Applying Makeup for Figure Skating Competitions

Child ice skater practicing
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Figure skaters must wear makeup for figure skating competitions and there are some differences in how competition makeup should look and be applied as opposed to regular, everyday makeup. Nicole Schulz, Independent Consultant, Arbonne International shares her tips. Nicole was a national figure skating competitor and ice show star and coached figure skating for many years.

Dramatic Foundation

First, competition makeup usually requires a more dramatic and longer-lasting base or foundation. Base makeup, ranging from exact skin tone to two shades darker, should be applied on the face and blending into the neck for competitions, shows, and performances. This ensures that ice skating rink lighting combined with the illumination from the ice surface will not “wash out” the skater’s complexion. Everyday foundation, if necessary, should always be applied in the most natural lighting possible and should never be darker than exact skin tone.

Darker Color Cosmetics 

Secondly, color cosmetics used for performance, such as eyeshadow, eyeliner, blusher, and lipsticks are typically darker in shade than makeup used for everyday purposes. Likewise, these colors are intended to be applied slightly heavier than they would for a normal outing. A skater wearing dramatic makeup will look much different on the ice than in person, or within a few feet; competition makeup is not meant to look natural, beautiful or fashionable up close.

Step One: Applying the Foundation

Foundation, either matching or slightly darker than skin tone, should be applied using a natural fiber fan-shaped makeup brush. The base makeup should always be blended into the neck, avoiding the frightening “orange line” on the jawbone separating a foundation-concealed face and a much lighter neck. Concealer is a good idea for blemishes and under-eye circles and should be either one tone lighter or the exact shade of one’s skin tone. Concealer can either be applied with the fan brush or a clean fingertip, but always ensure you are thoroughly blending.

Step Two: Powder Foundation

Powder foundation is always optional; however, this step does ensure a flawless appearance and helps to hold the base makeup in place, even with the onset of perspiration or overactive oil glands. This should be applied with a larger brush for maximum and even coverage. Sometimes, the second coat of powder is necessary after the remainder of the color is applied. Tap the brush into the loose or pressed powder, tap off the excess and apply all over face and neck.

Step Three: Eye Liner

Eyeliner will enhance the quality of your eye makeup by providing an outline of the natural shape of one’s eye. Eye Liner can be used on both the upper and lower lid of the eye. Caution: It is recommended that you practice applying eyeliner, as it can be a delicate procedure so close to such a sensitive area. Also, please consider using botanically-based and hypo-allergenic eyeliner (and all makeup for that matter), for you can never be too sure of harmful chemical components and skin irritants. Lightly pull the upper lid back towards the temple to create an even surface on which to apply the liner.

Step Four: Eye Shadow

Eyeshadow is the “make or break” aspect of a competition face. When used properly, eyeshadow can transform a plain face into runway model material. Consider these tips:

  • Use a darker shadow in the crease of the upper lid.
  • Use a highlighting shade both in the middle of the lower lid and to accent the brow.
  • Reflect on the shade of one’s eye, skin tone, hair and attire before choosing your eye palette.
  • Hold the brush at an angle away from the face, never perpendicular with the eye. Use a sweeping motion for best results.

Step Five: Mascara

Mascara will always complete the look of the eye makeup. Whether using brown or black, mascara should be applied to both the upper and lower lashes in one sweeping motion beginning as close to the lid as possible and pulling out on the lash.

Step Five: Blusher

Blusher is meant to highlight one’s cheekbone or to create the appearance of one altogether. In order to achieve this, use a medium to large natural bristle brush, and gently tap it into the blusher. Next, tap and blow on the end of the brush to remove excess color. Begin at the “cherry” of the cheekbone and sweep back towards the hairline. Once again, it is necessary to consider the tone of one’s skin before choosing blusher shade.

Step Six: Lip Liner

Lip liner and stick is the last step. Liner is not always necessary; however, it can help reduce lipstick “bleeding” into the creases and cracks of a smile. Lipstick works best when applied with a quality brush (the smallest you can find), and when applied to dry, clean lips. Finish with a sheer gloss for maximum effectiveness.