My Drugstore Stage Makeup-Tales of a Budget Bikini Competitor

Now, I would like to start this post off with a disclaimer and say I am by NO MEANS a makeup artist. However, I am pretty good at trial and error, and I also did a lot of research on contouring and stage makeup before attempting to do my own. I love Amy Updike’s YouTube video for tips and recommendations regarding colors, blending, and tools to use.

However, between all the tutorials and threads I read regarding state makeup I realized a hard truth: makeup can get expensive QUICK. I was competing in a small show with no sponsored makeup artist, and I had no desire to hunt down someone in small town Oklahoma to gamble on for show day. I also did not have any desire to drop $400 on designer makeup for what would probably be my only competition before heading into a bulk.

Instead, I did more research, and experimented a bit on my own until I found a combination of products that not only gave me a great show day look, but they didn’t break the bank. In addition, I was able to purchase several items that are versatile enough to use on a daily basis–double score!



The foundation most competitors will recommend is MAC NW 40 or 45 to achieve a color slightly lighter than competition tan. I read a couple of things that recommended other designer brands, but also read a few encouraging things about Revlon Colorstay foundation. I purchased #400 (Caramel) and #370 (Toast) and used a combination.

For my cheeks I actually contoured with my normal foundation because I am SO PALE that it worked great as a highlighting color. One purchase I cannot go on and on about enough was a kabuki brush. I always thought using a brush for liquid foundation was sort of weird, but after using it ohmygosh it’s amazing and helps with blending.

Blush-wise, I bought a palette so I could have several colors to play with. I did some of the darker color under my cheekbones, and the pink on the apples of my cheeks. I went for E.l.f. Blush Palette Dark because of its versatility and cost-effectiveness.


Eye shadow is definitely my weak point when it comes to DIY makeup. I usually wear a couple colors of tan or shimmery brown and call it good. However, I really wanted to make my eyes pop and watched several smoky eye tutorials. I knew I needed a variety of colors and I would have to adjust based on my tan color. I almost, ALMOST bit the bullet and splurged on a Naked palette, but I ended up finding this W7 Colour Me Buff Natural Nudes Eye Shadow Colour Palette with really great reviews. It worked perfectly! I had several light shades for my brow and lid, and the black is very black so it works great for dramatic eyes you can see on stage. This is probably the product I will use the most now that the show is over. For application and blending I just used my Ecotools brushes that I already had.

My eyes are also really watery, and I knew I’d be sweating a lot on show day under the lights. I have tried many eyeliners that promise to stay put and they bleed off my eyes within hours. I went back and forth based on a few reviews but settled on this L’Oreal Paris Telescopic Precision Liquid Waterproof Eyeliner. It gave nice, clean lines, and does not move! Also a new daily staple. Side note: this does not go well onto your water line so I actually used this pencil liner in “Perfect”. This is the only pencil I’ve ever bought that stays on my eyes, and I was already using it daily. It just doesn’t give quite the clean line I wanted for my upper lid.


Some of the bikini ladies backstage

I played around with different lashes but ended up with some drugstore ones by Revlon. I purchased the single lashes and strips, and as an amateur putting on lashes, I highly recommend the strips. It is too easy to get uneven with the single lashes. Also, I just thought the strips gave a more dramatic finish. I have since switched to Ardell Lashes as a regular staple in my beauty regimen and like them even more! Duo Lash Adhesive worked wonderfully, and I chose white so I could see it well over my eyeliner. It dries clear so any mistakes won’t be noticed.  My advice for the strip lashes is PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. If you do not use them on a regular basis, show day is not the day to learn. I practiced and it still took me a good ten to fifteen minutes to get mine on and even. Also, pack a small set of scissors to trim your lashes down on show day!

Because I used fake lashes, all I did was apply my normal Mayebelline mascara and curl them. No need for extra money to be spent, your fake lashes will be fine!

Last but not least was brows. I have never been one to mess much with my eyebrows. Everything I read and all the videos I watched suggested filling in your brows. I waxed my eyebrows the week of the show, and then filled them in a bit with this Maybelline pencil. I have some mixed feelings about the filling in. I wish I would have toned it down just a little bit, or perhaps used a lighter color. However, I do agree that if you have light-colored brows, you need something to make them show up over the tan on stage.



One thing I would have changed was to use a lip liner. I LOVED the color I used, but this particular product was a little too smooth and did not stay on as well as I would have liked. Not going to lie, I tried to skimp and use a pencil so I could use it as both a liner and color, but that didn’t work out. I chose this Neutrogena pencil in Wine Berry. The color added an awesome pop,but did not look overdone or garish on stage.

Finishing Touches

So, because I knew I was not using the highest quality of products, I wanted something to ensure all my makeup did not slide off my face. First, I lightly dusted my whole look with this NYX translucent powder powder. I was a little skeptical because it was SO light, but it did not show up over my tan at all, it just kept me from looking too shiny or sweaty on stage.

Lastly, I spritzed my whole face with some NYX Cosmetics Make Up Setting Spray. I chose a matte finish, and read lots of reviews on different sprays before I chose the one I did. I loved it because my makeup did not move the entire day, and I didn’t feel gooey or sticky as a result of using it. Once again, the powder and finishing spray are both items I use regularly now, so it did not feel like as much of an “investment”.

I also used press on nails from Walmart to avoid spending $40-50 on a manicure. My toes I painted a blush pink. Just make sure to bring extra glue, I lost a nail several times between pumping up, adjusting my suit, and fixing my hair.


Grand Total


Now, this is not a “cheap” purchase by any means. However, most of the products I used were 50-75% cheaper than the department store equivalents recommended by most other posts or tutorials. Also, I have used close to half of these products again, and a few of the items I had on hand already. And if you compete in more than one competition within a few months, this will be far and away much cheaper than hiring a professional makeup artist in the long run. Overall, I felt like I achieved a classy stage look without having to purchase hundreds of dollars of expensive makeup I could only use for the stage. No one can say that bodybuilding is a cheap hobby, but any way to cut costs is a win in my book!

The other great part: you can find almost all of these products via Amazon, which saves you time and money and cuts out an extra trip to the store in the weeks leading up to your show.


Also, this is my first time doing my own makeup and really experimenting with stage makeup. ANY feedback on products or the look is much appreciated. I’m always looking for ways to improve my site and my stage package!

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