Every Christmas since I first saw Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular, I’ve asked myself, “How can I become a Rockette?” Then I remember that each show has 300 kicks and that on four-show days, each Rockette kicks 1,200 times total, and that fantasy dissipates. This year, I’m setting a much more achievable goal and asking myself a very different question: How does a Rockette get her skin so good? And most importantly, how can my skin achieve a Christmas glow sans 1,200 kicks?
Rockette Jackie Aitken says, “I only started a proper skin-care routine in the last few years. I think the harsher weather conditions in New York City contributed to my change, along with just getting older and wanting to look after my skin.” Not to mention that Rockettes perform 100 shows throughout the season wearing full stage make-up, so their skin goes through a lot.
To prep before a show, Aitken starts her morning with the same four Ole Henriksen products, a cooling mask, and a DIY face mask. “All it is is green tea, a little splash of warm water, and honey. You already have the ingredients at home,” she shares. “It clears out all the pores.” Then comes the make-up routine, done each day by the Rockette herself and finished off with the classic Rockette red lip.
“Nighttime is typically when I do all my facial masks and scrubs, and spoil my skin with oils,” she explains. Below, a detailed look into Aitken’s skin prep, morning routine, and make-up removal process — a few steps closer to actually living like a Rockette.
The Skin-Care Routine
The Cooling Mask
“This is the first thing I use in the morning. I keep it in my refrigerator and use it to de-puff. I actually got my eye mask from another Rockette as a gift, which got me hooked on it. We do up to 17 shows a week, so it’s very rigorous. It’s the season of being tired. Put this mask on for five to ten minutes. You can have your tea, your coffee, and watch TV. It’s great because I’m on in the afternoon and nighttime so I have the morning to really self-care and look after myself.”
The DIY Mask
“All you need is green tea, a little splash of warm water, and honey. It’s so good. You already have the ingredients at home. You put it on your face, let it sit for five to ten minutes, and then at the end, you use the green tea leaves to exfoliate. Really scrub it off and your face will be so soft and smooth. It clears out all the pores. It’s so good for brightening the skin and getting rid of all those blemishes on the face.”
“I’m a big believer in sticking with something that really works. I use this frequently, but not every day, before I moisturize. It’s great for brightening and smoothing the skin.”
“I’m obsessed with this hydrating moisturizer. It leaves your skin feeling silky smooth and it’s a great base before applying makeup. I have tried many face moisturizers, and a lot don’t hydrate my skin enough, but this moisturizer is simultaneously hydrating and light on the face.”
The Eye Cream
“A friend recommended this product, and it introduced me to the whole world of Ole Henriksen products. I really found that this helped with fine lines, de-puffing, and the color and dark circles under my eyes. I noticed a difference after only a few days of using it.”
The Make-Up Routine
“I love this lightweight foundation from Dior. It is natural-looking, but still has coverage. I use it both on stage and for my day-to-day. I opt for a lighter foundation on stage, because we sweat so much and wear foundation for a long period of time, up to three or four 90-minute shows each day.”
“I do a nice, light cream color all over the eyes as a base. I cover the whole eyelid. Then, I love using browns and blacks for my eye shadows. I use my dark brown to create a little curve just above the crease of the eye. Eyes are so important on stage because that’s where all the expression comes from, so you want to make sure to frame them.”
The Brow Gel
“I’m obsessed with this brow gel from Benefit. It fills out your eyebrows with a natural color. For stage makeup, I apply more than I would for during the day. I have thick eyebrows, so I don’t need to use a pencil or anything. This is perfect for me.”
“We have so many shows that I buy a tray of lashes from the pharmacy. I normally like to change my eyelashes after every four shows, depending how they last. Everybody is different. Some girl’s eyes are real sensitive and they like to put a new pair on every show. That’s a lot, it comes out to 100 eye lash [sets]. To apply, put the glue on the eyelash and let it set for a few seconds. You don’t want to put it on right away. You want the glue to have a little tacky feel to it so it stays on your eyelashes.”
“I always use a loose powder to lock in my make up and foundation. I typically choose a color a little darker than normal, because with all the lights on stage you can look washed out. Make sure you go right down to your neck.”
“An extra cheek highlighter from M.A.C goes far.”
The Lip Balm
“If you haven’t heard about Paw Paw, now you have. It’s so great to keep your lips hydrated. Especially because we’re taking on and off lipstick so many times throughout the holiday season.”
“To complete the Rockette look, a red lip is a must. I like to use a lip liner a little darker than the lip color. Then, I use a combination of an orange/red lipstick from M.A.C called Lady Danger, and then top it off with a true red color such as M.A.C Red from their collection. The combination is my favorite.”
The Removal Process
The Double Cleanse
“I have been using oils to remove my makeup for years now. I found that makeup wipes were too harsh on my skin and around my eyes. This oil literally soaks up all of your makeup in a gentle way, including waterproof makeup and all the eyelash glue from our fake lashes. I even use this oil to remove my light daytime makeup (mascara). And, I haven’t even mentioned how soft it leaves your skin feeling afterward.”
“This product also washes off all makeup, including our stage makeup, and it doesn’t leave my skin feeling dry afterward.”
The Face Oils
“It is made by an Australian woman here in NYC, and as soon as I heard about it, I fell in love. They personalize the bottle with your initials which is such a cute touch. They have all types of oil blends that work for your specific needs and problem areas. My oil blend is a mix of Jojoba oil, blackberry seed oil, red raspberry seed oil, wild carrot seed oil, broccoli seed oil and Vitamin E. It helps keep my skin hydrated through the harsh winter conditions here in NY, and smooths over any blemishes you might have on your face.”
“For areas that require a little extra attention, I use Rosehip Oil. My eye lids get so aggravated and dry throughout the Christmas Spectacular season because we apply false lashes daily, so at the end of the day I put a drop of the oil on my lids to soothe and protect them.”
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