Make-up has long been a part of Middle Eastern culture, from semi-permanent products such as henna to the black kohl applied around the eyes, which in the past was used by both men and women of the desert to ease the glare of the sun and sandstorms, according to the book Neynat al Jasad (‘Ornaments of the Body’) by HH Sheikha Mohammed al Jabri. Things have evolved since then and, while men in Dubai no longer wear make-up, women are wearing more than ever.
My own look is rather more subtle, and though I have a fondness for bronzer and mascara, I don’t have the patience for much else. But when I caught wind of a new make-up studio in Barsha, run by 37-year-old Muscovite Dmitry Kaprilyants, I felt compelled to branch out.
1 Dmitry explains that before applying make-up, the skin must be clean. Use any at-home cleanser for this. He also explains that his mission isn’t to transform me, but to inspire me with my own make-up routine by showing me ‘what’s possible’.
2 We start with primer, the base for all make-up application, which comes in translucent solutions as well as purple, green and orange-yellow shades. Apparently there are three different skin tones – red, yellow and black, forming the base for European, Asian and African complexions. He squeezes a blob of purple (to neutralise the yellow) and a blob of green (for the red) onto my hand, and instructs me to apply one to each side of my face as a tester. If you have dark brown skin, opt for orange-yellow primers.
3 Contrary to what I’ve read in the past, concealer is applied under foundation to cover blemishes. Tip: to cover bruising and dark circles under the eyes, apply a few spots of orange lipstick before the concealer to help neutralise and give a more even look.
4 Next up is foundation, and Dmitry shows how to apply it to my face, starting with the forehead, using a soft sponge. To find the correct shade, always test foundation on your face, not your hand, and allow a few minutes for it to soak in. I’m told powder is optional, and can help take away the shine. Over 40s should stick to compact powders and avoid loose powder, as the grains make crease lines and wrinkles more pronounced. It’s at this point that Dmitry describes my face as a blank canvas (about 45 minutes and four stages after I would have offered a similar description).
5 The next step is contouring the face, using highlighter to show off cheekbones. Bronzers are used to create impressive tricks, including hiding double chins and large foreheads (I haven’t been nicknamed Tweety Pie for nothing) by darkening the jaw and hairline to make them appear smaller.
6 Eyes are the final step. For a ‘smoky’ look, Dmitry applies a thick layer of black eyeliner before brushing black eyeshadow onto the outside corner of each lid. I’m a little startled by my gothic look, but after some blending, the look is less intense. The subsequent eyebrow-stencilling with black powder, however, is several steps too far.
I doubt I’ll be switching my look to the one we achieve, but I decide to be more experimental. Two days later, I try a dab of orange lipstick and Vaseline. Baby steps – though I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for those eyebrows.
Dhs600 per person for a 150-minute group class, Dhs2,600 for private classes. Event make-up from Dhs300. Desert Group Building, Barsha, www.dmitrymakeupartist.com (050 132 3505).
Three more to try
Looking for more make-up artists to teach you a trick or two? Try one of these...
Clinque at Debenhams
The Clinique counter offers free party make-up every Wednesday. Be sure to book ahead.
Free. Wed 5pm-9pm. Debenhams, Mall of the Emirates (04 340 7575).
Describing herself as a celebrity make-up artist, Dubai-based Samira has a wealth of knowledge.
Rates upon request. email@example.com.