Performance Hair and Makeup Tips + Tricks

Stage Makeup How-To

Make-up for all performers is a medium base makeup/foundation, blush, bright red lipstick, brown eyeshadow, black/brown mascara & false eyelashes. Dancers are encouraged to find shades of each item that compliments their skin tone. 

FOUNDATION MAKEUP: Apply makeup to the face, blending it below chin line so that it does not appear to be a mask. Blush must be full pink, NOT purple or lavender because of the look of being bruised. It should be applied to the “apple” of the cheek. (If you grin, the largest/round part of the cheek is the apple). Apply the blush with outward/upward strokes along the cheekbone. Also, the blush should highlight the cheek without looking like a stripe. (See diagram)

EYE SHADOW: Apply brown eyeshadow in an arc and fill in so that the colors are vivid. As with all eye make-up colors, the lines should arch up and out from the eye, never down. For additional eye definition–Use blush to fill in the area between the eyebrow and the eyeshadow. Do not allow the brown and blush to mix.

LIPSTICK: Apply bright red lipstick to your lips. Vaseline can be placed over the lipstick (and perhaps even on the teeth) will enable you to smile despite the “dry mouth” that performers often get due to nervousness.

FALSE EYELASHES: All girls should wear false eyelashes. There are many different sizes available for all ages. First, have your child close her eyes then put a black line with eyeliner on top of your child’s eyelid very close but not touching her eyelashes. Then cut the lashes to fit your child’s eye and put a very little eyelash glue on the lashes (Tip: use a hairpin or safety pin to apply the glue to the eyelash). Place the lashes on the black line on your child’s eyelid. NOTE, Do not put the false lashes on your child’s real lashes. Believe it or not, this process is so much easier than putting mascara on a child who squints when you get close to her eyes.

MASCARA: If you use black mascara, apply generously! Mascara can also help to blend false eyelashes with a dancer’s real lashes for a more natural look.

BLACK EYELINER: Should be put on carefully over the eyelid and below it on the lower lash line.

JEWELRY: Only specific parts in the Nutcracker wear Jewelry. Your dancer should not be wearing any form of jewelry unless they have been told so. For students who need to remove their earrings, but cannot take them out, apply a skin colored Band-Aid to cover them for the rehearsal and the show.

Ballet Bun 101

Have a first-time dancer this year and have no idea how to do a ballet bun?  Tried doing your own bun with no success?  What’s the best way to get a smooth bun? CVDA has some tips for you!

  1. Wet or dampened hair works best.  Spray your hair with a spray bottle of water before you brush your hair into a ponytail.
  2. Gel is your friend!  Add a little gel to the top and sides of your hairline, where your fly aways tend to escape from.
  3. Use a “smoothie brush” to brush your hair into a ponytail.  Regular brushes with plastic bristles create separations in your hair and isn’t a smooth brush.  Any brush with close bristles will brush hair back uniformly.
  4. Your hair band should match your natural hair color.  When you put your hair in a ponytail, use an elastic that matches your hair color and blends in.  If you use a colored hair tie, it may be seen under the stage lights.
  5. Bobby pins should match your hair color too!  Blondes, don’t use black pins. Brunettes, don’t use blonde or metallic pins.
  6. Not all bobby pins are the same!  Find a pin that suits your hair type.  Smaller pins are better for thin hair.  Long jumbo pins work best for thick hair.  If you know you have troublesome hair, some pins have a rubber inside that helps hold your hair in place.
  7. Twist your ponytail into a rope and wrap it around the hair tie.  Be sure to pin the twisted ponytail to your head as you wrap it around. When you bobby pin the bun, pin your hair like numbers on a clock.
  8. Don’t forget a hair net!  Select a hair net that is similar to your natural hair color and wrap it around the bun after you’ve pinned it.  For dancers with layers in their hair, this will help keep the shorter layers tucked down and not sticking up all over the place.
  9. Hairpiece’s need to be pinned too!  You don’t want your hairpiece to come loose on stage!

Need more help? Miss Debbie is available at Dress Rehearsals and Shows for students who need their hair and make up done properly.

Is this your child's first Nutcracker performance?  Does your child have difficulty getting their hair in a performance-ready bun?  CVDA is here to help! We have had parents request assistance with their child's bun in the past.  This year, Miss Debbie is offering her services before the Nutcracker dress rehearsals and/or performances.  There is no hair too short or too long for Miss Debbie.  She has been making buns for over 20 years! Included in the cost will be hairpins, hair nets, bands, gel, and hairspray.  We ask that you supply a comb/brush and any fake hair pieces you would like to use.

Payment must be made in cash and given directly to Miss Debbie:

  • $18.00 per bun (not including comb or fake hairpiece)
  • $30.00 for two buns (dress-rehearsal and performance)
  • Makeup - $5.00/time
  • Additional discounts are available for hair that is done more than twice.

Reservations will be taken on a first come first serve basis. Please see the below reservation for scheduling and payment.