Going nude: Why the no-makeup look is the in-thing


Women are embracing one look; pale nude. FILE PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

Women are embracing one look; pale nude. 

Khyati Rana, a bridal makeup and hair artist says makeup has always been the hottest topic no matter the month or year. Now nude makeup, which has foundations, lipsticks, and eyeliners, is the new thing.

“With contouring, highlighters and nude makeup looks are emerging as the biggest beauty trends of the new decade. Loud and OTT (over-the-top) makeup has taken a back seat. It started with Kylie Jenner and Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt as an inspiration for everyone,” she says.


Khyati Rana, a bridal makeup and hair artist. FILE PHOTO | KHYATI RANA | POOL

Another makeup artist Phoina Wambui, popularly known as Phoina Tosha, says Kenyans have warmed up to nude makeup because it brings out their natural beauty.

“Nude makeup has a soft glam which brings out the natural beauty and enhances a woman’s features. It’s not exaggerated makeup, it’s the ‘I woke up like this’ kind of look and it’s easy to do,” she says.


Phoina Wambui, is a make-up artist and founder of Phoina beauty products. FILE PHOTO | PHOINA WAMBUI | POOL

“Key features include minimal makeup, colours that are closer to someone’s skin tone, egg soft colours, soft pinks and soft brown. These differ from the bold looks of Smokey eyes, and bold coloured lipstick like red,” she adds.

Celebrity influencers may have started the trend, but what has sustained its growth is the shift from the ‘cakey’ look. Brands have also increased their range of nude offerings to match many skin tones, including Africans.

And women no longer have to struggle to choose the right skin undertone foundation. 

“With its natural appearance, it meets many requirements of the corporate world. For a wedding as well, nude makeup is ideal as it remains intact until the end of the day,” says Ms Rana.

The artiste adds that nude makeup has a broader impact on the beauty industry in Kenya and might affect sales of bolder brands.

“Eight out of 10 beauty brands have launched glitters, dark lip colours, highlighters, and Smokey eye palettes which will be a disappointment for the brands if women stop using those colours,” she says, adding that women however have to be aware because not everything on YouTube or online tutorials is correct guidance for nude makeup. One has to go to beauty school to learn nude makeup techniques. 

Achando Waswa, also a makeup artist argues that as much as there is a shift to nude makeup, the focus should be on skincare.

“Nude makeup is transitioning to a no-need foundation look where people only want to do their brows and flaunt their skin with some gloss on their lips,” she says, adding that the shift is heralded by cultural or societal factors.

One thing all the makeup artists agree on, the less colour, the better. The nude makeup involves using a few basic neutral colours such as rose, rose gold, beige or peach tones instead of the Smokey dark and glitters used previously. 


Achando Waswa, a make-up artist. FILE PHOTO | ACHANDO WASWA | POOL

“The thin plucked brows have now been replaced with a fuller, fluffier pair, the pout finds solace in nude or soft brown lipstick, and the mascara in nude makeup is every makeup lover’s soulmate. The struggle of putting on dramatic eyelashes is no longer needed and more skincare products have been replaced with heavy thick layers of makeup. The idea now is to ensure that the products you use complement your natural skin tone, complexion and hair colour,” says Ms Rana. 

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