"I sweat real sweat, and I shake real shakes" - Elizabeth Taylor
Words by Eva Devore | Photography by Beccy Spice & Katia Schwartz
With the change of seasons upon us, managing your perspiration and grip for pole and lyra couldn’t be more important. There are so many different tips, tricks and grip agents out there that it can be confusing to know what to choose! This week we are comparing the different grip aids that are out there, as well as sharing some of our instructor’s favourite tips to keep you sticking around.
You may find it surprising how much the weather and climate can effect your stickiness! Those hot, humid summer days will leave you sweating buckets, making everything slippery and hard to hold onto. Not only is a slick pole hard to stay on, but can be quite dangerous too! In contrast, the cold weather of winter can leave your skin feeling dry, which in turn makes it harder to stick as there is no moisture at all! It is often said that there is no ‘perfect season’ for pole dancing, and with such a delicate balance of wet and dry to find, it can really feel that way!
We all have different bodies, skin types and levels of perspiration, so different products and methods will have varying effects, depending on your own personal experience. You may need to go through a bit of trial and error to find the best combination for your skin, but once you do, you will know exactly what you need to apply to stick throughout your training or performance. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of grip aid, different brands of product, and different amounts of the product to see what works best.
There are many, many different products out there to help combat sweat and keep you sticky, but here are a few that we like to use in the studio;
Cheap, cheerful and easy to find in most supermarkets, shaving cream and hairspray are time-honoured grip aids for pole dancers. Shaving cream is perfect for adding a little extra tack to the inner thighs and backs of the knees, and works well for dry skin. You can get shaving cream in both a foam and a gel formula, which will perform differently based on your skin type. The foam formula is lighter, so you may need to apply a few layers. Gel cream needs a lot less product to get nice and sticky, but can get slimy if you use too much. Its best to also avoid creams with added oils - they’re lovely for shaving, but not so much for sticking! You don’t want to have shaving cream on your hands, as this will get too slippery. And remember, never, ever apply shaving cream directly onto the pole!
Hairspray is another great option to create tackiness. It’s better to use a pump bottle, rather than an aerosol, as this will work better and apply more product in controlled areas. It also means you won’t be spraying clouds of hairspray backstage! Different hairsprays will obvioulsy have different levels of tackiness, so again, find the one that works best for you.
If sweaty hands are driving you crazy, there are a bunch of products out there designed to combat the moisture. Each product has a different formulation, so it’s best to try a few and see what works for you.
Dry Hands is a well-known product that is used by pole dancers all over the world. It is a liquid formula that dries to a chalky finish. Dry Hands works like an anti-perspirant, so it’s best to apply it about 15 minutes before your class. It won’t work well if you apply it to already-sweaty hands! You can also apply Dry Hands to other areas of your body that get quite damp, and even put it onto the pole!
Tite-Grip is another alternative that is similar to Dry Hands, and is an orange liquid that dries to a chalky finish (and smells a bit similar to toothpaste!). It is also works best when applied 10-15 minutes before you dance. There are two different formulas, that may work better depending on your skin type.
There are plenty more products out there, so do your research and try what you like! Here is a handy resource with more options.
Got a performance coming up and want some extra dazzle? We are all about sparkles here at Sky Sirens, but many body shimmers and glitters will affect your grip and leave a slippery residue on the pole. Luckily, the amazing Dancing Dust is here to fulfil all your grippy and glittery needs! Dancing Dust is a vegan, biodegradable body shimmer that is made with a resin powder, which keeps you dry and grippy. The product comes in both gold and silver toned colourways, and three levels of grip strength;
Dazzle - A non-grippy body shimmer for burlesque babes and pretty pinups. Don’t wear this version if you want to go on the pole as it will make you slippery!
Dewy - This is a Dust for lightly-perspiring babes. It has a light to moderate level of grip and is perfect for dusting all over.
Dusty - Dusty is a high-strength powder for sweaty babes, to keep you sweat free and sparkling!
Dancing Dust comes with a gorgeous powder puff to apply all over your body. Our Pole Queen, Billie Brooklyn, recommends applying over shaving cream for maximum stick and shine. Dancing Dust isn’t the best product for hands, so you’re better off using Dry Hands or an alternative for hand grip.
Tips for Staying High & Dry
Our Siren Instructors share their favourite tips for staying sticky where it counts!
“Dry skin doesn’t stick, so if you’re prone to dry skin, moisturising the night before class will help with sticking to the pole. Sometimes in summer if I moisturise the night before, I don’t need any grip products on my legs or body as the heat and a little bit of sweat helps me stick.Trying to avoid grip products as much as possible will also help build up grip and general strength. Build up those calluses!”
- Billie Brooklyn
“The bigger and better my calluses got, the less sweaty my hands became. For babes who are on the extra sweaty end of the spectrum, they will still rely quite a lot on grip aids. But for those who fall on the dry to normal end, it's more about prepping the day before pole rather than the day of. Also I found that if I got sweaty halfway through class and needed to apply dry hands, I would spritz my hands with metho spray and wipe them dry, and then apply dry hands.”
- Dahlia Daye
“For Lyra babes who need a bit of extra grip, just a tiny drop of Dry Hands goes down well with sweaty palms! I even use tiny amounts (just on hands) when I’m having a particular sweaty day. Also, the type of stockings/tights you wear for Lyra has an affect on the amount of grip on the legs. Sheer and shiny stockings have less grip, and fishnets have more.”
- Maddie Belle
“I think it’s important to know what type of skin you have! Dry hands or hairspray on dry skin wouldn’t work for example; bring moisture and tack in instead like shaving cream! I’m a great advocate for weaning off grip aids in general for strength training, but this doesn’t always work for everyone.”
“I always say pole is like trying to curl your hair. You don’t want your hair too dirty or too clean in the same way you don’t want your skin to be too sweaty or too dry. I usually recommend moisturising a day or two before and then trying to avoid any moisturisers or hair oils the day of. It really depends on the person and their skin type.”
- Sofia Finesse
Which one should you try?
Our skin type and the levels of perspiration we experience play a huge role in how grippy we will be! You may be a bit of a sweaty Betty, or perhaps you don’t perspire much at all, and you’re too slippery when dry. Luckily, there is a product out there that will work for you. Check out our handy table below to see which product may help you to stick around.