Beating Your Face

How to do Makeup like a Drag Queen

Don’t worry- it’s not literally beating your face! Ever wondered how drag queens transform themselves with makeup? Keep reading to find out!

Getting ready can be a nearly day-long ordeal for a drag queen. When I was filming Dixie Lynn Cartwright for this project, it took about three hours. And that was just for makeup; if she was going to work a gig, she would still have to put on and style a wig, get dressed, etc. It was really difficult (honestly impossible) to condense the entire process into a minute and a half; three minutes didn’t even really do it justice, but I tried my best.

What You’ll Need:

  • Sanitary wipes
  • Elmer’s Glue Stick
  • Eyebrow comb
  • White setting powder
  • Foundation stick
  • Highlight stick
  • Contour stick
  • Beauty Blender or makeup sponge
  • Regular setting powder
  • Eyebrow pencil
  • Fluffy eyeshadow brush
  • Concealer brush
  • Pink eyeshadow
  • Eyeliner
  • Three pairs of false eyelashes
  • Lip liner
  • Lip gloss

Step 1: Clean off your face and eyebrows with a sanitary wipe or makeup wipe

Dixie covering her eyebrows with glue


Step 2: Glue down eyebrows with Elmer’s Glue Stick. Comb them down with an eyebrow comb

Step 3: Cover eyebrows with white setting powder

Dixie applying foundation

Step 4: Apply foundation on areas of the face that won’t be covered by highlight or contour

Step 5: Buff out foundation with a Beauty Blender or makeup sponge

Step 6: Apply highlight to the tops of your cheeks, down the center of your nose, and on your forehead

Step 7: Buff out highlight with a Beauty Blender or makeup sponge

Step 8: Apply contour on areas of the face you want to shrink- forehead, underneath your cheekbones, and under your jawline

Step 9: Buff out contour with a Beauty Blender or makeup sponge

Dixie carving out her cheek

Step 10: Carve out your cheekbones with your highlight color

Step 11: Buff out the highlight with a Beauty Blender or makeup sponge

Step 12: Shape your nose with your highlight color and a small concealer brush

Step 13: Set your face with your regular setting powder

Dixie drawing on eyebrows

Step 14: Draw on and fill in eyebrows with an eyebrow pencil

Step 15: Define your crease with pink eyeshadow on a fluffy eyeshadow brush

Step 16: Blend the eyeshadow around your eye and down under your eye

Step 17: Take your eyebrow pencil and draw a line defining the crease of your eye. Blend it out with your fluffy blending brush

Step 18: Use your highlight color on a small concealer brush and clean up the crease of your eye

Step 19: Draw and fill in your eyeliner

Dixie applying false eyelashes

Step 20: Apply three stacked pairs of false eyelashes

Step 21: Line and fill in your lips with a lip liner

Step 22: Apply lipgloss over the lip liner



You can check out a video tutorial here! Or view the storyboard here!


Wow, I really did not expect this assignment to be this difficult. Going into it I thought it would be lighthearted and fun, and the subject matter certainly was, but the execution was not. I know I went way over the time limit, but I was filming Dixie for literally three hours. It felt like a disservice to her to cut down the process to a minute and a half. Plus, I just don’t really think it’s possible. I cut a lot of corners in the process as it is.

I always knew doing drag makeup was difficult and time consuming, but I still thought it would make a great subject matter. I have a few friends who do drag, I love the drag community, and in all my time as a journalism major I had never written anything about it. Looking back on it, I’m not sure this was the right project for the subject, because of how complex drag makeup is, but I’m still glad I was finally able to do it.

1 thought on “Beating Your Face

  1. Caudell, Malec Jerome


    I really enjoyed your package! I think it was admirable that you opted not to cut any steps out of respect for your subjects time. Additionally, I think the stills you used in your blog were really well done. All in all, I was impressed with your work, I’ve never really thought about how much time and preparation must go into doing something like this. I agree this is a complex process, but I still think that for a general introduction in how to do drag, you really hit the nail on the head.

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