Tribal makeup has been trending for the past few years and has been featured on runways, in fashion editorials, blogs, and a multitude of Pinterest boards and YouTube videos. Bold, graphic lines and earthy tones with heavy contouring are commonly seen in an editorial look inspired by the tribal trend. But we have to get the definition of the term “tribal” ironed out before we go any further here… Tribal, or “tribe”, is a socially, ethnically, and politically cohesive group of people (Wiktionary). To me, this essentially means that these looks are based on the history of people using their bodies literally as a canvas to tell stories/myths and embody archetypes that are either universal or culturally specific.
What I find most interesting about the tribal trend is the focus on contouring and featuring the angles of the face instead of the traditional focus of makeup which is on the eyes, cheeks, mouth, and skin. This trend also allows makeup artists to explore new ways to play with color and to incorporate aspects of animism into their creativity— often seen as anthropomorphism of animals with symbolic significance such as an owl, fox, wolf, etc. Here are a few of my favorite examples of the tribal makeup trend and the range of looks that can be achieved using this trend as inspiration.
This look is commonly achieved using body makeup. There is a wide variety or available products that you can use to achieve an entirely different body color or if you want to color block areas of the face such as the forehead or chest. All of the products shown below can be applied with a brush, sponge, or beauty blender and can be wet, dry, mixed with a mixing medium, and Fix+. Each type of application will yield a different result in terms of opacity, intensity of color, and the visibility of brush strokes or a smooth surface of pigment.
Ben Nye HDXP-1 Ultimate F/X Palette
Kryolan Supracolor Palette 24 Colors
Mixing Medium is available in glossy or matte finishes.
Chromacakes are water-activated product that is most easily described as watercolor paint for the skin.
Pigments are versatile and are especially lovely when used on top of products such Chromacake.
See more of my tribal inspired beauty lookbook here!