Eyes / Face / Hair / Lips / Makeup / Tutorials

Historically Accurate VS Modern Queen of the Nile

I wanted to do another costume look as we approached Halloween, this time getting a little historical. In my opinion, one of the most interesting people in history is Cleopatra. Reading up on her, I started to realize thatΒ a historically accurate portrayal might be unrecognizable for a modern audience. So to the best of my ability, I recreated her look based on the historical information available and then did my own modern interpretation. Hope you enjoy

historically accurate Cleopatra makeup

(L) Historically accurate
(R) Modern update

Historically Accurate

  • Not much is known about how Cleopatra looked, down to her race. A quick search on the internet shows there is a hot debate over whether she was black or white. Her family was originally Macedonian, and some very incestuous practices of marrying off brothers and sisters has left many to speculate that Cleopatra herself was of pure Macedonian blood. However, most modern historians believe Cleopatra was likely of mixed race.
  • Ancient Egyptians were known to line their eyes in black to help protect from the sun. Unlike a modern day eye liner flick, the Egyptians flicked their liner straight out (rather than up) and didn’t seen to taper the ends at all.
  • There is also evidence that they wore green eyeshadow, although I was unable to find what style they might have worn this eyeshadow in.
  • Most interestingly, compared to the nude lips so frequently seen on Cleopatra in movies, the ancient Egyptians made their lips more red through the use of henna.
  • At the time of Cleopatra’s rule, Alexandria was fabulously wealthy (explaining why many Romans were so eager to align themselves with her). Cleopatra flaunted her country’s wealth, especially in her jewelry, which seemed to be dripping in pearls.
  • Finally, Cleopatra might have her signature hairstyle in the media (one that she also likely wore in life), but this probable bust of Cleopatra suggests a more Greecian look.
Bust of Cleopatra (public domain)

Bust of Cleopatra (public domain)

Modern Interpretation

  • So I like to be historically accurate, but it occurs to me (especially being a person who looks as if she’s spent 0 time in the Egyptian sun) that probably a lot of people wouldn’t peg this look for Cleopatra. Here’s my more modern take
  • Instead of green eyeshadow, I’m going with a gold closer to my skin tone
  • While I’m keeping the inner eye corner the same, I’m making the outer corner more modern by turning it into an exaggerated cat eye.
  • Nude lips
  • I’m doing my hair down and straight and parted in the middle. I could take this even further with fake bangs, but I didn’t seem to have any lying around, haha.

Well that’s it. I hope you enjoyed. And I hope you don’t hold it against me too much if I don’t look like how you envisioned the Queen of the Nile. Happy Halloween. Let me know what Β you think in the comments below!


20 thoughts on “Historically Accurate VS Modern Queen of the Nile

  1. hmm? Very good/Nice post i…really *enjoyed reading (this) post i liked the way U approached it I too am sort of a History buff myself… & yes,,, V, U make a great/*Pretty Modern Cleopatra,, & there is…something? about that type/style of eye makeup….that I just *Like !!!! tptcd:) Kelly

  2. I don’t know how I got so behind on your blog, but catching up now! Love this look and LOVED the historically accurate information! Was it you that had also read Cleopatra by Claudia Schiffer? If not, you should check it out!

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