Cleopatra Eye Makeup Steps

Tanya Sharma
Experiment with this dramatic eye look!

Enticingly bold, Cleopatra eye makeup is a practical addition to an exotic Halloween costume and a daring way to spice up an everyday look. No matter what your reason for wearing it, one thing is certain: This look is not for the timid!

Those Glamorous Eyes

If you're brave enough to sport a look that's generally best left to red carpet regulars and moments on the big screen, you're practically guaranteed to turn heads. Cleopatra eyes are bold, exotic and undeniably sexy; they have the power to transform an entire look! These days, almost anything goes when it comes to makeup, so it's no surprise that this dramatic look has transitioned from the catwalk to the real world.

Honing in on Liz Taylor's territory doesn't have to mean lining your eyes to death, unless you're actually portraying Cleopatra on stage or dressing up for Halloween. Sharp lines and fiercely dark makeup are ideal for performances and even for a big night out on the town. For everyday wear, however, subtle and understated is the way to go. Add just a hint of exaggerated depth to employ this transfixing eye look.

Do Your Own Cleopatra Eye Makeup

Whether you know them as cat eyes or Cleopatra eyes, you know just how striking they look. Dark, sensual, smoky and even a bit reverential in its connection to ancient Egypt, they are the eyes of a temptress - or just a woman who wants to make a strong statement. It's easy to create a variety of looks inspired by the Cleopatra eye, and fortunately none of them require the help of a professional makeup artist. Do it in the comfort of your own home and then prepare to step outside and wow the world!

The Exaggerated Eye

You know the look. It's the first image that springs to mind when you think of Cleopatra eye makeup; thick, heavy, dark liner extending from the eyelids up toward the ears. If you're headed to a costume party, want to show off your most authentic Cleopatra look ever or have a taste for trying something completely new and different, you'll be all over this substantial eye look.

  1. Start by prepping your lids with an eye base. One from Benefit Cosmetics, such as the creamy, long-wearing F.Y...eye base, is ideal.
  2. Brush a light shadow over the entire lid and blend to the brow bone. A shade like beige, taupe or cream is perfect.
  3. Apply a rich, dark shadow to the contour and blend into the crease. You can't go wrong with black, and navy is also a suitably intense choice.
  4. A thick, dark eyeliner is the key to achieving this hypnotic look (a liquid is ideal). Starting at the inner corner of your eyelid, draw a thin line and thicken it gradually as you extend further out. Don't stop when you reach the outer corner! Sweep it up and "wing" it out at a 40 degree angle for dramatic effect.
  5. Do the same thing on the lower lash line, but use a pencil to keep the line closer to your eye; once you reach the outer corner, extend it upward to meet the line on top.
  6. Finish with two generous coats of a thickening mascara, such as Benefit Cosmetics BADgal Lash.

An Ultra-Glamorous Take

Ready to take the world by storm? You will with this updated take on the classic Cleopatra look. Thanks to the likes of Alexander McQueen (whose MAC for McQueen collection was inspired by Egyptian makeup) and Amy Winehouse, cat eyes are all over the place. Give yourself a pat on the back if you can pull this one off - it's exceptionally dramatic and demands great attention to detail, but is fairly easy wear!

  1. Prep your lids as described above.
  2. Apply a bright, punchy color to the eyelid and extend all the way up to the brow line. If you can find them, McQueen's Paint Pots in shades like Pharaoh (a zingy yellow-green), Otherworldly (a bold sea blue) and Electro Sky (an intense royal blue) are perfect choices. Otherwise, opt for shadows in similar shades.
  3. This optional step will really intensify the look. Use a dark brow pencil to deepen the color of your eyebrows. Exaggerate them slightly by extending the length and overdoing the arch.
  4. Apply a complementary shade of eye shadow to the top eyelid and lower lash line. It should be equally bright, yet different enough to stand out on its own against the first shadow you used. Note: Use a liner brush on the lower lash for precise definition.
  5. Heavily line your upper and lower lash lines with the same dark brow pencil you used earlier. Extend the strokes well beyond the outer corner of your eyes to create a winged effect. Don't be shy lining your lower lid; heavy, generous application is required for a standout look!
  6. Use a thickening mascara to finish this look. Apply a heavy coat to the upper and lower lashes for maximum impact!

Low-Key and Easy

There's nothing understated about this look, but that doesn't mean you can't wear it every now and then if the mood strikes you. Make it more appropriate for everyday wear by prepping your lids, applying your favorite neutral shadow only to the eyelid and lining the eyes sharply and closely with a pencil. Don't opt for the winged look here; it's generally not appropriate for the office! However, this is a great way to accentuate your eyes and still look polished.

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Cleopatra Eye Makeup Steps