In my line of work, I’ve met quite a few women sporting delicious, deep and dark skin tones with gorgeous features such as high cheek bones, full lips, strong brow bones and striking eyes. Sadly, these same women also sport debilitating beliefs about what they can or cannot wear on their faces. I see them defaulting to nude colours, working with shades such as browns and taupes and beiges and camels, while glossing over the silvers, deep blues, sea greens, purples, and sunny yellows and golds. Most of the time, the work that I do with these women is internal, where I try to make  them to believe that they can wear pretty much any colour under the sun, and look absolutely stunning.

For the most part, it’s all about technique- the application of the product by taking your time and working with the texture of the product and that of the your skin. And this is also part of the problem- most times, these women just don’t know how to work a bright green eye, or pink cheek.

So that’s what I decided to do for the next installment of the makeup that I designed for ChicoLeco’s online fashion week – a first for Kenya.

This look was actually designed for two very different collections. Sheila’s collection was inspired by Japanese Manga comics and cartoons, using bright and airy fabrics in vivid colours such as luminous greens and brilliant blues, vivid and bright yellows, and deep cobalts in her collection. I felt as though a bright pink cheek would strongly contrast with the clothing, providing a striking divergence from the typical African leanings towards subtle, safer makeup looks.

Ruth’s collection was gorgeous- body-hugging outfits that absolutely flattered Hivita’s feminine curves. I felt that a strong pink cheek would provide a significant complement to the prints, without really taking away from the collection’s overarching directive. The rest of Hivita’s face was toned down, where I used earthy colours that worked to beautifully offset the strong blush and provide a seamless link to the collection.

I began by brushing on CoverGirl’s Queen Collection Liquid Foundation in Q755- their darkest shade. Since Hivita’s skin is quite dark, the liquid foundation did not come close to matching her skin tone so I ended up using it as a highlight! I buffed it into the high points of her face with E.L.F.’s Studio Kabuki Brush. After, I set it with Sleek’s Pressed Powder in Woodsmoke. Since the focus of this look was a strong cheek, I kept the rest of her face rather nude by lightly blending on a shimmery bronze onto her lid, and then a shimmery camel shade onto her brow bone giving her eyes a subtle lift.

And then it was time for MAC’s powder blush in Frankly Scarlet to shine. I focused on really blending it into the apple of the cheek using a blush brush. I then mixed in Raisin to blend the pink further up the cheek bone and onto her temples, providing dimension and depth to the cheek. I had to keep reapplying the colour so that it stood out, yet the edges had to be blended in to the rest of her skin so that it looked seamless and polished. As I kept reapplying the colour and blending it into her skin, I made sure to focus on the entire look, and not just the cheek. I regularly paused to step back to look at her face straight on, align the colour and then go back in for more application and blending. I then applied CoverGirl’s Cheekers Bronzer in Golden Tan to make the high points of her face pop even more.

After that, a nude lip and some deep black Black Opal mascara completed the look.

Enjoy! ❤

As always, I had an amazing time working with Hivita of Strut It Africa Model Management, and with the ChicoLeco and The Nest crews.

ChicoLeco is a program of The Nest, a collective of designers, artists of all kinds and creatives collaborating together, creating genius.

Strut it Africa is Kenya’s leading Model Management Agency. Thanks Hivita, for participating.

About The Author


Kangai Mwiti is a stylist and beauty artist, working in the creative world who believes in giving people experiences of natural beauty and allowing others the freedom to express who they truly are, irregardless of background or creed. She also a killer project manager with a leading multinational in the corporate sphere, and her mission there is to instill within African organisations a passion for excellence.

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