Beauty pageant judging criteria vary largely by the type of pageant. In a glitz pageant, the emphasis is on the overall transformation, so there is much more emphasis placed on those aspects that transform contestants. In a natural pageant, natural beauty is emphasized, so contestants are much more likely to be judged on organic elements of their appearance.
In glitz pageants, hair pieces, mouthpieces, makeup and expensive clothing are considered necessary components. Although the way in which the contestants carry themselves is also considered, much emphasis is placed on the outfit, hair and makeup choices. In natural pageants, there is more emphasis on showcasing natural beauty. Children of a certain age can actually be penalized by the judges for wearing too much makeup or for looking too unnatural.
Judging criteria may also vary based on the categories in which contestants compete. Almost all pageants include a beauty category. Some include categories such as swimsuit, outfit of choice or talent. Some also include an interview or question-and-answer session that may be held publicly for spectators to view or privately with the judging panel. The weight of each of the additional categories determines how strongly it affects a contestant's overall score in the pageant.