They may not experience quite the same level of pressure or injuries, but NFL cheerleaders do have hours of grueling practice and extensive fitness and nutrition programs. They also spend a good chunk of their lives getting their hair done, faces made up, teeth whitened, and bodies tanned—but apparently it’s not all as fun as you’d think. “You can most definitely get in trouble if you do not come to practice looking your finest,” Danielle Wechsler, New York-based pro cheerleader trainer, told Yahoo Beauty. “If you aren’t cheering at a game, you are getting ready for an event, calendar shoot, or interview, in addition to your full time job.” We spoke to cheerleaders from the contenders New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks as they gear up for the Super Bowl as well as those from the Atlanta Falcons and the Indianapolis Colts on how they bring their beauty A-game to the stadium.
How would you define the team hairstyle?
Lasondra, New England Patriots: For appearances and game day, everyone is required to wear their hair down unless instructed otherwise. If you’re going to curl your hair with a curling iron or wand, we expect it to be more of a wave versus a defined curl.
Amanda, New England Patriots: I think the look is “girl next door” with a touch of glam. Our hair is never fussed with too much.
Ashley, Seattle Seahawks: We are not required to have our hair the same way. When changing our hair, whether it’s a cut or color, we have guidance from our director as well as our awesome stylists at Gene Juarez. There are some restrictions with dyeing because we are going for more natural hair colors. But ultimately, the decision is up to us.
Cassia, Indianapolis Colts: A little volume, but a natural flow when incorporating what we like to call “hairography” when we perform. Each cheerleader has her own customized look that is determined at the beginning of the season with the help of Tyler Mason Salon and Spa.
What’s the policy on lip color?
Lasondra, Patriots: There is not an official lip color but pinks are a definite no as they do not go with our team colors.
Amanda, Patriots: We make sure that the lip color we choose compliments our skin tone and uniform. I am just about the only cheerleader who wears red lipstick. I prefer Viva Glam I by MAC ($16).
Denita C., Falcons: The Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders pride ourselves in wearing a classy, red lip. It is a part of the uniform always!
Cassia, Colts: There isn’t an “official” lip color, but we definitely have to have lipstick on for every appearance and game—mostly a deep shade of red.
What do you put on your legs?
Amanda, Patriots: Before game days I head over to Glow Tanning in Boston. Some of the ladies aren’t able to make it to the salon as often, so Glow gave us our own airbrush tanning machine to use at the cheerleading building. Thursday night practices turn into a spray-tan-a-palooza after hours.
Lasondra, Patriots: Since the weather varies in New England, we usually wear performance tights. Bronzer always comes in handy, but we try and stay away from the shimmery products because they do not usually photograph very well.
Cassia, Colts: Most cheerleaders will go to Sun Tan City to get at least one spray tan prior to game day—some cheerleaders will even get two. We wear nylons on game day—all of our team members wear Peavey Hosiery. Some cheerleaders will also use Sally Hanson Leg Cover Up ($13) for a quick fix—but instead of putting it on their legs, they will apply it to their stomach and arms.
How do you get ready on game day?
Amanda, Patriots: On game days, hair and makeup are our own responsibility. There is typically glare from the sun or bright stadium lights so, just like on a stage, it is important to use products that will work with the lighting. My go-to foundation is Chanel Perfection Lumière Velvet ($45); it has a great matte finish. I also use Double Perfection Lumière Long Wear powder ($53) to keep oil under control so my face doesn’t look shiny as the game progresses.
Ashley, Seahawks: We have a team of makeup artists and hairstylists from MAC and Gene Juarez for every game. Each cheerleader is responsible for her own makeup and hair and then the team is there to help with touch-ups.
Julia, Colts: Tyler Mason stylists are on hand to provide hair and make-up services for every game. We wear a decent layer of foundation because if you wear a light layer you will most likely sweat it off. Lots of blush to give your cheeks a good color, and then plenty of eye shadow to make your eyes really pop while you’re out there performing. And, of course, a bright bold lip color brings the entire look together.
You have to wear a lot of makeup on game day—how does it affect your skin?
Denita C., Falcons: I wear the most amount of makeup on game day, but I don’t like to look like it! I use a primer and make sure to clean my skin thoroughly after game day to prevent breakouts. It is a tough task after a long day, but it helps in the long run. Most of us keep makeup remover wipes handy!
What special costume tricks do you use for your uniforms?
Amanda, Patriots: We are all equipped with an arsenal of safety pins. We take every precaution to avoid wardrobe malfunctions.
Ashley, Seahawks: No special tricks. Most of our uniforms are custom made for each girl so we don’t really need to worry about anything falling out of place.
Cassia, Colts: When we wear our own costumes for auditions, I always keep a needle and thread around to tack down any collars/fringe/lace or to keep belts in place. It’s a quick fix and does not look as tacky as a safety pin! If a run starts in my hose, I apply a little bit of clear nail polish to stop it dead in its tracks.
How often do you have to go to tanning appointments, bleaching appointments, and hair appointments?
Amanda, Patriots: We get our teeth professionally whitened every two years and within that period we are provided with whitening trays for maintenance.
Lasondra, Patriots: Hair coloring should be every 6-8 weeks.
Cassia, Colts: I get a spray tan once a week, which only takes about five minutes. You never know when you will be scheduled for an appearance, so you always want to be ready. I get my hair done once every 6 to 8 weeks.
Related: Prevent Your Makeup From Melting Off
What are the beauty requirements at rehearsals?
Lasondra, Patriots: Typically, we all wear matching outfits for rehearsals so that we look uniform. Since we practice at the stadium, we are required to look polished assuming that at any moment you are camera ready.
Denita C., Falcons: Our motto is foundation, mascara, and lipstick. We have to wear at least these three items during rehearsals. Most girls come glammed out every time.
Ann, Colts: There are no beauty requirements for rehearsals unless we have a planned photo shoot.
If you’re sweating a lot, how do you keep your hair and makeup in place?
Lasondra, Patriots: Dry shampoo is a lifesaver. I usually keep a bottle of it on me at all times. I keep my makeup in place by using a powder foundation instead of a liquid one.
Ashley, Seahawks: Sweat can be an issue for me but MAC has the Pro Longwear line that makes everything stay in place on game day. MAC also has Paint Pots ($21) that helps keep your eye shadow looking good. It is also helpful to wear a good primer underneath your makeup.
Cassia, Colts: A lot of cheerleaders will have Tyler Mason “set their curls” to allow the curls to last throughout the game. After curling a section of hair with a curling iron, the stylist will pin the curl tightly to their head while the curl is still hot. Curls will be unpinned and hair sprayed right before game time—after that first pre-game performance, the curls have fallen out slightly to the perfect volume for the remainder of the game.
What are the beauty tricks of the trade that you carry into everyday life?
Amanda, Patriots: Always drink at least a gallon of water a day to help get the toxins out of your system and to keep your skin hydrated and refreshed. The easiest thing to look beautiful is to smile. A smile looks good on everyone’s face!
Lasondra, Patriots: When curling your hair, always let the curls set and cool before you brush them out. Always flip your hair upside down and spray it with an aerosol hairspray for added volume.
Ashley, Falcons: I always have my makeup with me. I can do a full face of makeup in 30 minutes flat and I understand the importance of representing something greater than myself.