Muscles alone don’t win bodybuilding contests. You also need makeup and a skin care regimen.
“I feel like makeup and bodybuilding are very similar. They both boost your confidence and make you take care of yourself,” says Chandigarh-based professional bodybuilder Navreet Josan. Over the past weekend, she was at the convention center.
at Delhi’s Pragati Maidan for the IHFF (International Health, Sports and Fitness First) Expo, Sheru Classic, Asia’s largest IFBB (International Federation of Fitness and Bodybuilding) Pro League and the Mr Olympia qualifiers. She but she attended the event from June 16 to 18 as a makeup artist for five participants.
“Nice buttocks are all the rage right now in the industry,” says Josan, 37, who is preparing to compete in a bodybuilding competition later this year. A freelance makeup artist (she was a professional MAC artist until February 2022), she has been in the bodybuilding industry for 13 years. “It’s like a Victoria’s Secret show, you need to be well groomed and a lot of athletes wear hair extensions too. Having a well-rounded appearance with facial makeup is important to standing out on stage.”
Because you need more than ripped muscles to win competitions today. Therefore, in addition to rigorous training, supplements, and a dedicated diet plan, makeup, a strict beauty regimen, and skin care are also important to accentuate the body.
Josan’s decade-long experience as a make-up artist helps her understand how lights work on stage. For an extra shine, Josan uses shine spray just before going on stage. The process, however, begins the night before, when she uses a body self-tanner and sleeps with the air conditioning on full to let the tan set. She applies another coat the next day, and lastly, spray-on shine just before she hits the stage. This practice is standard for men and women. “Everyone uses the same bronzer, as it helps the judges judge fairly under the harsh stage lights,” explains Josan, who uses a retinol body lotion to rejuvenate her skin every day.
For participating women, facial makeup and a strict skin care regimen are extra steps.
Before her shows, Pune, Maharashtra-based Sarina Pani, a natural bodybuilder who doesn’t rely on steroids or hormone pills for that extra pump, opts for a body scrub treatment for an even skin tone. Pre-show rituals include a body polish and waxing session, says Pani, 34, who competes in the bikini division. Like Josan, she is preparing for a contest later this year. “I like to use Niacinamide and Vitamin C through serums as these ingredients help heal the skin and promote skin rebuilding while maintaining the skin barrier. And of course I drink enough water. It is essential not only for muscle recovery but also for the skin”, says Pani.
When it comes to makeup, contestants need to make sure the face matches the tan on the fake body. This is tricky, Josan says, as just applying bronzer to the face can make the person look bad, since working out doesn’t leave oil on the face. During the run-up to a contest (known as peak week), athletes flush water from their bodies and typically go on crash diets with little to no oil and salt and limited water intake to lose every last bit of water. fat drop. The leaner they are, the better their muscles look.
“The trick is to highlight your face around the center and keep it a little darker around the periphery. We need to mix base and contour colors to focus on the center and use darker colors for the edges of the face,” explains Josan. She regularly likes to get hydrating facials to maintain her skin, especially since meal plans can be harsh on her skin. “The makeup has to be loud since the judges are far away.”
The choice of the bikini is as important as the makeup, Josan emphasizes. “The eye makeup complements the color of the bikini and I do a little bit of gloss and contour around the eyes and finish with big lashes. This makes the face look fuller and more alive.” Your bikini, then, must match your makeup and skin tone.
The bikinis are designed according to the guidelines of the different categories of bodybuilding competition, such as bikini, physique, fitness, figure and wellness, all of which demand different levels of volume and weight. Two winners, Rita Sharma and Jahanara Islam, at the Sheru Classic last weekend wore bikinis by Neha Solanki, who runs NS Diva Bikini, which offers exotic custom competition bikinis.
He often advises athletes to choose designs and colors based on their tan tone. “There are different winning criteria. For example, what percentage of the buttocks must be covered, the top must not be smaller than a certain percentage, the front cannot be too low, certain categories need an open back so that the back muscles are more visible, and there are also designer. sportswear for routines where bikini suits are not comfortable. Crystal work is done for athletes to stand out from the crowd so their hard work can shine through,” says Solanki.
Pani, like many bodybuilding athletes, uses ProTan to tan. “The aesthetic is different for stage body makeup than it is for regular makeup. While athletes are not scored for not wearing face makeup, it helps to have a full face made up to show the judges. I’m not good with makeup, so I hire a makeup artist for my face,” says Pani. And like so many Indian women, she too had a hard time finding her skin tone and she sought the help of her makeup artist to find a shade close to her body bronzer. “I use Dermacolor Camouflage Cream for my face. Even when I’m training, I like to wear matte lipstick,” says Pani, who is currently training for professional shows in Mumbai in November and Taiwan in December. Her most important skincare step is cleansing, along with sunscreen and moisturizer.
“Her diet is calorie deficient in this field; it causes hormonal imbalances and you will end up having problems. Therefore, you need micronutrients such as vitamin D, calcium and magnesium. It is a lifestyle that demands your attention 365 days a year and is not comparable to losing weight before your wedding or for a photo shoot”, says Josan. “It is not a model show. If someone has a better physique, he’s going to win. What the judges are looking for is a balance between the upper and lower body and an hourglass shape in a muscular form. Makeup helps us highlight our hard work a little more.”
Dhara Vora Sabhnani is a journalist based in Mumbai.