Trade secret: Covering up tattoos
Find out how our Make Up Department conceal artists' body art.
One of the daily challenges faced by the Royal Opera House’s make-up artists is the need to conceal visible tattoos sported by singers, dancers and actors appearing onstage. Opera team leader Mathias Nacke and technician Cecilia Öberg shared some of their secrets.
‘There are two products that we use, depending on what the artist is going to be doing onstage. Dermacolor is like a very thick foundation, and is sometimes used medically, to camouflage discoloration, birthmarks or scarring. It’s expensive – a professional palette costs around £90 – but you can blend it to match any skin tone. It works well for performers who are not going to be moving too much onstage or getting close to other people – otherwise it can transfer onto costumes or rub off on other performers. It can be removed with an oil-based cleanser.
‘For artists who are going to be moving a lot on stage, such as dancers, we need to use a waterproof product. Skin Illustrator is alcohol-based, and once it’s dry it’s sweat proof and won’t rub off without an alcohol-based cleanser. It’s even more expensive than Dermacolor – about £120 a palette – and is definitely a product that should only be used by professional make-up artists.’
This feature was adapted from a piece originally featured in About the House magazine, received quarterly by the Friends of Covent Garden.