The One About Professional Make-Up

Dear Dance Diva,
I’m curious about your thoughts on whether or not to have your make-up done professionally for competition. Our studio recently held its annual competitors’ meeting to discuss the upcoming season and our pros were pretty firm on getting it done professionally every time we compete, which seems like a lot of money to me. Do you think it’s okay to learn to do it yourself or is it true that everyone who looks good is getting it done professionally? If my calculations are correct, I’ll be paying a professional between $200-$400 every time I compete and I’d rather spend that on lessons or coaching. You seem level headed so I’m interested in your opinion on this matter.

—To Pay or Not to Pay

Dear To Pay or Not to Pay,
That is the question… and it depends. Sorry, I know you were probably hoping for a more definitive answer, but if there ever was a gray area, this is it. I’ve polled several judges, both male a female, on this topic and they all pretty much agree. Poorly applied competition make-up reflects a lack of respect for the sport and a lack of commitment to being the best one can be. Professional ballroom make-up artists are experienced and highly skilled so unless the end result of doing your own make-up is as good or nearly as good as what you get when you pay to have it done, I’d recommend you pay to have it done. Yes, it does matter and yes, it can impact your marks. Ultimately, of course, it’s your decision, but if you choose to do it yourself, it is imperative you make an an immense effort to educate yourself on techniques, practice and invest in high quality products.

Even if you end up deciding to pay a professional to do your competition makeup, you still need to learn how to apply your own make-up. Identify and practice a look you can confidently execute in a pinch just in case you arrive at competition and find yourself without an appointment due to some some rare, unforeseen circumstance. Yes. It happens.

Mastering the art of applying competition make-up is intimidating, but it is certainly achievable. The mere fact that there are hoards of AARP members successfully dancing open gold routines is evidence that old dogs can indeed be taught new tricks. Like learning to dance, however, it takes concerted effort and lots of time and practice. In my opinion, whether you choose to pay a professional or not, if you’re serious about your dancing it’s worth the time and effort to learn to do your own make-up.


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