Over the recent years, one of the most popular eye lining techniques on YouTube has been dubbed "Arabian" style makeup. While this may be more popular in Lebanon, Europe, and Los Angeles, Egypt has a much different style. The focus is not so much on the eye liner, but on the face in its entirety. These ladies go all out on contour, highlight, brows, false lashes, and so much more. Many even go as far as wearing daily colored contact lenses to complete their desired look.
Cosmetics are not cheap in Egypt. Popular brands like Mac are actually more expensive in Cairo than they are in the United States. A beauty shop inside City Stars Mall in Cairo sells Mac Extended Play Lash mascara, which is priced at $15 in the United States, for 370 EGP. With Egypt's economy now, that comes out to about $21. Lancome's L'Absolu Rouge lipstick, which sells for $32 in the United States, is priced at 1,700 EGP. That's almost $97. For more information about currency exchange in Egypt, click here!
With the price of cosmetics being so high, many Egyptian women breakout the full face on special occasions. Weddings are perfect to show off beauty skills. Bridal makeup is a hugely popular service that keeps many local makeup artists in business. In the United States, it's common for a bride to request natural, glowy makeup for her wedding photos. In Egypt, this is the bride's chance to pull out all the stops! Some bride's wear a white hijab while others have their hair styled into an elaborate up-do. Tiaras are a must with or without the hijab.
Eyebrows are very important in Egypt. Some women have their brows tattooed on while others draw them in daily. The most popular style for eyebrows is straight and thick. Most Egyptians aren't too keen on high arches or long brow tails. Another key element of makeup in Egypt is lipstick. Bright pink is one of the most popular colors, followed closely by nudes and plum shades.
As for alterations, many Egyptian women opt for colored contact lenses in shades not seen in nature. They typically go with a light grey for the everyday look. For parties and events, it's not uncommon to see women wearing neon green or White Walker blue. (HAHA! Game of Thrones reference!) They also use false eyelashes quite frequently to accentuate their eyes even more. Contour and highlight are also a must for many Egyptian women. They don't just stop at the cheekbones. Ladies typically contour the entire face including the bridge of the nose, the chin, the forehead, and even the jawline.
For many Egyptian women, makeup is seen as a form of art.
As for myself, I found that Egypt's weather faired well with my skin. Surprise! I am a natural blonde with extremely fair skin. I was very nervous about being in Egypt because I thought I would burn to a crisp. I actually didn't. In fact, during the four months that I lived in Cairo, my skin texture improved drastically. I didn't have a single break out - not even when I got my period. The redness in my face disappeared almost entirely. I felt like I didn't even need makeup. Nevertheless, I wore it. However, my daytime routine was cut in half because I really didn't feel like I needed much.
My Daily Routine
I would wake up, wash my face, apply sunscreen, and have my makeup finished in about 10 minutes. I used my Beauty Blender to apply Mac Mineralize, which is a medium coverage foundation with a satin finish. Even though this foundation goes on like a tinted moisturizer, it stayed in place all day. I went to visit the Pyramids of Giza in the middle of July, and this foundation was perfect all day.
I perfected my brows with Mac's brow pencil in the shade Fling and set the hairs in place with Blonde Tinted Brow Gel from Anastasia Beverly Hills. I used a contour from Hourglass Ambient Lighting called Dim Light for my cheeks and eyes. I cheated a little! I really loved this natural looking color, so I applied it to my eyes as well as my cheeks for faster makeup application. I had places to go, okay?
I topped everything off with waterproof mascara and a nude lipstick, and I was ready to go. I had never had such an easy makeup routine before. It was really wonderful. Next time I travel to the Middle East, I will not take four cosmetic cases full of makeup! That will leave me much more room to bring back treasures.
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