Beauty Secrets From a Ballet Dancer

Claire Calvert Ballet Beauty

Earlier in the summer I was lucky enough to see The Royal Ballet‘s new production of Swan Lake. It was breathtakingly beautiful! And whilst I was obviously transfixed by the performance, I also couldn’t help admiring all of the beautiful makeup – especially when the swans took to the stage.

Claire Calvert, a First Soloist with The Royal Ballet, was one of those gorgeous swans. And, as luck would have it, Claire happens to have an incredible Instagram account that documents her stage makeup. So after watching Swan Lake I reached out to see if she’d share some of her ballet makeup secrets with Coco’s Tea Party. And she very kindly agreed. So read on for the full lowdown from Claire…


“We have a wig and makeup team at The Royal Opera House, but I prefer to do my own makeup. I’ve been in The Royal Ballet Company for almost 11 years, and I’ve definitely improved over time. Sometimes I look back at photos from past performances and think, I didn’t do a great job on my makeup there. But it’s just a case of practise, and eventually you learn how to make your features stand out in the right way.”

Swan Lake Makeup Look


“Stage makeup is so different from what you’d wear day-to-day. The audience can’t see fine details, so it’s all about defining the structure of your face to make sure you look good from a distance. Features need to be elongated, because we’re not always dancing straight-on. And you run the risk of looking flat if the lines of your face don’t lengthen out across your side profile.”

“You also need to think about the character you’re playing. When I’m dancing in Swan Lake [pictured above] I make my eyebrows longer and higher, so they accentuate the headdress and make me look more swan-like.”

Claire Calvert Ballet Beauty Routine


“Wearing a lot of stage makeup really takes its toll on your skin. So at the moment I actually use Bare Minerals BarePro Performance Wear Liquid Foundation on stage.”

“We sweat quite a lot when we’re performing, so you need a foundation that provides coverage but isn’t so thick that it clogs your pours or just runs down your face the moment you start to sweat.”

“When it comes to eye makeup, I always contour my eyes with eye shadows and then apply false lashes. Sometimes the mascara on my lower lashes smudges during a performance, but it’s amazing how much is hidden from the audience – they’d never be able to see that much detail, so I don’t worry about flaws in my makeup.”

“If I need to apply eye liner, as well as eye shadow, I always use a gel formula. I used to favour MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline, but it’s quite expensive and when you’re performing daily you get through makeup very quickly. So I’m quite good at finding cheaper alternatives to my favourite products now. And lately I’ve been using Kiko Lasting Gel Eyeliner instead.”

Claire Calvert Royal Ballet


“One of my friends recently introduced me to the Face Halo. It’s a a circular flannel, and you just use it with water to remove all of your makeup.”

“The Face Halo is amazing for everyday use, but at first I struggled to use it on stage makeup. I wear a lot of eye makeup for performances, and I find that you need an oil-based formula to remove it all properly – especially when eyelash glue has been involved.”

“So, after a performance, I now use an oil-based makeup remover on my eyes. And then I jump in the shower and take the rest of my makeup off with the Face Halo. You can put the Face Halo in the wash with your laundry and re-use it, so it’s actually really convenient. And, as you can imagine, I get through a lot of them each week!”

Follow Claire Calvert on Instagram at @Claire123 and discover more of her beauty looks at @make_up_by_claire123. Visit for a list of The Royal Ballet’s upcoming productions to see Claire in performance.

All images courtesy of Claire Calvert


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