Growing up, little girls were practically programmed to look up to ballerinas. Many of us even took years of classes so we could wear the white platter tutus and pink pointe shoes. As someone who danced for over 20 years, the balletcore aesthetic is deeply ingrained in me, which I sometimes forget until I attempt a French twist or hear the word frappé and have the urge to perform the move rather than grab the Starbucks drink. Ballerinas’ blithe, strong, yet graceful demeanor has always been one to mimic, and the internet is running with it right now. Balletcore is a reflection of the most beautiful parts of ballet—it’s missing all the bloody pointe shoes and tendonitis-ridden knees—and allows people to immerse themselves in the dreamlike world of a ballet performance.
Celebrity makeup artist Courtney Hart says she’s seeing the trend all over the internet right now. From the Miu Miu Ballet Flats to powder pink–inspired makeup looks, it’s everywhere. Founder and CEO of Beautyblender and celebrity makeup artist Rea Ann Silva describes balletcore as a very classic, deliberately sculpted no-makeup makeup look. “It defines your features in a natural, sheer, yet, radiant way, all while looking very clean and finished.”
According to celebrity makeup artist James Molloy, balletcore is a movement “that embraces the softer feminine style of ballet dancers. There’s an ease to the application and color palette, which wrap the features in gossamer thin veils of blushes and highlight. There’s movement to the makeup. Nothing is overly set or structured, giving the face a poised yet innocent feel.”
Why is balletcore trending right now?
The polished ballerina look has always been chic, but it’s trending in a bigger way right now. “It’s classic. It’s clean, sophisticated and beautiful,” says Silva. Hart feels it’s come into the spotlight since it’s adjacent to other recent trends like the “clean girl” look. Molloy believes the shift is a reflection of our lifestyles. “We’re spending more time in leisurewear because it fits our day and our mood. Balletcore beauty is an elevation of gym skin or the classic no-makeup makeup giving a more feminine approach to beauty lovers.”
Complexion for balletcore
“The focus is skin which should be naturally flushed and youthful coupled with a soft eye and pretty lash. It’s a natural look that celebrates ballet culture,” says Hart. Like any look, it starts with skin care. “You need to have a skin-care product or primer that leaves your skin radiant but not greasy,” says Silva.
When it comes to complexion, keep it lightweight and hydrating, says Hart. She notes that you could even skip this step, only applying concealer where needed. Molloy agrees, noting that you should choose products that are light in texture, like liquid highlighters and fine powder pigments. Celebrity makeup artist Allison Kaye suggests starting with Saie Glowy Super Gel Lightweight Dewy Highlighter ($28) as a base for the entire face. Follow that with Armani Luminous Silk Foundation ($69) to keep the glow going.
Silva recommends using a skin tint for this look. “I would use a Beautyblender ($20) and sheer out BOUNCE Always on Radiant Skin Tint ($29), bouncing it on areas that need more coverage, so it looks luminous and clean.”
Eyes and cheeks for balletcore
Then comes the color. Kaye notes that cool-toned pinks tend to work best for this look. “Think blush tones, soft pinks, beige peaches, champagne golds and even light lavenders. These tones can play across all features from eyes to lips,” says Molloy. He notes that the shades should be sheered down to a wash of color. Hart recommends a shimmery tone on the lids that is close to your skin color. Kaye suggests frosted pinks and lilac eyeshadows with a pearly finish noting that Natasha Denona Retro Eyeshadow Palette ($69) is a good place to start. Then curl your lashes and apply a few coats of black mascara, instructs Hart.
“Texture is super important too, thankfully the advancement in makeup tech gives us a soft focus and airy products. Applying these with fingertips is a great way to achieve the look. Tap a cream blush mixed with a highlighter onto the apples of your cheeks to help melt the product perfectly onto your skin,” says Molloy.
To bring this look to life, Hart recommends a rosey-toned blush on the apple of your cheeks and run across the bridge of the nose. “This is a super youthful and pretty blush placement,” she notes. For this, she recommends Danessa Myricks Beauty Yummy Skin Blurring Balm Powder in Rosé N Brunch ($25). “It’s a cream-to-powder formula that is oil-absorbing and minimizes pores.” Kaye recommends Saie Dew Blush ($25) in Dreamy or the classic Dior Backstage Rosy Glow Blush ($40).
Silva recommends using BOUNCE Liquid Whip Cream Blush ($22) on the cheeks and swept over the eyes. “Then apply highlighter to create high points and sharp edges around the cheekbones and eye sockets, below the brow.” Molloy has another blush suggestion. “Gather your flesh-toned lipsticks and consider using them as blush too.”
Lip for balletcore
Hart suggests selecting a lip shade that matches the cheek to tie the whole look together, which is especially easy if you used Molloy’s trick of using lipstick as blush. He recommends “a blush pink lipstick applied with a fluffy brush for a soft focus blur to your lips, adding just a kiss of color.” If you want a bit of gloss, Hart recommends Jouer Plump & Tint Lip Enhancer in Bare Rose ($25 for three). Kaye suggests Tower 28 ShineOn Lip Jelly Non-Sticky Gloss in Pistachio ($16).
Hair to pair with balletcore
Naturally, Kaye suggests slicking hair back into a ballerina bun. “I think balletcore looks best paired with a tight bun and clean baby hairs,” says Silva, noting it’s important to groom all the edges of your hairline.