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Makeup Essentials for Dance Competition Dancers

Updated: Sep 10, 2018

Makeup is an essential part of your overall presentation at dance competitions, so it is important to know the basics. With big open spaces and strong stage lights, our skin's tone and texture can quickly appear how we really wish it wouldn't. It is important to know how to apply stage make up that will accentuate the features lost in this environment. So here are some basic tips to make you Dance competition ready:

True base- Base makeup is essential for all ages; Even at a young age we may feel like the skin may not need it, however all skin needs protection! This essential step can give you the preparation you need before your all important foundation. Start with a gentle cleanser, and for those of you teenagers, a gentle (and preferably botanical) toner.

  • Preparation- Moisturiser is a MUST for all ages. Your make up has better chance of staying when the skin is appropriately hydrated. This can be a little trickier than the first step... experiment before the competition to find a moisturiser that hydrates but doesn’t leave your skin shiny or greasy.

  • The base- There are many amazing foundations out there for ‘stage and TV’ but they can tend to feel too heavy for young skin. The most important thing for stage foundation is for it to be MATTE. It’s called a base for a reason! Your aim is to create a blank canvas. If you find your foundation is too matte, use a mineral pressed powder foundation as a setting powder. Applied lightly all over, or onto ‘difficult’ areas with a sponge, this can help set the base without losing the natural glow that we want (particularly for young skin).

  • Highlight- Highlighter is so important! But listen up...

There is such a thing as too much highlighter!

The temptation from watching make up tutorials, particularly from adults is to ‘contour’... but your young skin doesn’t need that! The most important place to highlight is the eyes. Apply at the top of the cheekbone, the temples, the brow line and inside the eye (if your eyes are set close together) to draw attention to them. If you do too much in every lifted part of the face, stage lights will bounce of the highlighter and distract the judges from your facial expressions. And that leads me onto my next point...

  • Blending- If you need to, bronze in the crevices and down onto the décolletage, and highlight the cheekbones and eyes, don’t forget to blend! I find that the best way to achieve this is to use separate blending brushes to those I use for application. It is also best to start light and build up. You can always add, but subtraction normally means starting the whole process again. Remember to tap excess products on the back of your hand.

  • Eyes- It’s all about the brows and the lashes! A defined brow with an extended arch helps frame the eyes and avoids you looking startled. It is an eye essential! If you are unsure about eye shadows, keep it neutral to help you with those quick changes. And lastly, eye liner and lashes. Eyeliner (across the top lid only) tapered from lash-thin on the inside, to a wedged tip on the outside will really define those eyes. A lick of mascara to blend the eyelashes in before placing fake eyelashes on top will absolutely make your eyes appear bigger and more defined. Remember- don’t put mascara on the fake eyelashes! It will make them clumpy and unusable. Eyelashes can be worn multiple times with proper sterilisation.

  • Last but not least- Lips. You need lipstick. And to apply lipstick you need lipliner. Lip liner helps you achieve the symmetrical shape that your lips most probably don’t have. It also helps build colour depth and helps to secure the lip colour for longer. Lip liners are better in pencil form. As for the lipstick itself, still to matte or lip stains. They will stay on longer, and gloss can always be applied after. Try letting a layer dry for 3 minutes and then reapplying for a longer-lasting lip. Avoid colours that are too dark as they will appear even darker under stage lights and age you. Stick to a shade of red, that perhaps has a hint of pink or orange, depending on your skin tone.

My last tip... practice! Like any skill, applying makeup takes practice. You will find what works for each face shape, skin tone and hair colour if you experiment prior to the competition day. Once you find what works, stick to it. Always take a step back (or take a selfie) after each step and decide if you need more. But remember, only a little at a time. Build it up, and blend it in.

By Stephanie Clark Porter