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Kids' Beauty Pageants: What You'll Need to be Competitive

glitz pageants

If you read my article about entering your first beauty pageants, you know that I strongly suggest making a "trial run" or two before making the financial commitment to being a serious competitor in pageants. If your litte girl isn't "into" pageants, or if she's really shy or afraid on stage, don't waste your money - pageant supplies aren't cheap. If that's the case, you might want to stick to natural pageants for your trial runs, where you don't have to purchase so many expensive items.

If you want to be serious about winning glitz pageants, you have to make an investment - not only of money, but also of time. Below are the things you'll need:

Coach: Get a pageant or modeling coach. Your little girl will need to learn how to model and walk on stage. Even the very young girls will need to learn "cutesy" things to do on stage. Your coach can also help with advice on hair styles and dress and be an all-around great source for advice. Lessons typically cost around $100 per hour from a top coach.

Pageant hair: You'll need to purchase a wig, a wiglet, a fall, or a mini-fall. Get one made of real human hair. Your coach can offer suggestions on how best to "do" your child's hair. Find a color chart so that you can find out which hair shade your child will need. There are several internet sources that sell these. Sometimes you can find a used one on Ebay. Don't worry - your hair and makeup person will wash and set the wig or fall before your daughter wears it.

Dress: You'll need a gorgeous dress in a color that will enhance your child's natural beauty and coloring. If your DD (pageant lingo for darling daughter) is under the age of ten, she'll need a short dress with a full cupcake skirt and a lot of Swarovski stones. If she's over ten, she'll need a ball gown with a full skirt and Swarovski stones. The teen division starts at thirteen, and these girls usually wear a mermaid-style dress or either a ball gown with a skirt that's not so full. Your pageant coach can help you with selecting a dress. A good place to find used pageant dresses for sale is Ebay or on one of the voy pageant boards. If you want a new dress made especially for your DD, your coach can point you to a winning dressmaker. These dresses aren't cheap. A used competitive dress for a child will cost from about $500 to over $1,000. A new custom-made dress, of course, is usually significantly more. If you're not ready to purchase a dress, you can rent a good one for around $75 to $150 per pageant. Note: You might also purchase a cheaper dress online or from a shop and do the stoning yourself. Read my article about stoning.

Dress tips: Very few little girls can pull off wearing red, or any dark color, for that matter. Some pageants don't like to see 10-12 girls in strapless dresses. Even if you purchase a dress without straps, a pageant seamstress can add halter straps to match the dress. Your pageant coach can help you with color and style selection.

Flipper: Your DD will need a flipper - a mouthpiece that fits over her top teeth to give her the appeanance of perfectly straight, dazzling white teeth. You can find them online, or you can ask your pageant coach about where to find one from a reputable source. A flipper costs about $250-$300.

Shoes: Little girls in short dresses need plain white Mary Janes with a matte finish. These should be worn with white lacy ankle socks - but don't get the ones with too many rows of lace. Girls in the 10-12 division need a pair of clear, open-toed shoes to wear with their ball gown. Most girls like a shoe with a 3 or 4-inch chunky heel. The height raises the gown and the chunky heel gives the girl more stability when walking.

Hair and makeup: Have this done by a professional at the pageant. Price varies widely from pageant to pageant. At a small local pageant, you can get a good artist for around $65. At a big national pageant, this same person will charge more because of demand.

Tanning: If your DD is caucasian, she'll need to be tanned before going on stage. Many hair and makeup people also do tanning. Don't attempt to do this yourself to save a few bucks unless you have a lot of experience. Your DD could turn out streaked, spotted, or orange. The average price for tanning is around $25.

Jewelry: Little girls will need a pair of simple simulated-diamond studs. The older girls will need a pair of cluster earrings or a pair of dainty dangling earrings. These should be done in AB Swarovski stones or in colored stones that match the dress. Most of the little girls wear a choker that matches their dress. Girls in 10-12 with a halter neckline won't need a necklace, either. Otherwise, 10-12 girls can wear a necklace made of Swarovski beads in crystal, AB, stones to match the dress, or with a combination of stones. You can easily make your own necklace like this or buy one from a pageant person.

Number pin: When you enter the pageant, you'll receive your DD's number on a piece of paper that has to be pinned to her dress. The pageant staff will provide a straight pin for this purpose. This is okay, but a crown pin will look a lot better. You can find crown pins online and in pageant shops. Also, these are often sold at larger pageants by vendors set up in the lobby. The cost for such a pin is nominal, usually from $2 up to over $10.

Hair adorments: Most little girls wear a hair bow that matches their dress.The bow should have a few Swarovski stones on it to make it sparkle. Girls in the 10-12 division need a barrette that's adorned with Swarovski stones in AB, in the dress color, or in a mixture of both. Some girls wear silk flowers the color of the dress that have been embellished with stones and glued to a hair clip.

Pageant photos: The judges see and judge the photos before they ever see the girls. This is the judge's first impression of your DD, so make it a good one. It's a good idea to enter more than one photo. Include glitz and natural photos, and place each in a photo-protector sleeve. On the back of the photo, place a sheet that has the girl's name and age division.

Final note

Beauty pageants aren't for everyone. If your child doesn't want to compete in pageants, please don't force her to do so. This activity should be for the child - not for the mom. One of my granddaughters and my niece absolutely adore being in pageants! Another granddaughter, however, doesn't care for them at all, so we don't force her into them. Also, it's important for pageant moms to have the right attitude about competing. It shouldn't be all about winning. Think of it as a way to spend a fun day with your daughter, when she can be "princess for a day."

To read more about pageants, click on the article links below. Check back later, too - more articles will be coming!

  • Tips for Buying Used Pageant Dresses for Sale
    If you're a pageant newbie, read this before shopping for pageant dresses!
  • Beauty Contest Online
    glitz photo natural photo If you've ever thought about entering a beauty pageant or contest, or putting your child in one, but you don't want the hassle of traveling, waiting backstage, paying a high...
  • Beauty Pageant Moms: The Stereotype
    You've seen the stereotype. And if you haven't seen it, you've surely heard about it. You know - the typical pageant mom. The one with bad teeth, ill-fitting clothes, and a fifth grade education. The ones...
  • Hottest Fashions for Little Girls
    How can your little diva look cool at school? By wearing the hottest new fashions, of course! Below are some suggestions for dressing your princess in fashions she'll love: Color: This year, it's all about...
  • How to Stone a Dress
    My friend Sandi Woodson and I stoned this winning dress. Everyone involved with glitz beauty pageants understands the importance of adding bling to a girl's dress. The rhinestones catch the stage lights and...
  • Beauty Pageant Photo
    If you're serious about winning a beauty pageant, you must have the right photo. This rule holds true for big pageants like state and national finals, as well as for many local pageants. Sometimes,...
  • Beauty Pageant Rules
    A typical glitz photo. If you're new to beauty pageants, you might not realize all the different types of pageants. There are glitzy pageants, natural pageants, semi-glitz pageants, face pageants, online...
  • Kids' Beauty Pageants: Good or Bad
    There has been a debate raging for years about beauty pageants, especially about entering young children in such pageants. Many people think they're evil, claiming that the pageants are more for the...
  • First Beauty Pageant: Tips for Kids
    If your little diva is itching to be in a beauty pageant, there are many things you need to consider before filling out that entry form and sending in the entry fee. Beauty pageants - even small local ones...
You might need an additional outfit.

You might need an additional outfit.

A short dress with a cupcake skirt for girls under 10.

A short dress with a cupcake skirt for girls under 10.

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A typical ball gown for the 10-12 division.

A typical ball gown for the 10-12 division.


Paola on August 05, 2013:

Disgusting. Why the h*ll would a grown person judge a child on their phiycsal apperance? It's sick. And the amount of makeup they put on those girls is ridiculous. I don't even know grown women who wear that much makeup in a week instead of looking like toddlers and young girls they end up looking like short 30 year old women.It teaches them the I'm pretty so I get money and fame and whatever I want! attitude, and teaches them that if they aren't as pretty as other girls, then they are not good enough. I know they have talent' sections in those pageants, but when it all comes down to it, it's about what they LOOK like. Again, what sick person would think it's okay to judge a CHILD on their physcial apperance?

halfpint97 on January 03, 2013:

Ashley, how old are you? And where in Michigan do you live? I might know some people

halfpint97 on January 03, 2013:

hannah, get a dress that is a prom dress but don't get it too puffy. Get one that has only a couple layers.

halfpint97 on January 03, 2013:

Oh and I have braces. Will that affect me at all? I'm above

megan on January 03, 2013:

Hi my name is Megan and I'm 15 and I love the show Toddlers and Tiaras and I really want to be in a pageant but I don't want to tell my mom because she thinks I don't want to be in them. Am I too old to start being in pageants? And how can I tell her? Even if I'm just in natural first. And I found a natural pageant by me but I can't find glitz. Can you help? Thanks

Brianna on August 12, 2012:

If u have braces u shouldn't get flippers because the flipper would be really big. don't worry, they wont take off points or anything like that if u have braces. i had braces 2 and iv also seen a number of people who won ultimate grand supreme who have braces

Shaniqua on June 28, 2012:

Hey girl! I'm 14 and my 12 yr old sis and I really want to try pageants. We have both had braces but should we buy flippers to enhance our smiles even ore by making them whiter?

erica on June 24, 2012:

i live in ca i want to do pagents so bad but my mom says NO.

i think its because their expsesive.can u help me?

to find cheap pagent dresses?

for a 11 year old girl.

Ashley on June 20, 2012:

Do you know where i can find any pageant coaches or modeling agents in Michigan??

hannah on June 15, 2012:

hi i am 12 and i want to star doing pageants REALLY BAD but i don't know what kind of dress to wear because i am too old for a cupcake dress. should i wear like a cinderella prom dress or just like a long dress with no poof in it at all ?