Sonam Kapoor Gives a Lesson in ’90s Bollywood Beauty

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“Today I’m doing the easiest thing I can do to look glamorous, which is typical ’90s Bollywood makeup,” says Sonam Kapoor, the star who has stolen the spotlight in upwards of 20 films (the most recent of which, The Zoya Factor, hits theaters next month). As such, Kapoor’s familiarity with the sleek, elegant aesthetic that is Bollywood beauty is both innate and cultivated through hours in the makeup chair.

On this summer evening, the actress is holed up at The Savoy, her raven lengths scraped into a taut low knot—the better to pull focus to her high-impact, though classic, look. “The dark eye is a very Indian thing because we have big eyes and beautiful eyebrows and we always try to accentuate that,” says Kapoor, who, after readying her complexion with layers of moisturizer, concealer, foundation, and powder, smudges brown liner at the base of each lash line, offering further pop with a pull of kajal along the waterline. A touch of shimmering nude Givenchy shadow and an allover finish of Benefit Hoola fall in line with the modern lean toward neutrals, but Kapoor loves color and demonstrates this with an ample application of a buoyant pink blush by Shu Uemera. But the finishing touches? They come in red.

“I feel like I can conquer the world when I wear red lips,” says Kapoor, lining her lips (primed with coconut oil) in Nars’s Dragon Girl. “To make it super Indian, I’m going to put a little bit of sindoor, because I’m married, and I’m very dramatic, and I’m a movie star, and I’m allowed to be dramatic.” Agreed! The sindoor, a daub of vermillion at the front of Kapoor’s center part, gives way to a bindi, a symbol of prosperity, reimagined as a dot of kajal (“because sindoor without a bindi looks weird”). Each element is one of what Kapoor explains are 16 notes reserved for married women in Indian culture, a list which also includes kajal and bangles. A set of her mother’s silver jhumka earrings punctuate the opulent look. “I am looking very Indian, and I’m ready to go out—somewhere.” We’d love to tag along.

Sonam Kapoor in Liberty London robe.

Directed by Rebecca Fourteau
Filmed at The Savoy

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Originally Appeared on Vogue