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Hair and Makeup Design for Theatre Performers

Discuss about the Theatrical Design for Elements of Visual Composition.

Three types of production personnel are such as make up designer, hair designer, and dress designer. Make up designers and the hair designers are working closely in a theatre company. They both assess the makeup and hair requirements. By keeping the budget in the mind, makeup and hair designer prepare the makeup and hair budget. The producer and director give them details regarding the scene and the role or character of the actors. The hair designers also cut and colour the hair as per the requirement of the performers. In addition, Chung (2014) mentioned that dress designers also require to consult with the directors, which style would be suitable for the performers. The dress designer needs to focus on the three major areas of fashion such as clothing, footwear and accessories.

The hair dressers of Matilda theatre has been suffering from several problems, which are discussed in the following:

  • Require to be a multi-taker. This refers that the hair dresser requires to dress up the hair of the artists along with he or she also requires to have the knowledge regarding hair cutting and hair treatment. Unless having the knowledge, the hair dresser will not be able to survive in the theatre.
  • Nowadays, it can be noticed that the makeup artists are able to dress the hair of the artists. Therefore, the producers are liking to recruit those make up designer who are also able to perform the role of hair dressers (Kim & Cheeyong, 2015). Therefore, it can be inferred that the hair dressers also require to learn the skill of makeup dresser for their survival.
  • Rise in competition, therefore, the hair dressers require to update their skills and knowledge.

Five health, hygiene and safety requirement, which are required to apply when hair dressers provide their services, are discussed in the following:

  • Need to communicate with the directors and artists regarding the necessity and then also needs to provide advice on hair care.
  • They also need to provide information regarding the hair care treatment as colouring, bleaching and using of chemicals in hair is harmful.
  • Dry hair and then style it using clean brushes or with other equipments.
  • Song & Lee (2015) opined that hair spa is helpful for hair growth.
  • A ‘dust off’ air spray is necessary in order to get hair out of clippers.

Five steps of producing hair designs for the production are as follow:

  • Firstly, the hair dresser requires to clarify the hairdressing equipments.
  • In consultation with the personnel, it is necessary to identify the factors impact how hair requires to be styled to achieve the production requirements.
  • Refine designs to integrate feedback as per the necessity.
  • After that thee hair dressers require to be prepared for the hairdressing assignments and also check whether these equipments meet health, hygiene and safety requirements of the performers (Sharif et al., 2016).
  • Lastly, create and apply hair designs.

As opined by Kehoe (2015), appropriate hair designing and makeup of an artist is helpful to enhance their characterisation. As the actors are far away from the audience and hence, support from the exaggerated clients is highly required. For example, it can be stated that in case of melodramatic act, the rough style is exemplified with the help of exaggerated movement, make up and also costuming. On the other hand, Malloy (2014) mentioned that as women were not give the permission to perform in Kabuki theatre. Therefore, the male actors require to dress up like a woman and therefore, they require to put wigs and also needed to take make up.


Effect on skin tone

Necessary action to be taken

Hair appears darker

Participants may suffer from respiratory allergies from the excess use of chemicals. In addition, Kuijer, Jong & Eijk (2013) added that use of darker hair colour may create asthma to the users.

In this point, the experts suggested that although it is required to colour the hair as per the demand of the role, the actors require to wash out the chemicals after the performance. Unless doing this, the users may suffer from several skin diseases.

Hair appears lighter

The quality of hair is getting poor and with the passage of time, the hair is getting dried up.

The hair dressers require to use natural hair colour. In this context, Elkin (2015) mentioned that the hair dressers need to mix 8 chamomile tea bags in the hot water. After that the hair dresser requires to keep the pot for 30 minutes. Then he requires to mix concoction in order to clean the dry hair.

Apart from this, the hair dresser can uses organic hair colours.

According to Sandlin (2014), based on the physical appearance and the character of the role, the hair dressers dress the hairs of the actors. If a young actor requires to play the role of an old people, then the hair dressers requires to colour white of the actor. Therefore, it can be inferred that physical appearance of the actor can efficiently influence their acting skill.

In 1950s, some of the popular hair styles for female actors were such as Italian cut, curved but waved short type hair style, bubble cut, poodle cut, butch cut etc. In the opinion of Chung (2014), it can be mentioned that curls and waves were created by setting the wet hairs of the female artists with the help of pin curls. In addition, small rollers and water were used for the purpose of waving. After that setting lotion was applied and then dried off the hair with the help of hooded dryers. Pin curls were used in the opposite direction. However, Kehoe (2015) mentioned that for long hair, the hair dressers opted perming type hair style. In this type of hair style, the hair dressers did the curl with the help of small perming rods. Moreover, it can be added that colouring the hairs and techniques were getting advanced from the year of 1950. During this time, the hair dressers were willing to use several types of hats in the head of the female actress.

As per the statement of Malloy (2014), the production factors has a direct impact on the makeup designing. In this context, it can be mentioned that men actors requires to shaving off their facial hair and the moustaches were required to be neatly clipped. In addition, their hair was required to be short, neat and also needed to be dressed with hair of oil or with cream. This was the scenario of 1930. However, as per the production demand, the moustache of the male artists was famous, but beards were not popular in the year of 1940.

The specific requirements of the performers also reflect the makeup design. In this context, Elkin (2015) opined that since 1939 that is after World War II, the performers of Europe was suffering from shortages of cosmetics. In that time, only red matte lipstick was produced and government allowed to produce these products in order to increase the morale of thee female actors. Therefore, the performers during that time also willing to use the red matte lipstick and due to thee availability the makeup designers were forced to use this. This is how the makeup artists were influenced with the requirements of the consumers.

According to Goff et al., (2013), it is necessary to discuss the makeup procedures with the performers. Each of the performer’s skin tone is not similar with the others. Therefore, before doing the makeup, the makeup designers require to discuss whether any product or accessory would create allergy on the skins or not. Moreover, in case of hair cutting, the hair dressers require to admit whether the performer like short or long type hair. In this point, it can be identified that the young performers are usually like miniskirts, tights, knee high boots and heavy high make up. They do not have any fascination regarding the length of their hair, but they preferred to use false eyelashes during their play. These all prove that before generating the makeup design, the designers require to consult with the clients.


Chung, K. Y. (2014). Effect of facial makeup style recommendation on visual sensibility. Multimedia Tools and Applications, 71(2), 843-853.

Elkin, S. L. (2015). Reconstructing the commercial republic: Constitutional design after Madison. University of Chicago Press.

Goff, C., Burns, J. L., King, P. T. P., Stock, C., Skifstrom, E. E., Buse, C. H., ... & Cordova, A. (2013). U.S. Patent No. 8,590,543. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Kehoe, V. (2015). Special make-up effects. CRC Press.

Kim, M., & Cheeyong, K. (2015). Augmented reality fashion apparel simulation using a magic mirror. International journal of smart home, 9(2), 169-178.

Kuijer, L., Jong, A. D., & Eijk, D. V. (2013). Practices as a unit of design: An exploration of theoretical guidelines in a study on bathing. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 20(4), 21.

Malloy, K. (2014). The art of theatrical design: elements of visual composition, methods, and practice. CRC Press.

Sandlin, E. F. (2014). Start Your Own Hair Salon and Day Spa: Your Step-by-step Guide to Success. Entrepreneur Press.

Sharif, M., Bhagavatula, S., Bauer, L., & Reiter, M. K. (2016, October). Accessorize to a crime: Real and stealthy attacks on state-of-the-art face recognition. In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security (pp. 1528-1540). ACM.

Song, W. Y., & Lee, M. H. (2015). A Study of Impression Formation According to Men's Accessories Wearing and Hairstyle. Journal of the Korean Society of Costume, 65(2), 17-32.

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