The Radio City Rockettes are a holiday tradition that’s as synonymous with the season as mulled wine, candy canes, and Mariah Carey (whose Christmas album I may or may not have had on repeat since the day after Thanksgiving). They’re also some of the hardest working people during the holidays, rivaling only ballet dancers performing a full season of The Nutcracker and retail employees who have been cleaning up after us since Black Friday. The 82 dancers who make up the two casts of The Rockettes perform up to four shows a day, every day, for nearly three months. The intense schedule puts a strain not only on their bodies but also on their hair and skin. “It’s hard to save your skin during the season,” says Rockette Sagan Rose. “Not only is it wintertime, but wearing lots of makeup for long hours and then taking it all off every night really dries out your skin. The most important thing throughout the season in staying moisturized.”
The long days of performing also mean long days of wearing their hair pinned up in the regulation Rockette French twist and a full face of makeup. “We have multiple shows a day, and you don’t want to take all of your makeup off and reapply it because that would destroy your skin,” says Rose. “So when we first apply everything, it’s meant to last so you only have to do minor touch-ups between shows.”
To keep their look locked in place all day, the Rockettes have had to find products and techniques that ensure their hair and makeup are impervious to sweat and lightning-speed costume changes. Last season, I went backstage to find out what their favorite budge-proof red lipstick is — a Sephora Collection liquid lip formula that, after chatting about it with beauty editors and makeup artists throughout the year, turns out to be one of the Sephora brand’s hidden gems. This year, though, I set out with a bigger goal: to discover some of their favorite long-wearing makeup and styling products, as well as some of their genius hair and makeup tricks — all of which you can find below.