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Dennis Karuri explains how makeup was inspired by African traditions

Dennis Karuri, one of the most sought-after makeup artists in Nairobi, believes that makeup is one of the forgotten African forms of art.

Kenyan makeup artist Dennis Karuri

Makeup has become an essential part of our daily lives. However, it is still surrounded by a lot of misconceptions, especially in African societies.

Dennis Karuri, one of the most sought-after makeup artists in Nairobi, has come out to set the record straight.

In a past interview on Pulse Celeb254, the self-made celebrity pointed out that one of the major misunderstandings about makeup is that it is exclusively for a particular gender.

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Dennis also addressed the misconception that makeup is exclusively associated with femininity. He emphasized that makeup is for everyone and knows no gender boundaries.

"Makeup is a huge thing, and it is not limited to any specific group of people. Anyone can wear makeup," Dennis said.

He challenged the notion that makeup is not part of African culture, clarifying that it indeed has roots in African traditions but has evolved over time.

With the arrival of colonialism and religion, certain perceptions developed, such as the belief that men should not wear women's clothing and that makeup is solely for women.

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"Such systems came with white people and religion, now people think that because religion says that a man should not wear women's clothes, make-up is also something for women," he said.

He highlighted that makeup is simply a tool for enhancing one's appearance and expressing oneself. If you have a camera-ready event, for example, applying makeup can help you look and feel your best.

"It is just a sense of belonging. If you are going to the camera and you want to look nice, have your makeup done," he said.

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He pointed out that Africans had their own form of makeup known as red ochre, which was applied to the hair and certain parts of the face.

Although it may not have been recognized as makeup in the modern sense, it served as a means of self-expression and enhancing beauty, and was applied by by both genders.

Dennis passionately explains that just as red ochre symbolized African identity, modern-day makeup allows individuals to embrace their own uniqueness.

"Walikuwa wanapaka vizuri kwa kichwa na nywele. It was a form of beauty ama belonging.

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"Before societal norms and systems were imposed, Africa had its own culture and ways. If you examine our culture closely, you'll find that men used to apply red ochre. They would carefully paint it on their heads and hair. It was a form of beauty and belonging," Dennis said.

For instance, if you are an influencer, wearing makeup can boost your confidence and create a sense of belonging within your chosen field.

Dennis Karuri further clarifies that makeup serves more than just enhancing beauty; it is a powerful tool for actors to transform into different characters, including those who are unattractive or elderly. In this context, anyone can take on those roles.

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