Cleopatra Eyes

Sarah Lakos | 7 May 2012


It’s been almost 50 years since the 1963 film, Cleopatra, was released. To celebrate, we’re sharing a few beauty tips in the style of the Egyptian Queen. The film starred Hollywood icons Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and cemented Taylor’s place as the Queen of Hollywood. Her elaborate costumes and dramatic make-up continue to inspire makeup artists and designers half a century after its release.

Cameron Jane make-up artist, Miriam Van Cooten, showed us how to achieve the dramatic look and gave us some tips on taking it from the silver screen to everyday. Hold on to your eyeliner, things are about to get glamorous.

Step 1. The Base

Apply foundation evenly to all areas of the face. If you’re going all out for a costume party, use a yellow-based foundation. Apply a powder to seal the foundation. Using bronzer or a tan-based blush, highlight the cheekbones, and ridge of the nose. Fill in your eye brows with a dark pencil or powder, making them square and strong from the corner of your eye, and extending the line past the outer edge of your eye.

Step 2. The Eyes

Start by outlining the eyes with kohl pencil. Take the eyeliner along the inner of the bottom lids and line the top lids too. You’ll create your Egyptian accents later.¬†Using an emerald blue or green pressed eye shadow (not a powder), apply to the eye lids from outer edge to eye brow. Leave the inner corner of your eye for gold highlights. Take a navy or deep blue and follow the Kohl on the top and bottom lid to create a smoky depth. Shadow the inner of your eye with a lighter blue or green and highlight the corner of your eye with gold.

Step 3. Kohl

Time to draw the brilliant eye-shaping kohl lines. In the film, Taylor has variations of forked lines, thick accents and angled lines. Draw from the outer edge of your eye, making an open triangle on your temple. Fill in the small of the triangle you’ve created with a little gold eye shadow. Go over the top of the eyelid and bottom do darken the kohl you drew on in Step 2.

Step 4. Finishing touches

Add a little lip colour – nothing too crazy, maybe something peachy and matte.

Want to take the trend from theatrical to everyday? Keep the dark kohl and beetle blue and green eyeshadow. Don’t extend the eyeliner and define the eyebrows a little less. You’ll have colour-intense, smoky eyes with a nod to Egyptian kohl.

Looking for more inspiration? A 50th Anniversary edition of Cleopatra has been released on Blu-ray, with new featurettes and never seen footage. If you haven’t seen this classic, grab some popcorn and a friend.

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