Mardi Gras

The countdown is nearing the big day of Tuesday, February 9, when Mardi Gras kicks into full action, and there is no better place to participate in the hoopla than smack dab in the heart of N’awlins, where Mardi Gras has been a mainstay celebration since 1837. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday,” in reference to a Christian prelude of dining on rich and fatty foods before Lenten season fasting. Mardi Gras, though not a nationally recognized holiday in the U.S., is celebrated world-round, and extensively in the U.S., as well.

No “Come as You Are” Allowed Here
Lavish and heavily decorated costumes are a signature component of Mardi Gras culture, with masks dominating. The concept of mask-wearing came about in the earliest Mardi Gras celebrations as a way for wearers to disable the defining marks of class and social demands. Mask wearers were everywhere–and included people from all classes who were uniquely able to blissfully coagulate in joined fun. Riders on all New Orleans processional floats are legally required to cover their faces with masks. (Envision the wording, huh.) On Fat Tuesday, mask wearing is illegal, but not altogether observed.

Beaded Celebration Rocks Mardi Gras
The original Mardi Gras beads were glass, and didn’t stand up well to being thrown about, but once they began to be mass produced in the more resilient forms of plastic, the whole “throwing” grew exponentially. The original bead colors were set forth by the Carnival King in 1872, with different attributes assigned to each color, and the idea was to toss the specific color bead to the one with those qualities. Purple represented justice; gold, power and green stood for faith.

A Modern Day Mardi Gras Look
Taking the original colors is an excellent way to show your Mardi Gras prowess, and there is no end to the brilliant effects you can work, with the better choice of a painted-on Mardi Gras mask, that won’t become hot or air-restrictive, and you can eat and drink freely without interference, all day and night. If anyone seems worth knowing who you really are, flash them your driver’s license or slip them your phone number. You don’t need to cover your entire face with exaggerated makeup effects–although you certainly can–but here’s your big chance to go hog wild with the eye tricks, from liner to metallic lashes and shadow that extends for miles.

Think “Art,” Not Drugstore Makeup
Get the best Mardi Gras effects with stage makeup or the variety used for face painting. You can buy it at the major art supplying craft stores, with even more variety online, but the pigments in these makeups are so deep and rich that you will rock Mardi Gras with exceptional glory, by using them. Begin by creating some drawings on paper, just to get a general idea of how what you’re thinking about will go down. Mardi Gras effects do not stop at the lids nor the brows–go big, with expansive swirls of color and color-matched or color-complementary glitter applied while the makeup/paint is still wet. Play up the gold, and the gold glitter, for dotted outlines and curlicues to show your Mardi Gras Mind. And for Mardi Gras, rather than watching YouTube makeup tutorials, check out the ones for face painting. You’ll get more ideas that kill.

Use Glue
Costume shops and online providers of stage makeup are where you can obtain safe, long lasting glue for the most eloquent Mardi Gras embellishments. Follow directions to add a world of 3D effects to your look, with flat-backed jewels, sequins, glitter and ostrich feather snippets. Paint stage glue on your eyebrow line, and while wet, pour on some deep purple glitter. Then, at the outer brow’s point, glue on a shimmery gold star or round beading effect. It’s OK to mask your identity. Make them wonder who you are–while being so very envious of your Mardi Gras capabilities.

Mardi Gras Hair
Wait to wash your hair. Go dirty, for Mardi Gras. Make February 6 the very last day you’re gonna wash those tresses. Come Mardi Gras, rock a big, dramatic and bold style with braiding that integrates tons of beading, and envelops your head, around and around. Go Mardi Gras Wild, with a messy, wild style, with bits of metallic effects strategically placed for keeping pace. Nothing “bob-ish” will do tonight.