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How to Keep Makeup for Young Dancers Looking Fresh and Natural

One of the issues that dance teachers have to deal with in regards to makeup for dance is when parents are unwilling to apply enough makeup to their daughters faces for fear of them looking “too mature for their age”. Makeup for dance performances needs to be much darker than everyday street makeup for a young dancer’s face to be seen by the audience. This can often make dance moms and dads quite uncomfortable.

Here are 4 tips for keeping makeup for dance competitions and performances youthful and fresh but strong enough for stage.

1) Eyebrows - Eyebrows need to be enhanced for stage performances because much of our emotional expression is shown in our eyebrows (think “smiley icons”!). Brows definitely need to be darkened but if you darken every little hair growing in the general vicinity of the eyebrow you will create a monster! However, a very thin, sculptured, dark eyebrow can look too sophisticated and mature for a young dancer’s face. An eyebrow pencil can leave too severe a line. I prefer using an eye shadow color that is the same as or one to two shades darker than the hair color. Go to the center of the brow, and carefully brush a line of shadow in the center of the existing eyebrow. A little goes a long way on the eyebrows. Now, use a brow brush/comb to blend out the center line of shadow that you just applied. This keeps the brow soft and natural but enhances it enough to allow the audience to clearly see the dancer’s emotional expression.

2) Eyes – Makeup for dance performances often includes the use of A LOT of black eyeliner and/or eye shadow and often in all the wrong places. This gives the dancers makeup look a hard, harsh, look that can leave the eyes looking like big emotionless black holes to the audience. Use black eyeliner ONLY on the top lash line. Use a brown liner conservatively under lower lashes. DO NOT use black eyeliner on the inner lash line. Use a white highlighter eye pencil on the inner lash line to keep the eyes looking big.

3) Cheeks – Makeup for dance is often misunderstood. Stage makeup does need to be darker and more intense but blush that is the wrong color, too dark, or is applied in hard, sharp lines definitely adds years to a younger dancers face. Use neutral pink/peach tones of blush to give the face a natural, healthy glow. Apply blush under the cheekbone to enhance the bone structure of the face. Avoid circles on the apples of the cheeks by starting at the hair line and brushing blush forward. Avoid harsh lines by blending the color forward and then up. Avoid letting the blush color drop below the lip line. BLEND, BLEND, BLEND to create a fresh, youthful look to the dancers face.

4) Lips – Makeup for dance almost always showcases a bright red lip stick color that makes a dance mom sweat as she is applying! Choosing the wrong shade of red lip stick can make a dancer look hard, harsh, and overdone. Ideally, when choosing a red lipstick color for stage performances, choose a neutral red. This usually has a slight, browner, or brick tone to it and it looks great on every skin tone! As a side note, red lipstick is not the ONLY lip stick that looks good on stage. A beautiful, neutral rose tone makes the lips look fresh and clean without the dramatic look of a red. For example, Juliet from “Romeo and Juliet” would never wear a red because it would look too mature for her innocent, young character. Hey, if a rose-toned lipstick works for a ballerina as Juliet, it will work for any dancer, right?

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About the Author

Jessica Dupont, Jam Cosmetics
827 Kenwood Isles Drive
Minneapolis, MN 55408

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