Photo of Shira



PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Stage Makeup for the Porcelain Brunette


By Amartia





With the age of Internet videos, it’s really easy to do a web search for "Arabic makeup", or "Arabic eye makeup" or a myriad of other keywords that will help you. However, if you do not know the level of makeup being done in the video, you can’t apply it to yourself or the situation at hand.

Doing makeup for everyday life is very different from doing it for a show. Every person is unique, as is the skin tone and type, but here are some things that I have learned for having very fair skin and dark hair. I will add notes regarding adjustments made for stage as opposed to private party performance when applicable.

Even Out Your Complexion

Even as a fair skinned dancer, I have varying tones in my skin. I also have freckles on my cheeks. If these are not smoothed out, then it can make my face look darker than I intend.  After I moisturize my skin, I typically cover my face with a foundation that matches the lightest color on my face. This will not only allow for evenness, but it also allows for a better base for the rest of your makeup.

For stage: I use a heavier foundation that is more cream-like which will hold up to very bright stage lights.

Dark Circles

Especially if you are fair, if you have any lack of sleep or iron in your diet, bam you look like you’ve been punched in the face. I use a concealer under my eyes and on my eyelids themselves. This not only covers up those dark circles, but also allows your eye shadow to apply more evenly.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Stereovision Photography, makeup and hair by Christine Beck-Millan.

Eye Shadow

You do not have to match your eye shadow color to your costume.  I like to because I feel like it adds that extra pop to my performance, but it is not necessary. A simple brown smokey eye will do.

There are a myriad of tutorials on the Internet. My personal favorite is Julia Graf; she is also a porcelain brunette and offers an array of videos to choose from.

For stage: layer, layer. Just keep applying more layers of whatever shadow the tutorial recommends. That is the trick. If it looks crazy dark and your friend can see it from across the room? Add a little bit more and then, perfect! You have to understand that a bright white stage light on your bright white face is going to be washed out for any audience member far in the back. Better to wear too much makeup than not enough.


This is another area where it may feel like you are overdoing it. You don’t need to grab a red blush and pile it on.  You can use a peach or a light pink. Just be sure to put it on the drop of your cheekbone.

As with the eyeshadow, for stage, pile it on. But blend. Use circular motions so it is not a huge pink streak going across the side of your cheek. l like to take a very light bronzer and place some right underneath my blush. It adds an angular look to the cheek, and also can tone down some of the red.



I wear false eyelashes every time I perform. I feel naked without them. I know that false lashes are not for everyone, and I will forgive you if you do not wear them in a private party performance. However, for stage, they are a must. Your eyes will not be seen without them.

For private parties, find really good mascara that works for you. It can be a drugstore brand, it doesn't matter, as long as it makes your lashes look thicker and voluminous.

For false lashes, you don’t need to go crazy and buy super long ones with glitter and feathers. You can start small. First, figure out whether you have allergy issues with adhesive by testing on the inside of your arm. Put it on, let it dry, and check for a reaction. I use Duo surgical adhesive, but there are many kinds out there.  I do not recommend using the glue that comes with the lashes unless you know that it is safe for you.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Stereovision Photography, makeup and hair by Christine Beck-Millan.


I have long fought the red lipstick because of my Greek dance group days which required us all to wear red. No matter what!

Test out different colors on the inside of your arm and see what works with your skin tone. Then hold it near your costume. Does it clash? Does it look odd?  Sometimes a color that looks pink and great on your lips can look odd next to a blue or green costume. If you want to wear red, go ahead! Just take the time to find the right shade for you. Not all reds are for everyone.

Closing Thoughts

The overall theme to my technique is: take all the color out, put it back in. Especially with having dark hair, I have to put those eyes and cheeks back so they pop!

So, there you have it, my stage makeup advice for porcelain brunettes.  Feel free to discuss your own suggestions or experiences with others. We all learn from others. The best way to figure out what works for you is to practice. It’s not going to be perfect every time but eventually you’ll be able to do it in 10 minutes or less!




Related Articles



About the Author

This article was written by Amartia.

Amartia is a Baltimore native of Greek descent. She was involved in Greek Folk dancing from childhood to adulthood. She stumbled upon bellydancing class at a local gym and has never looked back! Bellydance appealed to her not only as an art form but a way to stay in shape. Hence one spectator commenting, “…massive melodic muscles of the Mediterranean aka killer abs...

Amartia is an award-winning bellydancer. She has traveled to compete all over the United States. She is the 2008 Jewel of the Nile and the first place winner for veil dance from Arabian Nights. More recently she was one of the 23 bellydancers chosen to compete in the first season of a reality web-show- Project bellydance! Amartia, Extravagent Entertainment in Maryland has also been featured in Fuse Magazine, written an article on Greek bellydance for Zaghareet, and was the July 2012 Bellydancer of the Month for Brandon’s Oasis.

Amartia also offers Greek translation services for dancers so if you’d like another Greek song translated, feel free to contact her! See

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Anton Marx.





Copyright Notice

This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.



Explore more belly dance info:

Top >
Belly Dancing >
Index to Belly Dance Advice Section


Share this page!

On Facebook


 Top > Belly Dancing > Index to Belly Dance Advice Section

| Contact Shira | Links | Search this Site |