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What is the Difference Between Natural & Glitz Pageants?

A young contestant competing in a Glitz pageant

Yes, the media is overrun with the “Toddlers & Tiaras” image of pageantry… and while those pageants are exceptional, there is so much more to the pageant world that just “glitz”! To reality television, it is normal to see two and three year old girls with full faces of stage makeup, spray tans, hair extensions, and even “flippers”… but that is only one side of the pageant world.

Glitz pageants and Natural pageants are completely different– to say the two are the same would be a huge misconception. So, to save you the effort, we decided to explain the difference for you! Here’s the Pageant Planet’s guide to the difference between Natural and Glitz pageants.

A Glitz level headshot

Glitz Pageants

Glitz pageants focus far more on the external beauty of contestants than natural, allowing young contestants to wear hairpieces like extensions or wigs; full faces of stage makeup; false eyelashes, nails and teeth (flippers); dark spray tans; as well as colored contacts.

Glitz pageants are often very expensive to compete in — entry fees ranging from $50 to $500. Glitz-style “cupcake” dresses can often rack up a $5,000 price tag, not including the hotel stays, costumes, makeup, and hair that goes into competition.

Glitz headshots are often heavily photoshopped, with big eyes, long eyelashes and full makeup.

Pageants in the “Glitz” category are often very easy to find, with many states offering several small pageants per month, with state level and national level pageants coming later.

A Natural level headshot

Natural Pageants

The standard for Natural pageants is to focus more on natural and internal beauty than external. Girls under the age of thirteen are generally not allowed to wear makeup, and if they are, it is only lip gloss or light mascara. Hairpieces, extensions, false eyelashes, false nails and false teeth are not permitted, and spray tans are heavily discouraged.

The price tags for Natural pageants are much less than Glitz– most entry fees are below $150, with dresses and shoes bought “off the rack” instead of custom designed, and with mothers doing the girls’ hair for competition.

Many Natural pageants even have an “everyone is a winner” system, where each girl leaves with an award, be it for prettiest eyes, prettiest smile, or most photogenic.

Natural pageants also often have personal introduction, onstage question, and interview– focusing on communication skills.

How Do You Decide Which to Compete In?

All pageants can help you increase your self confidence, self awareness, stage presence and communication skills. The easiest way to pick which is right for you is to focus on the levels of competition– are you more of an entertainer, or do you like to speak your mind? Are you good at personal interview, or is that not for you? Do you enjoy getting “fancied up” with full hair and makeup? Questions like these will help you determine what is best for YOU.

In the end, doing what you love and what makes you happy is always the right choice!

What do you think? Do you like Glitz or Natural pageants? Let us know in the comments below!

Which dress do you like better?

5 thoughts on “What is the Difference Between Natural & Glitz Pageants?

  1. For the pageants that everyone wins something is it not worth it to put in for the side awards? I alwways have that debate with myself lol

    1. I had always wondered the same thing too! Up until recently, I had always entered all optionals and usually would win my division and at least one optional. This year, however, I decided to stop entering optionals so I can save money and do more pageants! Yesterday, I won High Point out of 39 girls, which means I had the highest score in the entire pageant, and I hadn’t entered a single optional. So no, I don’t think optionals are worth it, really. 🙂

      1. Great feedback!

    2. I would add that it depends on what your daughter would like to get out of the experience? If she wants to improve her public speaking skills and there is an optional that will allow her to do that then maybe it’s worth it.

      1. Oh I’m not entering any kids just myself. Lol But what do you think about those optional overall supreme titles that cost extra. Is it worth say $20 extra for each entry/chNce to win a title and to try and be an overall superend title (there are 3 overall supreme titles from 0- 29+ ) or is it probably the pageant trying to get extra cash from the contestants? Does a miss contestant stand a chance against kids?

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