My First Foray into Igbo Makeup

I’m trying this year to immerse myself deeper into my culture. I think we have some of the most beautiful traditions in the world. It’s a pity that so much of it has been abandoned, but that’s a story for another post. I have no idea why such a beautiful and visually stunning form of adornment would be rejected by our people in favour of the blander style of European-style makeup. I’m not criticizing this style of makeup, but you and I know that if I went to work in Nigeria like this I would get a lot of funny looks and might even be sent home, whereas if I was wearing European makeup like glo minerals there would probably be no problem with it. Though I don’t think we should throw our traditions away just for the sake of looking professional. Indians fully embrace their culture and wear saris and bindis to work. One thing we all have in common is the belief that looking after your teeth by visiting somewhere like this Dentist Sarasota is the ultimate beauty tip. I am not saying that we should reject everything western and become totally afrocentric, but I honestly believe that our traditional makeup and adopted western makeup should live equally side by side and be equally accepted. Here are the results of my decision to try Igbo makeup.





For anyone who would like to know, I used Bare Minerals ID and Micabella Mineral makeup mixed with water to achieve the look. The black dots on my face are from Urban Decay eyeshadow in Perversion. Unbelievably, unlike virtually all Nigerian girls, I do NOT own a black eye pencil.




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  1. Anonymous

    Why is everyone lying? Are you for real or is this a joke? You’ve definately got to be kidding me… LOL. Since when is green eye shadow Igbo make-up? LOL. So anyone can paint rubbish on their faces using “european make uP” and call it Igbo make-up??? LMAO. This better be a joke or you are just straight up ignorant.

  2. sugabelly

    @Anonymous: Don’t be an idiot. In every culture women have used the plant pigments around them to create makeup. There are fucking green plants everywhere. Perhaps other colours of makeup used in Igboland traditionally weren’t as publicized as the white Nzu or the black Uli, but it doesn’t mean they weren’t used. And I don’t know why it’s always these Anonymous bitches that come to blogs to disgorge their bullshit. Get a fucking life and a Blogger ID or don’t come back to my blog to talk shit. I’m Igbo and you’re probably not. Traditional makeup is so much more than a few lines drawn on the face, and if you read properly, that’s BLOODY MINERAL PIGMENT on my face. PIGMENT mixed with WATER. And so what if it happens to be professionally manufactured today? We’re in the bloody twenty-first century damnit. Just because all the pictures we see of the more ancient Igbo people are in black and white does not mean they lived their lives in fucking black and white. Go do some bloody research and get a fucking life.

  3. sugabelly

    AND, you are the one that is ignorant. What makes makeup ‘european’ or ‘indian’ or ‘igbo’ or ‘egyptian’ is the manner in which it is applied and the way it comes out looking not the manufacturer of the makeup. Sure the ancient egyptians applied kohl eyeliner but do you think it’s fun to drag a craggy and possibly sharp charcoal stick across your precious eye just because you want to look beautiful?? If they were still alive today they’d probably just hop on down to Sephora and buy black eyeliner. AND IT WOULD STILL BE EGYPTIAN MAKEUP BECAUSE IT WOULD BE APPLIED IN THE EGYPTIAN STYLE.

    And what are you trying to imply, that our ancestors were too dumb to use the colour around them? You probably haven’t even done ONE TENTH of the research about Igbos that I have done. Do NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT talk about shit you know nothing about. It is morning and I am cranky and I WILL bitch you out if you write random thoughtless shit on my blog. Igbo make up comes in all sorts of colours and designs. And YES, ancient Igbo women had the presence of mind to paint their eyelids green and stain their lips brown. And anybody that wants to argue with me about this, bring it the fuck on.

  4. That is all

    You should have done your hair up into bantu knots…i know it’s not like thread but it’s pretty close.
    Do you have any reference pictures where you got the main idea from?

  5. sugabelly

    @solomonsydelle: yay!!

    @Anonymous1: Are you serious? I’ve heard that before. Who else thinks I’m Hausa??

    @Just…Toluwa: What would be wrong with me going out like this? I think it’s just as valid as painting my lips red and applying mascara.

    @Temite: Oooh put up pics when you’re done.

    @Anonymous2: I’m already finished with you.

    @sulhip: True we wear trad to work and I think that’s great, but in a lot of work places you’re only allowed to wear trad on Fridays, which I think is wrong.

    @That is all I said: I have braids in right now, so I don’t think Bantu knots would have been achievable. Basically my references are growing up all over the place in Nigeria. All over Anambra, Enugu, Asaba, Lagos, Jos, and Abuja. My mom was great!! She took me to all the dances and she snuck me into the masquerades even though we weren’t supposed to be there. She took me to a lot of festivals, weddings, as well as to Fela’s shrine regularly. I had a great time growing up, and I loved all the makeup and the nzu, and uli, and lalle, and pigment. I guess if you want reference pics Google Igbo traditional dancer or something.

  6. Moody Crab

    You crazy girl, I love you more and more each day! Where and when did you come up with this idea? I can see you are missing Naija.

    The make up is not bad. Now, give us the dibia make up…that would def bring out the lols.

    Kedu?

    PS: I’m still gonna do the tag. I need to think up a lie to go with the truths.

  7. Anonymous

    So where did you come up with the design???? What distinguishes the design on your face from those of other cultures in the world??? What makes it IGBO???? you painted RUBBISH on your face and called it igbo make-up!!! IGNORANT!

  8. Audine

    Hi….Audine here. This is great, and really authentic looking. I am igbo and my great grandma used to make me over all the time and I loved it. I would say igbos have always been on point with beautification. You did a great job

  9. Shakalewa Fresh

    How’s that igbo makeup??
    That’s fulani makeup. and it’s even the MEN that wear makeup like that.
    I guess u need to learn a bit more about your culture…


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