The make-up artists who take the 'shine' from presenters

Sabreen Sayegh has worked as a make-up artist for 13 years, including five at the MBC group

Leila Alwan

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Behind every beautiful presenter is a talented make-up artist who paints the faces millions view on television worldwide every day.

“We consider the make-up we apply on the presenters their daily uniform,” Sabreen Sayegh, one of MBC’s make-up artists told Al Arabiya English.

Make-up artist Sayegh has worked in the trade for 13 years – the last five at the MBC group.

A successful make-up artist, she said, needs to have passion and creativity to graduate from beauty school, and succeed in the media industry.

Sayegh is just one of a team of four make-up artists who works with news and entertainment presenters to ensure they look right in front of the camera. And she said all presenters wore the make-up most appropriate for them.

The job is more complex than people might think. When applying the make-up, Sayegh has to consider the mood of the show that the presenter is on.

News anchors, she said, need to wear flesh tones – known as nudes – to ensure they look natural when relaying the serious and often sad news of the day, while entertainment presenters can wear ‘fun’ and ‘dramatic’ make-up, to portray more of a personality.

While in everyday life make-up trends change according to fashion, techniques such as contouring, which is used to enhance the face’s outlines, is essential in Sayegh’s work.

It is a technique that has been used by make-up artists in the news industry ‘forever’, Sayegh told Al Arabiya English.

She said that every face is contoured differently depending on the face shape and structure of the presenter. “The secret is to contour in a way that looks natural and enhances the prominent features of the person on air and also in real life, without showing too much contrast” she said.

She said male presenters usually only wear powder to get rid of oil and prevent shine appearing on the presenter’s face when they are on air.

Anyone who has watched western news programs will notice the difference in the look of presenters, compared to their Arab counterparts. The long-time make-up artist said presenters in the Middle East wear heavier make-up in comparison to presenters from the west because of the difference in features.

“Middle eastern women tend to have bigger eyes, and bigger features while western women’s features are smaller. Putting just a little extra mascara on them can look dramatic,” Sayegh said.

She told Al Arabiya English that foundation was the product that was ‘irreplaceable’ when it came to applying make-up for the newsroom.

“We are constantly developing and implementing new make-up techniques, we are constantly following the new trends and trying new ways in regards to application but the colors and look will forever remain the same.”

Now all they have to perfect is the presenters’ time keeping – Sayegh explained: “Sometimes they have to arrive with only a few minutes to get their make-up right. But we still manage.”

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Al Arabiya's business anchor Rania Abi Nader getting her make-up done

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