Ballerinas. Yes, we know that they are human beings (technically :p), but they exude a surreal level of strength, poise, artistry, and beauty from head to toe. It’s not just their long, lean, graceful bodies and breathtaking movements that inspire awe–it’s also the discipline and passion required to achieve such sublime heights.
One such awe-inspiring danseuses is Isabella Boylston, one of ballet world’s true stars who has been a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre since 2014. She is praised for her long, lithe lines, powerful jumps, and a modern sensibility; she’s frequently said to be an American ballerina, in a company that has frequently relied on Russian and Latin American imports among its top ranks.
Like other dancers at ABT, Isabella dances roughly 9 hours a day–5 days a week when the company is not in season, and 6 days a week when it’s performing. Even for the genetically gifted, such a life puts a serious toll on the body, and Isabella sticks to wellness rules that help her stay in her best physical condition.
“The foundation is just health. If you don’t have that, you don’t have anything to build on,” she tells The Cut. She tries to get 9 hours of sleep a night, waking up between 8 and 9 every morning. A well-balanced, organic diet heals and refuels her body, and her favorite food is pasta, especially before a performance. But she stays away from sugar: “It dehydrates my muscles and I don’t crave it. I find that the more you eat it, the more you crave it…I don’t eat sugar on a daily basis.” The sweets in her life are bananas (before and even during a show) and organic dark chocolate.
To reduce inflammation and speed muscle repair, Isabella swears by ice baths like many elite athletes. (Maybe try an ice-cold shower next time, after a particularly hard workout?) A weekly deep tissue massage is also her wellness-must.
Being a dancer is of course a highly visual, image-focused profession. Whether you’re in rehearsal or on stage, a ballerina is constantly under people’s gaze, so beautiful skin and makeup are crucial. As a former dancer (*not* a professional…lol) I can attest that it’s super de rigueur to wear lipstick, mascara, and eyeliner to class. And I swear some people even wore blush!
Not only do ballerinas have the loveliest makeup looks even while sweating 9 hours a day, they even manage to not break out while wearing pancake makeup under intense stage light!! Have you ever seen a Giselle, an Odette, or a Juliet covered in pimples? Non.
For Isabella, the secret to maintaining an ethereal skin is using organic skincare products to wash it all off. Isabella swears by Jordan Samuel, who danced with Pacific Northwest Ballet before launching his ballet-inspired skincare line. “His products really are the best. They’re all natural, all organic, and I use them every day. The Gentle Treatment Cleanser is incredible for taking off stage makeup, and the Hydrate Serum is incredible—my skin has never looked this good,” Isabella tells Travel + Leisure.
Jordan Samuel Hydrate Serum contains hyaluronic acid, cucumber, tamarind, and passion flower extracts for dewy skin–and at $29, refreshingly affordable!
Isabella’s favorite sunscreen is actually a mineral-based tinted moisturizer: MDSolarSciences Mineral Tinted Crème with SPF, which gives her an overall porcelain finish without heaviness of foundation. For rehearsals and everyday life, the RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek Pots give the perfect amount of color and rosiness.
RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek is all-natural, organic, cruelty-free, and with mostly wildcrafted ingredients.
Now, for mesmerizing eyes that communicate across a 4,000-seat theater, Isabella uses Chantecaille Faux Cils Longest Lash Mascara, which she swears “is the best.” Now, at $72, I had to do a double-take! However, Chantecaille is vegan, cruelty-free, palm-free and non-toxic brand that also works with the Rainforest Alliance to protect the habitat of the mountain gorillas in Congo. The mascara itself is a cult item that contains unique peptides and rose oil to add length, fullness and thickness. It even makes your lashes grow longer and stronger over time!
On her hair, Isabella uses Rahua Elixir Daily Hair Drops, made with Amazonian rahua oil and scented with gardenia. It strengthens hair and adds shine to even damaged hair–a must when you pull your hair tight and keep it in a bun so much of the time! Plus, Rahua is also another eco-friendly brand that helps preserve the Amazon rainforest and gives back to the communities there.
Ultimately though, real beauty doesn’t come from any bottle. Beauty really is about owning who you are: “It’s also important to have a level of self-acceptance: This is me. This is what I’m working with. I have to do the best with what I have. Everyone has a different body type and strengths as a dancer…You need to find that balance of knowing what you need to work on and not beating yourself up for those things,” as Isabella says. While we may not be professional ballerinas, this attitude of self-acceptance is one ballet ethos that will make all of us feel more graceful in our own lives.
Are you a fan of Isabella Boylston? Who’s also into ballerina beauty?
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Photo: Isabelle Boylston via Instagram