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Bearding the Stereotypes: How This Male Makeup Artist Gave up Med School for BeautyBy Ahmad-Tijani Agbaje on June 5, 2024

If there’s one thing Nigerians love, it’s bread.


After that, it’s beauty.

Think about it, when was the last time you went to a party – no matter how small or lowkey – and didn’t see women done up and bejewelled like freshly unearthed pirate treasure?

According to Nairametrics, the African Beauty and Personal Care market raked in $57 billion in 2023 revenue. Leading this was (of course) Nigeria, with a revenue of $7.8 billion as of August 2023.

Statista also predicts that the revenue generated in the same market will reach US$9.71 billion by the end of this year.

This means on average, a Nigerian will spend $42(about ₦62,000) on beauty and personal care this year.

Multiply that by 200 million (Nigeria’s estimated population)…

Even with the state of the economy (which we will courteously avoid), Euromonitor noted that in 2023, “certain beauty and personal care categories like skin care, oral care and bath and shower products showed some (market) resilience”.

So, you see? The facts are fact-ing.

But then, if you’re Nigerian, the desire to look good (and keep up appearances) isn’t news.

This is why Makeup Artists (MUAs) like Bibiyonce and Bimpe Onakoya are so popular.

Everyone wants to be beautiful.

These ladies have created a name for themselves by touting their artistry high and capitalising on the Nigerian desire to stun.

But what about the men in this industry?

It is not news that Nigeria has more conservative views of what is considered masculine or feminine, which is one of the reasons why women haven’t been successful in Nigerian elections and also why men face strong societal pressure to assume certain roles and perform traditional masculinity, even if they may not always want to.

Nigerian Makeup Artistry is anecdotally female-dominated, and rightly so, as you mostly see women wearing make-up in Nigeria, but, some Nigerian men are starting to make a name for themselves with their mastery of this stereotypically “feminine” craft.

Naturally, we’re here for it.

Men like Jide of St Ola, Raji Adedamilare, and Michael Okoh are part of a small but rising sect of Nigerian men making a living – and a name – off of beauty and make-up, and this is why we decided to bring you, dear reader, one of such men.

The conversation was too juicy it might actually be a criminal offence not to share it.

Meet Lolu Pinheiro

lolu pinheiro
The artist known by all as Lolu Pinheiro

Lolu is a Lagos-based male MUA and creative director whose artistry and clientele (including “Controlla” crooner, Fave) have taken him all over Africa, and whose journey took him from medicine to Environmental Biology (at Lagos State University) and finally to beauty (his “true love”).

After months (more like days, but whatever) of scheduling, we were able to get him to commit to an interview, where he told us about his passion for and journey into beauty, how he switched degrees two years into medicine, what happened when he told his parents he wanted to do beauty full time, and his experience being a male make-up artist in Nigeria.

…amongst other things.

You know we can’t give up all the tea if you don’t listen.

Lolu does make up dark collage
The hot pursuit of the art of beauty

The conversation…

IN3K8 Media · Bearding the Stereotypes: How This Male Makeup Artist Gave up Med School for Beauty

Even if you’re not into make-up, you have to admire Lolu’s passion and determination.

How many of you can stand up to your parents without first writing your talking points down and practising in front of your bathroom mirror?

Oh, okay.

No, but seriously, you can do anything you want to (don’t ask us how we know this) and you don’t have to follow a fixed path.

Apart from these paths being quite boring, do you want to wake up when you’re 70 and regret your choices?

“Damn, I should have done that thing when I was younger.” will not be your portion.


It is for this noble cause that we have also concocted a special index for you.

Something something about the cow that keeps on giving?

The Male MUA Index

Learn make-up & beauty

Bregha Beauty Clinic 
Folange Beauty Academy
Makeup School in Abeokuta
BMPro Makeup School
Miss Ima
Beauty by Tejj
Skin with Michael

Buy make-up

Makeup Alley 
Hara Beauty Space 
Nana Hawa Beauty Store
House of Tara
Zaron Makeup

Shop inclusive brands

Orange Culture
Beauty by AD

MUAs you should check out

Lolu Does Makeup
Osas Signatures
Beauty by RMD
Raji Adedamilare
House of Daffodil
Michael Okoh
Jide of St Ola


Now that you’re sufficiently made up (get it?) what did you think of Lolu’s attitude towards his dreams? Do you also want to do something outside the “norm”? Have you ever stood up to your parents before (be honest)?

Leave a comment or two for us, we love amebo.

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