African tribal makeup has a strong cultural meaning. As Africa has an estimated total of 3,000 tribes, face paint made out of clay, dried plants, and flowers is often applied in a certain way by each tribe to indicate status and a sense of belonging. Whether you're heading to a cultural festival or another event or you simply want to try out a new makeup technique, you can easily adopt various tribal looks.
To produce a bold, creative makeup aesthetic that will put a splash of color on any outfit, try the following method.
- Apply a face and eye primer to washed, clean skin to create the perfect base.
- Apply a liquid foundation all over your face with a sponge for a smooth finish.
- Contour your cheeks using a dark contour shade. Apply with your finger in a parallel line under each cheekbone and blend out using a blending sponge. It's important not to use blush on your face for a more natural look.
- Using a fluffy eyeshadow brush, apply a skin-toned powder eyeshadow all over each eyelid, in the crease, and up to your brow bone.
- Using your finger, apply a metallic gold cream eyeshadow to each lid.
- As your eyeshadow contour, use a dark brown powder eyeshadow on the outer corners and apply it in a V-shape using a fluffy eyeshadow brush. Blend outwards.
- Line just over the top of your upper eyelid using black liquid eyeliner.
- Line just underneath your waterline with a vivid blue metallic eyeliner.
- Fill in your brows using a powder eyeshadow shade that's darker than your natural brow hue.
- Apply false eyelashes using eyelash glue to accentuate your eyes.
- Finish off your striking eye makeup with a few coats of black mascara.
- Using your finger, draw two diagonal lines with electric blue cream eyeshadow on the top of each cheekbone under the outer corner of your eyes.
- Draw multiple dots along the top of each brow using the same electric blue cream eyeshadow.
- Add three rhinestones in a vertical line on your forehead using eyelash glue to make them stick.
- Add two rhinestones just underneath the outer corner of both eyes using the same method.
- Line your lips with a nude lip liner.
- Fill in your lips with a nude-colored lipstick to allow your face makeup to stand out and do the talking.
To produce a more conventional tribal makeup look using neutral colors, try the below method.
Face and Lips
Use the same tools and application process as the previous makeup aesthetic for your face and lips.
- Apply an orange cream eyeshadow with a flat eyeshadow brush all over each eyelid.
- Use a black or charcoal cream eyeshadow to contour your eye by drawing a precise line in each crease.
- Line just underneath your waterline and just over the top of your upper eyelid using black liquid eyeliner. Wing this eyeliner at a curved 45-degree angle from each outer corner for a dramatic feline look.
- Fill in your brows using an eyeshadow shade that's slightly darker than your natural brow color.
- Using your finger, apply a white cream eyeshadow in the area between your brow and crease to create a vibrant contrast.
- To bring out your eyes, apply false eyelashes and a few coats of black mascara.
- Using your black liquid eyeliner, draw two curved L-shape lines facing outwards from each other from the inner corner of each eye. Fill in the curve using your white cream eyeshadow.
- Also using your black liquid eyeliner, draw two upside-down triangles under each eye; one situated in the center and one situated at the outer corner. Fill in these triangles with your orange cream eyeshadow from before.
- Using the same dark eyeshadow, draw a curved diagonal line along each cheekbone from the bottom of your temple to your nose. Proceed to draw a parallel line underneath this with your orange cream eyeshadow. Make sure these lines are at least 0.5cm in thickness for prominence.
- Using the orange color, draw a thick vertical line from the center of your bottom lip to your chin. Once this is dry, draw a thin vertical line in the center of this line using your black eyeshadow color.
- Using the orange color, draw a vertical line from in between your brows towards the top of your forehead that's about one inch in length. Once this is dry, draw a thin vertical line in the center of this line using your black eyeshadow hue.
- Draw three big dots along the top of each eyebrow using your black or charcoal cream eyeshadow. Add three orange dots in between these black dots.
- Using your white cream eyeshadow, add several dots in between your black and orange cheek lines to balance out the colors.
Creating Your Tribal Look
African tribal makeup looks are beautiful, eye-catching, and they are straightforward to create once you know how to do them. Experiment with a variety of techniques until you find one that works for you.