Putting the array of incredibly choreographed dance routines to one side, the Strictly glam is up there with the most iconic part of the hit BBC ballroom show. From ethereal shimmery makeup for a romantic waltz to Paso Doble-appropriate smokey eyes, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to hair and makeup inspo on the Saturdays leading up to Christmas and the inspo just keeps coming as the celebs and their pro partners embark on the Strictly tour.
The Strictly glam squad, as they have been dubbed, follow the dancers around the UK as they take their routines from Glasgow to London. Now the head of hair and makeup Tracey Jones and one of her fabulous makeup artists Summer Dyason sit down with HELLO! to reveal the secrets to the signature Strictly look. Prepare for the sparkle…
Recreating the magic of the numbers from TV
When taking the makeup designed to accompany the iconic routines of last year's Strictly cohort on tour it is about recreating the magic of the original numbers but ensuring they are adapted for an arena performance. The looks capture the aesthetic of the original number but Tracey says the makeup has to be versatile to cater to the amount of routines each dancer is in each night. "Makeup-wise, we won't follow the TV because they have so many different dances," she says. "It's a generic look."
Makeup to suit every dance
But by generic, the looks are by no means boring. Tracey and her team comprised of makeup artists Summer Dyason, Jessie O'Leary and Liv Davey, as well as hair stylists Megan Marshall and David Fletcher, create an array of stunning looks every night from Angela Scanlon's pop of pink eyeshadow and wild curls to Jowita Przystał's lilac smokey eye and loose waves.
"We know what they like to use, how they normally like their makeup and we kind of take it from them each day really," Summer tells us. "Sometimes we have days where we want to get experimental. If they're tired it's just a liner and a lash and a red lip. Keeping it classic. But sometimes we experiment with colour and we try to keep it interesting. I find for myself that because you're doing the same thing every day for a month, it's nice to change it up and it makes your brain work."
Getting creative with Dianne Buswell
The floor is opened to the dancers and their glam squad to embrace a different look every night. A dancer who particularly welcomes the flexibility of the tour glam is fan-favourite Dianne Buswell. "She loves to change [the look] all the time!," Tracey tells us. Summer reveals: "We have good fun with Dianne. She'll have anything!... We set ourselves a little challenge at the start of every tour. So last year we had to do makeup associated with different food so every day either Dianne would bring food in or I would bring food in and we'd have to base that makeup look on that food.
"Whether it was sushi and you had a green, white and orange [eye makeup] or a Tango fruit punch drink. She's a lovely one to make up because she's out there and she's just gorgeous," the makeup artist adds. "She could pull off anything."
Much like, as we can agree, this year's champion Ellie Leach. "She will pull off anything as well!," says Summer. "And she changes it up every day. She loves the glam." If pushed, we would have to say her stunning Barbie makeup with a pink smokey eye and coordinating lip is a winner.
A Strictly secret
When it comes to Strictly tour hair it is very much a 'go big or go home' situation. After all, the fans sitting up in the gods at the O2 arena want to experience the glamour as much as those in the front row. But it also has to be adaptable to a quick change which is where *spoiler alert*, wigs come in handy.
Tracey reveals: "There will be an opening dance that they are all in and then there will be their own dances, and then there will be a pro dance. We've got the Barbie number so everybody wants wigs on for that and then they will do their dance again so we have to do quick changes in between to change the hair because that is something that gets noticed on the stage."
Tracey even reveals that some of the girls wear wigs for the whole show, including Nadiya Bychkova who is rocking sensational Old Hollywood waves as one of the ensemble dancers this year. "That's a wig!," Tracey admits. "If you have got blonde hair, if you were curling it every day you would break it because it's already got colour on it so the best thing the girls do [on tour you aren't seen up close] is to wear a wig, which is a task every day!".
Popping on glamorous wigs, courtesy of Simply Hair, is not only the secret to protecting the girls' own locks, but it is also about speeding up the glam process as gone are the TV days of two hours in the hair and makeup chair when on tour. "We only get half an hour with each person because on tour it is in between TV and theatre," says Tracey. "In theatre, you would have to do your own makeup, and on TV we'd have an hour for hair and an hour for makeup. In this we have half an hour [for each] so we are doing about four or five people each."
"Simply Hair makes clip-ins and also bespoke wigs like ponytails and we colour it as well so it's perfect and you can't tell they have wigs on. Lots of people say 'Woah, you would never know!'" adds Tracey.
The glam room energy
The excitement of the speedy glam process creates an incredible energy in the glam room every night. "Sometimes on a double show [day] everyone gets in and we start the music off quite chilled and as the half an hours build up we get the music going a little bit and everyone's energy gets up the closer it gets to show time," Summer tells us. "The song of the year is 'Murder of the Dancefloor' [by Sophie Ellis-Bextor]...it gets everyone going."
The essentials in their beauty kits
The head of hair and makeup shows us the dancers' vanity stations backstage where they can go for quick touch-ups between dances. It is a certain product, Summer tells us, that keeps the makeup on all night. The Strictly girls are all about the Charlotte Tilbury 'Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray' for locking in their makeup and protecting it from perspiration throughout the show.
Summer also builds a sweat-proof base on every dancer using 'Satin Silk' foundation from Sculpted by Aimee which she says "has a really great coverage but it's also wearable so you can have a lighter coverage or you can build it up to full coverage... It sits really beautifully on the skin and it stays and doesn't budge whilst they are dancing."
A universally beautiful look
The same products are applied to the celebs with more mature skin showing the universal appeal of Strictly glam. "The foundations that we use are so beautiful on every different skin that you've got that I wouldn't say we change anything at all," Summer explains. "It's still full on, we use a great lash, it's still a liner… Angela Rippon loves a red lip!," whilst Tracey adds: "And Annabel [Croft]!".
The same goes for the male dancers. Summer says: "We've got Layton this year so he loves his makeup so we have great fun with him so he has a full face every night which he loves and then we ramp it up throughout the show.
"The first number he does he likes to call his 'boy dance' because he's doing 'Puttin' On the Ritz' so he's very much 'boy' there so nice skin, very contoured still and a full face," she continues. "But then after that for the second half, we do a nice gold eye… and he has a long wig for Barbie."
A final swipe of powder is also key to the durability of the look. "We've been using the Charlotte Tilbury 'Flawless Filter' powder which all the girls have got because that gives an airbrush finish, takes away any shine, is really lovely under the eyes and is a good all-rounder," Summer tells us.
"Eyelashes is another big one for on tour. The girls love their lashes! I'd say we use all Eylure so 117 is the most common or a 167 which is my favourite at the moment which is more wispy in the middle and the girls are loving a corner lash at the moment. And then definitely Rimmel 'Sun Shimmer' [instant tan]."
"That's like wearing clothes to them! Every night loads of it on," adds Tracey, reminding us of the product that gave a bronzey glow to so many in the 2000s.
Tracey's go-to hair products
When it comes to hair, Tracey, who is responsible for styling hair on this tour, will default to GHDs styling tools with Osis products.
"We love the GHDs because they are 190 degrees," she explains. "They are not any hotter than that and most curling tongs go from 220 to 240. We're curling people's hair every day so you can't use that amount of heat on somebody's hair. GHDs are the best because they don't damage the hair and we're also curling wigs every day...The classic curl tong is our go-to."
With all the effort put in by Tracey's team to create sensational hair and makeup looks in such little time, you would think it would be hectic at the side of the stage. "It all just comes together," the hairstylist says. "They have the tan, the glitter, the gems, the costumes. Once you've got it all on that's when it comes Strictly."