The great makeup debate

Style, hair, makeup.

To get it perfect it's a long process, taking up time and thought.

But is it really necessary preparation for basketball games? Some say yes and others say no. However it is an interesting topic to consider -- why girls' basketball players take a big interest in how they look when they're on the court and what they actually do to prepare for a game.

"I have played basketball since third grade, but started caring about what I looked like probably in high school," said Alex Earl, a point guard for the Southridge Skyhawks in Beaverton, Ore., who is headed to Arizona State in the fall.

"If I liked someone at my school, I'd try to look good at my games. But I don't want to look hideous when I play, even when nobody I care about is looking at me."

Every player has a different motive for putting on makeup, but generally players spend a lot of time in other pregame preparations. Hairstyle is one of the most important things girls take pride in.

"Before the game everyone is in the hotel rooms, getting ready, straightening their hair, you know, just getting ready," said Katie Grad, a Washington State signee from Auburn Riverside High school in Auburn, Wash. "It's just like preparation for the game. Especially on a school day when we play on school nights we dress up for games days at home."

Often girls with curly hair will take the time to straighten it before game time.

"During league [play] I can't play with my hair curly," said Grad. "My hair is naturally curly. I don't know why I can't play with it like that, but I just always straighten my hair."

"My hair is actually really curly and my mom doesn't like it when I wear my hair curly for a game, so she always wants me to straighten it," said Michelle Jenkins, a 6-foot-3 forward who also played for Southridge and is headed to USC in the fall. "I'll usually straighten it for games or that day for school."

"It just feels lighter when I straighten it," Earl said. "I use six hair ties in my hair, I don't know why. I like my hair really tight and when it's curly it is just really heavy."

Another popular thing among high school basketball players is the use of pre-wrap in the hair. Because players are not allowed to have any bobby pins or any kind of metal clips in their hair (the referees really look for them), most have turned to pre-wrap to hold up bangs or loose hair.

"I wear pink pre-wrap, but it's pretty much what's around," said Alyssa Fressle, the Colorado signee who was the point guard for Highlands Ranch High School in Colorado. "I don't have a certain hair style. I'll wear a pony tail or braid it sometimes. It's just what I'm into at the time, but I'll always wear pre-wrap."

When it comes to makeup, the most common product used is mascara. Most athletes wear the waterproof kind so it doesn't come off when sweating. Some players use Maybelline or Mac, others use Loreal or Sephora. Each brand has its own perks, whether it makes eyelashes look longer, is cheaper or just a brand to which one has grown accustomed.

But many have steered away from wearing heavy makeup on their entire face.

"Personally, I wouldn't cake on the makeup because it's not like you're going out to dinner or anything," said Grad. "It's just a basketball game. And you can always tell when you wipe your face on your jersey."

"Well actually if I could wear face makeup during games I would," Earl admitted. "I just get nervous because it smears, so actually that's why I go tanning. I think girls are cuter when they're tan."

Head coach Caryn Jarocki of Highlands Ranch thinks that heavy makeup is not good for the skin.

"You are pouring out sweat and you have all your pores clogged up with makeup. I don't think it's the healthiest thing to do," Jarocki said.

Smelling good before the game is another thing girls take pleasure in.

"I do spray perfume on my jersey," Earl said. "I just like to smell good because I like girls who smell good. I wear Paris Hilton right now, but I'm looking to change, looking to mix it up a little."

Each girl has her own habits and reasoning regarding hair, style and makeup, but Jarocki couldn't have said it any better: "If it helps them play better than they can wear all the makeup they want."

Coming Friday, June 27: The debut of Martonne NeVille's column on beauty and basketball.

Discuss this on our message board: Click Here

Erica Metzler is a contributor to ESPN HoopGurlz. A journalism graduate of the University of Washington, Erica attended Peninsula High School in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., where she played basketball for four years, softball for two and lacrosse for one. She has written for the University of Washington Daily and worked part-time for The Seattle Times. Erica can be reached at erica@hoopgurlz.com.