The nitty-gritty of Indian facial makeup | Daily News

The nitty-gritty of Indian facial makeup

Facial makeup is an important and a separate art form, for any performing art. The role of facial makeup plays an important role in Cinema, Teledrama, stage drama, dance drama, and different dance fields.

Any dance form whether it is classical, or folk, or ritual or creativity or even fusion dance form the facial makeup is a unique art, for any dance. Even each classical dance form has its own selective and unique style of facial makeup. Even if it is traditional, or classical, or folk or ritual or creativity, or fusion, without the help of the makeup artist it is quite hard for any individual to put the facial makeup by their own. Facial makeup for any traditional classical dance is not an easy task, as compared to other dance forms.

Different types

For traditional classical dance forms have their own defined, unique, and selectively makeup which is adopted. For instance, most of the Indian Classical dance forms have different types of facial makeup. Bharatha Natyam, Kuchipudi, Mohini Attam, and Odissi have an almost similar type of makeup. Kathakali’s facial makeup is entirely different, from other Indian classical dance forms, Similarly, the North Indian Classical dance form Kathak’s facial make up is quite different as compared to the other Indian dances. Kathak dance form adopts light make up, rather than other South Indian dance forms. Like Kathak, the East Indian dance form Manipuri dance also adopts light make up.

The entire Indian Classical dance forms belong to oriental dance forms. In the Eastern Dance forms, the skin colour of the personalities also changes from one another. Some are fair; some are very fair and some are of whitish complexion. Some are yellowish complexion, some are dark brown complexion, and some are light brown colour complexion. Hence according to the skin colour, the basic foundation is chosen. After the basic foundation is applied; a different combination of colours is selected and mixed up together to brighten the skin colour for the need and necessity.

Meanwhile, the shape of the face also differs from one another, and the structure of the face also differs. Some have square shape faces, some have round shape faces, some have long faces, and some have oval-shaped faces.

Even the shape of the mouth, the nose, the eyes, and the eyebrows also differ from individual to individual. Shaping the eyes, by the black colour eye tex and by the black eyebrow pencil, are an exceptional talent. Some dancers who are having small eyes. Shaping such eyes is a very difficult task for makeup artists.


Big eyes, which are very much needed to express the emotional expressions in dance. In Indian Classical Indian dances, the eyeshadows are not used, likewise even pasting the eyelashes, for the classical dances are not necessary or suitable. Such makeup should not be used for the classical Bharatha Natyam recitals. The eye makeup is a very important aspect of the classical dance. Everybody’s eye shape differs from one another. Hence shaping the eye, according to the eye shape and face shape also differ from one another. Similarly selecting and shaping the lipstick colour is a unique and important art. Nowadays some of the makeup artists use the lip pencil to outline the lips.

Outlining the lips by the lip pencil for a classical dance recital is not much needed or desired, because many of times the pencil outline is visibly seen. Therefore it looks ugly. Always bright red colour lipstick is selected for the classical dance recitals, to brighten the face.

Earlier for the Bharatha Natyam recitals, the reddish blush and pink colour rouge were applied for the cheeks. Such makeup factors are avoided now because sometimes it makes the face look swollen, or makes the jaw bones jutting out. That is why at the present era, the makeup artists avoid, maximum to use the rouge and the blush for Bharatha Natyam.

Nose ornaments

Similarly, the nose shape also differs from one another. But whatever the nose shape is, the nose ornaments, such as Pillaku, Nathu, and nose studs cover the nose shape of the performing artists. Hence the nose shape is not obviously seen, and it is covered by the nose ornaments.

Selecting Pottu for the face depends on the shape of the individual face as well as the wish of the dancers. Some dancers like to have round shape Pottu and some dancers like to have long shape Pottu. Doing facial makeup for the small children is really a very difficult task for the makeup artists, as compared to the elder ones.

Meanwhile, the eyebrow shape also differs from one another. Not only the eyebrows differ from one another, but presently the youngsters, shape their eyebrows as they wish. Anyhow, the makeup artists try to shape the eyebrows according to the facial features of the individual. Hence the facial makeup for the individuals in the classical Bharatha Natyam is a unique and excellent artistic skill.

It is really regrettable that the service and contributions rendered by the makeup artists are very much forgotten by the art world. Many times, unfortunately, their service is not much recognized or taken into account by the present society.



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