Kazakh Artist Promotes Cultural Identity by Incorporating Traditional Ornaments in Makeup

ASTANA – The trend of using Kazakh ornaments in makeup is becoming increasingly popular, and the women of Kazakhstan are actively promoting it on social media. One of the trailblazers of this trend is Aidana Baidalina, who introduces traditional Kazakh patterns, known as oyu, into her makeup looks. 

Baydalina with trendy Kazakh ornament makeup. Photo credit: Angela Garipova.

For Baidalina, this is a beautiful form of art and a way to express her cultural identity. She highlights that there has been a blossoming of the Kazakh national culture that had been suppressed for a long time in recent years.

Working outside of her area of expertise, Baidalina spends nearly all of her free time on makeup design. She believes in the power of online marketing through Instagram and TikTok although she has not yet monetized her passion. 

Explaining her interest in this beauty movement, Baidalina said that in 2017, musicians began creating amazing content in Kazakh, such as the boyband Ninety One. “They speak pure Kazakh and use words even some Kazakhs don’t know. They have successfully combined the old traditional world and the modern youth culture, which seemed impossible. Previously, many believed that everything Kazakh is outdated and should stay in the past, but now we’ve reached a new level. Ethnic self-expression is crucial for Kazakh people, especially since our art and culture were suppressed in the early 20th century. We are proud to bring it back, giving us more confidence. Someday, we will understand that we don’t have to prove anything to anyone,” she said. 

Baydalina applies makeup to a client. Photo credit: Angela Garipova.

Baidalina takes inspiration from various sources, including the American TV series “Euphoria,” as well as Japanese, French, and Turkic music, manga, and Korean fashion trends. She uses these influences to create a modern and stylish interpretation of traditional elements. 

For Baidalina, expressing her cultural identity through makeup and fashion is essential to this creative process.

“We are at a stage where our entire culture is opening up to us from a new point of view and to the whole world, as seen with the latest collaborations with Gucci and Louis Vuitton. They held ethnic photo shoots in a yurt featuring a dombra, Turkic-style jewelry, and more. It seems that oriental culture is now capturing this space, with everyone interested and wanting to replicate it,” she said.

Makeup in the national style, which gained popularity on social media, has found fans in real life. Zarina Beisembina was one of the first clients to try it out, initially sharing her discovery with her followers before becoming a customer.

“The makeup is a way to express myself, to demonstrate my inner world and character, and a desire to stand out and be different from others. Everyone wants to awaken their inner self. I wear clothes with national ornaments and jewelry, so this is not new to me. However, this is the first time I’m wearing such makeup. Being Kazakh is a part of who I am, and it feels very natural,” Beisembina said. 

The author is Angela Garipova, a journalist and TV host with 14 years of professional experience in the field. She holds a Master’s Degree in Art in Documentary and Journalism from Sussex University in the UK.

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