New York Fashion Week isn't the only place where the backstage beauty game is on point. Broadway's Mamma Mia doesn't only boast some killer vocal range and acting skills, there's serious beauty tips to be had.
Actresses Judy McLane and her stage daughter Elena Ricardo are pros when it comes to the hair and makeup realm, doing their own makeup for each night's performance. We went backstage before a recent show to get all the details:
While Inglot's Mamma Mia collection plays off of the bold colors and high-octane dance numbers of the show, the makeup onstage is much more subtle. "There's a lot of partying going on, and it ends with a wedding, and it's very fun, so the inspiration for the collection came from that," says makeup designer and assistant hair supervisor Brian Strumwasser. "The makeup look is very neutral, but we still use a lot of makeup to get there. Using colors that are more skin tone-based but are slightly darker allow us to carve out the eye, and create the definition to make the eye or lip pop onstage without using major color to do so." But that's not to say the technicolor hues don't get any play backstage. "If I'm going out after the show, I take a few colors from the Mamma Mia collection and pop them on my face," says McLane. "It's nice because I have this neutral, smoky eye as the base, and can add more color."
To play Donna Sheridan, McLane wears her eye makeup bold and smoky, and pairs the look with glamorous loose waves, a pink lip, and a sheer wash of blush. Finding a balance between an all-over smoldering effect and a natural appearance is key, as the strong stage lights can cause makeup to look more subtle than it actually is. The star has the art of getting ready down to a science--each night when she arrives, she places her hair into InStyler Topstyler Shells ($78; target.com), and as her hair sets, she warms up while working on her makeup. "I start with the Inglot primer ($21; inglotusa.com), then we use a lot of bronzer for this show because it's set in Greece," she tells us. "Brian got me a palette of neutrals I like to use, so I'll bump up the eye, and instead of eyeliner, I mix the Inglot Duraline ($10; inglotusa.com) with the black eye shadow to create a waterproof liner. I cry sometimes during the show, but the product really helps the color stay on. I'm obsessed with it." Once her rose-toned lip and blush are in place, the star mists her face with the Makeup Fixer ($18; inglotusa.com)--a must for keeping her makeup in place, as the chances to reapply are few and far between. Though the entire process typically takes an hour, the actress can get her beauty look ready in 10 minutes flat if any unexpected delays on the train cause her to run late. "I can come back during intermission and do a few touch-ups if I need to, but because I usually have to go right back onstage, I rely on products that last a long time and don't smear," she adds.
McLane also revealed a life-changing way for keeping her lipstick intact when she has to kiss someone onstage, a trick we might just incorporate into our own routine come date night. "Put your lipstick on, then take a tissue and split it in half. Then, hold the tissue on top of the color, and use a loose powder to blot over the tissue," she tells us. "The color stays saturated, but if you kiss someone onstage, it doesn't go anywhere." Genius!
Alternately, Sophie's look is much more natural and low-key. "Sophie is supposed to be very zany, free, and low-maintenance, which I am too, but I also love my makeup," Ricardo tells us. "When we first started out, I was told to tone it down, that I didn't need as much, but I love my eye makeup. Sometimes for the wedding scene, I can put on a little glitter, which satisfies me so much." After a layer of foundation, the star applies an Inglot bronzer ($26; inglotusa.com) all over to impart that Grecian island glow, then adds subtle definition on the eyes with neutral shadow, liner, and a few coats of Inglot's waterproof mascara ($13; inglotusa.com). "The mascara makes me look like I actually have a face, so it's my go-to," she jokes. "Sometimes I cry onstage, so I have to be careful since there isn't a lot of time to touch up." During intermission, Ricardo gives her complexion a dusting of loose powder, then amps up her eyes with a little shimmer to prepare for the wedding. "That way, I look like a girl who is getting married, because really, who gets married without makeup?" she says. "I'm like listen...Sophie is 20-years-old, and at some point she's got to wear makeup."
As for her hair, a loose wave and braid combo stays in line with the beachy theme, and works to conceal her microphone. "Sophie gets beach waves, and then braids on either side of her head. We part her hair down the center, where we place her mic, then we cover it," says hair supervisor Aaron Kinchen. He begins by prepping Ricardo's strands with a veil of L'Oreal Elnett Hairspray ($10; target.com), then works section by section with a curling iron to form the texture. "One of my friends, who is an Oscar-winning hairstylist put me on to it after he told me he never would have gotten through The Iron Lady without Elnett, and it's been my go-to," he says. "We had a mic change the other day that was pretty epic," Ricardo tells us. "My mic went out and it was embedded in my braid. I came offstage and knew that if I stayed calm, everyone would help take care of it. Brian was on one side, Aaron was on the other, my dresser was helping me get my costume off, and we took out the mic, unbraided my hair, placed the new one in, and re-braided it in about a minute in a half!" Clearly, the team works well under pressure, and as the saying goes, the show must go on. "It was pretty cool," Kinchen adds. "It was probably the most excitement I've had on the show in a long time."