Unpacking the Fascinating World of Makeup in Arabic

Makeup has been an essential part of human civilization for a long time. In Arab culture, it dates back centuries, with traces of it found in ancient Egypt and Persia. With a range of colors, techniques, and styles, Arabic makeup encapsulates the rich cultural heritage of the region. Many people have different views and misconceptions regarding makeup in the Arabic world, but in this article, we will delve deep into this fascinating world. From the techniques and styles to the rich history behind the use of makeup, this article has it all.

The History of Arabic Makeup

The origins of Arabic makeup date back to ancient times where women used coal and eyeshadow made from plants to accent their features. Ancient Egypt quickly became a hub for the cosmetics industry, with many people experimenting with vibrant colors and different styles. The use of cosmetics eventually spread across the Arab world, with each city and region developing its style and technique.

The Basics of Arabic Makeup

Arabic makeup is known for its dramatic, bold, and vivacious looks. It is all about enhancing your natural beauty and accenting your facial features. To achieve that classic Arabic look, you need to invest in a good quality foundation, concealer, and a range of eyeliners, including kohl and liquid eyeliner. Arabic makeup is all about the eyes, and so the focus is on the eyelashes and eyebrows, which accounts for heavier use of meaty eyelashes and eyebrow pencils. A good lip liner, matte lipstick, and blush-on will complete the look.

Unpacking the Fascinating World of Makeup in Arabic
Unpacking the Fascinating World of Makeup in Arabic

Different Styles and Techniques of Arabic Makeup

There are many techniques and styles when it comes to Arabic makeup, ranging from the striking and smoky smoldering eye to the soft and subtle, must more sophisticated look. The most popular technique among Arabic makeup enthusiasts is winged eyeliner. Smokey eyes are also popular, and the key here is to use a lot of dark eyeshadow and blend to create a smokey, sultry effect. When it comes to Arabic makeup styles, the Ottoman makeup style is iconic, with Ankara and Istanbul being the heart of this vintage style.

Tips for Arabic Makeup

Preparing your skin is very crucial before embarking on applying makeup, and so it’s critical to cleanse the skin thoroughly. Also, keep in mind that Arabic makeup is all about the eyes and making them pop. Invest in good quality eyeliners, eyebrow pencils, and fake eyelashes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles and techniques so that you can find the perfect Arabic makeup look that suits you.


Arabic makeup is an art that has been practiced for centuries, and it’s continually evolving with the times. With many techniques, styles, and a rich cultural history, it’s no wonder Arabic makeup is world-renowned. As you delve deep into the world of Arabic makeup, remember, the key to pulling off any Arabic makeup style is to experiment, find what works best for you, and have fun while doing it. There is no specific rule, and no look is wrong as long as you feel comfortable and confident. Even with a little knowledge of the history and some basic techniques, you can create stunning looks that accentuate your natural beauty. So why not give it a try?


1. What are popular makeup products and brands in the Arabic-speaking world?

Some popular makeup products in the Arabic-speaking world include kohl eyeliner, bold lipsticks, and foundation with high coverage. Popular brands include Huda Beauty, MAC Cosmetics, and L'Oreal Paris, among others.

2. How does traditional Arabic makeup differ from Western makeup styles?

Traditional Arabic makeup often features strong, dramatic looks with an emphasis on the eyes. This can include dark, smoky eyeshadow, thick kohl eyeliner, and long, voluminous lashes. In contrast, Western makeup styles may lean towards more natural or minimalist looks, with a focus on enhancing facial features rather than creating drama.

3. What is kohl and how is it used in Arabic makeup?

Kohl is a traditional eye cosmetic made from a mixture of soot and other ingredients, such as lead sulfide. It has been used for centuries in the Arabic-speaking world to create dramatic, dark lines around the eyes. Kohl is applied using a small applicator called a "mirwed" and is typically used to line both the upper and lower waterlines, as well as the lash lines, to create a bold, intense look.

4. Are there any specific makeup techniques unique to Arabic makeup styles?

One unique technique in Arabic makeup is the use of bold, contrasting colors on the eyes, such as combining gold and black eyeshadow to create a striking effect. Another technique is the application of kohl eyeliner in a winged shape, extending beyond the outer corners of the eyes to create a dramatic, elongated appearance.

5. How has modern makeup in the Arabic-speaking world evolved from traditional styles?

While traditional Arabic makeup focused primarily on dramatic eye makeup, modern makeup trends in the Arabic-speaking world have expanded to include a wider range of styles and techniques. For example, contouring and highlighting have become popular for sculpting the face, and lip colors now span a variety of shades, from bold reds and purples to soft nudes and pinks. However, the emphasis on creating captivating eye looks remains a significant aspect of makeup in the Arabic-speaking world.

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