How to Do Traditional Bharatanatyam Makeup

Feb/28/2023 / by Melanie Fourie
Bharatnatyam Makeup
Image credits: Pinterest

Bharatanatyam is an elegant and well-known type of Indian traditional dance. Bharatanatyam entertainers look stunning in their classic clothes and makeup. Their makeup is vibrant, bright, and theatrical.

A Bharatanatyam dancer’s makeup is particularly distinctive, and should express the concept of the dance via facial motions. Heavy lines are painted around the eyes, darkening and extending the brows outwards. The motions of the eyes and brows are crucial to the whole Bharatanatyam act. So the brows are decorated to clearly see the motions, and the viewers readily connect to the dance. 

The ends of the toes, fingers, and soles of the feet are dyed crimson. This pigment is also placed in an uniform circle on the palm. The red design on the legs and hands emphasizes the hand gestures. The following is a guide on what you need to know about  Bharatanatyam makeup.

What Precisely Does Bharatanatyam Denote?

Bharatanatyam is a dance from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Its roots may be traced to the Natyashastra, an ancient book on theater composed by the mythical priest Bharata. Bharatanatyam, originally a temple dance for ladies, is often utilized to convey Hindu religious tales and devotions. Prior to the 20th century, it was seldom performed on public stages. The dancing motions are distinguished by bowed knees and rhythmic feet. A tale may be told using a succession of mudras, or meaningful hand gestures.

Some Simple Bharatanatyam Makeup Steps

  • Utilize a sweat-resistant concealer and foundation to ensure that your makeup remains in place. Additionally, you must use a high-quality photogenic primer.
  • Next, apply a concealer stick paler than your skin colour to spots and imperfections, as well as your eyelids. Ensure that you use a high-quality foundation on your face, including your eyelids, and thoroughly mix it in with a beauty sponge.
  • Compare different foundations on the jawline to see which precisely matches your skin tone. Alternately, you may combine two bases to get the appropriate shade.
  • The following step begins with darkening the brows using a brow pencil. 
  • Now using a sponge applicator, spread brow powder over the brow to diffuse the impact of the brow pencil and give a much more natural look.
  • Regarding eye shadow, you must pick three fundamental tones of one color. For instance, if you like a pink hue, pick a dark pink hue that should be placed in a fine layer just atop the top lash line.
  • Next, select a shade lighter than this one and spread it horizontally so that it almost covers the whole lid.
  • The next color should be the softest of the three, and it should be applied up to the eyebrow bones.
  • The eyes are crucial to this kind of Indian classical dancing because they convey the whole topic. Consequently, ensure that your eyes seem bold and striking.
  • Start by lining the upper lash line with the darkest kohl and kajal, creating a wing expansion. Line the bottom lash line underneath the rim to elongate the line, and then drag the lower lining in a second tail.
  • Always apply enough mascara.

Lip Finishes 

  • Use a maroon or crimson lip liner, or the color that complements the sari you are wearing, to outline your lips.
  • Once you have applied the correct lipstick to your lips, apply a dab of lip-gloss to the center of your upper and lower lips for a larger and thicker look, but keep the matte finish, as it is desirable in this makeup technique.

Pretty Cheeks

Apply a rosy blush to the contours of your cheekbones by pulling in your cheeks.

Drawing a Bindi

 Create a round bindi if your face is spherical, or use a teardrop-shaped bindi instead.

Different Types of Bindis

In addition to dots, lines, and arrows, you may create complicated patterns using question marks, the number 3, and the letter S. Use a few commas, colons, and dots to enhance the elegance of the bindi pattern. Hearts, circles, triangles, and other forms may also be used to create certain patterns. Other designs you might experiment with include the following:

  • Letter shape bindi – Experiment with letters and alphabets to bring a playful touch to your design. With eyeliner, the letters S, I, U, V, W, X, and Z may be utilized to make lovely bindi patterns.
  • Half moon design bindi – This kind of bindi pattern is most flattering on long, square, and heart-shaped faces. It pairs really well with salwar suits and sarees.
  • Floral pattern bindi – When paired with salwar and kurtis, floral prints are really gorgeous.
  • Tribal type bindi – A tribal-style bindi complements tribal-printed shirts and long skirts exquisitely.
  • Sun design bindi – This bindi design symbolizes the heavenly nature of solar energy. In the center of this design is a circle, from which radiate multiple lines portraying the sun’s rays. It complements a black saree beautifully.

How to Sketch a Bindi

Many ladies in India often use eyeliner to create fast bindi patterns. It is a simple and fast approach to create a bindi, since eyeliners often come with a fine brush. Some ladies are so adept at applying eyeliner that they can design a bindi without using a mirror. Some ladies prefer to draw these bindis rather than use bindi stickers since they may create the bindi on their forehead according to their mood and personal preference. 

They may create new designs daily, whether it be a dot, a line, or an arrow. In addition to these basic strokes, you may also create sophisticated and complex bindi patterns with an eyeliner. If you use multiple eyeliner colors, such as emerald or turquoise, you may create bindis of various hues to complement your dress.


Alta Dye

Decorate your hands on top and inside, with alta dye in the shape of circles, also coloring your fingers with the same color.

So What Exactly is Alta Dye?

Alta dye is a brilliant red liquid that is used to make beautiful designs on the feet and hands. The dye is called Mahavar, which is a deep pink rock.

It is an ancient Indian habit to decorate the feet during festivals and weddings. It is a special application technique for Mehndi henna. It dyes the soles and tops of the feet with an intricate pattern. Not only does it look great , but it also helps keep the body fresh

Additional Embellishments


Sathangai or Salangai is a chain of little silvery bells worn on the anklet of Bharatanatyam and other classical dancers.

Nose Rings

Although frontal nose rings are a frequent adornment with this dancing style, they are unnecessary if you have any discomfort and prefer not wearing them. 


How long does it take to do Bharatanatyam makeup?

This type of makeup can take approximately 90 minutes to apply.


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