The “Rogue Ballerina” is all about gentle products.
When you picture a ballerina, chances are your mind will settle on a classic stereotype: stick-thin, white, quiet. Georgina Pazcoguin wants to change that. Pazcoguin, who has been a dancer in the New York City Ballet since 2001, has made a name for herself as the “Rogue Ballerina,” and challenges every stereotype about the profession. She's funny and outspoken and, as the NYCB's first Asian American woman to be promoted to an upper tier, is a founding member of the advocacy group Final Bow for Yellowface.
Pazcoguin has also been open about the darker aspects of the ballet industry, which she details in her memoir, Swan Dive: The Making of a Rogue Ballerina, out July 27. “I'm so excited to share my story,” she tells Glamour over Zoom. “I touch upon a lot of women's issues and being a sort of outlier in the world of ballet. You've talked to me now for 30 minutes—I am not the quintessential idea of what a ballerina is. I'm not super dainty; I just don't subscribe to those norms.”
“I want everyone to know that ballet should be a vehicle to tell stories through different lens, and it's truly for everyone,” she continues. “I want to break down this idea that all ballerinas have eating disorders and daddy issues. I want to break down the idea that you have to be a person of a certain social standing to come to the ballet. I also want people to know who these dancers are onstage.”
While it's clear she lives her life with abandon, when it comes to makeup and skin care, Pazcoguin has to err on the side of caution. She's always had sensitive skin and eczema, but her company-issued stage makeup broke her out in a rash during a particular stressful leading role. “I think whatever we were using I had been allergic to, compounded with stress, and I had these boils on my face,” she says. “It was terrifying.” That lead her down the path of scrutinizing ingredients lists, and after two years of intense research—and a 20-page list of ingredients to avoid—she's finally settled on a stage makeup and a skin-care routine that don't irritate her skin.
Though she needs her skin care to be gentle on her skin, she still needs powerful products, especially when it comes to cleansing: In addition to her standard ballet makeup, Pazcoguin was in Cats on Broadway, where she was in full-on cat makeup five nights a week. So what made the cut? Pazcoguin reveals the “high-brow, low-brow” products she can't get enough of. Read on as she drops her routine.
It depends on if I'm in a performance season or if in my everyday, but generally in the morning, I use the Aesop Purifying Facial Cream Cleanser. It has lavender, chamomile, and a white clay that's very soothing to my skin in the morning. If I'm cleansing postshow, I'll remove the heavier makeup with an organic coconut oil, which I'm currently in the process of finding a sustainable option [for]—I've been thinking about where I should be putting my money to support the right people. And then what I have found is that the Koh Gen Do Cleansing Water has been really great to help remove some of the waterproof mascara and stuff like that.
Aesop Purifying Facial Cream Cleanser$39Aesop
Koh Gen Do Spa Cleansing Water$21Koh Gen Do
I'm a huge fan of the Thayers Witch Hazel as a toner—always have been—especially when it comes to postshow, when the skin is just raw. For a splurge—because I'm here in California right now and I'm not in my home, and I'm needing things to kind of make me feel a little bit pampered—I've been using the Aesop B & Tea Balancing Toner, which has a fragrance. It just feels a little bit more luxurious. And you know, if I'm spending this much time away from home, I feel like it's a nice gift to myself. I use both of those morning and night.
Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner$11Thayers
Aesop B & Tea Balancing Toner$53Aesop
This is a new addition. There was a shift in my lifestyle when the pandemic hit. Clearly, I could not be performing every night. And then all of a sudden, I didn't have to put on this crazy makeup every night. And that's when I was like, Oh, well, maybe I can look at this in a different way. And I went to my friends at Aesop and I got the Lucent Facial Concentrate, and I really, really love it. It has rose petals in it. I'll do that in the morning, and then every opposite morning, I've been doing Aesop's Parsley Seed Antioxidant eye serum. She is getting older, and especially when I go out drinking, the next morning that definitely helps with puffiness.
Aesop Lucent Facial Concentrate$115Aesop
Aesop Parsley Seed Antioxidant Eye Serum$81Nordstrom
My face oil
I also use the Aesop Damascan Rose Facial Treatment. It's a thicker oil that I will apply before I get on the plane. It's also great for L.A. weather, when I'm in the sun. It's a very, very restorative moisturizer. I use it when my skin needs a little extra love. It's my saving grace. When it gets really cold, like the first hit of cold in New York, that's when I use it.
Aesop Damascan Rose Facial Treatment$75Nordstrom
Moisturizer is one thing I am dedicated to because of the eczema. In terms of my face moisturizer, my love of all time is the Aesop Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream. It's also got the chamomile bud in it, which is so calming. The theme is just like, Calm down, skin. And then, like, when it gets superhot and humid, and I don't want to put on a thick cream, I use Aesop Seeking Silence, and it's very, very light. That's just enough, especially since I'm putting on SPF too.
Aesop Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream$50Nordstrom
Aesop Seeking Silence Facial Hydrator$60Nordstrom
My body lotion
I stick to the highbrow for my face; that's like the splurge. But for the body, I find that the Vanicream light lotion is perfect. It's so wonderful. And you can use the Vanicream on your face—it's all-purpose. If I need more, or if I had a sunburn or something, I'll get out the organic shea butter and kind of mix that into the lotion and make my own.
For shea butter there are two brands I like. There's Baraka, which is Canadian-based, but they're sourcing all of their ingredients from, like, organic farms in Nigeria. And I also like the brand Oye.
Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion$17Target
Oye Shea Butter$10Oye
My spot treatment
Hormones, they happen. I like going a more natural route with that—in my life I use a lot of essential oils. So I use Young Living Tea Tree or Lemon Balm essential oil. Those things are really natural, really simple. They're not super expensive. And they work for me.
Young Living Tea Tree Essential Oil$28Amazon
I have a prescribed bottle of it. But I think especially now and being under so much stress already, it's just too much on my skin right now. Coming back to my philosophy, I really listen to what's happening in my life. Like, there might be a time for me to start using the retinol again, but that would have to be a once-a-week thing, because it's too much for me.
If it's a season day and I have class, I'm getting up at seven, I'm walking my dog for an hour in the park, and I will just do my sunscreen because it is good. I'm a contour queen, so I'll do a little contour, and I'll do just my mascara and off I'll go. I think everyone had that time in their 20s when they did full beat for going into work. And I just can't be bothered.
Sunscreen is a must for me every day, even on the rainy days, even in winter. And it was hard to find one because of the ingredients, but a good compromise for me and my skin is the Elta MD UV Daily. I use the tinted—it's broad spectrum and it's great. It's not heavy. I can have it on and I can go take class. I don't feel like I'm killing my skin, but I know that I've been protected and I use it on my décolletage all the way down. I'm really trying to get behind the ears and on the fingers, like, the whole thing.
EltaMD UV Daily Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF40$33Dermstore
My devices and wellness
I have the Higher Dose sauna blanket. I first got it for stress relief. I'd slip in and do a sauna session here and there. I loved it so much that I put it in the car and drove it out here. It's great not only for my anxiety, but I've noticed especially now that I'm not dancing eight hours a day—I still try to get a sweat in through dancing and my, like, homemade studio right here—but sweating, just expelling, in addition to rehydrating afterward has been really beneficial for my skin.
I have the Theragun Mini, and I know it's for body, but I use it on my face. There's a supersoft attachment. It's just like…it's like a little pillow—it's a little foam attachment. It's so delicate. It's great, and I'm really trying to reduce waste, like what works for my body and can transition into a skin-care routine. What's also great about these body things is it's about increasing blood flow, and the whole philosophy behind that. Same thing for the sauna blanket.
Higher Dose Infrared Sauna Blanket V3$5Higher Dose
And it's the same thing for acupuncture, which I do. It's all about increasing blood flow to these areas, which then helps regenerate the cells. I might not have like the fanciest routine, but I think what matters most is what you put in your body and how you take care of your body. You know, like, I take a certain number of supplements—I love the Nue Co line. Because I am an athlete and an artist, I think that sort of feeds into what happens externally. It's all connected.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty writer at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.
This story originally appeared on: Glamour - Author:Condé Nast