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Tribal Belly Dance Hair and Make-Up

Updated on January 26, 2015
Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright is an Australian writer and dancer with nearly 40 years' experience in ballet, jazz, flamenco, ballroom, Latin and bellydance.

Tribal belly dance costume is wonderfully elaborate, and the hair and face aren't left out! Tribal fusion dancers, especially, go to town on their hair and make-up. In fact, the dancer's real hair is often not visible under all the flowers, feathers, braids, hair falls and scarves, and the face may be adorned with heavy eye make-up, tribal facial marks, or bindis.

The end result looks fabulous but it takes a lot of work - and a lot of practice too!


Sometimes the reason you can't see the bellydancer's hair, is because it's covered by a headdress, turban or artificial hair fall.

Even if you're wearing a turban, it's usual to add some flowers, feathers or other ornaments. Let your imagination be your guide! Always rehearse with your full hair decoration at least once, to be sure nothing's going to fall off while you're dancing - apart from being embarrassing, fallen flowers and pins can be a danger to other dancers!

Make sure you do your trial run with clean hair. I've seen dancers try out their hairdo successfully in class - then on performance day, watched their ornaments slide off because their freshly-washed hair was too soft and shiny.

The clip below gives some tips on how to keep things secure, even on a loose hairstyle.

Eyes and Mouth

Like all stage performers, strong eye make-up and lipstick are essential for your audience to see your features. Tribal dancers tend to favour smokey eyes, but do take your own eye shape into account - too much dark shadow can "close up" some eyes, and you don't want to look as though you're half asleep!

When you're using a lot of eyeshadow and mascara, it's usually better to do your make-up back to front - eyes first, then foundation, for two reasons. One, eyeliner often takes more than one attempt to get right, and it's easier to sweep it off and try again if you're not trying to avoid removing your foundation. Two, eyeshadow and mascara can drop flakes on your cheeks and under your eyes, ruining your other make-up - so it's better to get the eyes right first, give your mascara time to dry and then apply foundation and concealer.

Carrie Moore of Gypsy Horizon
Carrie Moore of Gypsy Horizon

Tribal Markings and Bindis

Tribal bellydancers don't limit themselves to decorating eyes and lips. "Tribal markings" on the cheekbones are common, as are bindis.

Bindis can be used on the cheekbones or the forehead. Once upon a time, you'd have had to stick the tiny jewels on by hand - but these days they come ready-made, and work in the same way as stick-on temporary tattoos.

You can wear a single large bindi in the centre of the forehead, like Carrie in this photo, or you can go for a line of jewels on the forehead to match the line of the eyebrows, which comes from an Indian bridal tradition and is known as a "peer bindi".

Clear Rhinestone Forehead Jewelry Bindi with Teardrop
Clear Rhinestone Forehead Jewelry Bindi with Teardrop

Another Bindi option which looks spectacular. It's not adhesive so needs to be secured with bobby pins to the hair.



Text copyright Marisa Wright. Photos by Alaskan Dude.



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      Todd 5 years ago

      Hi there,

      Please excuse the email out of the blue, but we are getting in touch with respected dance blogs and websites to let the online dance community know about our new dance collaboration. I may have contacted you before but there was no response so I thought I would try again in case my message flew under the rader ?. If you did response, apologies, our email system has been having problems and I lose all previous correspondence with people I have contacted.

      We are Mass Movement, a London based dance talent agency sourcing some of the best choreographers and dancers in the world, across a number of specialities and abilities.

      We have all worked very hard to put together something truly special and are excited to get the news out about the group, known as ‘The Movement’, bringing together a powerful combination of respected industry choreographers and dancers.

      We think that this has the potential to take the dance scene by storm and all we need is a little more exposure. Do you think we could talk about doing a blog post about The Movement or any other opportunities such as links or guest articles related to dance?

      To have a look at a trailer of our first dance piece and to find out more, check out

      Thanks and I hope to hear from you

    • jamila sahar profile image

      jamila sahar 5 years ago

      Beautiful and interesting hub ! thanks for sharing

    • NorthernEye profile image

      NorthernEye 6 years ago from Etters, PA

      Fantastic article! The eye makeup video was great, too. I always have trouble with my eyes!

    • profile image

      funky23 6 years ago from Deutschland

      helpful article thx for the infos ..

    • profile image

      Beulah-mari 7 years ago

      I love makeup

    • profile image

      Aroma Goddess 7 years ago

      Great job subscribed to your youtube channel. Reminds me of one thousand and One nights stories and sheherezade I love the whole idea behine tribal makeup.Africa middle east or even here in australia u can see it between aboriginal people .you might like this article

    • mwatkins profile image

      mwatkins 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC

      Love the look of the makeup and the vid was so helpful! Thanks for an informative hub!

    • kowality profile image

      kowality 7 years ago from Everywhere

      I totally enjoyed this Hub Marisa. I don't think I'll try the makeup though.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Marisa Wright, Interesting hub! Great makeup lesson... Thank you for sharing, Peace & Blessings!

    • lisa brazeau profile image

      lisa brazeau 7 years ago from Canada

      What a great Hub...and makeup lesson!

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 7 years ago

      I looove that eye makeup tutorial!! Thanks!!