Make-up and Drag in Russia

Whether you are doing some holiday shopping or would like to avoid saying, “you know that thing that does this to your eyelashes”, these make-up related Russian vocabulary and phrases are here to help.

make-up bag Basics

Unlike in Soviet Union times, modern Russian markets have широ́кий ассортиме́нт косме́тики (many choices of make-up) from all over the world. There are some things you would find в большинстве́ космети́чек России (make-up bags in Russia). Many people кра́сятся и́ли де́лают макияж на рабо́ту (do make-up for work). First, they очища́ют ко́жу лица с по́мощью ге́ля для лица и нано́сят увлажня́ющий крем (cleanse their face and put on a moisturizer). Then, it’s time for тона́льный крем (foundation), румя́на (blush or rouge) and пу́дра (powder). For eye make-up, you will need to apply тушь для ресни́ц (mascara for eyelashes) тени для век (eye shadow) and каранда́ш для брове́й (eyebrow pencil). Most people usually finish their look by applying каранда́ш для губ (lip liner), пома́да (lipstick) or блеск для губ (lip-gloss).

mirror and lipstick New products

Over the last decade, the following products have also became popular in the world of Russian make-up and beauty. You might notice that with social media new make-up product names are just borrowed English terms since so many make-up bloggers (even Russian) make their content in English:

    ба́за под макияж и́ли праймер – make-up base, primer консилер и́ли маскиру́ющее сре́дство – concealer жи́дкая подво́дка для глаз и́ли айлайнер – liquid eyeliner хайлайтер и́ли сре́дство для осветления и выделе́ния участков лица – highlighter бронзатор – bronzer гель для брове́й – brow gel


There are also a myriad of make-up gadgets and accessories, but we are only going to cover the basics. Вам обяза́тельно пона́добиться зе́ркало (You are definitely going to need a mirror), as well as ра́зные ки́сточки (different brushes), although more and more people invest in спонжи (make-up sponges). Е́сли вы хоти́те сде́лать акце́нт на глаза (If you would like to focus on your eyes), you can use накладные ресни́цы for which you will also need пинце́ты (tweezers), но́жницы (scissors), щипцы́ для зави́вки (eyelash curler), а та́кже клей для ресни́ц (as well as eyelash glue).

curling eyelashes Beauty bloggers

Following make-up tutorials in Russian or just watching some of their vlogs can be a great way to boost your Russian learning. Unfortunately, I don’t follow any Russian bloggers myself, but my best friend recommended make-up blogger Оля from RedAutumn and here is a Reddit threat of Russian Beauty YouTubers recommendations.

Likewise, if you need a refresher on Russian colors to talk about make-up, see here and a quick run through some essential Russian anatomy would probably be useful too.

Royal Cobras

As you can see, макияж – неотъе́млемая часть жи́зни для мно́гих люде́й  в России (a crucial part of life for many people in Russia). And no, unfortunately there is still a lot of push against men wearing make-up in Russia and anything outside of the heteronormative principles. The most recent example is the launch of the Russian drag show on YouTube Короле́вские Ко́бры (Royal Cobras), hosted by Nastya Ivleeva who became famous thanks to the Ukrainian travel TV show Orel I Reshka. Creating and running a drag show in Russia is a very controversial (and quite dangerous) endeavor, and Royal Cobras is continuing to turn heads from both LGBTQ+ activists and those against the movement. Even though these Russian drag queens’ performances have been all-around spectacular and deserving of praise, they are receiving a lot of hate and disapproval from the public. I certainly support the sentiment expressed in the article above and hope that this wonderful drag competition can raise greater awareness of LGBTQ+ rights in Russia. My only warning before you watch the show is that it has a lot of swearing.

drag queen polaroid



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