Few people are better versed on the ins and outs of beauty secrets than ballerinas. Just ask 29-year-old American Ballet Theater dancer Melanie Hamrick, who took her first mandatory makeup class at boarding school when she was eleven. “It was part of the curriculum, students had to take makeup lessons to learn how to do their own for the stage,” she explains. She admits that her preferred look leans natural, so when it's showtime she's happy to have a team of hair and makeup professionals hovering over her to finish the job. “Before the curtain goes up hair stylists and makeup artists walk around to touch you up and make sure your pins are in and your makeup is right,” explains Hamrick of the pre-show process. “I like the makeup team to finish off my look – to do that special something, so I can focus on my role instead of my eyeliner.” But that doesn't mean she hasn't picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. Here, she shares her favorite products, go-to snacks, and skincare secrets.
Always in your bag: Glossier’s Soothing Face Mist, Chloe’s Eau de Parfum, and Mac’s Casual Colour for cheeks and lips in the shade 'Out for Fun.' I also always have a good book on me. In my dance bag I keep my pointe shoes, a stretching band from my sister’s company Flexistretcher and a pull over from Bandier.
Go-to snacks: Nuts, a banana, and a granola bar.
Breakfast of choice: Granola with milk and coffee, or a hard-boiled egg. On a performance day we’ll rehearse straight from 12pm to 5:30pm, and perform at 8pm, so I’ll have a huge breakfast – either an omelet or a wrap.
Favorite post-performance meal: Spaghetti Bolognese or chips, guac, and margaritas from Rosa Mexicano.
The products you won’t go onstage without: Eyeliner and lipstick! I use a black shadow from Mac and I have a few colors of lipstick depending on what ballet I’m performing. I love Mac’s red lipstick shades— particularly ‘Russian Red’ and ‘Nice to Meet You.’
Best tricks from the backstage pros: We use white in the corners of or eyes to make our eyes pop – I use a white eyeshadow from Mac in ‘Gesso.’ Since we sweat a lot, I can’t use liquid makeup. Instead I use a black powder from Mac in ‘Carbon’ for eyeliner, and apply it with a very fine small brush, so my makeup doesn't run down my face. I also always focus on my eyebrows - I do them with eyeshadow, which is a trick the ABT makeup artist taught me. You fill them in from the top, otherwise you lose the shape. And when you do eye shadow, you always have to follow the crease.
Biggest skincare splurge: A facial from Face Place. But when I don’t have time, I use Dr. David Colbert’s Soothe Night cream, and Skin Caviar from La Prairie.
Best spa-cation: Aire Ancient Baths in Tribeca and sometimes I treat myself to a spa day at the Mandarin Oriental.
Makeup for a night out: A light smoky eye. My lips depend on my outfit and I’ll finish the look with Lancôme’s Five Pan Eyeshadow Palette in ‘Petal Pusher,’ ‘Beige Brulee’ and ‘Gris Fumee.’
Best way to unwind: With a glass of wine and a book. Also with my family – my sister and brother both live in the city.
Favorite spot for ballet and workout clothes: I’m obsessed with everything at Bandier. My go-to stuff is from Flexistretcher, which is a line my sister started. She keeps it private and exclusive, and everyone in ABT wears it - she actually dresses most of the dancers.
Remedy to heal your feet and toes: I soak my feet in an ice bucket or in Epsom salts. A great pedicure always helps though! I’ll go pretty much anywhere for one.
Everyday makeup look: My everyday makeup is much lighter than the heavier looks we use for the stage, since the makeup artists work to enhance our features so they can be seen from the audience. I rarely use concealer when I'm not on stage because I like my skin to be able to breath. I use Dior’s cheek and lip glow for blush and I’m obsessed with Maybelline volumizing mascara. For my eyebrows I use Glossier’s ‘Boy Brow.’
Beauty icons: Audrey Hepburn and the mid-twentieth century British ballerina Margot Fonteyn.
Best advice from mom: Go after your dreams.
Watch W's most popular videos here: