Competition dancing is performance dancing. Your primary audience is made up of judges, but spectators and other dancers are your audience too. Most performers want to look their best. No performer wants to disappear into the background.
Just like it helps stage performers, the right make-up definitely helps dancers, whether you are a man or a woman. Dancesport make-up for men is similar to make-up for women’s in some ways, but different in others. This is because the goals for wearing make-up are typically different.
Where is it is the same for men and women is in the preparation of the face.
- Men, it is a good idea to exfoliate a day or 2 before you need the make-up, to remove rough dead skin. Make-up will not sit well if you have uneven patches in the texture of your skin.
- Also moisturize. Please never forget this step, or the make-up may fade too quickly on your face or may look mask-like.
- If your skin is oily, wipe your skin with a cotton pad that is soaked in toner made for oily skin. Do this before you moisturize. Also use make-up designed for oily skin, but still do not skip the moisturizer. Moisture and oil are different. Typically oily skin works best with a light water based moisturizer, while dry skin works best with a medium one. Very heavy moisturizers are best used alone, not under make-up, and worn while you sleep. When used under make-up heavy moisturizers can create a base that causes the make-up to literally slide off.
- A make-up primer is also important to apply after the moisturizer to ensure that your make-up stays in place longer. Dry-touch sun block is a great option since it holds makeup the same way or better than the best and most expensive primers, and can do double duty by itself.
One point of difference in preparation between men and women is in shaving.
- Shave very closely and let your skin rest for 20 minutes before applying make-up. This waiting period will avoid the chance of skin irritation.
Other differences are due to differences in the objectives of dancesport make-up for most men and most women. The main objective of most women’s dancesport make-up is to stand out with often a theatrical flair. The is especially true for women dancing latin and rhythm styles. The main objective of most men’s dancesport make-up is to make sure that you look cool and confident, and to ensure that your features look strong and not washed out under the bright light.
- If this is your goal as a man, go for a mineral based make-up since it will give the most natural look while providing good coverage. A stick or compact kind of make-up tends to last longer on the face and is easier to use than a liquid. You can apply any makeup with your fingers as easily as with a brush. Just make sure that you pat it in, not rub it in and off
- Use spot concealer on any blemishes or red spots. If you use the concealer after your first layer of make-up you will need to use less, which reduces the chance that it will look like you are wearing concealer.
- Translucent powder over the entire face blends everything nicely, limits shine and is colourless, so again, it looks very natural. Here you should really use a brush not fingers or anything else.
- A bronzer that is close to your skin tone (light, medium or dark) at the base of the cheek bones, on the chin line and on the temples, gives a strong and chiselled look and adds dimension to your make-up base. Use a brush here as well but it is better to use a proper make-up brush than the ones that typically come with bronzers. Those are often low quality and will streak or otherwise be harder to use.
- Lightly tinted (or even clear) lip balm is a good option for lips to keep them soft, smooth and nicely noticeable but not overpowering.
- Avoid lip liner and any kind of lipstick as they may look too strong and off balance with the rest of your face.
- For eyes, different men have different preferences. Mascara works for pretty much everyone. Use a black waterproof kind, or dark brown if you are very fair and very blond. Some men also use eyeliner. A liquid or gel liner is preferred for many women, but most men look better with a less harsh line from a pencil that is smudged a bit to look more like a dark shadow line than liner.
Male ballroom dancers vary widely in their preference for make-up, from none at all, to translucent powder only with a bit of spot concealer for red or dark spots, to the full make-up described here. Whatever your choice, men. Remember one last thing. Once you are made up, DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE. If you do, your make-up will look uneven. You will also get make-up on your hands, which may eventually get on your costume or your partner’s. Also when you sweat, fan yourself instead of wiping or patting your face. Practice this when not wearing make-up so it will be more natural when you do. Many women have learned this the hard way at an early age. You don’t have to!