Scotch Tape, Hair Clay, and More Beauty Secrets of U.S. Figure Skaters

As figure skaters twizzle, camel spin, and triple lutz across your screens in the coming days, they’ll not only demonstrate awesome athletic ability and gravity-defying centers of balance but also the seemingly inhuman ability to keep their hair and makeup — which highlights theatrical elements of their music and choreography — in place. How do they do it?

With the 2017 Figure Skating Championships in Kansas City well underway, Yahoo Beauty caught up with the top skaters in the U.S. to learn all of their behind-the-scenes beauty tricks.

Gracie Gold (Ladies)

Beauty must-haves: Needle and thread, Stephen Knoll Clay Wax Matte Styling Clay and Style Memory Spray, Addiction lipsticks*

“When styling my hair for competition, I ditch the bobby pins and hairnets and pick up the needle and thread! I picked up this tip from one of my first skating coaches. My sister (now-retired figure skater Carly Gold) and I both have thick hair, and bobby pins were no match. To avoid having them fall out all over the ice, we stitch my hair together instead. I’ll secure a tight pony and then wrap the pony around itself to make a simple bun. When I have the shape right, I’ll hold it in place with two big clips or pins. I start at the base of the bun by my neck, and I literally stitch the hair in the bun to hair on my head. Once sewed in, I’ll pull out the clips. It’s really easy, inexpensive and effective! I use Stephen Knoll Clay Wax Matte Styling Clay and Style Memory Spray to keep it locked into place — they’re lifesavers!

My short program is music from the Mr. & Mrs. Smith movie soundtrack. I wear a black dress with edgy cutouts. My makeup features a smoky eye, strong blush and a red lip — which is more vampy than a classic red. It’s Addiction Lipstick Sheer in 003 Cherry Cherry.

My long program is very different. I skate to Daphnis et Chloé, which is a ballet by Maurice Ravel. It’s an eponymous romance about the Grecian lovers Daphne and Chloe. I wear a gold long-sleeved dress, which is encrusted in gold Swarovski crystals. I feel like a true Greek goddess when I wear it! My hair is woven in a crown braid. I chose gold and brown eyeshadows for a softer smoky eye. I still wear a red lip for this, for a touch of romance — this time Addiction Lipstick in 001 Super Woman — and I top it with their Snow Magic lip gloss. I finish my look with highlighter on my cheekbones — it adds a bit of glow and matches my dress! I’m also obsessed with Infinity by Kosé — it’s a skin care line that has completely changed my skin for the better by making it brighter, clearer, and softer!

*Gracie Gold is a spokesmodel for Kosé, which owns Addiction and Stephen Knoll.

Ashley Wagner (Ladies)

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Beauty must-haves: Scotch tape, R+Co Vicious Strong Hold Flexible Hair Spray, MAC Lady Danger Lipstick, Davines Ol Oil Absolute Beautifying Potion, Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow Matte Finish in Pink Gray

Whenever I’m going for a bold cat eye that needs a longer flick, I use Scotch tape. It’s absolutely foolproof, and I get the straightest line. I also have the tape on when I apply my eye shadow so that it matches my cat eye perfectly and the final effect is very dramatic.

I keep my hair in place with hair spray and a prayer! My favorite is R+Co Vicious Strong Hold Flexible Hair Spray and I use Davines Ol Oil Absolute Beautifying Potion. I have the flattest, baby-fine hair, and I skate with my hair curled half up and half down. I’m definitely partially to blame for the hole in the ozone layer with all of the hair products I’ve used.

My short program is to Annie Lenox’s “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” so I’m definitely rocking a bit of an ’80s vibe. My costume is this awesome midnight blue with a peek of neon blue, so I wanted a look that would help play that up. I wear a matte grey smoky eye with Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in Pink Gray and MAC Lady Danger Lipstick — a fierce red — and pull my hair up into the sleekest, straightest ponytail I can manage.

My long program is a bit more introspective and dramatic. I’m skating to “Exogenesis: Symphony Part 3” by Muse, which is a bit more reflective. My costume is this moody, purplish blue that fades into a soft pink, and I skate with my hair down. I wanted to be able to get a bit wild with my skating, so it felt more raw. The costume is new, so I haven’t decided on the final version of makeup just yet, but it’ll be a softer pink-to-brown blended eye and either a bold plum lip or something soft and neutral. We’ll see!

Johnny Weir (Commentator)

Beauty must-haves: MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder, Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Baby Doll, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

My go-to product is MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder. When I’m performing, the last thing I want is to finish and be shiny. Figure skating is funny that way — the sport and the world is extremely difficult, but one must pull it off gracefully without looking like they’ve just run a marathon. I also can’t go on without a touch of Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Baby Doll on the outer corners of my lashes for a little extra flirt under the bright lights. Four foundation, I love Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, I wear shade No. 5. It stays with me through thick and thin.

I’ll be commentating for NBC with my partner Tara Lipiniski. Part of working on TV is entertaining your audience, and we always strive to do that with daring styling and beauty looks. For this year’s championship, I’d say my looks will be on the French, film noir, classic speakeasy glamour side of things.

Tarah Kayne (Pairs)

Beauty must-haves: Urban Decay De-Slick Complexion Primer, Marc Jacobs Lip Crème in Bad Behavior, Velvet 59 Rose Metals Palette, Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Mineral Blush Duo

My nose gets really red — I never noticed until I saw photographs of me skating with a Rudolph nose! Now I use green color corrector before my foundation to neutralize the redness and any everyday blemishes. I start my makeup routine with eyeshadow primer and Urban Decay De-Slick Complexion Primer to keep my makeup from melting off mid-program. I also like to “bake” my face with translucent setting powder as a final step to keep shine at bay. I go for matte or semi-matte finish lipsticks to last. For my hair, I’m heavy-handed on large bobby pins and don’t hold back with hair spray and gel!

For my short program, I skate to Hozier’s “Take Me To Church,” so I want to bring a rock ‘n’ roll vibe to the ice. I wear a sultry, messy smoky eye and a vampy lip with Velvet 59 Rose Metals Palette and Marc Jacobs Lip Crème in Bad Behavior.

My free skate is Indian-inspired, and the character I portray is a queen. I get into the luxurious feel of the program by going heavy on Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Splits Shimmering Skin Perfector Mineral Blush Duo to make my cheekbones shine. To give my eye makeup a magical and exotic feel, I use eyelash adhesive to glue rhinestones to the outer edges of my lash line to extend my cat eye. For Nationals, I custom-ordered a Swarovski bindi and eye gem set to match my freeskate dress — and I’m crossing my fingers that they arrive in time!

I have a YouTube channel — Level 4 Look — where I post skating-specific looks and hair and makeup tips during my rare time off from competing and training.

Maia Shibutani (Ice Dance)

Beauty must-haves: Waterproof makeup formulas, sheer coverage foundation, hair bungees, face masks

I use as many waterproof formulas as possible. While most people think ice skating is cold, when we’re competing in arenas with lots of people and bright lights, it actually ends up being really warm. I also look for foundation that has light coverage, since heavy coverage can make your makeup look like it’s melting when you’re sweating. And the combination of sweat and a lot of makeup can make you break out — face masks are a lifesaver!

Over the years, I’ve learned to use bobby pins with the ridges facing down for better hold, and I recently discovered hair bungees for my ponytails — the hooks really help my hair stay in place. And I only wear lip gloss if my hair is in an updo. If it’s half up or in a ponytail, a strand could easily fly around and get stuck to my lips and smear unwanted gloss onto my cheeks when I’m skating!

For my short dance, I’m skating to a mix of Jay Z and Frank Sinatra. This year in ice dance, we’re allowed to skate in pants and use hip-hop music. The program is slick and dynamic. My hair is in a high ponytail and I love it because it has movement but doesn’t get in my way. For my makeup, I do a smoky eye that is the focal point of the look and a sharp cat eye. Some people don’t like mixing a smoky eye with a strong lip, but for me, it depends on my mood. I’m not superstitious, and I like trying different colors.

The name of my free dance is Evolution. Many skaters choose to portray characters or stories on ice, but I’m performing as myself in this program. Within the past year, Alex and I have really come into our own, and it’s important to us that we share ourselves and create a moment with the audience. Our music is ethereal and mesmerizing at the beginning, and it grows into a really powerful piece by the end. My costume is deep blue with gold accents. I took inspiration from the night sky. For my makeup in this program, I’m keeping it natural and effortless. I blend different neutrals with gold and a little deep purple for my eyes and use a rose shade on my lips. My hair is in loose waves and I put it half up and add braids for extra dimension.

Madison Chock (Ice Dance)

Beauty must-haves: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray, Pantene hairspray, Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick

My hair whips into my face during performances. To make sure everything stays put, I use a bit of hairspray on my eyebrows to keep them in place. I just spray a little on my finger and lightly brush it over the arches of my brows.

When you want a long-lasting look, it’s so important to prime and set. I love the original iconic Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, and I set with Urban Decay All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray. Before I style my hair, I always use a heat protectant while my hair is still wet after washing. It not only protects from high heat, but it also gives a little grit so your hair is a bit easier to style and will last longer. Also, criss-crossing bobby pins is a must so my hair stays secure. Kérastase is my go-to line for hair products, and I use Pantene hairspray because it comes in a big bottle and smells great!

Our music for the short program is a mix of “Bad to the Bone,” by George Thorogood, and “Uptown Funk,” by Bruno Mars. It’s blues and hip-hop, so I do a dark smoky eye with a red lip. For the free program, we skate to “Under Pressure,” by David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. I wear metallic eyeshadow inspired by the era of Bowie and Mercury, along with a vampy lip. I love the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick, and I use it for both programs. It goes on so smooth and doesn’t smear off or get on my teeth while I’m performing.

Adam Rippon (Men, withdrawn due to injury)

Beauty must-have: Maybelline Dream Fresh 3-In-1 Beauty Balm Skin Perfector SPF 30

As a guy, I don’t wear makeup in my day-to-day training. But whether you’re in a competition with really bright arena lights or doing on-camera interviews for TV, it’s good to use something to help even out your skin tone. I only feel comfortable using something that makes me feel like I’m wearing nothing. My personal favorite is Maybelline Dream Fresh 3-In-1 Beauty Balm Skin Perfector SPF 30 in 120 medium sheer tint. It gives me a little color and keeps me looking fresh and completely natural on camera. It’s simple and takes no makeup skill at all, I apply it as I do an everyday moisturizer. Maybe he’s born with it? I wish!

Related: I Learned My Most Important Life Lessons From Watching Figure Skating Get Your First Look at Margot Robbie Skating Like Tonya Harding

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