish tan color. And it stands to reason that if you want to cover up something that’s dark… you can cover it with a far thinner layer of dark makeup than you could if you use light shades. Besides, it won’t be that color when we finish, so don’t worry.

Now, every makeup job, regardless of how simple or outlandish the formula, seems to begin with an ultra-close shave. This one is no exception. Shave with a razor. Not an electric mowing machine. I find that Gillette Platinum Plus works best. Other kids I know prefer the single-edged Schick razors. But shave at least twice. Once in the direction you usually shave. The second time completely against the way you usually shave. Apply shave lotion (bay rum doesn’t conflict with most women’s perfumes, but if you really like the mixture of Brut and Channel #5… be my guest). Let the alcohol dry. Now apply streaks of PanStik 11-N (or 10) directly over the beard areas. Along jaw lines. Under chin. On chin. On upper lip, etc. Next step requires the skill. Blend the stuff into your pores AGAINST the beard grain until your face is uniformly covered from sideburns to below your dress neckline (don’t do it with the dress on, for Pete’s sake!). At this point, your lower face should look a little like Tonto – heap big Injun.

In fact, 11-N is often called Indian Makeup in the theater. There shouldn’t be too much of it in thickness. And one of the skills you should develop as you use this technique over and over again, is to see how little you can use to cover. But, most important, rub the damned stuff against the grain of the beard. Below your sideburns, for example, rub up toward the sideburns as most people normally shave downward at that area and the hairs have been trained to grow downward.

Now take a second color of Max Factor PanStik. This one should be approximately olive color. You can ask for an Olive color at the same Theatrical House where you bought the 11-N… or go to a Ladies Cosmetic Department that handles PanStik (it’s the same stuff but in more limited colors and under fancy femme-names) and ask for Olive or some form of it. This one is lighter than the 11-N. Streak it across the forehead, eye areas, down sides of nose if you have a prominent nose (me part Senaca Injun, anyhow, and seem to have the largest schnozz since Durante) and across cheek bones. Again, blend carefully to cover with the least possible grease and blend extra carefully at the points where the light stuff and the dark 11-N overlap – and overlap they should. Another little sidelight here.

A light color brings OUT a facial feature. A dark color tames it. If you have a big nose… put 11-N down the bridge and the Olive on both sides to make it look smaller. Male jawlines take a dark color almost exclusively. And, since the males who seem to make up best as girls are those of us who are a little (or more than a little) plump, chances are you have a heavy chin anyhow so the dark 11-N belongs there, too. As for other areas of the face… eye sockets, cheeks, etc., you’ll have to experiment a little. BUT much of the color contrast between the two shades will now go by the board anyway.

The next step is the one that makes you look natural. Right at present, a two tone Tonto is looking at you in the mirror. We’re going to turn that into a good looking, smooth skinned girl for about 45 cents, for a year’s supply of magic. Next ingredients is simple, Plain Red grease-based rouge. The key is grease-based. Available in most Five-And-Dimes, or at the same theatrical makeup supply house. It usually comes in a small plastic container the size of a half-dollar. Very gingerly, pat your fingertips in the bloody stuff and BLEND it into the facial makeup all over – not just on the cheeks – all over. Your face will magically begin to lighten and take on the rosy hue of natural flesh… destroying the made-up look.

You see, all makeups made for females tend to look mask-like and pale on a man… even if he has selected the right one for his skin color, .. which, unless your name Chief Flying Cloud, you did not anyway. Applied properly, you’ll look like a very smooth-faced, slightly high bloodpressured female with an oily complexion at this point.

Last step is to get rid of the greasy look (and some of the red-faced look.) That requires plenty of facepowder. Slap it on heavily with a powderpuff. The best color, I’ve discovered is Rachel… also a common enough color name. You can buy almost any brand, the cheaper, the better. After you look like an accident in a flour factory, stroke the excess off with the puff until you have a light mate finish and streaks… no leftover light spots, and no heavy layer. That should last you for the whole evening. If repairs are necessary, carry a pressed powder compact of about Rachel shade in your handbag and apply sparingly in the nearest Ladies Room, sparingly… or by the end of the night you’ll look like a poor plaster job on a ghetto wall. Now, on to other things. First off, if you use artificial eyelashes, apply BEFORE you begin this whole procedure and allow to dry. Stick ’em on after shaving and go do your nails or something.

But, with this facial base, you can now apply mascara, eye liner, eye shadow and brow color. Plus lipstick… and if you feel you must, a bit of powdered blusher over the cheek bones.

A few hints here. Pastel colors look better on “us girls” as well as being more in style. Throw away the bright red lipstick, also the almost-white or beige colors. Unless, of course, you really want to be approached at every bar you enter by a dirty old man. And, even if you do you can get more, if you look virginal. (Also more $$$). Enlarge your eyes with soft blue or brown eyeshadow. Somehow, the powdered varieties seem to look better than liquids or grease based ones. And, do not use eyeliner until you’ve done everything else to your eyes that you’re going to… it’s the finishing touch. I find the Maybelline cake (that you wet) to be the most controllable, and the liquids in little bottles to be useful only for used-car touchup or writing nasty graffiti on john walls.

There’s one danger in all this. If you have the usual coarse-pored male face, this preparation will cover it far more evenly than liquid makeups like CoverGirl which tends to fill in the pores and rub off the highs between – creating a cement-wall look. If you have a very heavy pore structure,… almost an acne-scarred facial skin, it may not work too well. I don’t and haven’t tried it on someone who does. It may be even better… or terrible.

And one warning… it does tend to rub off on dress collars (also on shirt collars if you have a boyfriend…) so be prepared for one wearing out of a high collared white blouse… maybe two out of a pastel dress… but a simple dry-cleaning takes care of all.

How do you get out of what I got you into? Simple. Buy the biggest, cheapest jar of cold cream you can get. The more you can buy for your money, the better it will work. Grab a big gob and smear all over your face. Literally wash your face in the goo until you’re covered with tan grease. Wipe off with a ton of paper towels. Take a smaller gob and repeat the treatment. Then wash well with soap and water (mainly to remove the perfumed odor and keep your secret from your wife). If there’s no secret to be kept, allow the residue to remain as it’s quite good for your skin anyhow.

Good luck. And let me know how it works. I believe that the same combination of dark and light can be used for those with far lighter beards than mine (I’m the Original Great American Wooly-Bear)… using much lighter tones of PanStik than 11-N… but for difficult-to-cover beards, it’s a good way to go.

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