final tribal look

How to Achieve the Tribal Makeup Look

final tribal look

The stunning aesthetic of tribal face paint was originally festooned on faces to signify tribes or events. Some tribes wear face paint reminiscent of the look in the Congo and countries south of the Sahara, representing a teenager’s coming of age and other significant life events. It’s a beautiful and artistic way to tell a narrative through face paint. 

In Beyonce’s hour-long Lemonade special, she donned a white tribal face makeup portraying the art of the Yoruba people. Though the hand-drawn lines look as though they’re dragged from the lower lids over the cheeks in a wavy and uneven application, as in Beyonce’s version, there’s a delicacy to the overall look. The makeup artist responsible for most of the looks in the fourth chapter of Beyonce’s Lemonade was Laolu Senbanjo, a New York-based artist hailing from Lagos, Nigeria. 

Senbanjo creatively expresses himself through an elaborate reimagining of this tribal aesthetic. His work has appeared on Serena Williams in Essence Magazine.

Each face is a canvas, and what can transpire in the artistic process depends on the inspiration and muse. The trend for tribal makeup is prevalent on social media. In this tutorial, our makeup artist Maiko captures this tribal look beautifully. 

It will take 30 minutes to achieve this look. All you need to follow in this step-by-step guide is white water-based face paint, a fine-tipped paintbrush, a Q-Tip, makeup foundation, blush, neutral shadow, and mascara. Enjoy this complete how-to!

before and after

Observe the artistic transformation in this before and after. 

foundation and makeup

Step One: Start by applying a base that matches your skin’s undertones. Use an eyeshadow color and application that flatters the shape of your eye. For this model, we’re using a foundation with warm pink tones. We apply neutral tones to the upper lids and blend blush around the side of the eyelids to frame the eyes.

white water-based product

Step Two: Spray a matte finish fixative spray onto a water-based white face paint for long-lasting wear. 

draw lines on face

Step Three: Use a fine-tipped paint brush and draw vertical lines under each eye, creating a symmetrical design. Draw a line under the bridge and around the curve of the nose. 

using Q-tips to apply dots

Step Four: Using a Q-tip, press the product above the brow’s arch to create a perfect circle. Create three more circles following the outline of the brow downward. After each application, add more product to the Q-tip for a smooth and clean result. 

use makeup brush to blend

Step Five: Bejewel the look with silver rhinestones. Apply each rhinestone to the outer corner of the eyes and one rhinestone to each vertical white line below the eyes to complete the look. Apply a fixative to the face for long-lasting wear. 

apply mascara

Step Six: Add a volumizing mascara to create a voluminous open-eyed dramatic lash look.

final tribal look

The final result looks stunning. To stay on top of all of the most recent makeup and beauty trends, follow Ogle’s Latest Trends Archive.

About the Author

Jeff Chiarelli
Jeff Chiarelli is the Head of Marketing for Ogle School. His responsibilities include leading Ogle School's marketing and branding strategy to amplify Ogle School's passion for helping create future beauty professionals in the communities Ogle School serves.