USASF Athletic Performance Standards – Makeup, Hair, and Cheer Bows

The Owner of Pretty Girl Cosmetics, Colleen Dugan attended the USASF Athletic Performance Standards meeting in Dallas, Texas on June 12th, 2019 where more than 50 industry providers (media, choreographers, music producers, uniform, makeup, hair, bows, and accessories), board of directors members and USASF staff met to discuss and collaborate on the Athletic Performance Standards designed to protect All-Star athletes and celebrate the true athleticism of our sport.

Pretty Girl Cosmetics was the only cheer makeup company attending the meeting.  We hope to help you clarify how these rulings for Makeup, Hair, and Cheer Bows should be interpreted when choosing your makeup and accessories this season.

The new ruling is as follows with new additions to the rules in red:



If worn, makeup should be uniform and appropriate for both the performance and the age of the athletes utilizing neutral colors for skin and eyes.  Face/Eyelid Rhinestones are not allowed.  False eyelashes are allowed but may not be decorated in rhinestones or additional jewelry.

The most apparent change to the makeup ruling is the suggestion of utilizing neutral colors for skin and eyes.  The term “neutral” is a vague misty term used and implies a blank palette of light brown or grey.  Nude eyeshadow can be so much more than a generic neutral.  Whether matte, shimmery, or glossy, you can make your team colors come to life.  Neutral is not a color and so many teams have reached out to me to ask if they could still use their purple eye shadow and my answer is yes.  The most important part of the makeup used is the application of the color.  When applying makeup a professional age-appropriate look will be favorable to the judges.  After hearing all the discussions my interpretation is as follows:

Here are my suggestion submitted to the USASF on some words that might describe what is acceptable:

– Avoid the use of vivid multi-color eye shadow applications, use a more neutral color palette with natural or pastel colors that accentuate the uniform design.  A Smokey Eye can be achieved with your team colors in pastel or a more neutral depth of color.  

 – Choose lip products that are age-appropriate such as lip glosses, lip stains, or stay put matte liners for younger athletes, and have a professional more pigmented stay put lip paint for older athletes.

 – Avoid overbearing makeup designs that extend from the lash to the brow.

​Pretty Girl Cosmetics can help you design an age-appropriate makeup look for each of your teams. 

Contact us at for your FREE Consultation and Samples.


Hair must be secured off the face with a simple and unexaggerated style that is adaptable to all diversities.

There is a new addition to the USASF Athletic Performance Standards this year, the “Hair” ruling, and our interpretation is that the high teased ponies or hair should be evaluated by your program, exaggerated hair can lead to deductions or a warning on your score sheet.  

When choosing hairstyles for your team, take into account all the hair types, and ethnicities.  Not every girl on the team has the same hair.  There are so many hairstyles to consider.  Cheerleading hairstyles should be pretty and practical, keeping your hair securely out of the way while you perform.

Remember to choose age-appropriate hairstyles.   Although the traditional look of two ponytails is as cute as ever, there are several variations to ponytails that can set your mini squad apart.  The tiny athletes may not be able to rock hair the size of their little bodies.  Keep it classic, easy for everyone to achieve, and a compliment to your uniform and makeup.


Bows should not be excessive in size (acceptable bows are generally no more than 3 inches in width) and should not be a distraction to the performance.  Bows should be worn in a manner to minimize risk for the participants, should be adequately secure, and should not fall over the forehead into the participant's eyes or block the view of the participant while performing.

During the meeting, Bragabit Bow ( submitted samples of the most popular cheer bows to the committee for discussion.  We all agreed that cheerleading bows are typically made with 3-inch Gross Grain ribbons.  Discussion on this ruling concluded with the wording of this rule being unclear.  Comments from the Bow Manufactures were submitted to the USASF to help clarify this ruling. 

Cheerleading Bows are predominately made with a 3-inch ribbon but when reading the ruling this rule implies the width of the entire bow cannot exceed 3 inches.  I observed this discussion and it was clear to me that a 3-inch wide bow was not the intention of this ruling.  A typical cheer bow is about 8 inches wide by 8 inches high with tails of about 4 inches.  This information was given to the USASF for clarification on the cheer bow standards.  The USASF and the Committee agreed this ruling needed clarification and would be submitted to the USASF for evaluation.

We will never take the glam out of cheerleading, but I do agree that using the USASF guidelines and rules will help improve overall consistency in our industry.  Strive for an athletic persona with a makeup application that is age-appropriate and applied professionally.  You can even purchase different team makeup kits for different age levels and choose products that work better on little lips and faces as opposed to the senior-level teams.  Whatever you do, as long as your makeup and hair are professional and well applied, you should have no issues.  Remember, these rules are interpreted in their totality. I am just focusing on Makeup, Hair, and Bows as one component of your team's routine.  Judges will not just be looking at your bows, hair, and makeup but the entire routine, including music and choreography for age appropriateness.  As always I know everyone will keep it Sassy and Classy….

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