Want your makeup to turn you into a Greek goddess?
Looking for a glamorous Grecian inspired makeup look (wearable or fancy dress)? Our Greek goddess makeup tutorial retains some historically accurate elements of Greek culture – with a modern twist!
Prefer to keep your look entirely historically accurate? We also break down the exact makeup, hair, and fashion during the ancient Greece period. (Just promise us you’ll skip on the poisonous powder!)
Keep reading for a modern Greek goddess makeup tutorial & to learn about the history of ancient Greek beauty!
♥ Modern Twist – Greek Goddess Makeup
No need to read all the history below if you’re not interested! We reference some of the history in this guide.
The modern Greek goddess makeup and fashion look is popular for brides. With good reason! It’s a beautiful, etherial look – and pairs well with the Grecian-style flowing wedding dress trend.
While the face was kept pretty natural in ancient Greece, the ‘Greek goddess’ makeup look is more glamorous, glowing, and quite heavier by comparison.
However, the modern goddess look is not completely divorced from Grecian culture. Many elements of the Greek goddess look are historically accurate – including the popularity of gold accessories, the sultry eye, the toga style dress, and the long, decorated flowing hair. Think of it as an ancient Greek inspired look with a modern twist.
Dressing up for halloween/fancy dress? It’s good to know your fancy dress costume is truly inspired by ancient Greek makeup and fashion. However, this Greek goddess look has a definite modern twist. No need to go for the classic Grecian unibrow, and definitely avoid using poisonous ingredients like white lead on your skin! Huge no no!
Use a luminous primer to prep your skin to glow like a goddess.
For a flawless looking completion opt for a high coverage dewy-satin finish foundation. While ancient Grecians loved the fair look, unless you’re doing fancy dress use a shade that matches your skin. Conceal any imperfections and dark circles for a healthy, glamorous look.
For a sultry look, do as the Greeks do (did!) and apply black kohl and eyeshadow close to the eyes.
If you apply too much black it can look quite harsh. Amp the look up a bit in an ode to the ancient Greek elite’s appreciation of gold with some gold eyeshadow. Pack on plenty of your favorite mascara (and fake lashes) to balance out the eyes.
While ancient Greeks kept the face natural, the Greek goddess makeup look is enhanced with a healthy application of highlighter.
If you have a gold shade it will tie in beautifully with the eyeshadow and act as a nod to the importance of gold in ancient Greece. Otherwise, a champagne or white color works well, too. Apply to the top of the cheekbones, the inner corners of the eye, on the brow bone, down the nose, and on the cupid’s bow for an ultra ethereal glow.
The Grecians liked to stay super pale and natural. However, some bronzer and contour can give a glamorous modern twist to the Greek look. Don’t be shy with the bronzer (especially if you also applied fake tan to your body) – it will tie in nicely with the gold in the eyes and on the cheeks.
When lip paint eventually caught on with the ancient Greeks, they kept the look pretty natural. Stick with a subtle pink or light nude to balance out the glow and sultry eyes. If you’re going for a fancy dress look, apply some gold highlight to the centre of your lips for an even more luminous glow.
ღ Clothing & Hair For Fancy Dress
Dressing as a Greek goddess for halloween or a party?
Ancient Greeks wore tunics (similar to togas) and long flowing dresses. Opt for a boho style, long flowing, white maxi dress to get the look. Waist emphasis with a belt (go for gold or white) will make the look more flattering. If you’re on a budget or getting ready at the last minute, just grab a white bed sheet and tie it around your body.
Long, curly hair was in fashion in ancient Greece and it complements this makeup look well. While blonde hair was highly coveted, this entire look suits any hair color! Add some hair accessories like a headband or leaf hair clips (they really did accessorize their hair) – keep them gold for extra historical accuracy!
♥ Historically Accurate – Ancient Greek Look
♡ Makeup Trends In Ancient Greece
Women at time time were expected to look pure and modest. As a result, Grecian women opted for a more natural looking face (with the exception of some heavier eye makeup).
Because women were generally excluded from the academic and intellectual world, men wrote the vast majority of information about makeup. And they wrote about it a lot! References to cosmetics pop up in tons of recovered ancient Greek materials – including poetry and letters.
The general attitude of men towards makeup was strongly negative at time time. The use of cosmetics was widely criticised and satirised. In certain areas, such as Sparta, women didn’t wear any makeup at all.
The later Romans took inspiration from both the natural look of the Greeks and the more dramatic face of Egypt’s Cleopatra. Ultimately the Romans met somewhere in the middle between these two styles.
Women in ancient Greece achieved the pale look with white lead, chalk, kaolin, ceruse, and plaster materials. Interestingly, Plato denounced these ingredients as harmful (ahead of his time)! White lead is a by product of silver. Silver was produced in abundance in ancient Athens – possibly explaining why white lead was the ingredient of choice to whiten the face.
Although lead is obviously harmful in its purest form, there’s some evidence that the ancient Greeks (and Egyptians) were able to chemically synthesize the lead in their cosmetics to make it safer. This interesting piece of cosmetic history highlights the intelligence of the people living in these ancient civilizations.
Beetroot, red wine, and aromatic resin were popular cosmetic ingredients. Olive oil was found in abundance in ancient Greece and women made good use of it. It was especially popular in skincare – acting as both a moisturiser and skin cleanser.
Women mixed together ground charcoal and olive oil to create eye shadow. A dark eye look was in fashion – soot and kohl were applied to the eyebrows and lids.
The unibrow trend is possibly the biggest difference in beauty standards between the ancient Greek time period and today. The dark powders applied to the lids and brows were also used in the middle of the brow to create the conjoined brow look.
Lipstick was worn (for the most part) by ladies of the night only. Due to the stigma around such work, the ancient Greeks regulated the use of lipstick.
However, a lip tint eventually became common among higher class Grecians. This lip tint was made from better ingredients than the lipstick of the lower classes, however it still contained dangerous ingredients like vermilion.
♡ Clothing & Accessories In Ancient Greece
Men and women wore long, loosely draped tunics suitable for the warm climate. They held their tunics in place with broaches and pins. Women also wore basic, sleeveless dresses called ‘peplos’. The only embellishment was a belt placed at the empire line for some waist emphasis.
While richer Grecians could afford expensive fabrics like imported silk and cotton, most had to make do spinning their own wool or linen at home.
Uncovered gold bracelets from the 4th and 5th century lend some credence to the stereotypical gold embellishment dress associated with this era. Gold was popular at the time because it was so rare in Greece. Another strong symbol of wealth, gold was highly valuable and imported from Egypt or Asia. Thin sheets of gold were shaped into wreaths and belts especially for burial.
♡ Hair In Ancient Greece
Olive oil was also used in hair care as a conditioner for softer hair. While female slaves had short hair, the trend among free women was to keep it long. Hairstyles indicated martial status – single women left their hair free and loose, then tied it in a bun once they married. Women with straight hair curled it. In line with the modern day stereotype, ancient Grecians loved hair accessories. Hair pins, scarfs, jewelled combs, and diadems were common.
Blonde hair was considered beautiful in ancient Greece. Women added vinegar to their hair in the sun to help lighten it. Women wore hats outside in an attempt to avoid tanning, but a lot of ladies pulled their hair through the hat to expose it to the sun to lighten it. It’s even suspected that some women applied urine to their hair because it’s known for its bleaching abilities!