Making Up Lupita Nyong’O

Posted by Kay 12_Years_a_Slave_film_poster

Last October I had the pleasure of working with a very special newcomer- Lupita Nyong’O, who was in London for the press and screening of Steve McQueen‘s much anticipated ‘12 Years A Slave‘ starring Chiwetel Ejiofor.

I was thrilled when I got confirmed as I rarely get to make-up someone with Lupita’s skintone for the red carpet. The chance to be able to do something glamorous (rather than editorial which is usually more conceptual or ‘urban’) using my favourite new products was a fabulous opportunity.

I ensured that her skin was moisturised but not oily. This is particularly important for darker skins that are being photographed with flash. Flash isn’t a friend to dark skin, it can turn a perfect application of healthy, glowing make-up into an appearance of simply being greasy.

Having said that, I don’t mind a little shine, there has been a tendency for many women of colour to overdo the powdering for fear of the shine, but personally, I find it old-fashioned and a little ageing. Skin can look a little ‘dead-looking’ when velvety matte, especially in real life and under the crude light of red carpet shots.


I applied two shades of Mac Studio Fix with a sponge, starting at the centre and around the eyes with NW48 (lighter, more orange with neutralizes grey/ash) and finished around the edges of the face in the darker NW58.

Lupita with NARS













Lupita Nyong’O


Then I powdered, using Bobbi Brown‘s Loose Finishing Powder in Basic Brown with a brush (and again just before she went out).

















Next up was Nars Blush in Exhibit A, and I love to put rich terracotta tones back into dark skin, plus it’s very complimentary with the Red/Coral-toned lipstick.

LUPITA Nars ExhibitApsd














Lupita Nyomg’O


Now for the eyes…  Illusion D’Ombres by Chanel are one of the greatest innovations in eye shadows in years-and I mean that. They act like a cream, look like a powder, and are so easy to use that they make everyone look like a pro! I love to use them with my fingers. Lupita wears Apparition here.















Lupita Nyong’O


Lupita loves colour and she requested a ‘coral-y red’. I love this Nars Semi Matte Lipstick in Heatwave.





Lupita Nyong’O

Lupita Nyongo’s make-up artist

How to get LHow to get Lupita Nyong’O’s make-up look

Finishing Touches

Final TouchesP148030

I often use individual eyelashes on the red carpet, they are not so difficult to use and are often found cheaply at chemists/drugstores- but remember to get a dark glue as the white can often be detected. Duo have the best ones.

Eyelash curlers also make a HUGE difference to eyelashes.

Mustn’t forget mascara!

My favourite at present is Rimmel London Lash Accelorator in Black.

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 15.39.22


And for shine control, better to keep blotting papers with you rather than powder alone. This will help avoid a chalky-looking build-up.

Chanel have a gorgeous blotting paper compact with a mirror, but you can get them in chemists/drugstores everywhere these days.

So that’s the Lupita lowdown from London, Hope you enjoy giving it a try…

Lupita 800

Lupita Nyong’O at the Premiere of !2 Years A Slave, London 18th Oct 2013.


Photo’s by twitter @FashDemocracy tumblr FashDemocracytumblr

Hair by Vernon Francois.



4 thoughts on “Making Up Lupita Nyong’O

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  1. Von

    Her skin is the perfect canvas and it’s not “too much” of anything. She’s beautiful and it shows.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:59 pm
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  3. brownbeauty

    She looks amazing! You did a great job, Kay. I think you make a very valid point about darker skins not photographing well and sometimes appearing greasy. Lupita always seems to look amazing on camera. It’s so great to see how you put her look together.

    January 14, 2014 at 11:38 am
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  5. Wonderlusting

    She’s just jaw droppingly beautiful but also how she carries herself. The makeup is fresh. Major woman crush

    January 14, 2014 at 8:50 pm
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  7. […] artist Thandie Kay worked with Lupita for the London premiere of 12 Years A Slave. In her post Making Up Lupita Nyong’O she shares her tips on creating her stunning red carpet […]

    March 3, 2014 at 3:35 pm

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