Bollywood-inspired 'Asoka makeup' trend puts Indian beauty under the spotlight

Inspired by the 2001 Bollywood film “Asoka,” starring Kareena Kapoor, the Asoka makeup trend is all about recreating beauty looks inspired by traditional Indian weddings – clothing, make-up and hairstyles – as they appear in block buster Indian movies. Music is also a must have in many videos, with makeup artists and influencers dancing or singing to the tune of “San Sanana,” one of the film’s best-known songs.

A very dramatic makeup look

Asoka makeup is a very dramatic makeup look, featuring warm and vibrant tones. The eyes are surrounded by thick black lines, done with kohl or eyeliner, enhanced with thick mascara and warm, vibrant tones (often gold and bronze) on the lids. Eyebrows are thick and showy, while lips are luscious, lined with pencil and finished with gloss or lipstick.

The face is finished with a very light foundation, sometimes even taking a white tinge, accompanied by pink blush and dark contouring lines under the cheekbones, on the forehead and under the jawline.

Million views on TikTok

There are several South-Asian influencers behind this trend. Let’s mention, Sita Suwarnadwipa, who has over 240,000 followers, and whose video has exceeded 77 million views on TikTok. Some videos made later by creators from diverse backgrounds have now surpassed 100 million views, accompanied by tens of millions of likes. This is the case of Lenie Aycardo, who created two versions of the trend. Tamil versions have also emerged, such as that of Canadian influencer Dhivya Sri. To date, the hashtag #Asoka counts over 130,000 posts.

Creators synchronize their movements with the music to gradually reveal each stage of their makeover, skillfully using their arms and head movements to mark the transitions between the various steps. At the end of the song, influencers unveil their traditional attire, the Sari, a colourful garment that wraps around the bride’s waist and up over her shoulder. Adorned with dozens of dangling gold embellishments, the outfit is completed by a matching veil that wraps around the hair and a sparkling jewel that hangs down onto the forehead. Gold jewellery, echoing the garment’s details, add a graceful touch to the ensemble, with large necklaces around the neck and multiple bracelets jangling with every movement.

The song “San Sanana,” heard on every video, is benefiting from the buzz, racking up 52 million views on YouTube. This figure has been rising steadily since the emergence of the trend on social networks.

A number of influencers have put their own spin on this trend, adapting it to their own cultures. Creators from Thailand, Vietnam and Brazil have incorporated distinctive details reminiscent of their origins into their looks. For example, content creator Chang Nguyen, also known as “Inlil,” showcases her take on the look from her native Vietnam. Her viral video has amassed 153 million views and 13.3 million likes.

With the “Asoka makeup” trend, TikTok’s preoccupation with beauty and makeup routines has met Bollywood’s obsession for the beauty and glamour of Indian actresses, supporting an always more diversified vision of beauty.

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