5 Pro Dancers Share the Skin-Care Routines That Keep Them Glowing

August 16, 2021

Long hours of sweat, caked makeup and stress can leave a dancer’s skin feeling out of control. Here, five professional dancers share the routines that have kept their faces glowing on the longest days.

Brandon Gray stands in an extra wide second position to support Candy tong in a high developpu00e9 second

Candy Tong with Complexions’ Brandon Gray
Steven Trumon, Courtesy Complexions Contemporary Ballet

Candy Tong

While touring with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Candy Tong began dealing with regular breakouts. “I knew I needed to start taking better care of my skin,” she says. She’s come to believe that healthy skin starts with natural ingredients.

Daily Routine:

• Each morning and night, Tong starts her regimen by washing her face with CeraVe—a product that works for her sensitive skin. To remove makeup, she uses Neutrogena oil-free eye makeup remover.

• Then, she uses the Watermelon Glow PHA+BHA Pore-Tight Toner from Glow Recipe. “During the winter my skin is super-dry, and it’s amazing,” she says.

• Next, she uses a spot corrector from Kiehl’s called Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution and follows it with Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate.

• For face cream, Tong uses Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream. “It hydrates and firms both my face and neck,” she says.

• She finishes off with Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops.

Must-have tool:

“I swear by the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask, especially while on tour,” Tong says. “If I have more than a 10-hour flight, I will put it on mid-trip. Then, when I land, I do a facemask before bed to prep for the performances ahead.”

Skin-care trick she swears by:

“Don’t rub—pat,” she says. “When you apply a product under your eye, you should only use your ring finger because the area is super-sensitive. And remember, a little goes a long way.”

India Bradly rubs a small amount of lotion onto her cheek

Courtesy Bradley

India Bradley

New York City Ballet’s India Bradley developed a passion for skin care during quarantine. “I was running out of things to do, and I thought I’d give it a try,” she says. As the world began slowly opening, modeling opportunities began popping up, and Bradley was set on having her skin look clean and fresh. “Now, every time I sit down in the chair, I get a compliment on my skin.”

Daily routine:

• Every morning and night, Bradley begins by applying the Fenty Skin Total Cleans’r Remove-It-All Cleanser. “It’s really good at removing all of the stage makeup,” she says.

• Next, she presses the Fenty Skin Fat Water Pore-Refining Toner Serum into her T-Zone.

•She finishes with the Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer with SPF 30. “A lot of Black people think you don’t need sunscreen because that’s what melanin is for. That might be a little true, but I still think everyone should wear sunscreen. It cleared up my dark spots.”

Must-have tool:

“I like to use a jade roller to define my bone structure and decrease puffiness after I wake up,” Bradley says.

Skin-care trick she swears by:

“Whenever I dance with my mask, I keep an extra one to change into when I’m done,” she says. “If I don’t, it’s like keeping a sweaty leotard on for way too long—it’s just gross. This has helped with maskne.”

Omar Rivera rubs his face skin below his eye in a bathroom

Courtesy Rivera

Omar Rivéra

Through his time as a dancer with Ballet Hispánico, Omar Rivéra has come to understand the value of healthy skin. “From getting your headshots taken, to meeting the director, to performing for an audience, you want to look into someone’s eyes and have them see that you take care of yourself, and that you are comfortable in your skin,” Rivéra says.

Daily Routine:

• First, he washes his hands. “Your hands are dirty, and they put bacteria on your face,” Rivéra says.

• After patting his face with water, he uses his middle and ring fingers to gently administer Cetaphil cleanser in small circles before rinsing off. “It’s inexpensive and controls breakouts without drying my skin out,” he says. Then, he lightly pats his skin with a clean face cloth before allowing it to air dry.

• After shows, Rivéra uses a light scrub (Clean & Clear Lemon Zesty Scrub) or exfoliant (Yves Rocher) to help remove any makeup the cleanser missed.

• Next, he uses a cotton pad to apply the Glycolic Acid toner by The Ordinary on his T-zone. “It really helps the pH balance,” he says. He also keeps a small bottle in his dance bag to apply during five-minute rehearsal breaks.

• From there, he uses an under-eye serum by The Ordinary called Caffeine Solution. “It really helps with puffiness from a long day of dancing or traveling,” Rivéra says. “It also controls dark circles during those early-morning call times.”

• In the morning, he then uses a day serum by Valjean Labs to give his skin an even glow. “If you’re wearing makeup that day, this is a good choice because it won’t be dewy.” In the evenings, he uses the company’s Overnight Repair Facial Oil.

• Lastly, he applies the Pearlessence Whipped Moisture Cream with hyaluronic acid and peach extract.

Must-have tool:

“For a man with facial hair, I like to make sure I use a good aftershave and moisturize,” Rivéra says. “These days I’m a little bougie—I use the Versace Eau Fraiche aftershave balm. It smells great and doesn’t irritate my skin.”

Skin-care trick he swears by:

“I like to do a spa night the day before a show,” he says. “The best way to relax is with the Pearlessence Aloe + Charcoal Detoxifying Mask, and a candle.”

Close-up of Selene Haro, crossing her arms in front of her shoulders and looking into the camera

Ryan Feng, Courtesy Haro

Selene Haro

When COVID-19 hit, Selene Haro was performing in Keone and Mari Madrid’s Beyond Babel, and in rehearsals for the Chicago run of the upcoming Broadway musical Once Upon A One More Time. As she prepped her body to return to the stage, she knew she couldn’t neglect skin care. “Our skin needs to be nourished just as much as our bodies,” Haro says. “So, I started researching products that are both good and inexpensive.”

Daily Routine:

• Immediately after finishing an evening performance, Haro uses Kirkland Signature makeup wipes to let her skin breathe.

• She then applies unrefined shea butter by FairTaleto tide her over until she can get home for a deeper cleanse. “It comes in, like, a 60-pound container, and it lasts forever,” Haro says.

• Once home, Haro washes her face with CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser. “It’s a cream-to-foam cleanser that removes any makeup my wipes didn’t get,” she says.

• Next, she uses The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum. “This is a mineral blemish formula that helps take out impurities,” Haro says.

• To hydrate, she applies The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5.

• Then, she uses a brightening formula for scarring, The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%. “It helps with brightening, appearance and texture,” Haro says.

• To finish, she locks the products in with more unrefined shea butter. “I spread a thin amount onto my hands, then pat it onto my skin rather than rubbing so the previous formulas don’t come off,” Haro says.

• On days when she will be spending time outside, Haro applies a generous amount of La Roche-Posay sunscreen before leaving.

Must-have tool:

“I use Jade Roller Beauty’s Tiger’s Eye for 20 minutes at night while I read or watch something,” she says. “It alleviates stress and brings down puffiness.”

Skin-care trick she swears by:

“After a long day of expressive performance, I really like to massage my shea butter into my skin,” Haro says. “I make sure to get the smiling lines and the forehead in particular. During Beyond Babel, my character was very sad for most of the show, so I liked to massage anything impacted by a frown.”

Close-up headshot of Whitney Carson, looking over her shoulder with lips gently parted.

Jonathan Volk, Courtesy Carson

Witney Carson

“Dancing with the Stars” pro Witney Carson became passionate about skin care at age 18 after battling skin cancer. “It was a huge scare, and life-threatening,” she says. “Treating your skin like you do your body is just as crucial to your health!”

Daily routine:

• At night, Carson removes her makeup with Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes, followed by Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant. “I let it sit for a few minutes,” she says.

• Next, she washes her face with a SkinCeuticals face cleanser before patting it dry.

• From there she uses the First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Niacinamide Brightening Cream, then applies the boscia SakeHydrating and Brightening Serum using a jade roller.

• She finishes with Honest Company overnight moisturizer.

Must-have tool:

“I always try to do a Youth to the People Yerba Mate skin mask two or three times per week to get off all the dead skin, oil in pores, etc.,” she says.

Skin-care trick she swears by:

“My skin is very dry, so for me, the oils and serums work best,” Carson says.