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A Review of

Face It:
Makeup Techniques for the Belly Dancer

by Meleah


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Overall Rating: StarStarStarStar (on a scale of 1 to 5 stars)

Meleah, a professional makeup artist, model, and belly dancer, explains in detail how to do stage makeup specifically for dance performances. She starts at the very beginning, and explains why each step is important.

She demonstrates her technique on six different people (including herself), discussing the particular features of each face and how to address them with makeup: thin lips versus full lips, thin brows versus generous ones, etc. At the end, she talks about how to touch up your makeup if you're doing more than one performance in a given evening and you want to look fresh for the second one. The video comes with a companion booklet that reinforces some of the information it teaches.



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What Users Think

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The above poll includes responses submitted since November 29, 2002.

Note: Shira has a policy against video producers asking their students, family, and friends to pad the votes, or campaigning for favorable votes through their web sites. Click here for detailed information about the policy.


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Fact Sheet

Subject Matter Applying stage makeup
Recommended Dance Skill Level

All dance skill levels

Overall Rating StarStarStarStar
Production Quality StarStarStarStar
Content Value StarStarStarStar
Total Video Length 121:09 minutes
Time Devoted to Instruction 103:50 minutes (86%)
Time Devoted to "Other" 17:19 minutes (14%)
Choreography? No
List Price as of June 12, 2009 $45.00
Price Per Minute 43 cents
Price For "Other" $6.30

* Pricing information was current as of the date indicated above, but may have changed since then. Please contact the video producer for the most current pricing information.


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This video comes packaged with a 33-page companion book at no additional cost. When buying a copy for yourself, verify that you'll be receiving both the book and video. If you're being offered the video only (which should happen only when you're buying a used copy, because new copies should always come with the book), you're receiving only part of the package Meleah intended for you to have and I'd encourage you to either shop elsewhere or negotiate a lower price accordingly.

This is an instructional video on stage makeup particularly aimed at the needs of belly dancers. Meleah, the instructor, is a professional makeup artist, a performing belly dancer, and a model, so she is very experienced in working with makeup on a wide variety of faces and situations. She also understands the unique challenges of belly dancers, such as the need for the makeup to look good from different distances, and the need to keep makeup looking fresh all evening across multiple performances.

Throughout the video, the lighting is excellent for the instructional parts, and acceptable-to-good for the sections where Meleah is performing. For the most part, the camera work is quite good, showing me what I want to see when I want to see it, but there are a few places I find frustrating because the camera shows me a closeup of the model's face when Meleah is talking about what her hands are doing.

The video opens with brief clips of Meleah performing, with abrupt stops at the end of each. I find this section to be rather jarring, and I think fading the sound at the end of each clip could have improved it.

Next Meleah introduces what the video will cover with about 3 minutes of opening remarks.

The real meat of the video then begins: the instruction in how to apply makeup. Throughout this section, Meleah applies makeup to five different models, to demonstrate how different facial features require different techniques. It's about an hour and 40 minutes in length, as follows:

  • Tools of the Trade. About 6 1/2 minutes long. Meleah shows the sponge used to apply foundation, the powder puff, and various brushes, explaining the purpose of each, and what characteristics to look for when shopping for each.
  • A Firm Foundation. About 17 minutes long. Meleah explains the purpose of foundation, and demonstrates how to apply it. She applies it to three different models, and identifies specific feature issues such as large pores, concealing dark circles, etc. She also shares her thoughts on use of stick foundation and concealer. Next she demonstrates how to use translucent powder to set the makeup and preserve the look while dancing and sweating.
  • Beautiful Brows. About 8 1/2 minutes long. Meleah demonstrates how to apply brow color, explaining why she uses eye shadow rather than pencil to do it. She explains how and why to tweeze, and shows how to determine the beginning, high point of the arch, and end of each brow. She addresses how to achieve the most flattering results both on full brows and thin ones.
  • Cheek to Cheek. About 3 minutes long. Meleah shows how and where to apply blush and contour, and discusses how to decide whether you should use contour.
  • Luscious Lips. About 9 minutes long. Meleah demonstrates how to use lip pencil and lipstick, how to ensure your lipstick won't wear off, and how to make thin lips look fuller.
  • The Eyes Have It. About 22 minutes long. Meleah shows three different approaches to doing eye makeup, depending on whether the audience will be far away or close up, and depending on what look is desired. She discusses how to highlight the brow bone, use dark shadow in the crease, line upper and lower lids, use false eyelashes, and apply mascara.

When this section is finished, Meleah then reviews the techniques just taught by doing her own makeup and discussing each step as she does it. She adds a few new tips that aren't covered in the earlier section, such as how to achieve a poutier look for the lips.

The "how to apply makeup" section of the video closes with before and after shots of each of Meleah's models. First the camera shows half the face before makeup, then half after. I would have preferred that both be shown at the same time using a split-screen effect to make it easier for me to compare the two, but I still find it useful.

The next section is sure to be valuable even to belly dancers who already know how to apply makeup skillfully: how to touch up the makeup after the first show of the evening, so that it will remain fresh-looking for a later show. The camera follows Meleah into her dressing room as she comes offstage, and I smiled to see the narrow little closet that so many of us are used to using at restaurants! She explains how fragile the makeup is when you've been perspiring, and shows how to care for it. This section lasts about 9 minutes.

The video closes with a 10-minute section in which Meleah showcases the line of makeup she designed to meet her own needs as a dancer. Although it's really an advertisement for products that she hopes you'll buy, I didn't mind because it can be very expensive to produce a video of this high quality, and it seems only fair to allow a little time for promoting products that are relevant to the theme of the video. Additionally, the low price-per-minute for the instructional section means that you're getting a good value for the money in spite of the time allowed for advertising. Meleah handles this promotional section well, showing the different brushes and types of makeup that are available from her and discussing the purpose of each.


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Is It Right for You?


You Will Probably Enjoy This Video If

  • You know nothing about doing makeup, and you don't know where to start on doing your own makeup for performances.
  • You already know a little about makeup, but you'd like new ideas to enhance your technique.
  • You're good at doing your own stage makeup, but you don't know how to coach other people with different facial structures on how to use makeup to achieve the most flattering look for them.
  • You have some problems with your makeup, such as looking blotchy after your first show of the evening, and you'd like advice from an expert on how to deal with these issues.


This Video Probably Isn't Right for You If

  • You are dark-skinned. All the models on this video are light-skinned, and the video doesn't address color recommendations for darker-skinned dancers.
  • You have no plans to appear in any belly dance performances.


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What I Liked, What I Didn't


What I Liked:

  • Meleah uses several models with different features to illustrate her techniques. This makes the video versatile for a variety of different dancers with different facial issues to address.
  • Meleah shows multiple ways of handling some areas, such as three different ways to do the eyes depending on how close the audience might be and how much drama is desired.
  • I was very interested in the section on how to touch up makeup between performances. It's a valuable skill for busy dancers who do multiple shows in a single night!
  • It's fun to see the before & after shots of Meleah and her five models.
  • The production quality is excellent for the instructional part, though not quite so good for the brief performance clips. Most of the time, the camera work shows me exactly what I want to see, but there are a few frustrating moments.


What I Didn't Like:

  • The opening section with the brief performance clips seems jerky. It could have been improved by having the music fade at the end of each instead of stopping abruptly.
  • I wish there had been more ethnic diversity in the models.


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In Conclusion

If you're not a professional makeup artist yourself, this video is well worth watching. I've been doing my own stage makeup for many years, and I still learned several important things the first time I watched it. As a belly dance teacher, I also find Meleah's tips for handling varied facial features useful because it enables me to give better makeup coaching to my students whose facial features have different issues from my own.


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I originally met Meleah in 1997 at one of Delilah's retreats. During a rest period, she was offering free individual makeup lessons to those of us who were interested, and I embraced the opportunity. I found the instruction so useful that I purchased a copy of the video to help me remember what I learned once I got home. I also purchased several of Meleah's makeup products, and have found that they work well for me.


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Where to Get It


Contact Information

2805 Maple Street
San Diego, CA 92104

Phone: (+1) 877-378-7945, (+1) (619) 280-8424 if local San Diego or if calling from outside U.S.
Fax: (+1) (619) 255-4575



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