ATWBeauty Inspired by India

I was so full of inspiration after my beauty adventure in India that I decided to collaborate with fashion photographer Jason Setiawan to deliver a series of shots with the perfect mixture of brightly-colored saris and native beauty traditions. The beauty traditions of Indian women goes much deeper than just a black-kohl rimmed liner and their exotic beauty features. I wanted the photos to radiate their connection to their spirituality and their feminine energies. What is the meaning behind bindi (the jewel or paint adorned on the forehead)? What is Henna about? Read on and enjoy a flash of color and makeup to better illustrate Around the World Beauty: India Style.


Henna aka mehndi is the traditional art of painting the hands, feet, or entire body with a paste made from the powder of dried henna leaves. It stains the skin a cherry red or brown color at first, and then changes as it fades. Bridal henna painting nights have always been an important tradition in India.

The mehndi wedding tradition started when poor brides couldn’t afford jewelry, so they adorned their bodies with designs to symbolize prosperity. It’s applied for luck as well as joy and beauty. Supposedly, the longer the henna stays on the bride’s hands, the longer her in-laws will treat her well. Henna that fades quickly signifies that she will not be happily married. Henna fun fact: The night before an Indian wedding, the name of the future husband is hidden among the henna design to be discovered later that night. Use the products below to recreate some beautiful Indian looks.


The sari is a staple in Indian culture. Just like most Indian mythology, there is a metaphysical representation of what a sari is.They represent the vastness of the infinite universe that is unaffected by chaos or destruction. There is a section in the Mahabharata (the longest epic poem in the world) in which Lord Krishna promises to protect Draupadi’s virtue. When someone tries to pull her sari off, the fabric simply kept unraveling to no end.

Saris are woven on a loom and take anywhere from a few months to a few years to create. Saris signify the grace of the Indian woman while displaying her curves in all the right places. The perfect body in ancient India is the hourglass figure: small waist with a large bust and hips. This was ideal perfection and this figure is still sought after by many men. The saris are usually worn during special occasions and consist of bright colors and embroidery.

 On the forehead between the eyebrows is where the pineal gland is located, which Indians call the third eye. It is believed that all consciousness and wisdom is gathered at this point. A bindi on the forehead is an ancient tradition in Hinduism that dates back as far as 5,000 years as a spiritual symbol. Traditionally, a red bindi represents Shakti: strength, honor, love and prosperity. Turmeric and sindoor powders are also used, (Turmeric is yellow and sindoor is red in color) and are considered good omens in temples and during celebrations. Most married women in India draw a line through the front portion of the part in their hair with red kumkuma powder every day. Kumkuma is made from either the turmeric or saffron plants.
Bindis also represent the fact that a person has done their meditation and praying for the day. Once a person wakes up, they take a bath and sit to meditate and pray. When they are done and leave the prayer room, they mark their foreheads with a bindi. This garners positive energy two ways: when someone sees the bindi on this person’s forehead in public, it reminds them of what their purpose in life is, and to be a good person and pray. And when the person with the bindi sees others with bindis, it will also remind them of the praying they did that morning and will motivate them to keep that peace of mind and be kind to others.

*Beauty Breakdown*

  • Begin with Perricone MD Firming Skin Care regimen
  • Apply Benefit’s Poreless Primer Using a sponge
  • apply RCMA Foundation Apply Bite Beauty’s Nude Almond Luminous Creme lipstick Contour with NARS’ Bronzer in “Casino”
  • Define eyebrows with Dior’s Universal Brow Pencil
  • Carefully glue on Ardel’s Lashes
  • Short individuals Apply MUFE’s Satin Brown shadow from their Aqua Cream collection

Dark Look

  • Line both top and bottom lids with MUFE’s Aqua Black Liner
  • Apply Dior Addict’s Ultra Gloss Flash 982
  • Contour with NARS’ Bronzer in “Casino”
  • MUFE 1 Anthracite – Silvery Charcoal Shimmer

Written by Stephanie Flor Edited by Karens Mowls Photo by Jason Setiwan