Organizing Theory & Artistry

Ballet Makeup Tutorial

A lovely ballet stage face!

When you are a mom, you wear a lot of hats all the time.  This week, in addition to my role as a teacher Santa, I also had to moonlight as a makeup artist for my daughter’s ballet recital!

I went searching online for ballet makeup tutorials and found a few but none that showed the style our studio uses.  So, in case it helps any other stage moms out there, here is our regimen:

Makeup Shopping List:

  • Foundation
  • Concealer
  • Powder
  • Blush (bright pink)
  • Blue eyeshadow
  • Brown eyeshadow (or appropriate color eyebrow pencil)
  • Black eyeliner
  • Eyelash curler
  • Mascara
  • Red lip pencil
  • Bright red lipstick


Before - no makeup

While it may seem silly or even inappropriate to put makeup on a young child, their faces do get washed out under the harsh stage lights and the makeup does not look nearly as overwhelming from a distance. My daughter is fortunate to have large eyes and lips that don’t really need a lot of makeup but for ballet we did the full regimen anyway.

1. Apply foundation.

Applying the air foam foundation.

I have very fair-skinned children and used the lightest shade of foundation available (and it still was a smidge darker than their skin tone!). While mineral foundation is lovely, for this purpose, I tried the Maybelline New York airfoam foundation and it was very easy to apply and seemed long-wearing and smudgeproof, which was nice.

2. Apply concealer (if needed).

After foundation and concealer.

Small children usually have flawless skin so concealer seems silly. Rather than dark circles or blemishes, you might need to cover up scratches or random injuries from the wear and tear of little girl life. It also gives a nice highlight to put some concealer under the eyes, in the corners where the eye meets the nose and below the browbone. My concealer was not quite light enough for my children (since I just used some of my own makeup for this purpose) but it did the job.

3. Powder

Applying powder to set the foundation.

Set the foundation and concealer with a coordinating powder. This one is by Urban Decay and can be a foundation when wet and a powder when dry. It looks like they don’t make this exact formula any more.

4. Eye Shadow and Brows

Ballet blue eye shadow and darkened brows.

Only in the world of ballet are they still wearing bright blue eye shadow! It takes a little hunting to find blue eye shadow in the cosmetics aisle these days but yes, they do still make it. The best compact we found was by Wet ‘N Wild and included two shades of blue, dark and light, and a brown shadow.

5. Eyeliner

Dramatic ballet eyeliner.

This was the most difficult step in this makeup regimen. For maximum eye appearance on stage, we were instructed to draw a horizontal black line below the eyes with the top of the line hitting the lower eye crease. (For most people this is probably about 1/4″ below the bottom of your eye). Using the same black liner, you draw a line on the top of the eye and curve it upward a bit at the end.

The easiest tool to use for this is a really soft eye pencil. Maybelline eye pencils are pretty common for this purpose. They are easy to use and wipe off easily which is a plus and minus. It’s a plus when you are redrawing the line for the 4th time because your hand was too shaky or your daughter flinched during the application! It’s a minus when your daughter rubs her eye and all your hard work comes undone!

The most difficult tool but the most defined appearance on stage is liquid liner. The minus of this is that unless you have a waterproof brand it will run with any tears or moisture of any kind.

6. Mascara

Mascara makes such a huge difference in making eyes look . . . well, huge! Often you read tutorials about doing makeup in 5 minutes and often they say to just skip the eyeshadow and just put on mascara. If your eyelashes don’t naturally curl upward, use an eyelash curler first. Then add on lots of mascara to the top lashes only. Some advise false eyelashes but this was beyond the patience of small children (and their mother!).

7. Blush

The last time I received makeup instruction for myself, I was told to put the blush underneath the cheekbone to give more definition to the face. On small children this is almost impossible. I thought it looked better to ask the child to smile, put a big dab of blush on the apple of the cheek and blend upward from there on the cheekbone. Mixing light and dark pink tones showed up the best.

8. Lips

Red red lips.

We were instructed that the lipstick must be “RED.” We found a shade of fire engine red in a lip pencil and lipstick. For the rehearsal, we didn’t use the lip pencil and the lipstick line smeared all over so the lip pencil is pretty important. Line the outside of the lips then color them in with the lip pencil. Add the lipstick over top. For an older child, tell them to rub their lips together gently. For young children, blend it yourself with your finger or they will smudge the lipstick all over the place.


You can add in a few more highlights of white eye shadow between the eye liner lines for an even more dramatic effect.

Below are two before and after shots showing the effect of all this makeup on small children.  Close up it is a lot of makeup but it really does look pretty good from at least 10 feet away.


Naturally, this experience sparks an interest in makeup for girls. Both daughters have since experimented with the makeup to paint their own faces with hilarious results.

Do you have any ballet makeup tips? Please share in the comments.