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Cleopatra, Egyptian Makeup Designs and Tutorials

Updated on June 25, 2014

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra


Cleopatra and Elizabeth Taylor

In western culture it's a surety that actress Elizabeth Taylor's role as Cleopatra in the movie of the same name, has had a significant impact on how we visualize the historically famous queen, who in her day was considered very beautiful.

That has of course generated many inspirational makeup ideas based upon how women visualize the last Egyptian ruler with Greek ancestry.

Looking up some of the photos of Elizabeth Taylor when she played Cleopatra, it was surprising to find her sporting numerous Egyptian looks. It reminded me of Natalie Portman when she played Queen Amidala in Star Wars. Whenever she appeared she never wore the same makeup or outfit.

It's the same with modern Eyptian or Cleopatra makeup. Even though there are some makeup elements that must be included to be indentiable to, and true to the genre, there are still a lot of differences, including of course what accessories are worn with the makeup.

Egyptian, Cleopatra, or Cat Eye Makeup?

A number of people will call makeup of this theme Cleopatra, Egyptian or cat eye.

While Cleopatra and Egyptian are understandable, cat eye makeup, while close to the style, can also be very different.

But if you were to wear cat eye makeup with some Egyptian costume or attire, it would work fine as long as you don't stray too far from the expected look.

Concerning the makeup used by Elizabeth Taylor in her Cleopatra role, did you notice one eye is done a little differently than the other with the liner? In one of the video tutorials below that is taught how to do.

Egyptian Eyes

The two images below were deliberately chosen first in order to highlight the Egyptian or Cleopatra eyes without ancillary items. Accessories can sometimes take away from what is trying to be seen and learned, so they were left out in the beginning.

I really like how the eyebrows and liner were designed to create the effect that they're coming down to meet one another. It looks terrific.

The second image is of the same woman wearing the same makeup, only seen from a frontal view. Too bad her bangs and side hair hides the brows and eye liner, as it would have given a good look at what it looks like from that view. The side view is awesome.

As for Egyptian women of old, makeup wasn't only for beauty, but it was also very practical. The ingredients used were to help deflect the strong glare of the desert sun (the same reason baseball players wear the black under their eyes), guard against infections, and to protect them from desert flies.


More Cleopatra Eyes

Because the center of successfully applying Cleopatra makeup is connected to the eyes, I wanted to include one more clear look at Egyptian eyes before we look at secondary aspects of the look.

First, never forget that the eyebrows are extremely important, and are easily forgotten or neglected because of the focus on, and fun associated with, making the cool eyes using liner.

But the eyes and eyebrows go totally together in this genre, and if one isn't done well, the other won't work nearly as good. Take a close look at all the included photos to see how they look.

As for the photo below, the makeup design is very well in that regard, as the eyebrows are beautifully done, accentuating the bolder and longer winged design.

One thing about this makeup choice is it is much more modern looking when you go down below the eyes. The red-tinted eye shadow also has a more modern look. This is one way to do Cleopatra if you're not doing it for Halloween or a party, but want to incorporate the eyes as part of your overall look.


Egyptian, Cleopatra Makeup Tutorials

Below are a couple of Cleopatra, Egyptian makeup tutorials to show different looks and ways of applying makeup to create the desired effect.

The two similar in looks, but do have some subtle differences, even though the same headpiece is used to complete the look. Notice the eye liner, brows shadow and lash differences to see how they contrast with one another

Cleopatra Costume Make-Up

Cleopatra Halloween Makeup Tutorial

Cleopatra Makeup with Accessories

The next photos are of women with Egyptian makeup, but with some accessories and other elements to enhance their look.

With this first one we have the head piece and collar. Thislooks great and is very unique.

Her eyes are done a little differently as well. The eyebrows were colored in a way that blends with her shadow and facial color; all of which were done purposefully. Including the blue near the eyes was also an interesting touch.


Cleopatra Makeup with Snake Bracelet

This is a great depiction of an Egyptian makeup look, with a subtle difference of going largely with usual colors for the pieces in her hair. Most Cleopatra accessories are highlighted, for the most part, with gold-colored items, reflecting the idea of her having been a queen.

Using the hues she did gives her a very different look than most of us anticipate. I like it.

But that's not to say there wasn't any gold here, as evidenced by that wonderful snake bracelet. Now how cool is that?

Her eyebrows have that wonderful, traditional Egyptian look, although the liner at the outside edge of her eyes created a different design than the others.


Gold Makeup Egyptian Look

While the last woman sporting Cleopatra makeup didn't have any gold on her face or hair, that's obviously not the case here, as this woman has a plethora of gold everywhere, going in the opposite direction.

This confirms what was mentioned earlier, that if you get the eyes and eyebrows right, you can build off of there into all sorts of different looks that are undeniably Egyptian, but embrace a wide variety of styles. Here we have another one of those.

The eyes are done exceptionally, with the eyebrows being a little thicker than the others, and the liner protruding out a little further. Very nice.



Cleopatra and Egyptian Makeup

One thing very compelling about Cleopatra or Egyptian makeup is that you can not only use it for Halloween or other special events, but it can also be used in everyday makeup. The key is to simply understate what you see in the various looks shown here.

As for Halloween parties and special occasions, forget about understating anything if you're going as Cleopatra. The whole idea and fun there is to make sure you're sporting those fascinating and penetrating eyes associated with the famous queen.

In that case embrace your inner queen and let it shout loudly for everyone to see.


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      Vincent Moore 5 years ago

      Yes I agree with carolinemd, it is definitely amazing. I love eye liner tastefully designed on a beautiful woman's eyes. Elizabeth Taylor was one of my favorite beauties and she was so seductive in Cleopatra. Her and Richard are together in eternity.

    • carolinemd21 profile image

      Caroline Marie 5 years ago

      Amazing hub! Love it. :)