Friday, September 20, 2013


You want to look as gorgeous as possible onstage, right?  You contour and highlight your face to accentuate your features before you go onstage to make them stand out or recede... For dancers, especially when wearing costumes that show a lot of skin, the same techniques can be applied to the body, to accentuate your muscles and curves. It’s a pretty simple process: whatever body part is lighter will stand out, and those that are darker will recede.
Princess Farhana by Maharet Hughes

 Here are some  cool tips  for cheating just a little bit to get your body as beautiful as your face:

With a full, fluffy brush, apply a thin stripe of pearly white, pinkish bronze or golden highlighting powder down the center of the arms and legs to make them look longer. While you’re at it, dust some of the same powder around the curves of your shoulders,and lightly across the tops of the breasts to make them appear fuller and more prominent.

Shading and contouring is just as easy. For this, you will want to use a matte color. Stay away from pearly or frosty cosmetics, because they attract light, and you will be using your contouring colors on areas which you want to appear to be shadowed.

Use a slightly smaller brush than the one you used for highlighting to dust on a darker contouring shade to the places you want to recede. A rosy brick tone or bronze color that is a shade or two darker than your own skin usually works well for people with fair to olive skin, but using matte brown colors will appear muddy on fair to olive skin. If your skin is darker, don’t be afraid to use deeper, richer browns, but make sure to keep the contour color just a couple of shades darker than your own skin tone.

Drawing a soft, smudged line in the center of your cleavage will accentuate it and make it seem deeper.  Make sure the actual line isn’t visible- blend it well.

For the torso, softly brush the contour color you’ve selected onto all the spots that you want to underscore and shadow, giving the impression of more muscle tone.

Royal Secret Alert: since I do a lot of abdominal work when I belly dance and want to accentuate it, I do this all the time!

Using my contour color, I start by drawing a thin, faint line down the center of my abdomen from the cleavage to my navel, along my abdominus rectus, the long muscle that runs the length of the torso. Then I draw two more vertical lines, one on each side of the muscle.

I suck my breath in hard, look in the mirror, and brush soft contouring color into the hollows that have formed under my top ribs. I start near the center of my bra, and shade the color out towards the sides. After that, I brush on diagonal lines up the inside crest of my hipbones, pointing outwards to accentuate the cut in my obliques to make them seem more defined.

Without blending the contouring color, it will look like you have a long diamond shape drawn on your torso, with three lines up the center, dividing it. Once you blend the darker shade in and soften it up a little, brush a little translucent powder over the whole area to blend it even more. Believe me, it’ll look like you have fantastic abdominal muscle definition, especially in a dark restaurant or on a bright stage.

When I use this trick, people in the audience always comment on how ripped my torso looks…but then, those same people also tell me I have gigantic eyes, too!

All make up–but especially stage make up-is an illusion…so why limit the beautiful fantasy to your face?

*This article is an excerpt from my new book, "The Belly Dance Hand Book", which will be available November, 2013


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