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Evaluating the Influence of Egypt on Modern Day Makeup

Nilesh Patel is a Writer, Technology Enthusiast, Social Media Lover & all around Digital Marketing Guy.


Egypt and Makeup Culture

Ranging from lavish gold tombs to papyrus, ancient Egypt has never failed to leave its mark with an impressive legacy which continues to mesmerize us as we explore and discover more about its unknown facts. One of the most striking attributes of the Egyptian civilization is surely its penchant for trend-setting style which reverberates among the fashion aficionado population of modern times. Egyptian ladies placed a great deal of significance on their physical beauty and even men prioritized personal appearance. The Egyptian mummy cases portrayed the face of the deceased decked up in impressive makeup and fine accessories. Whether they were alive or deceased, Egyptian makeup served as the forefront for this ancient culture.

Egyptian Makeup History

Makeup found its origin in ancient Egypt during 4000 B.C wherein a mixture of lead and copper was used for smearing around the eyes. Women especially felt that their physical appearance had a direct relationship with their ultimate spiritual worth. Hence, they applied considerable amounts of makeup to please the gods and be blessed with good omens. Women and men held the common belief that the gods Ra and Horus would protect those who wore makeup.


Egyptian Eye Makeup

In ancient Egypt, cosmetics like nail polish and rouge was considered to be an exotic body décor earmarked against special occasions. However, eye makeup was treated as a staple necessity and vital status symbol. Two different forms of Egyptian eye makeup were used for serving spiritual purposes and enhancing physical beauty at the same time.


Mesdemet which is dark grey in colour was worn mostly by Egyptians residing on the Red Sea coast. Crafted using lead, it was given as a gift to many after being brought back from the journey of a pharaoh to a far-off land. In present times, we can never imagine using a lead derivative on our skin given the related health hazards it might tag along. However, in the ancient Egyptian civilization, it was an unassuming and acceptable practice.


Udju was created using green malachite which was derived from copper found near Sinai area ruled by the Egyptian goddess of love, beauty and women. This made wearing such eye makeup an activity of paramount spiritual significance to women who earnestly believed that it had anti-depressant and aphrodisiac properties which could release positive energy of happiness and love.

Types of Egyptian eye makeup

Now we will take a look at four different types of Egyptian eye makeup which can turn you into the star of the party in no time:

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This contemporary and feminine take on Cleopatra's eyes can make a serious style statement. It can be achieved by following the steps mentioned below:

  • Use light shadow and primer across your lids and up to your brow bone for preparing the base for applying further eye makeup.
  • Create an intense smoky eye by sweeping a warm shadow such as orangey-yellow or purple-pink on the crease. You can use pigmented charcoal or dark grey shadow to build on the smoky effect and cover the entire lid with the same.
  • Use a strong eyeliner pencil for drawing over each lid starting from the lash to the crease prior to extending the liner at a 40-degree angle for getting that perfect winged effect. This needs to be repeated with the lower lash line by extending each wing past your natural brow end.
  • Use an eyebrow pencil to define your brows and complete the look with several coats of volumizing mascara.

Graphic Geometry

A combination of vivid colours and harsh geometric lines can pave the way for a classic yet cool take on the Egyptian eye makeup. You can make your eyes pop by achieving a graphic aesthetic following the steps laid out below:

  • Use an eye primer to prepare your lids for application of eye shadows and other cosmetics.
  • Brush a light shadow in the shades of cream or white over the entire lid blending it to the brow bone.
  • A rich and dark shadow should next be applied on the inner and outer eyelid followed by being blended into the crease. You can take it as high as the brow bone but should leave a thin strip of cream or white eyeshadow exposed just underneath the brow. For bringing in maximum impact, it is advised to choose vibrant hues of mermaid green or cobalt blue.
  • A thick and dark liquid eyeliner should next be used for drawing a thin line under the lower eyelid and across the upper one. Once you are done with this you should wing your eyeliner at an angle of 45 degrees by starting from the outer corner of the eye. The wing needs to be thickened adequately unless a visual imagery of an upside-down triangle is produced.
  • Next, you will have to fill in your brows using a felt tip-style eyebrow pen. Exaggerate the bottom and top line and square them off at the front to achieve a standout and daring aesthetic.
  • Finish off your look with two generous coats of lengthening and thickening mascara.

Exaggerated Feline

In spite of being simplistic compared to the Cleopatra eye makeup ideas, the exaggerated feline is just as stylish and revolves around the concept of making your eyeliner stand out. You can achieve the same by following the steps mentioned below:

  • Use a light shadow and primer for preparing the base of your eye makeup. Go ahead with neutral hues such as ivory and beige which will complement your skin tone.
  • A darker hue is required to contour your eyelid. You can even go ahead with a glittery version of the same colour for a touch of glitz.
  • Now you will have to draw a thick line using a heavy black liquid eyeliner above your upper lash line starting from the inner corner and extending to a 40-degree angle from the outer corner. The same needs to be repeated under the lower lash line by exaggerating the same towards the outer corner as you extend it out gradually.
  • Return back to the inner corner of your eye and draw a line starting from the top of the lash line and extending towards the center of your nose. The same has to be repeated for the bottom lash line unless it meets the top lash line. The gap can be filled using a white pencil for brightening up your eyes and making them sparkle.
  • You can use a natural-looking eyebrow pencil for filling in your brows and sealing off your look with some generous application of mascara.

Flash of Gold

This form of Egyptian eye makeup mostly focuses on the metallic elements which can tag along powerful aesthetic of royalty. You need to follow the steps lined down below to transform yourself into a golden diva in no time:

  • Use primer and light eyeshadow to create a base like the ones mentioned in the above steps. This base hue can be swept underneath each bottom lash for opening up your eyes dramatically.
  • A rich gold eyeshadow cream should next be brushed over each eyelid starting from the middle towards your hairline in a 45-degree angle. A similar extension needs to be done at the same angle from the outer corner of your bottom waterline. This time you should stop one centimetre prior to the top gold line and create a curved line up to meet with the original. The empty space between two gold lines needs to be filled up.
  • You will now have to line your upper lashes using a dark metallic eyeliner in the shades of dark grey, purple or black. Create a short and curved wing which reaches the end of your brow line by starting from the inner corner and extending to the outer one.
  • Next, you will have to delicately line the inner corner of your eyes and underneath the lower waterline using a green metallic eye pencil.
  • While picking up a brow filler, go ahead with the ones which are darker than your natural eyebrows to provide a striking contrast with the metallic shades. You can create a prominent effect by over-exaggerating your authentic brow lines.
  • The look can be completed by curling your lashes and applying a thick coat of mascara.

Egyptian Makeup in Modern Times

Ancient Egyptian queen Cleopatra has served as an epitome of female fashion with her dramatic use of Egyptian eye makeup with intricate detailing. Coming to modern times, makeup is worn by women for an array of factors ranging from a desire to look young and flawless boosting up their confidence meter. Makeup has also found its way in movie industry where it is being used for creating special effects. Although makeup can be worn by everyone, only 30% men make use of the same leaving ladies with the lion’s share of this alluring option to enhance their beauty.

Egyptian Makeup Poll

© 2018 Nilesh Patel

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