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Introducing 4 Exciting Arab Makeup Artists You Need On Speed Dial Now

Face Whisperers

Makeup by Nadia Tayeh.

Introducing four new and exciting Arab makeup artists who are rapidly making waves in the industry, one look at a time. From preparing Bella Hadid‘s beauty look at fashion week to creating red carpet glam for stars including Salma Abu Deif, if you don’t have these makeup artists in your little black book, then add them now.

The Backstage Boss: Nadia Tayeh

Face Whisperers, Nadia Tayeh

Nadia Tayeh

Bella Hadid walking for Oscar de la Renta, Imaan Hammam for Moschino, and Candice Swanepoel for Jeremy Scott. These are only some of the names Nadia Tayeh has worked on at New York fashion week. The 33-year-old, who is originally from Palestine but currently lives in Brooklyn in the US, is a staple makeup artist backstage keyed by industry leaders such as Kabuki and Tom Pecheux. “I am always inspired by the creativity of my fellow makeup artists and also the wisdom from artists I have the pleasure to work with,” explains Tayeh. “Getting to glam my fellow Palestinian, Bella Hadid, during fashion week is always an honor.” A film major who would often do the makeup on set, Tayeh began working professionally in the cosmetic industry after earning her degree. She then transitioned to working backstage at New York fashion week. “My ultimate goal is to combine my two passions of beauty and film,” she explains of her future plans. For now, she is helping to redefine how the world sees Arab beauty. “Arab beauty used to be perceived as ‘exotic,’ as if Arabs are mystic creatures. Now we are taking ownership of our features, from our bold brows to our big eyes and long lashes,” she says. Combining elements of her Palestinian culture with her American identity, she enjoys modernizing traditional styles. “I love doing the traditional Arab winged eyeliner but remixing it with a neon color instead, or wearing a thobe with sneakers for a more casual fit,” she says.

Face Whisperers

Bella Hadid

Top tip: “Keep your skin hydrated. You can’t achieve flawless makeup without properly hydrated skin as your base.”
Beauty Secret: “Always listening to my clients and putting their needs before mine.”

The Red Carpet Riser: Shariff Tanyous

Face Whisperers, Sharif Tanyous

Sharif Tanyous

When it comes to makeup, Shariff Tanyous knows what women want. The Lebanese national, who lives in Cairo, is known for his ultra- feminine looks; never shying away from glow and embracing color. Working with some of the most recognized faces in the region, including Hend Sabri and Salma Abu Deif, he is quickly becoming the go-to for every occasion, including high society weddings and red-carpet events. Tanyous’s passion was fueled by a challenging childhood. Raised by a single mother, he remembers being bullied at school for his appearance. “When I look at it now, it made me stronger and made me want to accomplish something,” he says. While browsing the internet for tips on how to be more beautiful, he discovered the power of makeup. Learning his art at the Make Up For Ever Academy in Paris, he developed his skills and moved to Egypt. “Arab makeup is recognized for its beautiful black kajal and striking eyes, but after living in Egypt for so many years and working with a variety of clients, I discovered that, increasingly, women were starting to appreciate simple makeup,” he says. However, he has spotted an interesting trend. “On the other hand, Westerners – from what I see on social media – are rocking strong black cat eyes; our signature Arabian look. It’s exciting to witness this culture switch.”

Face Whisperers

Look by Sharif Tanyous

Top tip: “Less is more.”
Beauty secret: “You can never go wrong with pink. I always include a pink shade in my makeup, no matter where. I find it very feminine and sexy.”

The Social Star: Wissale Ait Lhaj Loutfi

Face Whisperers, Wissale Ait Lhaj Loutfi

Wissale Ait Lhaj Loutfi

“Through my makeup art, I try to celebrate Moroccan culture. It gives an identity to the look,” says Wissale Ait Lhaj Loutfi. At just 21, she is a rising star on social media. Scroll through her Instagram feed and you will see a variety of colorful designs, from abstract animals and landscapes, to designer logos, the Arabic alphabet, and even a piece inspired by the work of Moroccan painter Hassan El Glaoui. “It is important to shed more light on our heritage through art because that’s what defines us,” she explains. With a love for art at a young age, Ait Lhaj Loutfi discovered her talent through drawing and painting. Watching makeup tutorials on YouTube inspired her to explore the similarities between the pair. “My face was my new canvas. The idea of becoming a makeup artist never crossed my mind, until the day I was asked to do the makeup for a photo shoot,” she says. Social media offers a lot of opportunities; however, Ait Lhaj Loutfi warns, “We tend to see the same looks over and over. It can curb someone’s creativity.” She wishes to break down stereotypes. “If we look at Arab beauty, it is rich and diverse, from different skin tones to different facial features,” she says. She also wishes to champion her heritage in a modern way. “When it comes to the Arab style of makeup, it is definitely bold. Arab women are not afraid to enhance their beauty, and I think that shows how powerful and independent they can be.”

Wissale Ait Lhaj Loutfi

Wissale Ait Lhaj Loutfi test all new makeup trends on herself

Top tip: “The point of makeup is to enhance your natural beauty and features. Don’t use makeup to change the way you look.”
Beauty secret: “Sleep and a healthy lifestyle are the best skincare you can have. Also, apply a couple of droplets of Argan oil to your face before you go to bed.”

The Editorial Artists: Michel Kiwarkis

Face Whisperers, Michel Kiwarkis

Michel Kiwarkis

Originally from Lebanon, 24-year-old Michel Kiwarkis moved to Dubai to seek new opportunities. “Stretching your potential requires the right work environment and that is exactly what Dubai offered me,” he says. “The idea of working with big names in the fashion industry, top brands, and big magazines demands a higher level of professionalism and commitment.” From a young age, Kiwarkis was inspired by beauty. “I’ve known early on that it was my one and only interest. I was determined to explore it,” he explains. His mother was his first muse. “As far as I can remember, my mother has always had a natural beauty with a classy sense of simplicity.” Embracing his heritage, he notes, “Arab women played a major part in defining the identity of makeup artistry. Take Cleopatra, for instance. A legendary queen who, to this day, never ceases to represent the ultimate muse of many artists around the world.” For his aesthetic, Kiwarkis focuses on the face in front of him. “My target is to avoid any type of exaggeration, in order to maintain the real facial characteristics in hand, as much as reflecting their individual beauty.”

Face Whisperers, Makeup by Michel Kiwarkis

Makeup by Michel Kiwarkis

Top tip: “Do not exaggerate the use of product. It’s not about how much you add, but rather how you apply. Keep your makeup simple, keep it natural, and always take care of your skin.”
Beauty secret: “My tendency to mix products, in order to obtain a certain texture or specific color I have in mind.”

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Originally Published in the November 2020 Issue of Vogue Arabia

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