How to apply Bharatanatyam makeup?

by Sonali on June 12, 2012

bharatanatyam makeupThe Indian Classical Dance-Bharatanatyam makeup should give a graceful look to the dancer and should be suitable for stage light rather than a day light. Makeup must be suited for darker as well as fairer complexions. Make-up may easily get smudged therefore one should Keep her face oil-free. This is may be applicable for other dance forms like Mohiniyattam, Kathak and Kuchipudi, etc.

There are however few basic things to remember before foraging into the domain of makeup. One must know the coloring of the skin in order to do a precise natural makeup. The art of mix and blend is important as there are many things which should be blended with the skin tone perfectly. Then one must have the different kinds brush like a blusher, eye shadow brush and the similar kinds to do a makeup perfectly.

Interview with Dr. Tulasi Ramachandra on makeup in Bharatanatyam

 The first ten basic steps to apply Bharatanatyam makeup are as follows:

  • It is important to let your skin breathe thus a person should first of all wash the face with a natural face wash in order to remove any dirt or impurities and wipe with a soft lint free cotton cloth.Then you need a moisturizer with an SPF which should be applied first. Then apply a concealer which is one shade lighter than the foundations on any blemishes under eye circles with a sponge or with your fingertips.
  • When one buys a foundation it should be tested on the jaw line and when a foundation disappears on the jaw line then it should be bought. Thus, the next step is to apply the foundation with the sponge or fingertips so that it disappears completely and blends completely with the skin.
  • The eyebrow comes next. Use an eyebrow shadow on your eyebrows to give a deeper color and it is very important to use the correct brush so that the eyebrow doesn’t have that artificial look which many times eyebrow pencils give if they are not used correctly. So it is better to use an eyebrow powder than an eyebrow pencil.
  • The next step to the 10 basic steps in Bharatanatyam makeup is to choose three shades of eye shadow. Choose a color and choose three shades of it a dark, medium and a light shade. Apply the dark shade just above the eyelid; it should be of just a layer of color. The medium color should be applied on the middle crease of the eye and the look would be finished by applying the light shade just below the eyebrow.
  • Then the eye in the regime starts in the 10 basic steps to apply Bharatanatyam makeup. Remember, eyes play significant role in performing arts since it is going to showcase your emotions. They must look expressive thus it has to be good. Apply eyeliner on the eyelid and also line below the lashes to get a darker look. Line two third of the eyelid with a thin brush as close to the lashes as possible because otherwise all your efforts are just a sheer waste of time.
  • The next step to acquire that coveted natural look is to apply a thin layer of mascara on the upper and the lower lashes of the eyes. It should be a thin layer as too much can get smudged. For the fairer females Brown colored mascara is a nice option and black and the black brown should be used by the darker skinned people.
  • Next take care of your cheeks with the round blusher. The easiest way to apply blush is to smile and then apply blush on the apples of the cheek or below, whatever may suit you.
  • On the nose, especially on the sides, apply dark foundation to the sides of your nose.
  • The most important thing for a woman is to take care that the color of the lipstick goes with the color of the dress. Choose vibrant colors.Dab lip-gloss in the middle of the lower lips to give it a fuller look. Most women think that lip-gloss actually kills the look. However the opposite is the true as it adds to the shape of the lip and makes it look fuller.

Finally, Place a maroon sticker Bindi in the middle of your fore-head. For round face, use a rain drop shaped bindi. For a long face, use a round bindi. Hair makeup is a different topic and it varies depending upon the dance style. However, irrespective of the dance style, all uses false hair and hair kunjalam. We will cover the hair makeup in a separate blog.

All the best!

Reference – Interview with Dr. Tulasi Ramachandra on Bharatanatyam Makeup History
[tubepress video=”K3_sRUNaXpU”]

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

katia July 19, 2012 at 11:52 am

i am very please of your article on indain dance makeup.
i am an odissi student, and performing only few items, i’like to know where i can have more informations on odissi make up.
Please if you know some blogs or website, kindly inform me?
tank you,
katia Marlot


Chandana July 20, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Thanks for your feedback and question. We will soon send you details (blog / links or notes ) regarding Odissi dance makeup

Chandana (


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