Summertime Dancing

Makeup That Lasts

by Meleah

Summer presents particular problems concerning the durability of makeup. Warmer temperatures and higher humidity can cause makeup to move on the skin and wear faster. Combine this with dancing, and you have a unique set of beauty challenges. Here are some tips to help you handle them:

Increased Oil and Perspiration

This is the season when most people become more active. Your skin changes as your activity level increases. The heat also causes skin to produce more oil and moisture. Even normal to dry skin gets shiny­­—if you are already oily, your skin may seem to go into overdrive.


The best advice for excess oil is to be gentle and control it, not to scour your face. Over washing and drying out the skin make the face more oily. A study at the University of California Medical School discovered that sebum oil is produced when the sebaceous glands detect a lack of oil on the face. The sebum starts to flow precisely when the skin is clean and dry and free of oil. So resist the urge to remove all oil or use astringents—you will make it worse; your skin will rush to the rescue by producing more oil. Gentle cleansing twice a day with a mild facial cleanser will be plenty. Switch from an astringent to witch hazel to cut oil without drying.

Use an oil free moisturizer. Oily skin needs moisture and protection. The new creams contain humectants that attract and hold water, not oil. Do not ever leave skin without a moisturizer.

Use a water-base foundation. If you don’t need much coverage, try a “dual” powder foundation. This goes on dry and absorbs oil and moisture. Use translucent powder—it’s the absolute best way to set and keep makeup on. Roll and press powder over foundation with a velour puff, then brush off the excess. You’ll get an extra hour or two of no shine this way.


Extra heat can also be drying, even to oily skin. Normal to dry skin can really feel extra dry during hot weather.

Humectants can help here as well. Glycerin is a wonderful skin saver; it holds water without clogging, and softens all skin types.

The most delicate areas for dryness are the eyes and lips. They have no oil glands and can easily become creased and cracked.

­Eyes may get fine lines around them, and when makeup is applied, the lines look deeper. There are a few solutions: go lightly with the concealer and mix with a moisturizer when applying. You’ll get less coverage, but fewer lines will show as well.

As a midday freshener, remove under eye makeup with a moisturizer. Apply a dab of moisture and let it sit a few minutes, then reapply makeup under the eyes. Your skin will come back to life.

After makeup, put a tiny amount of moisturizer on fingertips and lightly press it on over the makeup—this will soften lines considerably. This trick works beautifully between shows to freshen the face.

Remember the area under the eye does not need a lot of makeup, especially under the outer edge. The concealer goes under the inner corner and on the inner corners of the nose. The less you put on the lines, the less they will show.

Dry and chapped lips can be avoided by wearing a moisturizer and a lip covering every day. Lips need to be sealed so no moisture escapes. If they are already dry, try brushing them with a toothbrush to exfoliate the dead skin, then apply moisturizer, base and a lipstick. Extra moisture helps at night—your evening routine can now include brushing your teeth and lips at the same time!

Changing Skin Tone

Skin can take on a different hue in the summer. It is common to become more red as you heat up. After a performance, you may be quite flushed. The new foundations have a yellow base to conceal pink and red. Most people have yellow in their skin and the yellow-based colors look much more natural. Stick foundation can be helpful here. Dab a little extra on the flushed areas after a show, or on a hot day to cover the redness.

Moving Makeup

Makeup can move and fade on the skin when you get overheated. Foundation seems to disappear and lipstick may smudge into the tiny lines around the mouth. Translucent powder will “set” your makeup to last. However, you have to put enough foundation on for it to set. When applying foundation, always use a sponge—your goal is for your face to be all one color with no pink showing through. Try to match your neck color. Over-blending can actually remove foundation. Press a velour puff into translucent powder and press it on your face. It will look like flour—now brush down the excess.

Lipstick will hold better with foundation and powder on the mouth first. Use a lip fixative around the edges of the mouth to hold back the smudging. Use a long-last or matte formula lipstick for the best staying power; glosses wear off the fastest. Try blotting the first coat, then applying translucent powder to the mouth. Now apply a second coat—this routine will last through multiple shows.

After a show—where’s my face?

As you leave the stage, you may be quite drenched. Your face will be wet and makeup may be running. Immediately upon entering the dressing room/storage room/office/closet, begin to blot, not rub your face with a terry towel. Press around the edges to absorb any drips. Wait and fan—let the face cool down without rubbing. The makeup is held in suspension in the moisture; it needs to re-adhere to your skin before you work with it. If you have powdered correctly, your makeup will magically dry and you can touch up without a major redo. Stick foundation works well because it can layer without caking. Fill in the areas that have faded on the face. The eyes and lips should be fine. Dab a small amount of moisturizer on any lines and let it soak in for a few minutes, re-powder, and you’re set to go on to the next show. This is the same principle used in papier maché.

A Healthy Tan

Anyone who’s been living on this planet for the last couple of years knows that no cosmetic, no matter how moisturizing or soothing, can reverse sun damage. The damage done to the skin from a burn is permanent. It is just a matter of time before it shows in your skin. The sun goes right through the skin into the inner layers where skin cells are born, mutating them as they are created. That is why a bad burn before your teens can double, even triple, your chances for skin cancer in your late twenties.

But summer is time to be bronzed and beautiful, right? We do associate a tan with general health. It is true that small amounts of sun are healthy. The sun gives you valuable vitamin A, which helps your body absorb calcium. It also encourages your skin to produce melanin, which protects the skin. Skin that never sees the sun will be thinner with age, and less able to protect the body from damage, like scrapes and cuts. A little sun is good, maybe 10-15 minutes daily for fair skin. A lot of sun, causing even a mild burn, is when the damage is done. A sunscreen with an SPF of 8 or higher should be used at all times, even during those 10-15 minutes a few times a week.

The safest alternative to a suntan is the new boom in the cosmetic industry—self-tanning. The new motto is, “don’t risk it, fake it.” There are more products to choose from than ever: all shades are available from light to deep, and all formulas from spray to cream. They definitely are the safe way to tan with no side-effects, except maybe orange hands if you forget to wash after an application, or the occasional streak from uneven application.

Self-tanners are very easy to use. I suggest the medium tone for most skin colors. They work best if you exfoliate first and moisturize. Take care to apply evenly, just like makeup. Most self-tanning formulas need 10 minutes to dry before you dress.

Areas to avoid are the elbows and knees—the color turns too dark because of dryer skin. This is also true of the ankle area. Be sure to wash your hands and between your fingers immediately. In 3 to 4 hours you should have a tan. I use it before bed, and wake up bronzed. You can reapply it daily to deepen the color, or just let it wear off. The color only sticks to your epidermis, and as these cells fall off your body, your tan will fade.

Meleah has been a professional dancer, instructor, and makeup artist for over fifteen years. She specializes in personal make-overs, providing makeup consultation for film, video, photography, and weddings. Meleah’s knowledge of the dancer’s need for effective stage makeup stems from her on-stage experience. Meleah has also produced a makeup video specifically for the belly dancer and has her own line of cosmetics. (

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