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Home>Blog>The Top Beauty Tips We've Learned from RuPaul's Drag Race

The Top Beauty Tips We've Learned from RuPaul's Drag Race

MIRA BEAUTY • updated Oct 21, 2020
The Top Beauty Tips We've Learned from RuPaul's Drag Race

Do your makeup, drag queen style for LGBTQ History Month

If you say you haven’t seen RuPaul’s Drag Race, you’re either lying or seriously missing out. It’s just a fact. The hit reality TV show and pop culture phenomenon has been serving realness, drama, and sashays down the catwalk since 2009 - producing megastars like Violet Chachki and Trixie Mattel, countless inspiring and meme-able moments from contestants, and life-changing beauty tips for every makeup lover. You see, the drag world has been inspiring glam makeup looks for decades - long before RuPaul’s perfectly sculpted face graced our TV screens. Baking, contouring, long falsies that you can barely see through… all of them are queen staples to achieve peak levels of drag drama, while keeping makeup locked in place as they dance and sashay under the hot stage lights. Drag is also an empowering form of beauty and expression, as explained by NYC-based drag queen Chelsea Piers. “The drag community was born out of resistance and protest,” says Piers, who turned her RuPaul’s Drag Race audition tape into a solo musical, aptly titled “Are You There Ru? It’s Me, Chelsea.” She continued, “the art form itself defies our traditional notions of gender, sexuality, and beauty. Makeup can and should reflect that spirit of rebellion.” We couldn’t agree more, and that’s why we’re excited to celebrate LGBTQ History Month with the top beauty lessons we’ve learned from RuPaul and his queens!

Fake a fuller pout with concealer

BareSkin Complete Coverage Serum Concealer by BareMinerals
Source: bareMinerals

You don’t need injections or cartoon-esque lip liner to achieve “that Kardashian pout,” as Adore Delano aptly calls it. Since placing in the top three on the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the LA-born Delano has been more than happy to share their makeup tips for a grungy and glamorous aesthetic. “The number one tip that I stole from all the drag queens in LA is to get some concealer, and put it on the back of your hand,” she told viewers on Instagram stories. She continued, “with any nude lip, put it in the center of your lip and you’ll instantly have that Kardashian pout.” Unlike many drag queen beauty tips, this one is incredibly simple, quick, and versatile. Just apply a bit of concealer, like the BareSkin Complete Coverage Serum Concealer by bareMinerals, on the center of your upper and lower lips in a circular shape - and swipe a nude lipstick over it to give the illusion of a plumper and more defined pout.

Eye patches are your friend

Pumpkin Hydra Gold Eye Gel Patches by Too Cool For School
Source: Too Cool For School

It’s all in the eyes, especially as a drag queen. You’re applying countless eyeshadows, mascaras, false lashes, multiple layers of concealer and a sky-high winged eyeliner that channels the fabulous Violet Chachki - but all these products can be harsh on the fragile under eye skin. Not to mention that some of us have the worst dark circles or eye bags that even tarte’s legendary Shape Tape concealer can’t fix. How do you reduce puffiness, add moisture to the skin, and smooth out the under eye area to create a flawless canvas for your drag-inspired beauty looks? Eye patches. Former RuPaul contestants like Alyssa Edwards and Laila McQueen love these 10-minute patches to revitalize the eyes and indulge in a self-care moment on “drag detox” days - as taking days off from the heavy makeup is another big drag beauty tip - and the Pumpkin Hydra Gold Eye Gel Patches are an ideal addition to your collection. Your under eyes need extra love in your beauty routine, as the skin in this area is roughly 10 times thinner than the rest of the body, and these tools feature pumpkin ferment extract and 24K gold to firm, depuff, and brighten the under eyes. It’s not easy being a queen, but a little pick-me-up from your patches (JVN loves them, too!) goes a long way.

Baking your face

Translucent Loose Setting Powder by Laura Mercier
Source: Laura Mercier

If you thought that Kim Kardashian or Desi Perkins made “baking” your face into the universal makeup trend it is today… oh honey, you’re about to get a major drag makeup lesson for LGBTQ History Month. What is baking, exactly? The technique originated decades ago within the drag community, and it’s surprisingly simple. After you’ve applied your foundation and concealer, grab a brush or damp sponge and apply a lot of setting powder (like the Translucent Loose Setting Powder by Laura Mercier) on the areas you’d like to bake. Like, a lot of it. Most beauty experts apply setting powder on their under eyes, cheekbones, and chin area - and let it sit on the face for 5-10 minutes. During this process, the powder “traps” the concealer and foundation underneath while your natural body heat “cooks” these products into the skin - transforming your makeup into a bulletproof masterpiece. No smudging, flaking, smearing, or moving will be happening once your face has been baked to perfection, just ask world-renowned drag queens like Miss Fame! The drag community originated this technique to keep their heavy makeup in place each night as they performed under the hot lights, and it’s become a cult favorite beauty trend - for everybody from A-listers like J.Lo to your friends for the first post-quarantine night out.

Glitter, glitter, and more glitter

Glitter by MAC
Source: MAC

If you think Hunter Schafer’s Euphoria looks have a lot of glitter, just wait until you flip the channel to RuPaul’s Drag Race. You’ll rarely meet a queen without an intense love for shimmer - as this type of finish brings the flashiness, attention, and good kind of drama. You know, all the things a drag queen lives for. And not just on your eyes and cheeks, but everywhere. Jawline, nose, collarbone, shoulders, legs - give yourself a head-to-toe glow. If you’ve been watching RuPaul’s Drag Race for a hot minute, a particular look may come to mind. We’re talking about Bianca Del Rio’s glitter goddess ensemble in the season 7 finale - complete with full-face sparkle, glitter wings, and shimmery dress that didn’t just catch the light, but also the hearts of millions of viewers as one of the most iconic outfits in RPDR history. Glitter is also beloved by season 10 contestant Kameron Michaels, and you can recreate his “Rose Gold Glitter Effect” makeup tutorial on YouTube with the MAC Glitter!

Use face oil, not primer

Skin Balancing Face Oil by Jurlique
Source: Jurlique

“There are no rules in makeup, and if there were… I would break them anyway.” Jaclyn Hill may not be a queen herself, but she perfectly captured the essence of the drag world with this quote from her “How to Contour” YouTube tutorial. Queens love to use makeup in the most unconventional ways - whether they’re using lipstick as blush, eyeshadow as bronzer, or our personal favorite… swapping out the pre-makeup primer for facial oil. Cue gasps from your favorite beauty YouTubers. Put down your Smashbox primer and try the Skin Balancing Face Oil - made with Rose Hip, Safflower, Macadamia and Avocado Oils to intensely nourish the skin before foundation application. If you need to be further convinced that facial oil is everything, just listen to season 11 Drag Race contestant Brooke Lynn Hytes, who loves this product for her dry skin.“I prime my skin with face oil to make sure I’m super moisturized before I put makeup on,” says Hytes, adding that it also plumps and boosts her glowing skin. She continues, “I find some primers leave my skin looking too matte, plus my skin reacts better to makeup when I prep with an oil.”

Contour and highlight, everywhere

Pro Contour palette by Lorac
Source: Lorac

The contouring trend took a bit of a break in 2019, with the beauty community (including Mrs. Kardashian West, herself) making a move toward “nontouring” and a more natural, lightweight look. Everywhere… except the drag world. Contouring and highlighting is an iconic beauty technique for queens that never goes out of style, as drag makeup is focused on the art of transformation and exaggerating your features. Most queens aren’t exactly subtle about it either, and contour their cheekbones, jawlines, and noses to the extreme for glamorous and groundbreaking beauty effects. But come on, anybody who’s looked at Trixie Mattel or watched an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race knows that already. Kameron Michaels even mentions in a YouTube tutorial that this technique rounds out his “masculine jawline” and gives the illusion of softer features for drag looks, and it can have similar effects for you. Don’t get us wrong, you’re allowed to go as subtle or striking as you’d like with your contouring routine - but don’t underestimate the confidence and chiseled jawline that this technique can bring. Just a couple lines of contour and touch of highlighter on the nose can be a game-changer, and you can easily create drag-approved looks for LGBTQ History Month with the Pro Contour Palette by Lorac.

Coconut Oil as makeup remover

Coconut Cleansing Oil by Kopari
Source: Kopari

Clogged pores and a pillowcase covered in last night’s lipstick? In the words of season 6 winner Bianca Del Rio… “Not today, Satan. Not today.” In the drag world, taking off your makeup is even more important than putting it on, and you need a heavy duty remover to wipe away every last trace of product. Regular facial wipes aren’t going to cut it when trying to remove all three layers of foundation, and RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants love coconut oil to banish makeup and nourish the skin for an “I woke up like this” glow. This substance is 100% natural, anti-bacterial, and melts away beauty products in seconds - without weird residue or mascara streaks. Coconut Cleansing Oil by Kopari is a great option to wipe off your makeup like your favorite drag queens - but you can also try The Bianca Remover! This innovative, Coconut Oil-infused makeup remover was launched by Bianca Del Rio in 2018, and has been praised by the drag and beauty communities for its ability to remove even the most stubborn lip colors, foundations, mascaras, and eyeshadows. Thanks, Bianca!

Go high with the cat eye

Magic Marc'er Precision Pen Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner by Marc Jacobs Beauty
Source: Marc Jacobs Beauty

Violet Chachki has launched into superstardom since winning RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2015 - gaining millions of fans who can’t get enough of her sharp tongue, fearless glamour, and ultra-high cat eyes. We’re talking past the outer corner, and nearly up to the brow bone. Chachki follows this technique to flatter her hooded eyes and pay tribute to her love of old-school glamour, but she’s definitely not the only drag queen who likes to take her eye looks to great lengths. Adore Delano has been seen with the same long, luxurious winged eyeliner, and Miss Fame encourages this method to enhance and “feminize” the eyes. "This not only elongates your eyes, making them appear bigger, it adds femininity to the eye and adds more drama,” she told Cosmopolitan about bringing your winged eyeliner up a notch. This eye effect is definitely a bit more dramatic, but works beautifully for your glam makeup looks, and lets you channel your inner Chachki or Miss Fame for LGBTQ History Month! Magic Marc'er Precision Pen Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner has top ratings on MIRA for staying power, precision, non-smudging and waterproof color… and you’ll always feel like a true queen with sky-high liner looks.

Lash it out

Opulence Lite Mink Lashes by Lilly Lashes
Source: Lilly Lashes

Mastering the art of false lashes isn’t easy - even for a world-renowned drag queen with enough talent to sashay down the runway in barely-there outfits and glitter eyes. Yes, we’re talking about April Carrion. Her eye looks are legendary, but it’s natural to wonder how her lashes are able to look that fabulous without poking her in the eye. Or you know, narrowing her vision as she’s dancing onstage or walking the runway under bright lights. The answer is more simple than you may think. "I glue my fake lashes directly onto my real lashes instead of along the lash line above to give me a more open eye,” she told POPSUGAR. “I sandwich the two together and tilt the fake lashes up really high, which makes me look like I have bigger eyes." This is definitely a more risky technique, as nobody wants to accidentally pull out their real lashes while removing falsies. Ouch. But with enough practice, we have total faith that anybody can master this drag makeup tip from April Carrion. Stock up on the Opulence Lite Mink Lashes by Lilly Lashes, and add them to your halo eyes or cut crease looks that you’ve been experimenting with all throughout quarantine!

Celebrate LGBTQ Heritage Month as you shop the best products in the drag community - all on MIRA.