Drag Makeup- Everything You Need to Know in 2022

Drag Makeup – was introduced to me by one of my favorite influencers on Instagram aka @warrenkillian and so in this post, I will be showing a lot of the looks he has created and also telling his ‘story’ . Warren has supported us since we started Glamore Cosmetics and I consider him ‘Familia’. He creates looks for us on the regular and he calls me “Momma Bear” – in my heart I have so much respect and gratitude for him that this post is dedicated to Warren for – well for just being himself.

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Warren on Instagram

Drag is a complicated word that started out as slang used in the theatre and today is associated with the LGBTQ+ community. Drag has become more than just about hair, clothes or makeup it has become about sexuality – not necessarily controversial but something I want to explore.

I want to know how it began, what is Drag Runway, who is RuPaul (TIME magazine 2017) and much more because in my heart I am a history buff! As much as I love my Science world I also love History and there is a huge deep dark history to drag (and drag makeup) which is overflowing in the form of sweet ‘tea’.

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Drag queens in drag makeup and clothing

Drag Makeup Kit – what do you need?

Drag is a performance. RuPaul Charles, host of RuPauls Drag Race, describes Drag as a transformative act which everyone should try at least once. He claims that drag can in itself be revealing, not only of who YOU are but what lies within you. It can give you confidence, overcome hardship and let you live your best life! And because it is a performance – much like live theatre – makeup products play the biggest role of all. They could possibly the ‘stars’.

If you don’t know about the brands we offer please note that our ethos is cruelty free and vegan friendly! To find out more you can read this blog post which tells you about the cruelty free makeup brands currently available in SA.

these are some of the drag makeup essentials required in the kit of a drag artist

Drag History

Drag began out of necessity, although that’s not to say its participants didn’t enjoy it. When Shakespearean theatre was shiny and new in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the stage wasn’t just a place of entertainment. It had strong links to the church and with that came rules that only men could tread the ‘boards’. In that play a few featured roles were female, then it was up to a couple of the men in the cast to dress as members of the opposite sex so the story didn’t suffer. And hence the word ‘drag’ as their dresses or petticoats were ‘dragged’ on the floor boards.

Othello – men had to dress up as women and so it began

It soon became a way for men (often gay men, although plenty of heterosexual men wear drag as well) to express a different side of themselves, over-exaggerating feminine looks, style and body language to create a persona. As RuPaul himself says, there is more to drag than impersonating a woman: “I don’t dress like a woman; I dress like a drag queen!”

Drag Race – TV Series – season 14!!

Oh this I never thought I would ever see – a TV series literally putting drag queens/ artists to the test. These queens compete as contestants in ‘fashion and performance’ to be crowned as the next drag queen superstar! It started out as a once off niche reality show and then in 2009 it became a combination of two shows: America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway which gave the drag artists an amazing opportunity. This incredible show is in its 14th season (to date) with 11 Emmy Awards. What does this mean? You guys what does this really mean – simply and conclusively it means drag and drag makeup is a genuine thing and people are all for it!

Drag Race stands out as the only show on TV that consistently features gay people from different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. “The show also offers hope about the human race,” Barbato said. “It inspires the people who watch it. During these dark times, it is not only inspiring that there is a ‘die-hard fan base’, but I think it has also inspired the industry a little bit. It might be part of why people might be more motivated to include us and invite us to the big kid’s table.” Taken from Behind the Rise of RuPaul’s Drag Race which makes for incredible reading.

Drag Queen Alert

SA has its own drag queen

As mentioned my first exposure to drag makeup was Warren Killian on Instagram. Drama check. Brightness check. Incredible makeup check. Glowing skin check. Sexy check Eye catching and sometimes shocking check. Not for everyone check. Teaching us to be accepting – for me this is the most valuable lesson Warren has taught me. Somehow he/ she/ her/ them can be layered but that doesn’t matter because his inner beauty is his power. Warren in one word is genuine – you either like him or you don’t.

Warren inspires me – he can be anyone he wants to be – he transforms himself.

I chatted in-depth to Warren and asked him how he got into the Drag life? This was his answer:

I got into it from spending time with Durban drag queens just after finishing school and when I entered the club scene. I was amazed and inspired by how free and happy these people were when they were all dressed up and performing in front of crowds in the club. 

Truth be told, when I first started doing drag it was certainly not as polished as it is today but I’m so glad I took that first step because it truly propelled my career as a makeup artist; but most of all, encouraged me to truly LIVE – freely and authentically. 

Drag is so much more than just a boy putting on a wig, a dress and some makeup; drag is an attitude – it is confidence, it is sass; and most of all, it’s about FREEDOM. 
My advice to anybody wanting to do drag is to JUST DO IT. Don’t focus on people, don’t give too much energy to the outfits, the makeup, the look. Just do it and be HAPPY. And most importantly, LISTEN to your drag mothers (people who have been doing drag longer than you) 1000%
of the time their sassy advice is only to make you a better QUEEN!

Warren – the Makeup Artist

Warren is not only a drag queen and artist but he is also an amazing makeup artist! He specializes in wedding makeup and his brides are so pretty. He in fact has also done makeup for a few famous clients – using our products (actually tagging US Glamore Cosmetics on Instagram – its like being ‘famous’ or finally being ‘known and trusted’). Yip Warren lives the ‘cruelty free and vegan friendly’ life and we are proud and honored to be associated with him.

As Warren has grown into his makeup skills AND popularity we have walked with him – and grown as a brand. We know ourselves better and in achieving this we have been able to support Warren as a makeup artist. And let me tell you he is INCREDIBLY GOOD! But I know a picture tells 1000 words so here are some of Warrens clients – you be the judge and if you’re in Durban go find him – go make that booking and transform yourself!

These lovely ladies are from Instagram top = @priyankamoodley1 , bottom left = @mishqahparthiephal and right =  @lisa.k.v

Recently Warren did the makeup on one of the famous actresses in Blood and Water on Netflix – @katishcka I feature her here and then also a short video of the look that was created. This is a South African TV show based in SA – highly recommended!

@katishcka from Blood And Water

This is the look that I mentioned – Warren aka famous makeup artist did the makeup on @katishcka who is now one of the stars on the TV show Blood and Water on Netflix.

Warren’s makeup tips (take close notes here)

I can’t tell you the number of times I have asked him ‘what is your favorite product’ or ‘what makeup item can’t you live without’. And he always says: ‘there is not one but Momma Bear if you run out of the duochrome Sprinkle Mes I will be very upset’. For Warren these glitter pigments were a ‘game changer’ I will explain in the next section how they work and why everyone needs at least ONE!

And guess what? This is my opportunity to give back to you – leave a comment and win a set of the Duochrome pigments – the ones we have available. But not only that – guess some more and read about the magic and power of this little product. I am blown away by its versatility and so many people don’t even know what it can do.

Here is another video from Warren performing his art – what do you think?

Duochrome pigments (drag makeup essentials)

Duochrome is defined as the ability to change into 2/ more colors depending on the way the light falls on it (or hits it). Once you have discovered this hidden makeup gem it is literally game over and you have upped your makeup to another level.

Glitter pigments from Glamore Cosmetics TOP LEFT = Blink Blink and Crush, TOP RIGHT = Pink Ounce and Kryptonite Dust, BOTTOM LEFT = combination of pigments, BOTTOM RIGHT = Midas Touch (top), Blink Blink, Kryptonite Dust and Crush (bottom)

These Duochrome pigments are extra special because 1) they appear white, 2) they can shift into another color and 3) they pick up the shade of what they are applied over. We have a few shades so I thought it best to tell you the shift in a table format – makes it easier – I hope.

06 KRYPTONITE DUSTBLUE/ GREEN HOLOGRAPHIC (very fine glitter, highly concentrated)
15 CRUSHBLUE/ SILVER (bigger glitter particles)
list of duochrome pigments and their color shifts

There are many ways to use these pigments, here are some of them:

  • Apply directly to your eyes for a shimmer effect
  • Apply with glitter glue to prevent any fall out – this also enhances the color but not essential
  • Use with the liquid primer from Pierre Rene for a wet effect
  • Mix into other makeup items such as foundations to create a highlighter and shimmer effect
  • Pat onto colored eyeshadow and see the effect (hello aka Warren here)
  • Dab over lipstick
  • Use on nails as glitter
  • these pigments are vegan friendly (and cruelty free) that is the reason why you can use them every where and anywhere

Drag Makeup Techniques and Tea Spill

As I mentioned earlier there is always a bit of tea spill and of course being the world of performance I found lots of cups. If you want the actual tea hit search on the internet but here is some spill for you. In a tea cup it goes like this – drag queens/ artists are not given enough credit for the current makeup techniques such as: heavy contouring, baking, fluttering false lashes, blinding highlighter, cut crease eye makeup and many others.

Credit has been given to the Kylie Jenner’s, Kim Kardashian and other beauty/ Instagram influencers. Obviously this is upsetting because when you actually have a look at drag history you will find these makeup looks created by drag makeup artists.

And so I asked Shannin to show us some basic contouring and we give credit to the drag community. In another blog post we can go in depth into contouring so watch this space.

Shannin doing contouring 101

Contouring has its roots in Drag Makeup

Ask any millennial about contouring and they will quickly say ‘Kim Kardashian’ however it seems that it has its roots well established in the iconic Drag community. Kardashian makeup is Instagram makeup is drag makeup.

When you’re learning how to do drag makeup, contour is king — or queen, depending upon which way you drag! Heavily contoured cheeks and noses are crucial to drag queen makeup because they let you play with shadows and proportions however you see fit. Contouring makeup adds dimension to your face – we use shades that are either lighter (highlighter) or darker than out actual skin (unlike foundation when you need an exact match). Here are some tips we put together for you:

  1. Dry skin – choose cream contouring products, otherwise stick to powder products as they are more ‘forgiving’ and easier to blend.
  2. Skin prep – very important to do this BEFORE contouring at this point your skin is a blank canvas
  3. Definition – using a bronzer on cheeks, sides on your nose, hairline and jawline
  4. Highlighter – following the guidelines from NASA 🙂 which says you can either use a concealer or a powder highlighter. Find the different high points of your face, such as the bridge of your nose, the center of your forehead, on the tops of your cheekbones, and areas around your mouth (like the corners of your lips and above the cupid’s bow).
  5. Blending time – either use a brush or a wet sponge for this – with the brush you need to sweep the makeup back and forth for an even flawless look (watch Shannin’s video). And if you use a wet sponge pat the makeup into your skin so that it literally ‘melts’.
  6. Ready. Set. Go. – for this you need a setting spray or powder to help the makeup stay on for the whole day.
Contouring essentially softens the face but can also be dramatic

Drag makeup as I said earlier is the ‘star’ because when you go on stage and do a performance you need to shine BRIGHT – almost like Emma says NASA needs to see you. And the very last thing on G-ds green Earth is for your makeup to get ruined. It is essential that it stays put and looks good from the start to the finish. Plus its a means to an end – its freeing and transforming. You can literally be anyone you want to be.

Drag performer Justin Dwayne Lee Johnson, whose stage name is Alyssa Edwards, says the first time he stepped out of his house in full makeup and hair was an “electrifying” feeling. “It was the first time that I truly felt celebrated, accepted, admired, and it gave me the confidence and the courage that I felt like I’d always lacked,” he recalls, “Because of drag, now I feel like [confidence] even oozed on out into my personal life.”

Give credit where credit is due

I definitely have this philosophy in life – I tell my children on the daily – if it does not belong to you, don’t take it. BUT if you choose to take it, use it or give love to it, give the credit to the person who did it. Praise that person. Thank them and acknowledge them. Whether it is a photo or a piece of writing – you need to give credit where credit is due.

So who wants the rest of the tea?????? Did you put your hand up? OMG I know right – who can say no to me or a sweet cup of tea?

In my opinion, drag might have made its mark in the beauty world with the advent of Patrick Starr (who has 4 million subscribers on You Tube), Manny Gutierrez, James Charles (23.7 million Instagram subscribers) and others becoming known as ‘beauty boy influencers’. Essentially they are beauty experts in their own right, create makeup tutorials for You Tube and collaborating with famous makeup brands such as Morphe, Mac and Elf.

However these days the makeup world is so full of drama that it is impossible to say if this is drag or not? Or maybe that’s exactly why it is. When Patrick Starr was asked if he is a drag queen his comment was ‘I identify as a gay man – I don’t do drag (yet his fame all started by making drag videos)’. His makeup is more to show people how good he is as a makeup artist – that people will trust him.

I am not going to comment on any of the other influencers ‘queens’ who are working with brands which is great and incredible. The focus of this post is Warren – see below for his drag makeup look with some details of products used etc.

Warrens drag makeup look

Drag Makeup by Warren

In this drag makeup look Warren used two of our products: black eyeshadow from Pierre Rene and the MIYO lip gloss in Red Dress. When he put this post up on social media – it gained quite a bit of attention. Most specifically were the lashes and the wig which was given extra affection. The makeup overall is flawless, his false lashes are amazing and the foundation is perfectly blended. Maybe we should ask for a tutorial – let me know if this is something you would like to see or know more about?

On a final note these are some of the contouring products Shannin used in her video:

Contouring palette and brushes from Glamore Cosmetics

Drag artists all over the world we salute you and thank you for creating such dramatic makeup looks. And to my dearest friend Warren – our Queen – we love you ‘buckets’.

Yours – Momma Bearxxx

PS: don’t forget to leave a comment to win those Duochrome glitter pigments 🙂

24 thoughts on “Drag Makeup- Everything You Need to Know in 2022

  1. Warren Killian
    Warren Killian says:

    Thank you for spreading such an absolutely amazing message on the culture of drag. Thank you for being a vessel that inspires the art form of drag. I know that this article will definitely impact change in the mindsets of anybody who reads this! I hope this gives anybody reading this the freedom to be their true, authentic selves. Whether you’re a drag queen, thinking of doing drag or even if you’re a drag ally, from this moment on may you never be shy to show off your Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent!

    Warren Killian ♥️

    1. Gael Baines

      Warren Killian for PRESIDENT! Thank you for teaching me about drag. You made me understand so much about kindness as well as respect.
      I am really glad I could do this – you and the drag community itself need to be validated. Love always Momma Bearxxx

  2. Kamani

    This was beautifully written and so informative. Thank you for sharing. Also huge fan of Warren. What a talented individual.

    1. Gael Baines

      Thank you for reading I appreciate it 🙂 and as for Warren he is incredible! Gaelxxx

  3. Sorick Hutheram
    Sorick Hutheram says:

    This was so educational to read! @warrenkillian is someone I look up to all the time. Before I came out he was one of the first queer Indian guys that I’d seen doing makeup and it was so inspiring to see someone like me being themselves and living unapologetically. I have so much respect for Drag Queens and Kings because even when they’re going through the most, they still manage to make you feel happy and put a smile on your face. To me Drag is art, the amount of effort and creative energy it takes to do drag is immaculate. It also teaches you valuable life lessons and helps build your confidence and social skills ❤️

    1. Gael Baines

      OMG – you made me cry! Such an amazing comment thank you! We had one of our first masterclasses in Durban and Warren asked me if it was okay that he could join – I was OF COURSE – he was our first drag queen and I feel he belongs to us! What I really do like about him is ‘you see what you get’ even with all the added layers I see his kindness and genuine personality. Stay cool and thanks again!

  4. Whiren

    My motto for about the past 4 years is “Look good,Feel good, Do good.”
    When you take that time to just add abit of glamour to yourself, you immediately fell it. Loved this article!!!
    AND the tastiest part was seeing brilliant Warren being shown as the great MUA he is.
    Cheers to you Warren.

    1. Gael Baines

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post – I know it was a bit long but with Warren’s talent it could have been longer 🙂
      Yes cheers to Warren 🙂

  5. Sona.lorrick@gmail.com

    Warren and his energy is truly inspiring and transformative at best. He gives us an in-depth look at the layers of which constitutes a drag queen but also what constitutes a queer person as part of the lgbt community. I’ve known warren for years and he is the most genuine soul.
    I have also been watching ru Paul’s drag race for years and it’s truly joyful to watch the queens and how much happiness it brings them. I am from the lgbt community but was ashamed and hidden for most of my life. Today I stand proud and live my life out loud. It’s brings me immense pleasure to help people understand that they are not alone and they too can live a truly emancipated life.

    1. Gael Baines

      I am so glad you reached this point – you have nothing to be ashamed about – be proud be you! And live life.
      Thank you for your honesty I really do appreciate how genuine you are 🙂 and thanks so much for reading my blog post. I told Warren it was a ‘labor of love’. Gaelxxx

  6. Tina Pieterse

    So interesting to read about the history of Drag Who knew?!?

    1. Gael Baines

      I know right? There is so much more we don’t know but I enjoyed writing this post – thanks for ready!

    2. Sasha

      The makeup is just so stunning and versatile! The way this drag makeup just screams “unapologetic boss” and is so beautiful 🤩 I’m such a fan of the glitter.

      1. Gael Baines

        Agree 10000% definitely both boss and beautiful! If you love glitter – the duochromes are for you 🙂

  7. Shannin

    One of the many things I love about Warren is that as he’s gained notoriety, he’s remained the kind and helpful person he has been since we first connected through Glamore Cosmetics. Always willing to offer a moment of his time to help smaller creators, always there to hype you up and tell you its going to be great when you go live on IG for the first time, just a genuinely lovely human I am very grateful to have in my circle 🙏💙.

    Great post 🙌❤️

    1. Gael Baines

      I completely agree Warren is Warren is Warren he’s our day one and will always be that way.
      Thank you for reading I am glad you enjoyed it “)

  8. Nakshizzle

    Wowzers! Super informative on drag! Warren has some madddd skillz – and his application of makeup is just effortless – not just on himself but on clients too! I’ve had first hand experience 😅🤞🏽🌻

    1. Gael Baines

      Thank you for reading – yes he has some incredible talent I couldn’t agree more. And he is always willing to teach us and show us what to do.
      warren is modest yet bright and beautiful – as I said there are so many layers to him but we love him anyway 🙂

  9. Tasha

    Wow this was really educational. I follow Warren because of his amazing talent and his willingness to share his products used and make up tips. Very few do so. Be it make-up or of the topic he is an amazing soul. I may not know him personally but my few interactions over insta can most definitely give me the vibe of a person. Warren is definitely a gem💎 .

    1. Gael Baines

      Thank you Tasha I appreciate you reading my post – it was a proper ‘labor of love’. Stay sweet. Gaelxxx

  10. Chloe

    I’ve loved every video you’ve shared on Warrens looks 🤗 I’m always so envious, I wish I were that good. Thank you for this history lesson, I honestly had no idea but I will say, those that do drag look amazing – and their skills I’d say is better than some of us ladies 🙈 I love their spirit and light that shines through. Thank you Gael

    1. Gael Baines

      You are not alone I always feel Warren has too much talent and I got none 🙂 but he has worked so hard he deserves all the praise and respect!
      We love you back Ms Chloe and thank you so much for being part of our small family. Lots of hugs!!!

  11. Kimberly

    Very interesting! Drag is definitely an art! I’m always amazed by the ensembles drag queens create. Also, love Warren’s makeup videos, I follow him on Instagram and love all of his looks. Found him because of Glamore. 😁

    1. Gael Baines

      You are an angel – thank you for taking the time to read this post! It really means so much 🙂
      Have the best day further. Gaelxxx

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