Best makeup artists in Istanbul

Best makeup artists in Istanbul

Monica Liau
May 04, 2017

Melis İlkkılıç - photo by Merve GöralIf eyes are the window to the soul, the face is it’s finely fashioned gateway.  Meet accomplished beauty experts in Istanbul who are leaders in their craft, as adept at high fashion as they are everyday street style.

Melis İlkkılıç

After two years in the banking industry, Melis İlkkılıç decided to drop her resume off at the local M.A.C store, where she worked then worked in sales before breaking out on her own to go freelance. It was, in her words, “a very difficult road,” but one she loved. “My parents almost had a heart attack,” laughs İlkkılıç. “But they supported me, because it was something I was strongly passionate about.

Today she regularly works with a list of loyal customers, like Turkish actresses Neslihan Atagül and Merve Boluğur. İlkkılıç has a reputation for using makeup that caters to each individual. Although many of the women she works with want to look like a specific celebrity (Kylie Jenner is particularly popular right now), she says it’s important to cater to each person’s different looks and needs. “When I look at a person, I know what will make them shine,” she says. “I’ve spent 10 years learning by doing - each person has a unique feature to highlight.”  She works with a range of clients, often from her two-floor apartment in Göktürk, where she also keeps an eye on her young child. “The best advice I can give young makeup artists starting out is to keep going and get all the experience they can,” İlkkılıç says thoughtfully. “It takes a long time but look at me. I feel like finally, I made it, and I couldn’t be happier.”

The look: Melis İlkkılıç created a simple, yet striking look. The model’s natural skin is highlighted and glowing. The eyes are smoky, shadowed two tones darker than the model’s actual skin color, which accentuates her pretty orbs but remains undramatic. This combination is perfect for daytime and evening wear.

To see more of her work and schedule an appointment, visit or

Önder Tiryaki

Önder Tiryaki is one of the best-known names in the industry. He originally rose to prominence for his hair styling skills, his eye for beauty and his dextrous fingers - which now fluff the follicles of Turkey’s most talented and beautiful. “I dream something and prepare a look the way I want to see a woman - complete with make-up, hair, and place to go,”  says Tiryaki about his process. “I love best preparing someone for the red carpet.” Women like actresses Serenay Sarıkaya and Bergüzar Korel regularly show up at Tiryaki’s door.

Önder Tiryaki - photo by Merve Göral

In 2010, the spokesman for Pantene branched out into makeup, professionally. “I was never trained in makeup,” he says as he buzzes around his model, dabbing at her face. “I learned about it by doing it at home and watching videos.I think makeup was the missing part of me,” he says. “Makeup and hair are two very different arts, but they also complete each other.”

The look: Önder Tiryaki has created strong eyes for an evening out, creating dramatic shades but avoiding graphic, hard edges. Again the natural skin of the face is highlighted and allowed to shine through.

To flirt with fame, visit Önder Tiryaki Hair & Makeup Studio (reservation required), Husrev Gerede Caddesi, Sevinç Apt, No.86 d/1, Teşvikiye; T: (0212) 261 61 60

EBC Türkiye

European Beauty Concept is not necessarily a name that’s always in the media limelight. The company focuses more on training some of the best makeup and nail artists around the city, running classes and trainings on new techniques and products from their small space close to the busy Levent business district. But it is also here that founder Boriana Doganova, who hails from Bulgaria and is a long-time resident of Istanbul, works with single customers on their diverse set of makeup and nail needs, from daily touch-ups to dramatic looks for nights out on the town.

EBC - photo by Merve Göral

What makes this spot really unique is their expertise in permanent makeup. “It seems very scary to people when they first hear about it,” says Doganova. “But our techniques and technology have really advanced, so the makeup looks natural and lasts for about four months.” The most popular focus is eyebrows. Doganova and her team work with each client for sometimes hours, measuring the face and matching skin colors to ensure the eyebrows fit the face in shape and color. “Each person’s face and needs are very different, so we have to spend a long time making sure we get the shape perfect,” says Doganova. “Then the process itself is very quick and painless - and makes life easier when getting ready to go out.”

The look: Eyebrows are done in a natural shades that still look good even as they begin to fade. The model’s eyes are done in shimmering colors that pop.

For eyebrows that won’t fade from view and other expert services visit EBC Beauty Concept at Levent Caddesi 56, Levent; T:  (0212) 278 10 87