The two things I hear from dance moms regarding recital makeup:
“Why does she need to wear so much makeup for the recital? She’s too young.”
“How do I do dance recital makeup? I don’t even wear makeup myself.”
Well, if you have ever asked those questions about why and how to do dance recital makeup for your dancing daughter, read on. If you already know the why and how of recital makeup, keep reading. I might have a few ways to improve or simplify what you are already doing well.
Firstly, here’s why you NEED to (properly) apply dance recital makeup to your young performer (yes, even toddlers):
a) Those super cute shiny costumes look stunning on stage! And they will completely overshadow your dancer’s beautiful smile and facial expression if we don’t apply enough makeup.
b) The stage lights are very intense and make a dancer’s face look washed out. Properly applied stage makeup will illuminate and accentuate your dancer’s features under bright, colorful stage lights.
c) The dancers are elevated on a stage and are very far away from the audience. This makes the facial features disappear and your dancer will look less lively and joyful on stage. Properly applied stage makeup will not only give the face a more three-dimensional look but it will also make the eyes and facial features look bigger, brighter and more pronounced on stage.
d) Those little cutie patooties are going to be dropped off backstage an hour or so before the show starts. Then, they will sit and wait in a dressing room with a couple hundred other dancers for an hour or two until they are finally taken backstage to perform their number. They need stage makeup that will STAY ON without looking blotchy or sloppy by the time they take the stage for the show.
Those dance recital videos and pictures will last a lifetime. Make sure her performance and all of her hard work are not overshadowed by black circles under the eyes, lipstick that has reached her chin or blue eyeshadow that belongs in the 1960′s.
And, ideally, you will want to use stage makeup that is sweat proof, hypo-allergenic, and paraben-free.
Clean and moisturize her cute little face because it helps her makeup stay fresh looking longer.
Step 1: FOUNDATION
Apply a thin application of a water-resistant foundation (a half to one shade darker than her actual skin tone) with a foundation brush or a makeup sponge to even out skin tone and keep makeup looking fresh longer. It also creates a clean, matte surface to apply your colors to.
Step 2: EYEBROWS
Apply a thin line of an earthy, medium-dark brown eyeshadow through center of brow and brush out with a brow brush (or disposable mascara wand you can get at Sally’s Beauty Supply). This step is very important for blonds and those without brows. Use a color that is a shade darker than her actual brows.
Step 3: LOOSE POWDER
Dab a makeup sponge in translucent loose powder then dab the loose powder under her eyes to create little loose powder “puddles”. The loose powder will catch any dark eyeshadow speckles that fall onto her cheeks. (Try this will your own makeup, moms. It works SO well!) After eyeshadow is complete, just brush the loose powder away and are left with a lovely, soft highlight under her eyes.
Step 4a: EYESHADOW ON EYELID
Apply an earthy, med-dark brown eyeshadow darkest at her lash line and fade it out as you reach the crease. Apply gold shimmer to inner corners of her eyes. Apply a white shimmer to her brow bone to highlight. Optional: Use a black eyeliner or black eye shadow along her top lash line ONLY.
Step 4b: EYESHADOW/LOWER LASH LINE
Using a thin eyeliner brush, sweep a line of earthy med-dark brown eyeshadow from outside corner of her eye and in towards the middle. This will make the eyes look bigger on stage. Blend so as not to have a harsh line. I use an med-dark brown instead of black to create a softer, more youthful look to younger eyes.
Step 4c: MASCARA (optional)
This is VERY optional and dependent on how cooperative your dancer is while having a sharp pointy object half and inch from their eyeball. Have your dancer sit up very straight and look down with her eyes (head stays lifted). Gently lift her eyelid with one finger. Dancer should still be able to blink so have her blink a few times to practice before mascara wand is used. Keep wand parallel to lash line and sweep color though lashes starting at the base. Remind dancer to blink so that eyes don’t water. Only apply mascara to top lashes (why not save a little of your sanity, right?) I usually ask them to practice their dance routine in their head while I do their mascara (keeps her distracted from pointy object near her eyeball!) I even count them in with, “5, 6, 7, 8″ and have them count out loud so I know they are focused on that instead of on me and my mascara wand. Also, use a water-resistant, sensitive eyes formula black mascara. Avoid waterproof mascaras as they are very harsh to remove from young, sensitive eyes.
Step 5: BLUSH
Find cheekbone with fingers. Place blush brush at hairline just below cheekbone and sweep pink/peach blush color UNDER cheekbone and the sweep UP over apples of the cheeks. Make sure to use a small enough blush brush on her tiny cheeks so that blush line does not go lower than the lip line. Otherwise, your little dancer will look like they’ve got a sunburn! Blend. Blend. Blend. Oh yes, and please, no “apples of the cheeks” clown blush. Pretty please?
Step 6a: LIP LINER
Imagine that the lips actually have four parts to them – upper right lip line, upper left lip liner, lower right lip line, lower left lip line. Take your pink/rose colored lip liner pencil and line the upper right side of lip ridge from outside corner into center cupid’s bow. Next, line the upper left side of lip ridge from outside corner into center cupid’s bow. Then, line the lower right lip ridge from outside corner to center of bottom lip. Lastly, line the lower left lip ridge from outside corner to center of bottom lip. Now, fill entire lip in with pink/rose colored lip liner pencil. This is the easiest way to make the lips look even!
Step 6b: LIPSTICK
Fill lips in with lipstick color. On young dancers, I prefer to use a rose-toned lipstick rather than a red because it is a softer more youthful look. However, many studio owners/directors prefer a red lipstick on stage. Be sure to check with your studio’s dance recital makeup guidelines to confirm.
AFTER: Ready for the show!
NOTE: The recital makeup look shown on Sarah (7 year old little ballerina) was done with the JAM cosmetics Young Dancer Petite Kit which features a beautiful Wild Child rose-colored lip. The JAMglam Kit is the same recital makeup look but features the glamorous Fierce red-colored lip.