Makeup for ethnic wear

When it comes to makeup, the looks to wear with traditional Indian outfits—even if yours has a modern update like a stitched sari—are a whole other ball game. How much is too much or too little? You don’t want your makeup to be so loud, that it overpowers your outfit, nor do you want it to be too little, that it underplays the look altogether. Mumbai-based Bollywood celebrity makeup artist Arti Nayar shares her top five rulings on wearing makeup with ethnic wear, whatever the occasion may be.

Know where you’re going
The most important step is to know where the event is going to take place, whether you’re planning your makeup or picking an outfit from your ethnic wear wardrobe. Is it outdoors? Will it be humid? The weather conditions are a big factor in dictating whether your makeup should be dewy or matte (definitely pick the latter for all the functions scheduled in the hot, afternoon sun), or if you need to use waterproof makeup at all. Also, consider the scale of the function. If it’s a small scale one with just the immediate family or close relatives, don’t overdo your makeup. You will be interacting with people on an intimate level without too many flashy lights, so stick to a look that makes you feel fresh.

Don’t skip on the kohl
Kohl is as essential to ethnic wear, as sunscreen is to sun exposure—you simply must use it. It instantly adds the element of Indian-ness to your makeup while giving you the leeway to play around with it, whether you like a precise line or a soft, smudged look. If you’re wearing a heavy anarkali, keep to a basic eyeliner, kohl on your lower lashline and a bold lip. If it’s a more fun event like a sangeet night or a Diwali party, you can always work with a smoky eye and smudged kohl when it comes to your makeup.

A fresh face is key
Always wear blush; it’s what makes your skin look fresh and alive, whether you’re wearing ethnic wear or an evening gown. Also, don’t skip the mascara. Curl your lashes and wear either a lengthening or volumising one, depending on how intense you go with your lipstick (bright lipsticks = lengthening mascara, and muted tones = high volume lashes).

Strike a balance
While ethnic wear comprises of everything from a basic embroidered tunic to an embellished lehenga, it’s important that your makeup, jewellery and clothes complement each other, as opposed to cancelling each other out. If your jewellery is more on the traditional side—think gold jhumkas or a kundan necklace—don’t do an overly-dramatic glitter eye. Keep to a wash of shimmer in a colour that works with your clothes, eyeliner and kohl. If your outfit is a bit on the fusion side and you are working with an intense eye look, pick a lip colour from the nudes family.

It’s okay to highlight and contour
A lot of people tend to get scared of wearing makeup at all, when they realise the scale of their ethnic wear as opposed to a regular LBD. Don’t be. Wear your makeup with confidence and wear what you know works for your face. It’s okay to highlight and contour, just ensure that the intensity of each varies by the event. Stick to a subtle contour for definition for a light, day event and a distinct one for the evening.
Haven’t been able to pick a concealer that matches your skin tone? Has your face been breaking out even when you don’t overload your skin with different products?

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