Makeup tips from the dancing queen Laganja Estranja

Finding ways to make your makeup last longer can be a struggle sometimes. In my personal experience, a good primer can give you a few extra hours, but it’s still not infallible. Now, being completely enamored by drag queens and their art form, I have always wondered how they make all those layers of makeup last through a night in a stuffy club dancing, dipping, deathdropping, lip-syncing and, when it comes to RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants, a couple hours of meeting and greeting fans on top of all that.

One queen in particular danced her way into my heart back on season 6, the first one I ever watched. Laganja Estranja is, to this day, the most iconic, quoted, lovable, queen to ever sashay her way into the workroom. Granted, she had a bumpy ride on her season, but those lucky enough to follow her post-Drag Race got so much more than they bargained for. Songs, shows, choreographies, YouTube videos, and even with a short film under her belt, Laganja is now a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance and expects to make her dancing career her first priority.

Well, of course I wanted to know how her makeup still looks flawless after a full dance routine – and even after sky-diving and swimming with sharks. To my surprise, Laganja doesn’t consider her makeup skills to be that elevated or creative, but she does have some amazing tricks that I thought would be great to share.

She goes for a full base coverage, something like Dermablend, all over her face, eyes, mouth, a whole foundation for her face. To make sure the makeup really won’t budge, her trick is to use Melanie Mills setting spray “Gleam” in between steps. “I finish my base and set it, contour and highlight then set it, then my eyes and set it; so I do that three to four times throughout the whole process”, she said. And, of course, water resistent products as well as something with lot of pigment. Even on her underwater video you can see the pigment beaming through  – she used Jeffree Star Cosmetics’ products for that.

With new music coming up, Laganja hopes to give a more feminine aesthetic to her brand. “I go back and forth between looking like a woman and looking like a drag queen”, she said. “My personal preference is when I look the most like a woman. I’m a people’s pleaser and I know some people are going to expect me to look a certain way”, but she would also love to go a bit more daring and creative with her look. “My dream is to be part of more editorial, fashion photoshoots” like her sisters Miss Fame and Violet Chachki have been doing. 

No matter which way Laganja goes, she truly is the glow up queen – make that her trademark, why not. Her catchphrases live on through the seasons of Drag Race, but there’s a whole lot more of Laganja for us to love and learn from.