3 of our favourite West End stars share their backstage make-up secrets

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Elizabeth Bennett
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Stylist went behind-the-scenes at hit West End musical Bat Out Of Hell for a snoop at the make-up kit of its three lead performers.

Following sellout seasons in Manchester, Toronto and at London’s Coliseum, Bat Out of Hell, the riotous musical set to the songs of Meat Loaf, has returned to the capital at the Dominion Theatre. To mark the occasion, we went backstage to discover what it takes to create the eighties glam rock looks and discover how the performers keep their make-up looking flawless for a whole night on the stage.

“The make-up needs to be strong enough to be seen throughout the auditorium yet look believable on the big billboard screens,” Maria Johal, Deputy Head of Hair and Makeup, explained.

“Products that are long-lasting are key. With the hot lights of the stage and the energetic dance scenes, the make-up needs to withstand sweat,” Johal added.

While the show’s make-up artists design the original looks in conjunction with the costume team, it’s the performers themselves who create their face every night before hitting the stage.

Subsequently, these West End actresses are a dab hand with a make-up brush and experts at completing a look in rapid time. They also know a thing or two about longwear make-up and the tried-and-tested ways to remove it.

Here, three of the show’s lead stars share what’s in their dressing room…

Danielle Steers

Talk us through your character Zahara’s make-up look:

Zahara’s make-up is the most experimental of the female parts with a purple and gold smoky eye, oversized lashes, a sculptured base and glittering lips. It took me a while to find her perfect look but once I found it I’ve stuck to to religiously - it now only takes around 25 minutes to complete.

How do you ensure you make-up lasts all night on stage?

To keep my base looking perfect and shine-free I dust NYX’s High Definition Finishing Powder (£9, all over my foundation.

What’s your top stage make-up beauty hack?

I accentuate my eyes using a pale gold shadow in the inner corner to catch the light and brighten.

What is your post-show skincare routine?

Keeping it really simple works best for me. I remove my make-up with face wipes (I’m not fussy on brand) and use baby oil to remove my false lashes. I then wash my skin with Clearasil Face Wash (£4.09, - if I ever switch to something else I get spotty. That’s it, I don’t even use moisturiser. 

What are your favourite products? 

Kryolan TV Paint Stick

Popular with make-up artists and drag queens, this cream foundation offers exceptional coverage that lasts forever. I apply straight from the stick onto my skin and blend out with a damp Beauty Blender-style sponge.


NYX Strobe Genius

I apply the gold shade in this strobing palette to the corner of my eye using a Real Techniques brush. This shade catches the light and brings out the gold in my costume.


Collection 2000 Extreme Black Felt Tip Liner

I’ve tried tonnes but this bargain felt tip style liner is my favourite. It’s quick to use and goes on super smooth.


NYX Vivid Brights Liner

To make my eyes pop, I use this wild sapphire liquid liner underneath my bottom lash line.


NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil

I use this eye pencil in ‘Purple Velvet’ to create a solid purple lip. I simply scribble all over my lips before coating them in glitter.


Watch Danielle doing the Zahara make-up look on her YouTube channel. Find her on Instagram at @misssteers.

Christina Bennington

Talk us through your character Raven’s make-up look:

Raven’s character is young and innocent so we played on the idea of creating a doll-like look with porcelain skin and bright pink cheeks. As Raven has so much time up close on camera it was also important that her make-up looks natural.

How do you ensure you make-up lasts all night on stage?

It’s all about creating a prepped canvas which means spends time on my skincare. I love REN and right now I’m loving their Radiance Perfect Serum (£37,

What’s your top stage make-up beauty hack?

Overloading my skin with so many products on a daily basis can cause breakouts so once a week I do a detoxifying clay mask. I love Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask (£26.50,

What is your post-show skincare routine?

I remove my make-up using a micellar water and then cleanse with coconut oil and a warm muslin cloth.

What are your favourite products?

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup 

This is my go-to longwear foundation. It does not budge or melt under the hot stage lights.


Benefit Big Beautiful Eyes

Considering so much of storytelling is done with the eyes, it’s important they’re accentuated, and this palette allows you do so in a subtle way. I create a subtle smokey eye for definition and finish with mascara and a pair of natural-looking lashes from Eylure.


Technic Matte Blusher

To give Raven that innocent, doll-like appearance, a bright pink blush was essential. We tried tonnes of blushes and this cheap one works best. It’s highly pigmented yet has no shimmer.


Benefit Posietint

Raven has lots of kissing scenes so lipstick is a no-go. Instead, I use lip balm and a touch of this pink stain. It works perfectly to balance out the bright pink cheek.


The Body Shop Drops of Glow Lustre Finish Creator 

I use this product to add highlight to areas of my face that I want to catch the light. It’s an ideal formula for stage as it contains no shimmer.



Sharon Sexton

Talk us through your character Sloane’s make-up look:

Sloane is Raven’s glamorous mum and her look is very much quintessential eighties punk rock, complete with a bold smokey eye and bright red glossy lip.

How do you ensure you make-up lasts all night on stage?

I always use a primer all over, including my eyelids, to ensure my products stay put. My favourite is by Smashbox (£26,

What’s your post-show skincare routine?

I take off my make-up using the Garnier Oil Infused Micellar Water (£5.99,, cleanse with the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (£49.50,, and spritz with a rose water toner.

What’s your top stage make-up beauty hack?

For false lashes let the glue go tacky by leaving it for 30 seconds before applying. Don’t bother with the little tube of glue that comes with the lashes and instead use Duo Striplash Eyelash Glue (£5.79, 

What are your favourite products?

Vichy Dermablend Foundation

This is the only foundation I’ve found to offer high coverage without irritating my sensitive skin. It’s great for redness, covering dark circles and cheating a good night’s sleep. 


Elf Eyeshadow Palette

I picked this up when we were touring in Toronto and have used it religiously ever since. It has impressive staying power and I like the selection of flattering warm shades. I start by using the pink tones all over the lid and then build up the definition in my socket with the darker brown hues.


Bourjous Rouje Edition Velvet Lip

This liquid lipstick dries super shiny and stays on all night.


Cheryl by Eylure Lashes

These lashes accentuate the eyes and give a great volume boost without looking too over-the-top.


The Body Shop Ethiopian Honey Deep Nourishing Mask

To give my weary skin a boost I apply this deeply hydrating mask before bed and leave it on all night. 



Bat Out of Hell The Musical is showing at The Dominion Theatre in London. Get your tickets here.

Main image: Bat Out of Hell The Musical