This Professional Ballerina Begins Her Day With A Face Full Of Honey

Written by Erin Kelly

Courtney Lavine calls me from a lake house in Georgia, where she’s vacationing with her husband in between show seasons. Her willingness to talk during her much-needed (and deserved!) time off is a testament to her work ethic: As a professional ballerina for the American Ballet Theatre, she’s just finished a demanding summer season of performances at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City and The Wolf Trap, an outdoor theater in Fairfax County, Virginia. Yet despite “working” during her first break from rehearsals and performances in months, the ballet dancer sounds poised, relaxed, and eager to answer any question thrown her way.

In partnership with e.l.f. Cosmetics, I talked with Lavine to discuss her career, her skin-care regimen, and how she unwinds from big performances. Here are four essential things to know about the professional ballerina.

1. She Moved To NYC At Just 16 Years Old To Pursue Her Dream

After being born in Los Angeles, Lavine moved to Virginia with her family and started taking dance, jazz, and tap lessons. When she was 8, she was noticed by Troy Brown, a former Pacific Northwest Ballet dancer. Brown told Lavine’s mom he saw a lot of talent in the young dancer, which motivated her to take ballet more seriously. At the age of 12, she took a summer intensive — essentially a ballet summer camp — in New York City, where she later returned as a teenager to begin her professional career.

“When I was 16, I moved to New York City by myself and started going to ballet school while also going to high school part-time,” Lavine explains. “Then when I was 18, the American Ballet Theatre II asked if I would audition for the company. After my audition, they called me and asked, ‘Can you start tomorrow?’” (She’s been with the company ever since!)

2. Her Day Begins With A Face Full Of Honey

As a performer, Lavine is constantly on display, so she takes her skin care and wellness very seriously. Before long rehearsal days and even longer performance days, she starts by washing her face with honey because of its naturally hydrating properties. Since her skin is on the dryer side and needs to be regularly made up in stage makeup, she’s also adamant about using other moisturizing products. Lavine has found that e.l.f. Cosmetics’ Holy Hydration! Eye Cream and Holy Hydration! Face Cream nourish her skin and create a healthy-feeling base for makeup.

Lavine is also partial to e.l.f. products for their non-toxic and animal-friendly attributes:

I only use cruelty-free, phosphate-free, [and] paraben-free products, because I feel like it’s incredibly important for my skin — and I have a little dog and love animals!

3. Laughing Is Part Of Her Pre-Performance Routine

While Lavine isn’t immune to pre-show jitters, she finds her biggest anxieties about being on stage center around group performances. During solo acts, she feels a sense of calm, but when others are involved, she feels more pressure to stay in rhythm and on the beat with everyone else. To keep centered before the curtain opens, she spends time with her co-performers and leans into the community and camaraderie that they’ve built.

“We joke around, we laugh, and I think that helps me take my mind off of any nerves that I have before the show,” says Lavine.

4. You Won’t Find Her Out Celebrating Post-Show

Being on stage is such an adrenaline rush, but with nightly shows, it’s important for Lavine to reset and prepare for the next day.

“I tend to run home after a performance, and it’s really hard to unwind quickly, because I have to wake up early and do it all over again,” she says. “Usually I’ll just hang out with my husband for a bit and then jump into bed and try to watch an episode of a TV before falling asleep.”

A huge time-saver in her nightly routine is using Holy Hydration! e.l.f. Off Eye Makeup Remover to easily and quickly dissolve her stage makeup (even waterproof palettes!) without harsh tugging or vigorous scrubbing. Once her face is reset, she follows up with Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm for its silky and smooth formula, so she can wake up refreshed and ready for another performance.