Turning children into brides with makeup

Rima Al-Mukhtar

Published — Wednesday 30 January 2013

Last update 31 January 2013 2:52 am

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Saudi makeup artist Suad Alsheeb is famous for using young girls from the age of seven to thirteen as models for her bridal makeup photo-shoots.
“I come from Buraidah, which is very much a closed society. People don’t accept using women as models on social media and the Internet,” said Alsheeb. “To show my skills as a makeup artist, I had to be creative. I came up with the idea of using young girls to pose for me after I applied adult makeup on them.”
Alsheeb used to draw butterfly and princess makeup on her young relatives’ faces. “I could not post my relative’s pictures online, but after a while of drawing simple things on their faces, I started doing makeup and showing the result to my family,” she said. “My cousins saw my work and asked me to apply makeup on them before going to parties and weddings. This is how I started.”
Alsheeb is an artist who likes painting, drawing and sketching in her free time. Now young girls’ faces are her canvas. “I feel that makeup is very close to what I like to do in my spare time. I enjoy painting portraits of brides and this is what brought on my makeup career,” she said. “I have been doing this for six years now and people say I have a gift of turning the bride into a princess for her wedding night.”
The makeup artist used social media to market her work where people were welcoming her work with open arms. “I first used myself as a model. I applied makeup on my own face and posted pictures of myself on my Facebook fan page,” she said. “I didn’t want people to judge me so I chose those young girls instead. I would rather have them as models than mature women who might create trouble for me and my business in the region for showing their faces and not wearing a hijab.”
Alsheeb makes sure she gets family permission before she even starts to apply make up on the young faces. “I know all the mothers of the girls who model for me and I make sure they are okay with me applying makeup and taking professional picture of them,” she said. “The girls were really excited with this project because every girl dreams of her wedding day. This is like a try-out for them where they can live the moment.”
Children will always be children according to Alsheeb. “They have immature faces. With this kind of makeup it is a challenge to change those features to more mature ones, “she said. “I used a lot of contouring so I can make the nose look straight and the cheeks less round and baby-like. I can proudly say I am a professional in making small eyes look bigger by using white pencil.”
Some people attacked Alsheeb for using innocent children to be her makeup models. “I want people to focus on the art itself and I want them to see how I can change features in the face and turn baby faces into beautiful brides by using my artistic brush,” she said. “The makeup will not harm those children because I use protective skin care as a base before I apply the makeup on their faces.”
Applying makeup on children is a lot more difficult than applying it on adults. “Children move a lot and they cannot help but blink when you apply eye shadow or mascara. Many times I end up erasing the makeup and redoing it,” said Alsheeb. “The process is fun for them as they get to see another face and they love makeup. For them this is just fun, especially when they start posing for me, they act like proper models.”
The makeup artist will soon give makeup classes in Qassim Province, Riyadh, Jeddah, Alkhobar and Dammam.

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