If anyone has been reading this blog for some time, or knows me in real life, you know I love a bad ass female ruler. From Elizabeth the First to Isabella of Castille, I love history. Especially the stories of headstrong royal women. One who has fascinated me since childhood in particular has been Cleopatra. While known as a tactical ruler with an intriguing love story, she encompassed timeless beauty with a look transcends generations. It’s wild to think back to how makeup might have looked or been applied back in her time. I mean, she certainly was forward thinking in the beauty world. In fact, many of the key elements of her looks continue to influence makeup today. Check out the easy to follow guide below for how to master the Cleopatra inspired makeup look. (Whether you’re looking for inspirational tips for Halloween, a themed party, or just want to add a dramatic touch to for a special occasion!)
Cleopatra Inspired Makeup Guide:
1. Prep & prime
You want to take time with this step, especially since the eyes make or break the look. Always use a primer on your eyelids before applying makeup… otherwise, it might end up melting before the day is out! Personally, I swear by Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance. I’ve been using it for years and it has never let me down. Apply your favorite face primer to create a smooth base for the rest of the look.
2. Create the focus on your eyes
Cleopatra’s distinct trademark was her heavy eye makeup. A fun fact- while she was alive, using heavy eye-makeup theoretically helped reduce glare from the sun. The key eyeshadow color should definitely be gold, a trademark of her wealth (she was a royal after all!). Use gold shadow on your lids and pair it with dark, thick winged eyeliner. Line both your upper and lower lids. I loved how Kaushal Beauty suggested using a blue eye shadow to add more drama, a nod to Elizabeth Taylor’s look when she portrayed Cleopatra in the 1963 film.
To better visualize what I’m describing, check out this YouTube video tutorial by Kaushal Beauty, who gives an in-depth and easy to follow visual tutorial on bringing this look to life. I like how she started with a simple and achievable smokey eye, and worked her way to the Egyptian-styled look.
Two tips: Blend blend blend. As HelloGiggles recommends don’t extend the eyeliner too far. You can make it wildly dramatic or just end your wing at the inner corner of your eyelid if you want a more wearable look
No bold eye look is complete without doing something with your lashes. Pick your favorite voluminous mascara and pack on a few layers. Or you could take the false lashes route like I would do and as Lipstick on your Pillow recommends on her post!
3. Pull the look together by highlighting your best facial features
Since you want to showcase your eyes, the rest of your face won’t require as much makeup. Cleopatra was known for that sun-kissed look, so I recommend using a bronzer a shade or two darker than your natural skin tone around the cheekbones, forehead, and chin. Think of applying it in a “3” shape around the frame of your face. Opt for a light, warm shade of blush and apply it to the apples of your cheeks. I’d go with a peachy color like Tarte’s Captivating for that right flush of color. Finish with a highlight… whether subtle or dramatic is up to you! To get a long-lasting glow, use a cream highlighter set with a powder one.
4. Finish it off with a neutral lip
While she went bold on the eyes, she didn’t go bold with the lips. I’d keep the lips a nude or MLBB color or use a clear gloss. While finishing the look, it doesn’t detract from it either. Ta-da! Your Cleopatra look is complete. It may take a few tries, a bit of trial and error, but it’s a lot of fun. And of course, no rules against adding your own personal spin to it either.
Isn’t it interesting how some monarch’s fade into oblivion and others have legacies spanning centuries?? History is weird guys (but I love it). Cleopatra’s life and legacy have long been embraced and popularized throughout history- from Elizabeth Taylor’s Hollywood depiction to slot games such as Cleopatra Plus on Slingo, to her era partially inspiring the Art Deco movement, the iconic Egyption’s image continues to shine. I wonder what she would think today to see a Youtube video of people recreating her eye makeup.
I hope you all enjoyed this Cleopatra inspired makeup guide. Why you would do your makeup any other way nowadays when you could look like the Queen of the Nile? Okay…maybe it’s a bit intense for my everyday look. However, I always find dramatic makeup looks one of the more fun ones to watch! Let me know what kind of dramatic eye makeup looks you go for or are thinking about trying!
This post is in collaboration with guest blogger Kathrine S. Brown. She is a hair and makeup enthusiast, who believes looking good is how you put your best foot forward, especially when meeting new people. She follows many Youtube beauty vloggers to pick up new techniques.