Dreaming up looks for fashion’s buzziest brands and painting pop cultures freshest faces, these top artists represent the makeup industry’s new guard.
Njanja Kimani Koby @njanjakimani
Every time I meet Njanja, she’s always got this infectious smile, always joyful and full of life. She describes herself as a wife (married to one of Kenya’s leading makeup artist) a mother and a career woman.
Four years as a professional makeup artist, I jokingly asked if Koby is/was her inspiration… She giggles and answers No! Though they did meet while they were attending the same cosmetology school.
She adds… ” Ever got a chance to see a lady wearing their makeup professionally for the first time? The way she smiles, walks and talks changes! Now that is what inspires me every day to be able to bring out the best features and making someone feel the best of themselves, boosting their confidence and brightening their entire day. It’s amazing how shaping and filling of the eyebrows can make someone feel and look.”
Njanja has worked with top musicians and celebrities like Yemi Alade, Neyma, Sarah Hassan, Amina Abdi Rabar, Brenda Wairimu, Kambua, Ivyln Mutua, Elani, Sauti Sol for their Live and Die in Afrika and Shake Yo Bam Bam videos. She has also worked for big brands like Coke Studio Africa Season 1 and 2 as well as Safaricom Live.
Eman Sallal @i_and_jmakeup
Eman Sallal is a professional makeup artist, brand influencer, trainer, founder and CEO of MUA school of makeup. She’s only been in the industry for two years now.”My passion and love for beauty is what drew me into doing makeup,” she tells KV. “I love what I do and putting a smile on someone’s face is more than happiness to me.”
“Creating a makeup school was my longest dream which recently came true. Here, we join forces with other makeup artist and beauty gurus, and together we guide aspiring makeup artists,”
Eman’s steadfast growth in the makeup and beauty industry has been a result of her unique and different style of makeup technique. Another thing that boosted her growth was doing makeup on celebrities such as Janet Mbugua and brides who always love her work and support Eman. And not forgetting her over 2000 followers on Instagram.
At the moment Eman is focusing her efforts on helping other makeup artists build their personal brand for greater success.
Joy Balogun @sunshinebalogun
Agbonmeire Joy Balogun is the epitome of beauty and brains. She is a microbiologist, a stunning makeup artist, and beauty blogger.
Why makeup I ask? “When I was younger I wanted to be a painter so bad, but my father forbade it. These days my inner fine artist is having a blast using gorgeous faces as my canvas,” she says. And these gorgeous faces include media personalities such as Anita Nderu, Sarah Hassan, Talia Oyando, Jamila Mohamed, beauty campaigns for Pauline cosmetics Kenya, in-house makeup artist for famous socialite Huddah Monroe. Joy also has her own lipstick line – Joy Lips. #bossmoves joybeautystore.com
Kayte Macharia @kaytemachariamakeup
Kayte is a professional makeup artist based in Nairobi, Kenya specializing in bridal makeup, wedding parties, photo shoots, TV, editorial, print, one on one tutorials and consultations.
Her interest in makeup begun at an early age where she would pick her mum’s Pimplex and her aunt’s lipstick to experiment, the eyeliner wasn’t spared either. As a young teen her makeup and beauty essentials upgraded to fair and lovely creams, lipgloss, black and brown liner. Kayte became popular in glamming her high school friends. She later enrolled at Pivot Point school of Beauty and the rest they say is history.
Kayte has done makeup for celebrities such as Melinda Gates, Janet Mbugua, Anne Kiguta, Gina Din Kariuki, Suzanna Owiyo and worked with the best industry players in both makeup and fashion.
“Makeup is my full-time hustle and I have grown one step at a time. It literally pays all my bills and being a mother to my four-year-old little girl has kept me grounded and encouraged me to do and be my best,” she confirms.
Kayte claims the makeup industry has grown in leaps and bounds especially with the number of all upcoming artists and the number of makeup brands investing in the Kenyan industry.
Phoina Tosha @phoinatosha
Phoina Tosha (real name by the way) aka Vanity Girl is a professional makeup artist who specializes in bridal makeup and celebrity styling, not to forget a Youtuber as well. I call her wonder woman, because it takes one to juggle all her businesses especially with her new Beauty Clinic Launch, Beauty School and her Hair Collection Line. How would I describe her? #bossbabe
Phoina started her bossbabe journey in 2013 as a freelance makeup artist under mentorship from popular makeup artist Muthoni Njoba. As well as doing makeup for family and friends and surprisingly her social media followers.
” The best part of my job is when I get to mentor my makeup students, when I meet new clients who become friends and also when I get to travel as I work on destination weddings on my beautiful brides. Lastly, the satisfaction of my clients after they look into the mirror and fall in love with themselves and their look,” she says.
This beauty guru tells KV that makeup artistry is not as easy as just buying a brush and a few products. You have to undergo training and have to invest time and money in order to produce the best results and to keep abreast with current trends.