Stepping on stage for a bikini competition 2 years in a row and doing 6 shows, I'm still learning about making every show day less stressful and efficient.
Beauty and skin prep play a major role in how you'd look and can truly make or break the package you bring on stage. No matter how incredible your body and condition are, with uneven tan, odd make up and hair, you won't place in the top.
Where to start? Estimate your budget and your skills. Doing your own show day make up and hair, can really save a lot of money, but you HAVE to be great at it.
I'm not great at it, and I've never done a show without a beauty team behind my look. Sometimes it went well, sometimes it didn't. But every time I enjoyed feeling pampered and taking the responsibility and stress out of my hands.
If you need a make up artist & hair stylist:
- Assess their previous work and portfolio. Look at the girls' make up they've done for competitions. If they don't have experience in stage make up, I'll think twice about booking them. Show day make up is very specific, and ideally they'd be familiar with stage lighting effect on how you look. Too much highlighter can make you look like a reflective bulb. The foundation needs to match your tan and be 1-2 shades lighter.
- Ask about eye lashes. Some make up artist charge extra for a pair of stick on lashes, so you can bring your own that you like or trust them on it. Some girls do eyelash extensions prior to the show too.
- Bring some images of the make up looks that you like, as well as any pictures of yourself where you liked your make up. Beauty team can be in a rush on the show day, and having an idea of the look you want, can save time and effort! Do trust them if they don't think a certain look would suit you, but don't be afraid to speak your mind if you think your final make up is too strong or you're not 100% into it. Don't leave the make up artist until you're fully happy with it! You're paying a lot of money for it.
Preparing your skin for a spray tan:
- One word - EXFOLIATE. This is the most common issue that tanning companies go on about. If your skin is flakey, or has been scrubbed in certain places and not everywhere - your tan will be patchy and different in its colour development. Pay special attention to drier body parts like knees, elbows, feet and your neck. Start exfoliating twice a week around 3 weeks out of your competition.
My favourite products for smoothing yourself are:
Get Buffed Scrub - top rated body scrub by fitness and bikini competitors, that saved my life this year. It didn't give my sensitive skin any rashes or break outs. I've now got a few more to use on a weekly basis off season! It's not the most earth friendly product, but it sure does the job to the best level.
Homemade Coffee Scrub - for more gentle scrubbing and with all natural ingredients. I love to use it post-show to get rid of fake tan traces and give my skin extra nourishing. Wouldn't use this right before the show, as oil traces on your skin can make the spray tan's application difficult.
Exfoliating Gloves - a great option if you want to use your usual shower gel and do the scrubbing with the fabric. These gloves by Soap & Glory have lasted me for 2 years!
Body Brush - great for dry brushing prior jumping into the shower. It gets rid of the rough dry top layer of your skin and also increases the blood circulations. Some bikini girls swear by these brushes for anti-cellulite effect, I'm not sure it really works but definitely makes your bum and legs pink if you brush them for a while! Also great to use in the shower for your back - as it's sometimes hard to reach.
Glycolic Acid Pads - fantastic for facial exfoliation. Again, my skin is very sensitive and prone to break outs, and these pads are very gentle. I use them straight after washing my face and follow up with a moisturiser.
I wouldn't recommend trying any new products on your face before the show, stick to your usual routine. I've seen a few really bad reactions from girls who decided to try a new 'glowing skin' face mask before the show, or a certain 'deep cleanse clay' mask. Just don't mess with anything that can ruin your face and give you anxiety before the show.
- Moisturise your body on a regular basis. Use any moisturiser you like, but a week before the show, go for oil-free options. I've been loving the special pH skin balancing and tan enhancing moisturiser by St Moriz. It is non-greasy and fast to absorb. I've been told off by the last tanners for using coco butter cream, and by using this moisturiser for the next show, I could really tell the difference in my skin texture. The tan went on like a dream. You can also use this moisturiser post-show to make your tan last longer!
Pre-tanning hair removal.
Choose a method you usually go for, something that works for your skin type. Waxing, shaving, using a hair removal cream - everything goes. Just as long as you don't have any bumps on your skin, scratches or inflamed areas. Some bikini girls remove all body hair, even on their arms. It is up to you but generally, it's the whole bikini area, armpits and full legs that need to be completely smooth. Facial hair, arms, stomach and back - all personal matters.
Again - a personal choice. For the sake of extra feminine look, most girls get their nails done in a salon, but some simply throw on a nail polish they like. Having gel extensions or Shellac will give you a 'non-scratch' peace of mind. I usually go for Shellac gel manicure, and I naturally don't grow long nails. But for the last competition I got some stick-on French manicure effect longer nails that lasted me 10 days! They did look good, so I'll probably go for them again next time I compete. For feet - I've also gone for Shellac or a neutral nail polish.
I got my hair done for all competitions, but my hair look the best and the shiniest when I had a coconut oil mask prior to the show. Simply soak your hair in Lucy Bee's raw coconut oil overnight, wrap your head in cling film to avoid staining your pillow. Wash it in the morning of the show and I promise it will look amazing. If you're worried about being too greasy, try doing a coconut oil mask weeks before the show to test it out and see how your hair is looking after.