August 21 2014

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Ocean’s Kingdom Crowns A Complexion-Perfecting Queen


The New York City Ballet’s production of Ocean’s Kingdom premieres tonight, and with its Stella McCartney-designed costumes and Sir Paul McCartney-scored music, it’s sure to be a hit. Another thing it’s got going for it, aside form top-notch dancing and killer choreography: CoverGirl creative director Pat McGrath stepped in to help design the makeup for the production. While McGrath herself is in Milan prepping shows for Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, and other power-house presentations (check out her handiwork backstage at Gucci here), a well-equipped team has been assembled to make sure her ethereal aquatic look befitting the show’s ocean-dwelling creatures and a darker, sort of goth-inspired look for its earthbound “Terra Punks” go off without a hitch—including fashion’s favorite skincare guru, Sunday Riley. “Their complexions, while young and gorgeous, definitely needed serious TLC,” Riley said of the company’s dancers, who are subjected to layers and layers of makeup for scheduled performances. Here, Riley breaks down the keys to ballerina-beautiful skin.

Why was it so important for the dancers to follow a specific skincare regimen?

Well, they’re working out all day and continually sweating. On full dress-rehearsal days, they have a thick layer of stage makeup applied on top of their skin, and they are performing under heavy lighting. Under these conditions, proper cleansing and balancing is terribly important.

With all of the light-reflecting foundations and heavy pigmented eye makeup used in this show, how did you make sure that the skin underneath remained a perfect, hydrated canvas?

When they’re going to dance, I prefer to stay away from heavy moisturizers, so we used a lightweight concentrated dose of my Skin Adrenaline instead. To give them instant radiance, we dabbed my Good Genes treatment serum on top.

Was there a specific product that you prescribed to all of the girls to keep them irritation- and breakout-free?

My Stimulant II is incredibly anti-inflammatory, and applied to breakouts, it will help cut the redness while reducing the size of acne flare-ups.

What about post-show? Did you give the dancers any cleansing instructions to make sure everything that had been put on comes off completely?

They really require a two-step cleansing process because of all the heavy makeup. First, we have them use a cream-based cleanser, like my Charisma Creme, to remove everything. It contains hydrating ingredients so it won’t dry out skin while it cleanses, plus it has chamomile and green tea to calm any kind of inflammation. Then, we followed with my Ceramic Slip, which is a foaming, clay-based cleanser that really deep-cleans the pores.

Photo: Orrie King / Sunday Riley



  1. kgal1298 says:

    Seriously this is pretty interesting I always wondered how they stayed so good looking under those hot lights and I know how hot it gets phew talk about sweating.

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