The Allure of Middle Eastern Eye Makeup

The Allure of Middle Eastern Eye Makeup

In the exotic realm of Middle Eastern beauty traditions, eye makeup holds a special place - a symbol of tradition, expression, and timeless charm. It's not just about makeup; it's about telling stories, embracing heritage, and feeling confident in one's femininity. Alluring eyes are the focal point for bridal makeup, and wedding celebrations are a joyous occasion to display limitless creativity in eye makeup, often to match the colours in the outfit. It’s wonderful to see the many talented makeup artists from the Middle East specialising in bridal makeup and highly sought after. The makeup application is as much about the therapeutic feeling of pampering as the result.. so it’s beauty from the inside-out for a charismatic glow.

For generations, women across the region have adorned their eyes with care and creativity, turning everyday routines into moments of magic. So, let's journey together into the captivating world of Middle Eastern eye makeup, where every brushstroke is a nod to history and a celebration of oneself.


There is a movement away from heavier makeup to a more lightweight feel, skincare-makeup formulas have steeply risen in popularity.

Looks using Arooba's Desert Goddess Palette

Achieving the clean-glam look takes inspiration from Korean beauty by prepping the skin with a multi-step skincare routine; layering serums, mists, hydrators and primers. Lashes and brows have a feathery elongated look; whilst the eye makeup tends to showcase one colour and texture in a simple statement. This creates a wow effect from the lid achieved by priming first with an Arooba Glitter Essence, a wax based and hydrating formula. Next choose which colour to be the primary focus of the lid; the texture could be a metallic flash of matte intense depending on your mood. Complimentary colours from the palette are like accents in the crease or bottom lid, helping to frame the eyes. The Arooba Signature Eyeshadow Dips infuse the skin with delicious botanical extracts, whilst allowing you to express your signature personality and emotions with your eyes, the windows to the soul. 

Source: Instagram - @yaranamlah at Cannes 2024

Yara Namlah (@yaranamlah) looks classy in her clean glam with a matte smokey brown all-over-eyes shadow look, at the red carpet at Cannes Film Festival. You can achieve this look using the matte intense  shade, "Privileged" all over the lids and lower lash-line from our Polished Princess Palette.

The Clean-Glam trend is an extension of the wellness lifestyle; eating healthily, regular exercise and staying positive for the benefit of mind, body, and soul. With the Arooba palettes you can apply your makeup for wellness so you feel beautiful and look radiant from the inside-out.   

Desert Inspired 

The wonder of the desert is a constant inspiration for makeup.. think natural sands, wind blasted rock sculptures, and spice colours. Or blues and greens to represent the luscious desert oasis for a striking look. 

Middle Eastern beauty can be experienced by using ingredients inspired by local culture. For thousands of years Arabian desert tribes have used Kajal; a black wax moulded into an elegant stick to line the eyes. The black pigment worn by both men and women had antiseptic and cooling properties and helped protect the eyes against the glare of the desert sun; as well as create a mysterious alluring look.

@mariammdia wears Arooba Signature Eyeshadow Dips in Desert Goddess; MUA Katy Jane (@the_makeupservice)

“How Middle Eastern women wear makeup in a therapeutic sense for self expression is a source of inspiration for me. Whilst creating my unique and bespoke skincare-makeup formulas I wanted to incorporate ingredients that were exotic or well loved in the region. My special Glitter Essences, the jewels in the palette used as primers and toppers are hot poured and have a wax base; Candelilla Wax a desert plant, and Carnauba from the leaves of a palm tree. Every Signature Dip I created for the artisanal palettes include Coconut Oil and Argan Oil. My palettes encourage the storytelling and these ingredients take my imagination on a journey through the sands, to the lushness of the desert oasis” Arooba Anwar

CANDELILLA WAX: Candelilla is a shrub native to the desert, the green stems and leaves have a special thick skin to protect from the heat and hold onto hydration, helping to condition the skin.

CARNAUBA WAX: This is also known as the Queen of Waxes, it comes from leaves of a palm tree, reminding me of the desert oasis. I used it as a thickener and produces a beautiful glossy effect as well as fortifying the skin lipid barrier.

COCONUT OIL: This tropical oil was another must have as it is a natural moisturiser and emollient helping the colour blend easily with others. Coconut Oil contains lauric acid helping to smooth the surface of the skin as well as reduce inflammation and cool the area.  

ARGAN OIL: I have been using this oil for years on my hair, it’s a well-known Middle Eastern Beauty Secret and I included it in my formula to give lashes and eyebrows a natural boost.  

Source: Instagram - Sara Mahayri for @hayamagazine

We were mesmerised by the stunning glam of @saramahayri in a recent beauty shoot with Haya Magazine. The beautiful earthy tones, and the intense under eye liner is on our list to try during this sunshine season!

Passion for Sparkle: 

Women of all ages have a love for Glitter and Metallics; especially for evening and special occasions. The glitter can be applied diffused to create a soft glow; or more intensely for a strategic flash of light. 

Source: Instagram - @maysanber


Look using Arooba's Desert Goddess Palette

Watch the incredible editorial makeup artist, Min Sandhu (@minnie_mua), as she creates a Regal Gemstone-inspired eye look using our Majestic Queen palette:

With our Glitter Essences from the Majestic Queen Palette, you can effortlessly embody this iconic aesthetic. Here's how:

  1. Start by applying the shade "SPANGLED" as a base across the eyelid. This rich and shimmering hue sets the stage for the glittery transformation to come.

  2. Use "CROWN" to add sparkle to the centre of the eyes. This glittering shade adds depth and dimension, enhancing the overall glam effect.

  3. Apply "DUBAI" to the outer corner and lower lash line, intensifying the look with its sultry and smoky finish. This step adds drama and definition, perfect for accentuating the eyes.

  4. Intensify the lash line using "KOHL", a matte black that sets the glitter essence and elongates the eye.

  5. Finish off the look by highlighting the inner corner and cheeks with "ORB" This luminous shade adds a touch of sparkle and glow, elevating the entire makeup look to dazzling heights.

Looks using Arooba's Majestic Queen Palette - @mirtamatte - MUA @minnie_mua; @ximmylwilliams - MUA @catparnell

Elongated Wing

For Middle Eastern beauty the shape of the eye is of equal importance to the colours used. Almond shaped eyes are lifted at the outer corner, and the eyeshadow extends to the temples for a futuristic wrap-around effect. 

Source: Instagram - @aroobabeauty; @saramahayri for Haya Magazine

“It took several attempts to achieve the perfect black for my Majestic Queen palette. This black is intensely pigmented, a true black which tends to get a wow reaction from people when they swatch it. Also hugely flattering really making the natural eye colour pop and contrasting with the glowing skin” Arooba Anwar

Here's what Len Shamout (@lenshamout), Arab content creator has to add about what makes Arabic eye makeup so special:

"Arab eye makeup stands out with its boldness, using dark eyeliner which it is called (Kohl) and vibrant colours. As well as, the natural dark eyes and long lashes of many Arabs add extra volume to this striking look"

Source: Instagram - @nour

Adding to the glamour, @nour stunned with her statement eye look, adorned with gems, at a screening event for her Netflix movie.

Statement Cut Crease 

Arabic-Inspired Cut Crease is a classic eye look, that never runs out of trend, with influencers and celebrities alike embracing its bold and dramatic allure.

@mirtamatte - MUA @minnie_mua using Arooba's Desert Goddess Palette

This eye makeup style draws inspiration from traditional Arabic makeup techniques, featuring defined creases and intricate designs that accentuate the eyes.

To achieve this striking look using our Desert Goddess Palette, follow these simple steps:

  1. Begin by applying "BEIRUT" as a base all over the eyelid, using a flat eyeshadow brush to ensure even coverage.
  2. Next, use "GRAIN" to contour the crease of the eyelid, blending the shade outward and upward for a seamless transition.
  3. For added depth, apply "OUD" to the outer corner of the eye, focusing on the crease to create definition and dimension.
  4. To highlight and brighten the inner corner of the eye, as well as the cheeks, gently pat "AURIC GOLD" using a small eyeshadow brush, adding a touch of shimmer and luminosity to complete the look.

Vivid Hues 

There has been a surge in experimentation with bold and vibrant colours, as seen on runways and red carpets across the region. From striking jewel tones to shimmering metallics, Middle Eastern women are embracing their love for vivid hues, using eye makeup as a canvas for self-expression and individuality.  

Source: Instagram - @marieclairearabia; @voguearabia

Recent editorial trends for Spring/Summer 2024 in leading magazines showcase creativity with brighter colours and pastel hues. It is interesting to note how these colours can have a playful effect on the shape of the eyes.  

@dani.loulou using 'Shaikha' from Arooba's Majestic Queen Palette

Smokey Arabian 

The contemporary Smokey Arabian eye is all about creating softness, the ethos is more relaxed, a casual-luxury and youthful charm. The femininity of the facial features is of most importance, gentle yet mesmerising eyes created with a defined lash line and soft edges blended out with lighter pastel shades. 


Source: Instagram - @aroobabeauty; @makeupby.tamar using Arooba's Desert Goddess Palette

    The key is for the eye makeup to appear effortless, yet still with a clean-glam sophistication. It’s great to see many makeup artists famed for their light yet deliberate touch which actually highlights the purity of the colour. 

    The beauty of the Arooba palettes is the limitless creativity; each palette contains a Day Quad and a Night Quad but you can play around with the colours depending on your mood. The soft textures allow for fluidity which is why many customers keep a palette in their handbag for a little lift and light touch to refresh their look effortlessly.  

    Look using Arooba's Desert Goddess Palette

    Get this modern Smokey Eye look using our Desert Goddess Palette:

    1. Apply the shade "ENRAPTURED" all over the lid as a base. This shade will provide a beautiful and shimmery backdrop for the rest of the eye makeup.

    2. Next, use the shade "OUD" along the lash line. This deep and rich colour will define the eyes and add depth to the look. Use a small, precise brush to apply it close to the lashes for a subtle yet impactful effect.

    3. Apply the shade "BURNT" to the center of the lid to add dimension and highlight. This shade has a captivating shimmer that will catch the light and make your eyes pop. Use a patting motion to build up the intensity until you achieve your desired look.

    4. Finish off the look by using the shade "BEIRUT" as a lip topper. This unique touch will tie the eye makeup to the rest of your look, creating a cohesive and harmonious appearance.

    "The modern Middle Eastern eye is universally appealing. I love working with makeup artists and models from the region, that have their distinctive style and personality which comes through naturally in their makeup looks, but it is equally exciting to collaborate with makeup artists in the UK who draw their own inspirations from the Middle Eastern looks that are trending - and everybody just loves how our eyeshadow palettes bring the Middle Eastern elements to life with our colours names and textures" Arooba Anwar 

    At the heart of these trends lies a deep-seated reverence for cultural and historical influences. Ancient traditions and modern interpretations intertwine seamlessly, shaping the evolution of contemporary makeup styles. Whether drawing inspiration from centuries-old rituals or the latest runway trends, Middle Eastern women infuse their beauty routines with a sense of heritage. It’s this fusion of the old and the new, the traditional and the avant-garde, that lends Middle Eastern eye makeup its distinctive and timeless appeal. Embrace the allure of Middle Eastern eye makeup and let it become your vehicle to inner confidence, transforming you into the iconic figure you were always meant to be!

    Back to blog

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.