Snail Slime and Other Secrets: 'Great Leap' Actors Reveal Their Pre-Show Routines

By Annie Sears

Being an actor means a lot of preparation: researching the play’s context and analyzing character motivations, attending costume fittings and spending hours in blocking rehearsals. Another important prep step not often revealed? Pre-show skincare.

Stage makeup is heavier than day-to-day makeup, often causing allergic reactions, breakouts, and dryness—which nobody wants, especially someone who stands under stage lights every day. So how are actors in The Great Leap (running through March 31 at The Geary) making sure their faces are stage-ready?

BD Wong (playing Wen Chang) is a fan of hyaluronic acid. Sounds a little scientific and sterile—like something you definitely do not want soaking into your skin, right? It’s actually entirely natural. Our skin cells produce hyaluronic acid on their own, but we could all use a little extra to even skin tone and decrease the appearance of lines and wrinkles. “It makes it possible for this character to be 24 years old at the beginning of the play,” joked BD.

Pro tip: He uses Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost hydrogel masks. You can get those at your local pharmacy!

Actor BD Wong wearing a hyaluronic acid mask before he performs on the Geary stage. Selfie courtesy BD Wong.

You won’t find all of Ruibo Qian’s (playing Connie) skincare products on the shelf. She mixes her own toner and face oil. The personal toner follows a double-cleansing and precedes something with a bit of an ick factor: snail mucus and bee venom serum. The snail slime decreases dark spots, and the bee venom nips breakouts in the bud. She puts a sheet mask over those serums while she covers her tattoo. Fifteen minutes later, she applies a ceramide moisturizer and seals it all with her personal face oil. After that sinks in, it’s time to smear on the stage makeup.
Actor Ruibo Qian getting ready in her dressing room, where she has a humidifier running constantly.

BD Wong and Ruibo Qian appeared in Lauren Yee's The Great Leap as part of A.C.T.'s 2018–2019 season. To help us continue to tell stories, click here to support A.C.T.

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