Alizarin’s Easy Belly Dance Eye Makeup

My Aubergine troupe mates and other belly dancers often compliment me on my eye makeup style, and ask how it’s done.  I’ve been promising a tutorial for a while.  Here it is!

I’m completely self trained at makeup, learning what I can from other dancers, the internet, and my background as a visual artist.  So this certainly isn’t the only way or the “right” way to do this…but it’s pretty easy, and seems to get good results that lots of people respond positively to.

Step 1.  I like to start with a completely bare face, and do my eye makeup before foundation- so that I don’t need to worry about eye shadow spills ruining my foundation.  Apply a piece of ordinary scotch tape to the outside corner of your eye, at an angle.  (If you’re worried about pulling it off your sensitive skin later, you can minimize the tape’s stickyness a bit by first pressing the tape to a towel or your clothing).  Some people also like to put eye makeup primer on their eyelid and brow bone area to help their eye shadow stick.  I haven’t found this makes a difference on my skin type, but some people swear by it, so give it a try sometime and see what you think.

Step 2.  Apply a highlight color to your brow bone, under the peak of your eyebrow.  This area should have the highest concentration of highlight, but you can blend some outward.  You can also add a small highlight to the indentation between the inside corner of your eye and the ridge of your nose.  Good highlight colors are gold, silver, white, or light pink, depending on what other colors you are using, your costume, and your skin tone.  For stage, I like eye shadow with some sparkle/pearlescence to it as opposed to completely matte color.  Use a high quality eye shadow with saturated colors.  My favorite is Urban Decay.  To be completely honest, I don’t use fancy brushes for this part- the applicator that came with the makeup is fine, or a new clean disposable one.

Step 3. Choose a bright color you like.  I may choose a color that matches something in my costume, or I may choose a color that compliments it without matching.  I know when it comes to “real life” makeup, matching your eye shadow color to your clothing is a no-no, but this isn’t “real life” and belly dancers aren’t known for doing anything half way!  Alternately, if you want a more neutral or smoldering look, you might choose a medium silver or bronze instead of a bright color.  Fill in everything that’s not your highlight area with this color.  Use up all the space right up to your eyebrow, and make sure you are filling in all the area next to the scotch tape edge.  This might look really garish up close, and would be too much for a street clothes or even an evening look, but trust me- it will make your face hold up to your bright costume, and make your eyes stand out on stage.  Use your applicator or your finger to blend the color in with your highlight where they meet.

Step 4.  There are two versions of step four.

Note: If you are older, have deep set eyes (with not much space between your eye lid and eyebrow), or very fair hair, you may want to experiment substituting dark brown or even a dark shade of another color (like green or purple) for the black.  On the people mentioned above, sometimes black looks too harsh, especially when you will be up close with your audience, instead of on a stage.  If you have very deep set eyes, you may also want to skip the liner on your actual lash line, and just add the decorative line extending from the corner of your eye near the tape.

Advanced version: Moisten an angled brush in water, and dip it in high quality black eye shadow.  Use it to draw on “liner” along your lash line, and next to your scotch tape, making sure to overlap the tape edge for good coverage.  Make the liner fairly thick.  You can also extend it under the outside lower edge of your eye, tapering off as you approach your inner eye.

Easy/Speedy/Shaky hand version:  Using a small brush or the tip of a regular applicator, apply high quality black shadow along your lash line, and over the edge of the scotch tape.  With your finger or applicator, blend it into the main shadow color.  Using your finger, blend the outside edge of the black out away from your eye so that it fades out.

Step 5. Remove the tape, leaving behind a crisp edge.  Apply black mascara to your upper eyelashes, and to the outer edge of your lower lashes.  Use lotion on a tissue to wipe away any eye shadow you spilled on your cheeks before applying your foundation.  If you have very light or thin brows, you might want to highlight them with dark brown eyeshadow.  If the shape of the liner right under your eye at the outer edge looks funny, soften the line there with a q-tip, or use a q-tip dipped in lotion to remove excess.

Optional: Add glitter over your brow bone highlight.

When doing the rest of your makeup, don’t forget to apply more blush and darker or brighter lipstick than you normally would for street makeup.  Stage makeup should look garish up close, but will look good on a stage and help your face match the rest of your costume, so that you don’t look washed out.

Baba Ghanoush’s Art of the Belly Highlights

I am never sure how to refer to Art of the Belly when other folks ask me what I’m doing with my Friday off.  A belly dance conference?  Convention?  An amazing weekend full of insightful workshops and inspiring dancing?  That last one captures it best.  Baba Ghanoush filled our second annual Art of the Belly weekend with four workshops and three performances each.


-We descended upon two workshops together: Morocco’s “Oryantal and Sulukule Roman Karsilama”, and Nadirah Nasreen’s “Zills!!!”  Morocco has such a wealth of knowledge to share, and is inspiringly real in how she imparts it.  She clearly delineated the differences between the Sulukule Roman and Oryantal styles of karsilama dances in an accessible and entertaining way.  BG loves the earthy Turkish movements, and we’re looking forward to integrating some “catitude” into future dances.

-Nadirah Nasreen should name her workshop “How to Not Be Afraid of Zills.”  We here at Baba Ghanoush have been wanting to choreograph a dance with zills, but despite some experience with the lovely finger cymbals, we’ve been a bit intimidated to actually incorporate them into a dance.  And then perform it.  In front of an audience.  Nadirah has an incredible knack of putting you at ease with your zills, and giving you the confidence and the tools to integrate them into your dancing.

-We divided and conquered Shems’s two workshops.  Alizarin explored “Stage Worthy Oriental Arms,” learning how the icons of the golden age of belly dance used  their arms to enhance movements and to convey emotion.  Amy Fae attended “Breathtaking Veil,” which left her with some powerful concepts about dancing from the heart and using veil symbolism to the dancer’s advantage.  BG collectively recommends any workshop by Shems that you can shimmy your way into.  She not only teaches beautiful movement, but also focuses on dance concepts that can far outlast learning a single move or combo.

-Finally, Alizarin learned new techniques for mastering layered movements and creatively incorporating them into dances with Shiraz in her “Luscious Layering” workshop, while Amy Fae channeled her inner diva and experimented with melting into extended poses in Naimah’s “Bold and Sassy” workshop.

Expect some upcoming Baba Ghanoush performances with bold attitudes, sassy layers, earthy catitude, veils, and zills!  Okay, okay, maybe not all at once.  (Then again…maybe…)

Personal highlights:

Amy Fae: I loved watching so many talented dancers while snuggled up down in front with fellow Aubergines and friends.  I loved the wide variety of dance and music styles represented throughout the weekend, and am so happy to be part of such a wonderful dance community!  New on the list of dance goals:  learn to dance on top of a drum.

Alizarin: I really enjoyed watching the dancers who chose to perform to live music be inspired by the house band Ishtar (along with guest musician Brett of Maharal) who play rock influenced versions of classic Egyptian and Turkish songs.  I also loved experiencing how diverse our local belly dance community is- I saw performers of every background, gender, age, shape, and style dance to music of all kinds, from classic Middle Eastern to modern electronic and pop music.

You can check out Baba Ghanoush’s set from Saturday afternoon here.  Both of us also appeared with Aubergine (video here) on Friday night, and Lazuli on Sunday afternoon.

Baba Ghanoush extends our sincere thanks to everyone who helped make Art of the Belly a success, most especially event coordinators Naimah and Patti of Troupe Amandari.  We’re already making plans for next year!


Alright, folks, we’ve been hearing some of the rumors going ‘round, and we’d like to set the record straight.  Yes, Amy Fae trod upon a broken glass bead during the Lazuli set.  And yes, she did finish dancing the song.  She is totally hardcore (thank you).  She is in fine health now and probably no longer needs the Charlie Brown band-aid on her foot, and she is eagerly anticipating the epic stories of how a rogue piece of glass attacked her in the middle of the dance, slicing her very foot from her body, yet she continued dancing, and when she got backstage she bravely sat making nary a sound while her Lazuli troupe-mate had to sew her foot back on!  What a trooper!  (Actually, she cried like a baby and is kind of embarrassed about the whole thing, so you might not want to bring it up to her.)  A great thanks to Sam of Lazuli for having a first aid kit on hand, and to all the Art of the Belly staff and Amy Fae’s friends, who anxiously attended her in her time of need and extreme exhaustion.  Beware the rogue glass bead!

When Eggplants Attack

Baba ghanoush is a delicious Middle Eastern dish of eggplant mashed and blended with tahini, garlic, salt, white vinegar and lemon juice.

Baba Ghanoush is a tasty belly dance treat made of Amy Fae and Alizarin.  Together, we explore the joy of dance with whimsy, humor, and harmony. We are known for our joyful style and playful chemistry on stage.  We specialize in American Cabaret style belly dance, combining elements of traditional Middle Eastern dance and American showmanship.

Welcome to our new home on the web- please explore to find out more about us, and come back soon (or “subscribe” to our blog) to follow our continuing belly dance adventures.

(Photo by Larry Saunders/Triformis Photography)